The Celebrants Network Inc - BLOG

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More Blog posts can be found in the Blog Categories to the right.
Sep
26

It's Time

It's Time!   Spring equinox 23rd September 2017

It's officially spring....
the flowers are blooming...
 new life is emerging....
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Aug
27

Are Memorials the new Funerals?

More people are opting for Memorials for their loved ones instead of a funeral service, so it begs the question - What is a Memorial Service and how does it differ from a traditional Funeral Ceremony? Celebrant Leslie Ridgeway from Ocean Grove in Victoria is going to take is through the details....

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Aug
13

How to say ‘Goodbye’ to a loved one when you can’t be there in person

We are certainly living in a strange time where some of us at sometime this year have been or will be denied access to our loved ones when they are sick, dying or have passed away.  Today we have Celebrant Susanna Jose from Canberra, ACT sharing her own personal story...

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Aug
05

Dying to Know Day 2020

Are you like many people in Australia who find that talking about death is still a bit of an uncomfortable topic?  Celebrant Sonia Collins from Batemans Bay, NSW talks to us about Dying to Know Day.

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Jul
15

What happens to our digital footprint when we die?

Have you ever thought about what happens to your online presence after you die?  Who is supposed to look after your Facebook page?  What will happen to all your Instagram photos?
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Jul
03

Celebrants do more than just weddings...

 
It's true that a lot of civil celebrants only conduct marriage ceremonies or funerals but there are also many Celebrants who identify as Family Celebrants who offer their services for a multitude of celebrations that will continue on throughout your lifetime....
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Apr
28

Online Funeral and Memorial Ceremonies Guide

Online ceremonies cannot replace the face to face connection we often yearn for when someone we love dies. However, while the Covid-19 and travel restrictions are in place, this style of ceremony does allow us a means to connect and engage with family and friends, locally or overseas, in a meaningful way to share stories, laughter and tears together and to say farewell.

Today’s blog is written by Celebrant, trainer, author and all round lovely lady, Wendy Haynes.

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Apr
08

Saying Goodbye is changing

Saying goodbye

The Australian government has set strict limits on numbers at funerals as part of the effort to contain the Coronavirus - COVID19.  There is currently a limit of 10 people at any funeral – and that includes the celebrant and the Funeral Director’s staff. (Note:  since this article was written in early April, the number has increased to 10 mourners plus celebrant and FD staff - these rules are likely to continue to change over the coming months) 

Social distancing must be in place so offering comfort is difficult.  We all understand the reasons for these limitations but they can be very hard for families, friends and colleagues to come to terms with.  

Sonia Collins - Marriage and Funeral Celebrant, regular blogger and Chairperson of The Celebrants Network, takes a look at new ways to say our last goodbyes during this current pandemic.

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Jan
29

The five stages of grief

Loss and grief affect all of us.  We can experience loss through the death of a family member; a relationship breakup; or the loss of a home – as we have seen so much of in the recent fires across Australia.  Join Celebrant and regular blogger, Melane Lawson as she takes us through the five stages of grief.
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Nov
11

Remembrance Day 11 November 2019

On November 11 Australia, along with all Commonwealth countries will honour Remembrance Day in recognition of the day the guns fell silent at the end of World War One. After four years of warfare and the loss of millions of lives, an armistice was signed to take effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of November, 1918.

Today we have our regular guest blogger Melanie Lawson from Oberon, NSW, recognising Remembrance Day. 

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Oct
15

Remembering Loved Ones

As I walked through the supermarket today I noticed the pumpkins and other goodies ready for the annual Halloween celebrations.  The modern rituals of Halloween - carving the pumpkins into lanterns, dressing up as ghosts and witches and trick or treating are now very common in Australia but not many people are aware of the origins.

TCN Celebrant and today's guest and regular blogger Sonia Collins from Batemans Bay, NSW talks about the Remembering Our Loved Ones. 

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Jul
25

D2KDay – 8 August 2019

DTK Day is on 8th August 2019. To quote the Dying to Know Day website "Too many of us are dying in a way not consistent with our values or wishes. Too often, we feel ill-equipped to support loved ones who are dying, caring or grieving. Dying to Know Day is designed to change this by activating conversations and curiosity."

Today’s blog is written by TCN Committee Member, Melanie Lawson. https://www.celebrations.org.au/find/celebrant-directory/2521-melanie-lawson
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Apr
23

Commemorating ANZAC Day

Let we forget

Australians recognise the 25th of April as a day of national remembrance, which takes two forms. Commemorative services are held across the nation at dawn and commemorative ceremonies held at war memorials around the country.  Today's blog is written by TCN Member, Trish Keating.

