Funerals are about saying goodbye to people who have played a large part in our lives, whether as family or friend. We need to take some time aside to demonstrate our respect, to honour their life, and bid farewell. A good funeral reflects the individual personality of your loved one, with their own interests and beliefs woven into the ceremony. It’s not an easy time but it can be very special if it expresses everything you need to say and all that you feel about the one who has passed away. Roxanne came to this work through her own experience of grief, and funeral celebrancy is work that is very dear to her heart. She firmly believes in people’s right to say goodbye in their own way.
Some people prefer a service that is very simple while others like to include many layers of symbolism.
It’s a very personal choice. Whatever is right for you. Consider the following.
Where would you like the funeral to be held?
Options include the church, a private chapel, at your home, at the funeral parlor, or by the graveside.
What readings would you like included?
Poetry can say things that we find hard to express.
- Do you have any favourite poems, prayers or readings that speak to you, or which you have heard and liked?
- Or choose from the celebrant’s own collections.
Would you like to place any symbols on or in the coffin?
These could include photos, memorabilia from your loved one’s life, flowers, letters, a candle, or any other symbol.
What music would you like to be played?
Music is usually played as people gather at the start, during quiet reflection in the middle of the service, and as people leave at the end. But it can be played at any time you choose.
- Did your loved one have favourite music you would like included as part of the service?
- Are there songs with special meaning for you?
- Would you like traditional hymns?
- Would you like somebody singing rather than recorded music?
- Is there somebody in your family or among your friends who can contribute their own music?
Who would you like to be involved?
There are many different roles people can take in a funeral. These include giving a reading, presenting the eulogy, making a personal tribute, playing music, bringing forward symbols, lighting a candle, carrying a photo, or being a pall-bearer. Consider involving family, friends, and associates. Some associations such as the RSL and the Freemasons also have their own rituals which can be included.
The central focus of the funeral is on telling your loved one’s life-story, often from the time they were born until the moment of their passing, as a way of honouring their life.
The celebrant can always help with the writing of the eulogy, and if you like, can also read it out. But do consider that, though it may be difficult, the eulogy is often more meaningful when given by a family member or a personal friend. Or the tributes can be shared between a number of people, each speaking of a different part of your loved one’s life. There are many possibilities, and these can be discussed with your celebrant, who is there to lend whatever support or assistance you may require.
About your Celebrant
Roxanne came to this work through her own experience of grief, when her brother was killed in an accident in 1989. The funeral seemed more about the church than her brother, and a later ceremony showed her the possibilities for a personalised ritual. She was working in the welfare field at the time and became involved in Grief and Loss support groups, attending and facilitating many seminars and workshops.
Funeral celebrancy is work that is very dear to her heart, and she firmly believes in people’s right to say goodbye in their own way.