How to find the right funeral celebrant services

How do you find the right funeral celebrant services when you’re consumed by grief?

Coping with the death of a family member or friend can arouse all sorts of issues. One of the first tests most of us must face is the funeral.

But even in the pain, shock, and confusion that can follow the death of someone close, funeral celebrant services can make the difference between a tough trial and a farewell filled with dignity and peace.

The death of a beloved is among the most confronting events in our lives. Even the death of a relative or friend whose lifespan was approaching its natural end can leave us with a bewildering array of feelings and emotions. They can range from disbelief, sadness and anger to grief and depression. Other people feel numb, or empty. If you’re required to deal with any of the issues relating to the funeral, where do you start?

Why a funeral?
One of the distinguishing signs of civilisation is the importance it accords ritual.

Rites of passage—from birth, through the many milestones of life, and finally, death—give us location, ownership and identity. They mark our territory and our place. They bring pride in and recognition of achievement. They bring order to our lives, and provide us with signposts for our memories. They especially bring us comfort or solace in loss.

Modern use has skewed the meaning of celebrate. When we think of the word, we tend to think of a happy event or festivities marking a joyous moment.

To celebrate really means to perform a ceremony, or to solemnise an occasion. Just as we celebrate a baby’s entry to life with a ceremony of welcome, we mark another’s departure from it with a ceremony of farewell.

Who’s the funeral for?
Whatever your views on our fate beyond death, the funeral is essentially for the living. It is our moment to congregate, to remember, to reflect, to celebrate and to farewell.

Why a funeral celebrant?
Significant ceremonies, especially funerals, were once almost the exclusive preserve of a church, or a religious ceremony.

Australians have become more secular, or non-religious, in many of our practices. Many now yearn for ceremonies that express the individual nature of their loved ones.

They no longer want a textbook funeral that may not reflect the life, personality or wishes of the deceased. Instead families and friends look to someone who can help capture and commemorate the essence of the departed.

Some also look to an expert who can deal with tragic or difficult circumstances. These could include deaths by suicide, neonates and children, accidental deaths, or lives that seem to have little to celebrate.

A further benefit of using a funeral celebrant is that a good practitioner is prepared to spend time with the family member or members. A funeral professional knows that reconciling the emotions of the family at this difficult time with practical issues needs sympathy, empathy and tact.

Winning the trust of the family member or members, or the person of friend charged with organising the funeral service, is not a given. A good celebrant is trained to use their observation. They know how to avoid causing distress, or how to alleviate it should tension arise.

Perhaps as importantly, but often lastly, great celebrants not only interpret your needs and the lives and histories of the departed. They do it creatively. They can construct a service which, while emotional, can also be calming, uplifting, and spiritual.

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