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Jun
20

Why have a memorial ceremony?

 
Memorial ceremonies can be held shortly after death, perhaps following a private or family funeral ceremony.  They can also be held on significant days, months or even years after a death, on birthdays or other anniversaries for example...
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Oct
21

Remembering Loved Ones

The 11th of November is Remembrance Day.  This is the day we pay our respects to those soldiers who died in the First World War.  It marks the day the war ended and at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month we observe a minute silence to remember and think about all the people who have died in wars since.  There are lots of ways to remember our loved ones after they've died - here are just a few ideas...

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Jun
12

Loss of loved ones

"People do not die for us immediately but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad." Marcel Proust

The death of those closest to us presents challenges not imagined, even though death is a natural part of life the sadness, grief, shock and confusion that may present itself at the time may feel like it will never go away...

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Nov
07

Different ways to remember

Different ways to remember....

Why do we memorialise people and events?

It is such an important part of grieving and it is just simple common sense that all of humanity has an innate desire, even emotional need to stay connected with itself through the ages.

To want to be remembered and to want to remember is a natural part of being human.  When we mark our history through memorials we not only ensure that we will not forget the person or event that we are paying tribute to, but that it is there for our future generations as well.

Here are some different ways we can memorialise a person or event:

* Have a gravestone or plaque

* Erect a statue



* Plant a tree



* Add a 'legacy person' for your Facebook page and ask them to memorialise your page after you've died

* Have an annual get together of loved ones to talk and reminisce about the person who has died

* Get a tattoo



Visit the place where the event happened

* Keep your loved one's ashes in an urn



* Play music that reminds you of the person, place or event

* Hold a memorial ceremony

Speak to a TCN Celebrant today about holding a memorial ceremony for your loved one.

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Nov
08

Remembering Loved Ones

Ways to Remember loved ones

 

The 11th of November is coming up this Friday which is Remembrance Day.  The day we pay our respects to those soldiers who died in the First World War.  

 

To do this we wear poppies as a way to mark the day, we lay flowers, we march wearing the medals of our grandfathers and great grandfathers, we hold services where a bugler will sound the “Last Post” and we observe a one minute silence.

 

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We do all these things so as not to forget those people who died for our freedom.  It’s one day out of the year that is set aside to specifically think about those men and woman.  We do this, even if we never knew any of them personally, so what do we do to remember those loved ones that we did know? 
Here are some ideas that you might like to use when you choose your own day of remembrance for your loved ones.

 

Gather relatives and have your own day of remembrance for those family members who have died.  You could incorporate some of the ideas below at your gathering.

 

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Play their favourite song - you could do this at your gathering or you could listen privately - anywhere.  We all know the power of an old song to trigger vivid memories that seem to transport us back in time and space.   Music has the ability to evoke such strong memories of people and places.

 

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Get all the grandchildren and try to emulate Nana’s famous biscuit recipe.  Whilst you're all there, stories about all the things you loved about your Nana can be shared, passing on the love to the younger members of your family.

 

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 Go to their favourite park for a picnic - Go with family and share in the day remembering and swapping stories.  It may help you to feel closer to them and if you choose to go on your own, gives you a quite place to reflect.

 

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Plant a tree in their honour - You may have heard of planting a tree in celebration of a birth; the same logic applies for a death. The tree symbolises not the fact that your loved one has died, but that they lived.  A flowering tree is great because when the tree blossoms every year, the branches can be brought into the house, symbolising the celebration of that life.

 

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 Dedicate a memorial bench -  I love wandering through parks reading the memorial plaques on benches, thinking about who the people could have been and what their lives were like.  This is a place that you can go to actively think about your loved one and if the bench is in a place that they loved to go, that can help you to feel that bit closer to them as well.

 

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Light a candle - This has always been symbolic in memorials.  Gazing at flame helps you to focus your thinking on their memory.  Just be careful not to leave the flame burning when you're not there!

 

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Create a book of stories about your loved one - Ask family and friends for their favourite stories and precious memories, include photos and make a treasured keepsake.

 

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Display old photos of your loved one in a creative way - It's nice to display pictures instead of keeping them tucked away in a photo album. Friends and family members can be hesitant to discuss their deceased loved one, but pictures can be very comforting to those who are grieving.

