Dying Matters Awareness Week 2019 runs 13th – 19th May. Every year it’s a reminder to reflect on our ability to deal with death and bereavement. Unsurprisingly, it’s a subject most of us try to avoid. The concept of a world where we’re not is difficult to process, and the thought of loved ones not being with us is heart wrenching.
Preparing for the end
Taking care of as many of the practicalities as possible in advance can provide you and your family with a foundation of stability, leaving less to be organised during a difficult time.
Writing a will, registering for organ donation, planning end of life care, and making funeral arrangements are all useful in a practical sense, but can also be part of your own emotional and spiritual journey. It is an opportunity to reflect on the parts of life you want to celebrate.
Having those discussions publicly can help those around you on their own journey, and lessens the burden of responsibility for second guessing your wishes. Helping others get their affairs in order can be difficult, it’s true. It’s reassuring for all involved that their wishes are being respected with dignity and kindness. This preparedness can help shed at least some of the apprehension about what happens next.
Celebrating life in funeral arrangements
Death and funeral rituals are incredibly varied all over the world. We’re all different, so it makes sense that the ways in which we observe someone’s passing are equally diverse. Planning a funeral is rarely something any of us want to do – our own or someone else’s.
A funeral is often an important stage of grief, though. It can be a time of reflection, music, humour, storytelling, and mourning as a way of alleviating intense emotions.
The role of a funeral celebrant
Being a funeral celebrant means I am open minded and flexible about what form the funeral might take. My job is to help you find a way of celebrating the unique traits of the person who has departed, in a ceremony reflective of them.
Understanding how you would like me to develop the ceremony’s structure, and taking charge of ‘managing’ it, allows me to create space for mourners to honour the memory in the way they need to.
Funerals, memorials, scattering ashes, and beyond
How and when to hold a service is entirely open to personal preference. Living funerals allow people with a terminal illness to celebrate their own life with those around them before actually passing. A public memorial service could be held a few months after a private family burial. A ceremony for scattering ashes could mark the occasion.