My Approach to Funerals/Memorials

 

Humanism – You don’t have to be a ‘humanist’ to identify with celebrating a life.  Humanism is not a religion or faith, it is simply respecting those around us and the world in which we live.  Humanist ceremonies are respectful of our individual beliefs and as a celebrant, I am very aware that those attending a ceremony may be seeking comfort in their own private faith.  Our ceremony will focus on the person; where they came from, what they did and the people and things that mattered most to them.

“People at the funeral assumed you knew Mum, you put that little extra personal touch to her tribute and made it special.” (Card 2020)

 

Types of ceremony – Funerals and memorials are an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of life.  I can support and advise you with services at the crematorium, burials (including natural / woodland burial grounds), private ceremonies, scattering of ashes, memorials and remembrance occasions.  Wherever its location, a humanist ceremony is an unique tribute told through the memories and stories of family and friends; a very personal way to remember.

“Something you taught us was that there are no rules for a funeral – you can do what you wish to make it so personal to the one that has died.” (Email – 2016)

As a Celebrant, I will work very closely with anyone else that you may have involved.  When it comes to bringing the ceremony together and delivering it on the day, we are very much a team.

“Dear Louise, thank you so much for today you made a special occasion even better.  It has been a pleasure to work with you and hopefully I will do so in the future.” (Email from Funeral Director – 2018)

 

How I work – I will normally introduce myself by phone and we’ll discuss how I can best support you.  I’ll also answer any questions you may have.  We will then meet in person (with those that you would like to be present) and I will spend time listening to your stories, memories and moments that matter.

“Everyone said what a magnificent job you did – with such warmth and kindness.  It was very special for me and thinking back over our lives, remembering events that I had forgotten about was lovely.  You gave so much thought to the service.” (Card – 2018)

“Lovely to meet you and a very meaningful time spent talking – it was another step in the grieving process.” (Email 2018)

I am very happy to seek contributions from the wider circle of family and friends by phone and email.  We will also discuss and agree the practical arrangements for what you want to happen and how everything will unfold on the day.

I can offer advice on music, poems, readings and all manner of little touches to make the ceremony feel ‘right’.  I will advise and support those among your family and friends who may like to deliver a personal tribute.

“I’m writing with deep appreciation to thank you for the ceremony which portrayed my sister so faithfully.  You took the time to know her as a person and reflected this beautifully throughout.  I was greatly impressed with how you used little examples from her life to skilfully draw our tributes together.  All done with such warmth, dignity and gentle sincerity.  Our ‘farewell’ for [name] felt affectionate and personal.” (Card – 2019)

Once we have agreed a structure and discussed the content, I will draft a script for the ceremony and make sure that you have the chance to review it.  This process ensures that I have accurately represented everything you’ve told me and most importantly for you, there are no surprises on the day.

“Hi Louise, I just wanted to say how much I loved [name’s] service. Your sweet delivery and the way you so carefully weaved her story together was just perfect! Your gentle support to all of us and your sensitive perception made us feel so loved and supported….” (Email 2019)

 

On the day – I will deliver as much or as little of the ceremony as you wish.

“You have a lovely speaking voice and a calm sincere manner – perfect to say these important words!” (Email – 2017)

It is my role as Celebrant to deliver the ceremony we’ve agreed and to coordinate everything else; speakers, timings, music etc… Our ceremony will be an honest, respectful and very personal representation of an unique individual.

​Hello Louise, just to say thank you for the excellent ceremony you conducted.  A number of people said how it had made them feel that they were remembering [name] in a happy way, some whose first attendance this was at a humanist funeral were impressed and went away with a new slant on the end of life. (Email – 2019)