 

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To make the special day even more memorable, you could add a meaningful ceremony to your day.

 

It takes nothing to speak to one of our TCN Celebrants who can help you to arrange the perfect tribute for your loved one.

 

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Aug
06

What would you like to ask about funerals and memorials?

For Dying to Know Day - today Monday 8th August 2016 - TCN would like to encourage everyone to talk about death and particularly funerals and memorials.  What questions would you like answered by TCN and our celebrant members?

To start the conversation, here are some questions our TCN celebrant members have been asked:

Must we organise a funeral within a few days of a person's death?

Are there any laws we need to know, if we want to organise our own 'send-off'?

Can we have both a funeral and a memorial?

Am I able to pre-plan my funeral ceremony?

How can our family give a loved one a fitting tribute, but not cost us 'an arm and a leg"?

questions answers

Can we have a religious funeral ceremony and a civil memorial some time later?

Can we include religious material in a civil funeral?

Our parent does not want any fuss, and tells us not to have a funeral. However we feel uncomfortable about that. What can we do?

If we are not church goers, and do not want to use a funeral chapel, what other venues could we use?

Do we have to have a "Celebration of Life", if our family member was a rather difficult character who caused more pain than joy?

If we were considering a "Do It Yourself" funeral or memorial, what tips do you have for us?

How can we get mum or dad to discuss what they want us to do, when they die?

How can we get our adult children to talk with us - anytime we try they seem to brush the topic to one side?

The Celebrants Network (TCN) invites you to ask these questions and more!

You may ask a question via our Blog Comments Section at the bottom of this blog - anytime today or tonight.

In fact, if you are too busy today, then ask when you can.

It's very easy to do.

However, if you have any hassles, please feel free to contact us.

The Celebrants Network (TCN) has created a special Dying to Know Section for your information, in addition to our Ceremonies for loss and grief Section for Everyone.

questioning 1300894 450

What have you done to farewell a family member or friend?

You are also invited to share your experiences here with us.

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?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  

There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  

? Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!

? Don't forget to subscribe ? to this blog - the "subscribe" button is up the top of the page ⇞⇞⇞ and the blog will magically ?? appear in your email inbox ?.

Also please feel free to share ? our blog on your social media ? so we can spread the love ?! 

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Jun
22

Are memorials becoming more popular than funerals?

It seems in recent times, more families, who would normally be choosing a civil funeral service, are having a private service or even a simple viewing to say 'goodbye' to their loved one, then organising a Memorial for the wider circle of family and friends a few weeks later. 

There may be many good reasons for taking this approach.

Flexibility with timing for the ceremony

b2ap3 thumbnail flexibletiming

There are a lot of decisions to be made following a death, especially an unexpected one.  A private farewell and a later Memorial ceremony reduces the immediate stress and helps people make clear decisions about the type of farewell they would like.
 

Having a Memorial a few weeks after the death, gives extra time for planning the ceremony and more choice of day of the week, time of day, length and content of the ceremony, and location.  This flexibility can be very useful where family and friends are overseas or interstate.

The family can take time to find a civil celebrant who suits the style of tribute the family wants.  Civil celebrants are very flexible about the arrangements and will encourage family members to be involved in planning the ceremony and actively participating in it.

Consideration of Costs 

b2ap3 thumbnail Funeralcosts

 
A lavish funeral using the funeral company’s chapel and other facilities can cost many thousands of dollars.  A simple farewell is more cost effective and enables the family to consider how best to create a personal and fitting ceremony to honour their loved one.  

 

 The Memorial ceremony can be as beautiful and heartfelt as a funeral

flower 408833 600 

There are many ways a ceremony can involve beauty and show respect for our loved ones who have died. 

You may have a beautiful urn or hand crafted box with the deceased’s ashes as a focal point.  You may have a favourite photo, or display of personal items in place.

There could be floral arrangements, inspiring poetry, carefully chosen music, a slide show capturing the highlights of the deceased life, room decorations that reflect their personality or interests.  These can all be part of a Memorial and can be carefully prepared in the weeks between the death and the ceremony. 

 

b2ap3 thumbnail Foreverlovedchair

You may decide to have caterers arrange a lunch or afternoon tea to follow the ceremony, enabling family and friends more time to share memories and expressions of love and respect.

 

Remember to contact our TCN Celebrants first if you need to make arrangements for a loved one.
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?? We would love it if you would let us know what you think ?.  
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Jun
12

Should we be talking about Funerals?

