Have you ever been to a funeral service and wondered “Who are they talking about?”
Too often, the person conducting the ceremony doesn’t take the time to get to know the individual. Sometimes, they don’t even get the name right. That’s just not acceptable.
The perfect funeral is a celebration of life. Even if that life has been really short, or in some cases really tragic, there is much to celebrate. Some families and loved ones may not want a funeral to be a ‘happy time’; they want to be able to grieve. Others may wish to remember only the good things. Funerals should be a place where tears can be of joy as well as of grief, but a good celebrant will respect your wishes about the balance between the two.
Most celebrants pride themselves on making sure that they get the details right, but really this should be a bare minimum. Of course, to an extent, celebrants are confined to the information that they are able to get from the family and friends, and if they get it wrong, we get it wrong. However, there will always be a single person who is our ‘client’. By the time that I deliver the eulogy, I will have done a home visit. The client will see the eulogy and the order of service that I propose before the ceremony so it can be corrected if necessary and signed off.
Music is really important too. It is usually possible to have whatever music you want – most versions of most songs are available. Sometimes people want to sing themselves. It’s important to create space within the ceremony to allow people to express themselves within the time allowed.
Poetry and readings can also be crucial; not only what is read but who reads it. A good celebrant will know how to support someone who wants to do their own reading.
I believe that what I do is an absolute privilege. When someone trusts me with a funeral it is trusting me with a loved one. My goal is always to have people leave the ceremony and say “That was wonderful. You really understood and captured their essence. I want you to do mine!”