TYPES OF SERVICES

Memorial Or Celebration Of Life

Memorial

A Funeral or Memorial Service or Celebration of Life Ceremony is a time when family and community gather to mark and to celebrate the unique person the deceased was through the sharing of personal stories, music, power-point presentations, poetry or readings. Both are held in the presence of the deceased or their ashes. Both help the bereaved family, and their community, publically acknowledge a death; both support the grieving family by surrounding them with caring and supportive friends, co-workers and neighbours.

The ceremony template I favour encompasses the four R’s of a well-thought-of goodbye.  This guided outline can be followed for a traditional or non-religious ceremony, as a graveside service and at an ash-scattering. The service can be as long or as short, as upbeat or sombre, as secular or as religious as the family wishes. The four R’s are:

  • Recognizing the death with a brief introduction
  • Remembering the person through sharing stories and memories in words, music, pictures.
  • Reaffirming the beliefs of the family through prayer or poetry.
  • Releasing the spirit of the deceased by blessing their memory with our love for them.

As a qualified Funeral Celebrant, I will curate a personalized memorial service that will reflect the personality of the deceased. A ceremony which will incorporate the unique stories, songs and experiences that defined that person. With over 20 years of experience I have a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies and personal touches to compose a meaningful, and memorable “good goodbye” for all types of situations.

Committal Or Graveside

Committal or Graveside is a ceremony to commit the deceased or their ashes to their final resting place. This could be to the ground, a Columbarium, a Mausoleum, or the scattering of ashes in a favourite location.  A service can be held at the graveside either entirely or in addition to a service conducted at another location like a funeral home or place of worship.

Graveside

The ceremony template I favour encompasses the four R’s of a well-thought-of goodbye.  This guided outline can be followed for a traditional or non-religious ceremony, as a graveside service and at an ash-scattering. The service can be as long or as short, as upbeat or sombre, as secular or as religious as the family wishes. The four R’s are:

  • Recognizing the death with a brief introduction
  • Remembering the person through sharing stories and memories in words, music, pictures.
  • Reaffirming the beliefs of the family through prayer or poetry.
  • Releasing the spirit of the deceased by blessing their memory with our love for them.

As a qualified Funeral Celebrant, I will curate a personalized memorial service that will reflect the personality of the deceased. A ceremony which will incorporate the unique stories, songs and experiences that defined that person. With over 20 years of experience I have a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies and personal touches to compose a meaningful, and memorable “good goodbye” for all types of situations.

Miscarriage/Infant/Young Child

Young-Child-1

It has been said, “There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on the world.”  When a pregnancy ends with miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, medical termination, stillbirth or neonatal death, the parents may experience anger, hopelessness, lowered self-esteem and other feelings. It is healthy and helpful to allow the parents to feel, name and express their emotions.

Some General Guidelines for Fetal Death or Infant

A funeral for a fetal death, infant or young child is very different than for a person who has lived a long life. The emotions are different, the memories and stories are fewer if any.  Drawing from experience I offer the following to consider when planning a ceremony.

  • Naming:  It is important to give a name to your unborn child. Whether or not she or he has taken a breath the child had, miraculously, developed a uniqueness and existed in a relationship as a human being.
  • Naming the Hopes and Dreams:  The death of an infant or fetus is often the death of the hopes and dreams of the parent or parents. These hopes and dreams should be named.
  • Honouring the Relationship between Parent and Fetus: A Ceremony of Committal honours the human life that developed in the mother’s womb and the relationship that existed between parent or parents and fetus. A ceremony will help bring closure to that relationship.
  • Recognition of the Family Grief:  Gathering in the community for a ceremony of memory and committal honours the brief life of the child, gives social recognition to the depth of the loss of the parents, siblings, grandparents and extended families and is an invitation, to others, to recognize the family’s grief and offer comfort.
  • Remember there is no right or wrong way to honour this tiny life.  Base your decisions on your needs rather than what you believe is expected of you. Choose secular or Christian readings, poems, and music which you believe will honour your baby, expresses your feelings of loss, and which will give a voice to the unique heartache and emotions that are unique to the loss for which there are few words. For example, Eric Clapton wrote “Tears in Heaven” for the funeral of his 4-year-old son, Conor.

As a qualified Funeral Celebrant, I will curate a personalized memorial service that will reflect your needs and wishes. With over 20 years of experience I have a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies, and personal touches to compose a meaningful and memorable “good goodbye” for all types of situations.