When we think of the end of our life, there are probably a few different thoughts going through our heads.

Have I lived a good, fulfilling life? Did I remember to sign my will? Who will look after my loved ones? Why me? I wish I'd lived, loved, laughed more. Are my affairs in order? Did I delete my browser history?
 
But one thing that not many of us have thought about, and if we have thought about it, haven't done much about it - is our funeral.

It's not the nicest of topics to talk about, but to those either on their way there soon or for those who just like to be prepared - this is an important conversation to have and it's important that we listen to the wants and needs of our loved ones.


If you're unsure how to go about starting this type of converstaion, there are people that can help you, like the organisation called: Death Over Dinner who recently featured on Ch 10's The Project who do exactly that - helping people to have that awkward conversation about your dying wishes.

Whilst the funeral is more for those left behind, you might like some particular words to be said; you may have a piece of music in mind; you might prefer your funeral to focus on celebrating your life rather than mourning your death; you might have a definite choice of being buried or cremated and maybe you have a specific location you'd like your ashes to be scattered.

None of these things will happen in your final moments though if you don't tell somebody about them.

 

You could also contact one of our wonderful TCN Funeral Celebrants to help you with ideas.

READ MORE about pre-funerals planning here.

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There is a comment section ? at the bottom ⬇ of the blog for you to do just that.  

?Click on the word "Comment" and go for it!

? Don't forget to subscribe ? to this blog - the "subscribe" button is up the top of the page ⇞⇞⇞ and the blog will magically ?? appear in your email inbox ?.

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Apr
20

Anzac Day

Anzac Day

 

Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War and then, after 1945 the services moved to include those who served in WWII.

 

I don't think there's a person alive in Australia who doesn't already know the Anzac story, so I won't try to educate you here.  What I would like to talk about though is the importance of ceremony, not only for the people who were directly involved, but for their families and loved ones who were left behind.

 

Holding a ceremony brought people together to mourn and to remember and give thanks to those brave soldiers who lost their lives during WW1.
The first Anzac Day commemorations were held in 1916, on the 25th April.  The day was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies, marches and services across Australia.  There was also a march in London and a sports day was held in the Australian camp in Egypt.  It wasn't until the 1920s that Anzac Day became an established national day of commemoration and every state in Australia observed some form of public holiday.  

 

The rituals and services we observe today - the dawn vigils, marches and two-up games started around the mid 1930s and have been a steadfast way of spending the day for the past 80 years.

 

So, why is ceremony so important?

 

It gives us a place to be with other people who are in the same frame of mind.  It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the many different meanings of war.  It gives us a way to speak to lost loved ones, to mourn their passing and to be proud of their courage and their strength. 

 

After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they had felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn and so a dawn vigil became the basis for commemoration.

 

Today, we collectively gather together with people that we don't necessarily know, but who are all there for the same reason.  It's usually pretty cold in April, especially at dawn and as you're standing there in the dark, shivering, it gives you a small sense of what those soldiers might have been feeling.  It gives me a feeling of loneliness, respect and gratitude and that is what ceremony does - it takes you out of your own world for a moment and places you into another and makes you think.

 

What will you be doing for Anzac Day?

 

There are plenty of ways for you to add ceremony to Anzac Day...

 

* Get together with famiy and friends and talk about it "Lest we forget".  
* Tell the younger generations the stories of the heros, both sung and unsung.
* Visit Gallipoli - I have never been to a more moving place

 

* Join a dawn service near you
* Keep up your own comradeship with your mates with a get together and game of two-up

 

This next snippet was on a friend's Facebook page today.....

"A lovely military man selling poppies stopped me today and asked if he could re-position mine - while doing so he told me that women should wear their poppy on their right side; the red represents the blood of all those who gave their lives, the black represents the mourning of those who didn't have their loved ones return home, and the green leaf represents the grass and crops growing and future prosperity after the war destroyed so much. The leaf should be positioned at 11 o'clock to represent the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time that World War One formally ended. He was worried that younger generations wouldn't understand this and his generation wouldn't be around for much longer to teach them."

 

Lest we forget...

 

Talk to one of our celebrants who can assist you with preparing a ceremony.

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Dec
10

As Christmas approaches, beware of elephants,

As Christmas approaches, my heart goes out to the countless number of bereaved parents who maybe facing their first, second, third, 20th or even 50th Christmas without their precious child.

Some will have died as babies, children, teenagers or adults, their age is irrelevant, just as how long ago it was.  Some would have died through illness, car accidents or may have even made a decision to take their own life.  Whatever the reason or cause the result is the same, their parents face Christmas without them.

