October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month.
I believe that every life is worth recognizing and celebrating, no matter how small. So that is why I offer beautiful ceremonies that acknowledge the loss of the precious little lives that inspired such love, hope and dreams for the future.
These intimate and meaningful ceremonies are free of charge to parents who have recently experienced the devastating loss of a pregnancy or the death of a baby.
If you would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
I have been asked why I only officiate funeral ceremonies and don’t do weddings or something more “positive” as well. Isn’t it so negative? Being surrounded by death and grieving all the time?
Actually it’s not. There are certainly times and situations that are more heavy with grief and sadness than others. And my heart always goes out to each family I speak with no matter the circumstances.
But the time I spend with families is often filled with moments of laughter as well as tears as our discussion focuses on more than just the loss. There are often beautiful, happy, poignant or even silly memories that come up. Memories of the good times and how special that person really was.
I find it so fulfilling to write a ceremony that truly honours that life - the personality, beliefs, struggles and triumphs of that person - and to give the family the opportunity for a beautiful and meaningful goodbye.
Often the family remains in my thoughts and prayers for long after my time with them is done.
Negative? No. Difficult? Sometimes, yes. But fulfilling? 100% yes!
I have had the honour of officiating a number of Celebrations of Life recently that occurred several months after the burial or cremation took place.
Ceremonies in the summer when the weather is lovely allow guests to travel without fear of a winter storm and give the family the option of an outdoor event.
It also provides everyone time to process what has happened and a little breathing room to plan.
It's not something that would suit everyone's situation, but sometimes, knowing that you have the option makes all the difference.
There is a growing trend where some families are choosing not to have a funeral. Not to have a memorial, or celebration of life, or any other special time set aside to remember their loved one's life.
The reasons vary, but commonly this decision is based around finances or not feeling connected to the idea of a formal funeral.
Many are not aware that a funeral can be held just about anywhere. Think your backyard, the local pub, a beautiful park.
A funeral does not have to be officiated by a clergy member or be religious in nature. Your local Funeral Celebrant can write a personal and unique ceremony that can include elements of faith or be totally non-religious.
Funerals do not have to be large and formal. They can be small and intimate gatherings.
The options are endless.
But why is a funeral important? Why bother with a funeral?
Funerals help us to process what has happened. They help us to remember our loved one's life and celebrate all that they meant to us.
A funeral helps us to feel engaged and connected to a purposeful experience.
It is a final good-bye, and yet it welcomes all the memories that may have been forgotten.
It is often at the funeral where you learn even more about the person you loved so much, through the stories and kind words of others who were in your loved one's life.
The key is that your loved one's funeral should be meaningful to you and your family. It does not have to be the same as any other funeral you have attended in the past.
Whether it is a large gathering or small. Whether it is in your backyard or you rent a local hall.
Whether you call it a funeral or a celebration of life or something totally different, a meaningful time of remembrance will be a positive experience and leave a lasting impact.
Your loved one lived. They were loved, They were special.
Take time to remember.
Several weeks ago I had the privilege to do a graveside ceremony for a person for whom I knew almost nothing about. The only information I was given ahead of time was the name and age of the deceased. No other details. No family members or friends sharing fond memories or the telling me the story of his life.
You see, the body of this individual had not been claimed. In Ontario, Social Services agencies refer these cases to a local funeral provider and arrangements are made to care for placing the body in its final resting place. Whether there was simply no family left, or the family was not financially able to handle the arrangements I don’t know.
I wondered about the life this person lived - about his childhood, his first romance. Was his life filled with adventure or did he stay close to home? Did he have friends that drifted apart as the years went by? Did he suffer? Was he lonely? What made him laugh?
These are things that I will likely never find out. I will never know the story of this life and all the other lives that may have been touched through this individual.
But it was truly an honour and a privilege to give this person the dignity of a beautiful graveside ceremony and a proper burial.
There were only five of us gathered around the grave - the Funeral Director, his assistants and myself, as we said farewell to the friend we never knew.
It's funny how something as simple as a pair of rubber boots can cause a moment of reflection. I picked up a shiny new pair just the other day - they are out in stores in abundance now. 'Tis the season of gardening and jumping in rain puddles. Or it soon will be.
But I did not purchase these boots for any of those reasons. I will be wearing these boots to a place no one wants to be - the cemetery.
As funny as it may sound, I consider It an honour to wear these boots and to go where not many others want to be. To be with families and share a moment of reflection before their loved one is laid to rest.
I can't share much about what I do. The details belong to the families I serve. But I can say that I love what I do. I am humbled and amazed and blessed in so many ways.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me on this journey!
Did you know...
There are many beautiful and environmentally friendly ways to say goodbye?
It is never easy to say a final farewell to a loved one or friend. Having something visual that inspires a time of peaceful reflection can help, whether you take a private moment all on your own or whether you choose to include it as part of the funeral or celebration of life.
Here are some ideas that are beautiful, as well as environmentally and budget friendly.
Hanging coloured lights
Lighting a beautiful lantern or candle
Releasing flowers or flower petals into a stream or lake
Flying a kite, or creating a streamer or banner
Planting a tree or a flower
Creating flying wish papers
Painting a rock or stepping stone for your garden
Feeding the birds
Building a cairn (a stack of stones built as a memorial)
Feel free to comment below with ideas of your own.
He made your world go round... his funeral should be just as legendary.
As a Funeral Celebrant, the end-of-life ceremonies I create are uniquely personal, meaningful and memorable.
Every part of the ceremony will reflect your loved one - the life they lived, the things that were important to them, their personality, passions, hobbies and beliefs.
The words I write for the ceremony will be combined with thoughtfully chosen music, poetry and visual displays.
The end result will be a fitting tribute that is both personal and meaningful.
A one-of-a-kind ceremony for the one who made your world go round.
Did You Know...
You can choose a meaningful place for the funeral of your loved one?
When we think of attending a funeral, we often assume it will be held in a funeral home or church. These choices can be suitable if there will be a viewing of the body or a more traditional style of ceremony.
But most people do not know that funerals can be held just about anywhere.
The key is to select a location that is meaningful to your family and symbolic of your loved one.
Keep in mind how many people you expect to attend as well as whether you want the event to be formal or informal.
Cost may also be a factor, as well as the length of time you have available to plan before the date of the funeral.
There are many beautiful facilities to choose from, including:
parks, gardens & wineries,
restaurants, patios & your local legion,
museums, theatres & aquariums,
clubhouses, arenas & halls,
a church, the family farm or even your own backyard.
Did you know...
As a Funeral Celebrant, I spend my days writing stories, creating meaningful and memorable end-of-life ceremonies.
I spend hours researching, writing and arranging the ceremony; weaving the story of your loved one's life together with elements such as poetry and music.
The result is a one-of-a-kind tribute to their life journey. It's personal, meaningful and memorable and a fitting way to say good-bye.