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Funerals

Photo © Hilary Wardhaugh Photography Death is Just an Open Door

"Death is just an open door
I have only slipped away
into the next room.

I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name,
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.

Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed,
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was,
let it be spoken without effect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant,
it is the same as it ever was;
there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval,
Somewhere very near,
Safe and Secure.

All is well.

- Anonymous

The rituals of wakes and funerals are significant to all human cultures. To celebrate and honour the life of a loved one, can provide some grounding for the sometimes overwhelming feelings, which accompany loss and endings. Ceremonies and rituals provide assistance toward acceptance and, eventually, integration. Eulogy, well written, is a wonderfully sensitive way of assisting grieving family and friends to pass through the grief, and move on from the loss. Often, the crafting of an eulogy, with the help of a celebrant, may be the only avenue open to family and friends, to speak personally and freely, about the person who has left them. A celebrant, writing or assisting someone to write the funeral ceremony, is able to offer the opportunity to express shared experiences and deep, often hidden until now, feelings about the person they knew.

Whether the endings in your life have unresolved elements, or have intentional completion, you must still establish where you stand after the dust settles. No matter what passes, you remain. However, who you are has changed. If you take a moment, you will be able to recall special moments of love given and received. Each warm memory still available to you, has helped shape you, has given you strength and character, has affected your values and perceptions.

To recover these legacies, you need time and the ability to integrate an ending transition in a way that enriches you and honours and celebrates the relationship ended. A ritual in the form of a memorial ceremony can support you and others left behind, in the important process of grieving.

It is also now becoming more common for people to make their feelings about death known, by telling family, friends and heroes all that they have meant and continue to mean in their lives. They can now make the farewell, when it arrives, less painful for loved ones left behind, by recording desired choices of arrangements and customizing their eulogies. A celebrant can be of great assistance in this highly personalized celebration of a life, and contribution to a deep and meaningful remembrance.

If you would like to know more, or have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.