Funerals and Memorials
When it comes to loss and grief, there are no rules. There is no ‘normal’ way to feel or react. And there is no ‘normal’ time limit on your grief. In fact, there is no ‘correct’ way to plan a funeral or memorialise the deceased. The way you remember, recognise and/or celebrate the life of a loved one is entirely up to you. I am here to help and advise you and gently guide you through the process to ensure we create a farewell service fitting to and reflective of both the person who you are remembering and also those of you remembering them.
Funerals and Memorials are not the ‘final goodbye’. There is often huge pressure to get everything said and done in those few precious minutes allowed for a service in a church, at a burial ground or in a crematorium; but in reality , that service is only the first goodbye: you can remember, celebrate and memorialise the life of a lost love as often and as casually or officially as you would like. Whilst they are being spoken of, and remembered; they are not forgotten and the love remains x
Take a look at my end of life and death planning services
From our first meeting, we knew that Bernie was an incredibly special person who approached my father’s cremation service with kindness, sensitivity and above all…love.
Funerals: Cremations and Graveside
Every person is unique and extraordinary. Everyone has a story worth telling and connections worth sharing. I advocate on behalf of families to ensure they feel safe, and confident to have their story told in an authentic and compassionate way, one that truly reflects the person whose life we are remembering and their impact on those remembering them. I advocate doing this with the words, music, dress, gestures, and locations that are right for them. There are no rules on how to grieve and there is no ‘right’ way to commemorate. I will help you create something meaningful, personal and cathartic.
Even at a crematorium or graveside the service, whilst limited in time can reflect the personality and memories of the deceased and those remembering them.
Funerals: Natural Burials and Laying of Ashes
The wonderful thing about natural burial grounds is they offer you more time and freedom to include ideas personal to you and your loved ones. You can often include your four legged companions, live music and additional tributes as you are less restricted by time constraints. Whether its a burial or laying of ashes, I can help you create a reflective and personalised tribute to your deceased loved one that fully reflects their personality and your memories of them without the time constraints of a crematorium or cemetery.
Memorials and Life Celebrations:
When someone you love dies, you may prefer to remember & reflect on their life at a location other than a cemetery, crematorium or natural burial ground. The benefits are there are no time constraints and a more meaningful location to your and the deceased.
This is also an option if the deceased opted for a direct cremation, enabling you to create a ritual, gathering or celebration of life whilst still honouring their wishes.
You may wish to host it in a hotel, public hall, outdoor space (garden, hillside, beach)
I will help write a service that is fitting of the deceased and the memories of those grieving, we have the opportunity to create rituals and farewells that are personal to all the family and that include as many of them as you wish.
I will listen to your stories, memories and wishes and offer ideas and solutions to include any and all of your. preferences. The service can be anywhere; your home, a hotel, a park, a public building, the beach, a hillside, a beach, a woodland – where ever you feel is a meaningful location to remember, reflect and celebrate.
Direct Cremations with the Memorial Service Elsewhere
Direct Cremations are becoming more and more popular. Not only is it more affordable but it means you can focus your farewells on a time and location that is more meaningful to you and the deceased. After all the crematorium is unlikely to hold much meaning to anyone involved in the farewell.
A direct cremation also leaves you free to many more choices… You can hold your service anywhere, your service will have no constraints, You can include additional elements such as more speeches, music, (even live music), rituals such as tree planting, you can engage a relevant hobby for example a car club or a festival feel.
What is a Direct Cremation?
A Direct Cremation, in simple terms the disposal of the body of a deceased person without anyone other the crematorium staff there to witness it . The cremation takes place without a service in situ. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU NOT HAVING A SERVICE
When and Where can I hold a Memorial/Life Celebration?
Some people choose a Direct Cremation and arrange to have a memorial elsewhere at the same time. Others choose to have a memorial / life celebration on a completely different occasion. They might, perhaps take a moment and light a candle or listen to a favourite tune at the time the cremation is taking place and invite friends and family to do the same wherever they may be; then organise a memorial/life celebration for some time after; perhaps when they have received the ashes.
You can , literally, hold your memorial anywhere. In your house or garden, in a hall or pub, at a venue or an event. Pick a date and location that hold some meaning to your loved one and you, invite who you want and include whatever tributes matter to you all.
Do I only have one chance to say goodbye?
I always remind my clients when arranging their service for a crematorium or graveside, that this 20 – 40minutes of solemn reflection is not the be all and end all. It is not the final goodbye. It is the start of a journey through a long process called grief. As time passes you will regularly remember and reflect on your loved ones. On special occasions; when you do something they taught you; or they would be proud of; when you use a phrase or mannerism that you associate with them. They will be honoured every time they are in your thoughts and every time you talk about them. However it is also OK, appropriate, and lovely to arrange other more structured remembrance services/ life celebrations / memorials:-
- Maybe some time has passed, your head may be clearer and you know better how you want to remember your loved one and their footsteps in your life.
- Following the initial funeral you may have heard some new and wonderful stories that you wish to share.
- Perhaps someone who mattered may not have been available at the time.
- Maybe it is a special date or anniversary
- You now have their ashes, maybe you’ve had them for some time but now you want to let some of them go.
How often, why and when only needs to matter to you. If you want to do it do it. It’s cathartic, it’s an opportunity to regather your support network. It allows you to make your lost relative/friend the focus of attention again .