How I came to Funeral Celebrancy
During my life I've been to many funerals for friends, family and colleagues. Sometimes the funeral ceremonies were uplifting but often they weren't. There would be times when I couldn't hear what the officiant was saying; or times when the officiant would make little or no reference to the person who'd died. Then, quite unexpectedly, I was asked by a friend to lead her husband's funeral service. Both humbled and honoured, I resolved that this ceremony had to be special. I thought hard about what the funeral ceremony should achieve; and decided that all of us would want to:
- Acknowledge the sadness we felt because our friend had died
- Celebrate our friend's achievements, his personality and his character
- Recognise that our relationship with our friend had changed from one of physical presence to one of memory
- Reflect on the ways our friend had influenced each of us personally and on the ways his life had contributed to our world
Friends and family worked together to agree on who was saying what, within the time limits of the crematorium slot. As I stood to welcome a large gathering of friends (many of whom could not get seats), I fully realised there was no room for error and that the best way I could pay tribute to my friend was by doing a good job. A number of people at that funeral told me later that I'd make a good celebrant and that I was a 'natural'.
Their feedback included:
- Thanks for your input today, and for all of the guidance and planning that allowed the service to flow so well
- It was good to have an experienced speaker in charge
- A most thought provoking and interesting service
- We've had nothing but positive feedback on the service - particularly from those more familiar with religious ceremonies
- You were wonderful, professional, efficient, dignified
- You gave us all much to think about concerning death and our attitude towards it
- I’d like to book you for mine.
And so the idea of qualifying as a funeral celebrant had been planted.