Those who have not had this experience are probably thinking, “30 years ago?  You’re holding onto the past, you should be over it by now”.  But the truth is, just as in life, your child is yours for all time, whether they are alive or not – they are still a part of the family you love.

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Jul
28

A Day of Hope

Birth-coming-age-cover-BW-250A Day of Hope

Recently I visited a young family who had lost their second son at 3 months; he had caught a virus at 6 days and 11 weeks later he passed away, at home, surrounded by his loving family.  The family had contacted me to conduct his Memorial service on Monday 19th August. 

The family is having a pagoda constructed in the backyard and planting a Japanese maple beside it during the Memorial Service and the mulch will be stones with messages from family and friends loving placed.  A visual reminder of their son’s life. So I thought that they chose this date as the construction would be complete by then.

Asking why this particular day, I was told “this is a Day of Hope, and we wish to support this initiative by Carly Marie.  Check out the website www.carlymarieprojectheal.com.au.” When I arrived home I checked this webpage. 

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May
10

Why Ethical Wills Are Important

LIVING-WILLS-250From Rebecca Skinner
Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia & TCN Inc Member
www.celebratinglifeschapters.com/

'Ethical Wills' are a Jewish tradition and the Hebrew Bible first described them 3,000 years ago (Genesis Ch.49).

Ethical Wills, which are not legal documents, can be either the life story of a person, the lessons they have learnt and wish to pass on or even their dreams and wishes for family members.

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Apr
24

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

25th April Australia remembers.

At the days dawn commemorative services are held across the nation and later ex-servicemen and women meet and march through our towns and cities to the War Memorials where commemorative services are held.  In these ways, ANZAC Day is a time for reflection on the many different meanings of war.

Let us also take time out to remember, support and honour all those fine young men and woman who have served their country in all theatres of war and returned home.  You cannot always see the wounds inflicted in war and today as we bow our heads in silence let us say thank you for the sacrifices made by those who have served.

It is traditional for sprigs of rosemary to be worn on ANZAC Day as this beautiful aromatic herb is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.  So visit your herb garden, trim the rosemary and share with your family and friends when you remember, honour and support our Servicemen and women.

As they march in time by Janice Woolrych

Remember the ANZAC’s in your hearts

Your thoughts and your prayers

As we share this ANZAC Day

As they march in time.

 

Remember the serving men and woman as you watch

Those gallant veterans march in time.

Left right left, eyes right, eyes front, left right left.

Those veterans grow older and slower

As they march in time.

 

Remember the ANZAC’s….

Remember them in your hearts. 

As they march in time.

Remember those serving  

Left right left ..... as they march in time.

If we remember them,

They will continue to march in time.

Lest We Forget.

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Mar
30

Michael - In Memory Of tribute

“A Loving Heart is the Truest Wisdom ..” Charles Dickens
Free On-Line Memorials in our "In Memory Of" section

Introducing ASKACELEBRANT''s newest section "In Memory Of" on our www.celebrants.org.au website.

Do you have a loved one or friend, or respect a community member for whom you would like to make a tribute for their life?

Every day there are short poppies that stand tall in the lives of families and communities who never receive a public acknowledge in the "Obits" of even the local papers. ASKACELEBRANT wants to hear some of their stories.

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Dec
10

Reflect & Remember

Suzie-G-celebrantThe third Celebrant initiated Community Memorial Service was held on Wednesday 5th December in Ferntree Gully, Melbourne.  Robyn O'Connell, Funeral Celebrant, headed up a small, but dedicated team of celebrants to once again organise a memorial service for the community in Melbourne. 

2012 saw the first celebrant organised Mother's Day and Father's Day Services, and now a Christmas Service "Reflect ~ Remember" can be added to the list. 

Several highly respected celebrants dedicated their time to share their feelings and help those in our community, who find Christmas

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Nov
29

Holidays like Christmas can be bitter sweet times for many

From Robyn O'Connell CMC
Melbourne Civil Celebrant
Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia Celebrant Member
www.silvercelebrants.com.au

Losing a loved one to death is hard. That loved one's absence is obvious - especially on those occasions when family and friends come together to celebrate their birthdays, anniversaries, shared beliefs or shared community times set aside for holidays.

Such times can be very lonely for those whose depth of grief is still acute. Being sad amongst others who are contented and happy can make that loneliness particularly painful.

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