Unexpected Death Of A Teenager

A parent’s worst nightmare is hearing a knock on the door and learning your child has died. Their grief is no different than anyone else’s but it comes at a time in life when death is not supposed to happen. It robs us of a future together. In planning for a young person’s funeral, the presence and needs of the deceased friends should be taken into consideration.

Death-of-Teenager

What do youth and young adults need?

When a friend or classmate dies, teenagers and young adults have their own struggles and needs in the face of death.  They need:

  •  Time to be alone and time together with friends.
  • Support in knowing what is normal in grief: numbness, loss of appetite, crying, anger, inability to concentrate, fears, strange dreams and nightmares.
  • Ways to express their grief with supportive parents and teachers who can hold them and witness their anger and tears.
  • Ways to incorporate their knowledge of their friend in a service.
  • Youths closest to the deceased may need tangible objects – things that belonged to their friend that may have no meaning to an adult, such as a poster, a pin, a ticket stub to a concert, photographs, copies of poems or drawings.
  • Invited to place special items in the casket. “Something of me goes with you, just as something of you will always remain with me.”

The ceremony template I favour allows for an opportunity for friends and classmates to meet to share their stories, express their anger, fears, questions, and grief. Encompassing the four R’s of a well-thought-of goodbye the outline can be followed for a traditional or non-religious ceremony, as a graveside service, and at an ash-scattering. The service can be as long or as short, as upbeat or somber, as secular or as religious as the family wishes. The four R’s are:

  • Recognizing the death with a brief introduction
  • Remembering the person through sharing stories and memories in words, music, pictures.
  • Reaffirming the beliefs of the family through prayer or poetry.
  • Releasing the spirit of the deceased by blessing their memory with our love for them.

As a qualified Funeral Celebrant, I will curate a personalized memorial service that will reflect your needs as a family and the needs of your child’s friends. A ceremony which will incorporate the unique stories, songs, and experiences that defined your child. With over 20 years of experience I have a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies and personal touches to compose a meaningful, and memorable “good goodbye” for all types of situations

Living Funeral

Living-Funeral

Mark Twain, an astute observer of human behavior, portrayed his fascination with eavesdropping on his own funeral in the novel “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”. The protagonist Tom, said, “It was the proudest moment of his whole life.” The idea of attending one’s own funeral also figures prominently in the 1997 nonfiction bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie. Morrie Schwartz, dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, goes to a funeral and realizes that his late friend didn’t get to hear all the wonderful speeches, so Morrie decides to have a funeral before his own death. He invited his family and friends to come to his home to say the things they would’ve said at his funeral.

Hosting a Living Funeral is becoming an option by those who know they do not have long to live. 

A terminal illness strips a person of their autonomy, individuality and social identity. A Living Funeral could enable the dying person to experience a sense of a life well-lived in hearing about his or her life shared through the cherished lens of family and friends. A Living Funeral can also be a significant parting gift for the honoree and an extraordinary gift to leave with family and friends. A Living Funeral Celebration can help families prepare for the inevitable while focusing on a life well lived.

The Ceremony Template I favour allows for an opportunity for family and to gather to share their stories, to collectively reminisce and to share regrets. Encompassing the four R’s of a well-thought-of goodbye the outline can be followed for a traditional or non-religious. The Living Funeral can be as long or as short, as upbeat or somber, as secular or as religious as the family wishes. The four R’s are:

  • Recognizing the imminent death with a brief introduction
  • Remembering the person through sharing stories and memories in words, music, pictures.
  • Reaffirming the beliefs of the person through prayer or poetry.
  • Releasing the regrets and blessing their memory with our love for them. 

How to Plan a Living Funeral:

Choose a Host   To coordinate the planning, develop the rituals to be incorporated and to MC the Living Funeral.

Pick a Location   Your home, community centre, the house of worship, hotel banquet hall, a favourite restaurant, a theatre, hospital or hospice or any place that is special to the person.

Send Invitations   Give invitees plenty of notice and include instructions to bring stories, photos or mementos they have. The gathering becomes an opportunity for family and friends to share memories, to express their love, gratitude and those things we should’ve, would’ve, or could’ve, said if we found the right time.

Food  Decide on the menu if it will be catered or potluck. Assign tasks to friends and family members. Guest will feel more comfortable if the gathering “feels” more like a get-together than a funeral.

Honouree   The gathering is an opportunity for the person who is dying to share regrets, to collectively reminisce and to express their love and gratitude to family and friends.