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It takes a very special type of person to work with grieving families; to show empathy and care at such a trying time; to be able to talk about a person, that they probably never met, in a way that shows respect, dignity and professionalism. One such Funeral Celebrant is Sonia Collins from Batemans Bay in NSW and today shares with us the special skills that it takes to be a Funeral Celebrant.
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....
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...
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.
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
assisting in dying with dignit...
D2K a great initiative
TCN’s Social Media Guru sometimes asks for volunteers to write blogs, and I put my hand up for this one... The theme - CELEBRATING LIFE. Now, what does "Celebrating Life" mean? And to make it worse, she had added the following rider: (choose your own interpretation). So, this morning as I was lying on my back, churning through the water in the local pool, I had an epiphany………I will cover a range of life celebrations!
Most Australians plan to " do " their BUCKET LIST when they retire......they plan the trips with great precision and off they go ! They want to do/see/achieve their list before they die or "kick the bucket".
But it is very difficult to get Australians to plan their final days, death or funeral.......it is simply " not nice " to have the awkward discussion with their family members , so when the time comes , surviving family are left floundering.
Most Australians do not even get the terminology correct...." I lost my mother last week" (really....how careless , did you find her, I wonder? ) or worse ...." My mother passed last week " (do you mean she fainted or died?)
And so - introducing Dying to Know Day (D2KDay) which wll be celebrated on 8th August.
Dying to Know Day has events scheduled across the country. They are designed to activate conversations and curiosity, build death literacy and help grow the capacity of individuals and community groups to take action toward end of life planning. You can find all the events on the D2KDay website
TCN supports the concept of D2KDay and has added a new section to our information about Loss and Grief ceremonies called Dying to Know Day. This section includes some useful links for exploring further and we would love you to send us questions and your requests for additional information so that we can build up further resources.
If you would like to talk more about planning a funeral, memorial or an end of life celebration why not call your local TCN funeral celebrant for ideas and information.
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?
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.
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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Saying Goodbye – Your way
Act Now before your final Goodbye.
When families are confronted with trying to prepare the funeral, shock and grief can make it very difficult to remember those things that they need to know about “Mum” or “Dad”! Generally your children look upon you as only their parent, not from any other perspective. So the other compartments of your life, as a lover, partner, friend, student, teacher, mentor, work colleague, employer, team player, sports person, voluntary worker, etc, etc, are not fully appreciated or understood.
The same can be said for your life experiences and their context. All this information is needed to prepare a fitting life tribute that will do justice to a person’s life as a whole.
So when is the best time to get started? Now – none of us know when our time is up!
So what can you do to start this process? Meet with your local independent Funeral Celebrant to discuss your funeral ceremony and the way you would like to say goodbye to your loved ones.
Are you in the midst of arranging a funeral? Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? There are so many details that must be attended to. So many decisions to be made, people to contact and this is while you are feel so raw from your loss.
Take a deep breath, slow down, – pause for a moment and then focus on what is important – honouring the person lost to you. Each of us is unique and special in our own ways and when planning a funeral it is important to honour that unique life and relate the impact that life had on family and friends.
So how do you do this?
Consider the unique life of the person who died.
Write a list of the following:
As Funeral Celebrants we are constantly faced with challenges. They may be minor; they may be major; how we, as professional celebrants, approach and react to these challenges (or should I say opportunities) will impact on the Funeral Service.
Recently I was asked to conduct a Cremation Service for an elderly gentleman, whose wife is in a Nursing Home suffering from dementia. They have no known family – they were a very private couple who married in their late 50’s. What do you say? How do you approach the ceremony? What theme would I underpin the ceremony with?
The celebration of a Life is an opportunity to say goodbye, honour, celebrate, say thank you and give meaning to a person’s life. As we are all different and unique each of us merits a ceremony that recognises our lives’ strengths, weakness and achievements and our beliefs.
No matter what your personal beliefs are, you, as the Funeral Celebrant, should honour, celebrate and give meaning to the person’s life in a manner appropriate to them. This sometimes involves research into their beliefs and putting aside your own personal beliefs.
Recently I needed to research funerals in various faiths so I could prepare Celebrations that did not offend any of the family members while at the same time acknowledged deceased’s deeply held Christian beliefs.
From Rebecca Skinner
Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia & TCN Inc Member
'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.
What a little boy asked at his...