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Celebrations of Life

When a loved one dies, it’s a difficult and delicate time all round.  Emotions are high, and people are not always in a great place to think or function at their best.  It’s too raw.  The funeral is a legal necessity that often passes in a blur of sadness, of shock.  Depending on the type of service, friends and family may even come away feeling that justice somehow hasn’t been done to the life and spirit of the deceased.

In recent years we have seen a great increase in celebrations of lives lived, in addition to the funeral service.  They differ in crucial ways. Funerals are sad places, where people dress in mourning and the atmosphere is overwhelmingly of loss, of grief. The celebration is precisely that: a celebration of the life of the deceased, undertaken by those who knew them best. There may be food and drink and music, there will definitely be laughter and some sadness, which is as it should be. It can be held in a place that had meaning in their life, and there are no limits on timing.  It can be weeks, months or years later.  It can even be a recurring event, a private anniversary on a significant day.

There is a sadness at its core, transformed into an indestructible thing of beauty by the energy of the gathering.

The life celebration reminds me, in an odd way, of a pearl.  There is a sadness at its core, transformed into an indestructible thing of beauty by the energy of the gathering. In the layering of their stories and memories, and with tales told from all directions about the deceased, a community is created, and with that, perhaps, a greater understanding of the life of the person than any single individual, alone, could have had.

Many people have found celebrations of life to be helpful in coming to terms with the death of a loved one.  Working with an officiant can remove the burden of organization from the shoulders of the bereaved.  We can assist in the creation of a program for the event, contacting friends and family members who would like to speak, or read.  Essentially, we act as facilitators, leaving the space free for those who knew and loved the deceased to come together and honour their memories.

I’ll be delighted to work with you to create and deliver a celebration of life event. To discuss ideas, please feel free to contact me!