Robyn O'Connell is a Funeral Celebrant and the Founder of the Rebecca Jane Foundation - a volunteer run charity helping families who are experiencing financial hardship as well as going through the heartbreaking loss of a baby. The foundation is named after Robyn's own baby girl who passed away at almost 10 months of age. In today's blog, Robyn is sharing her thoughts on what it's like to grieve through 'happy family occasions' such as Christmas...
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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.
Whether you are of a Christian faith or another faith - we have a wonderful mix in Australia - or have your own ethical value system based on respect for your fellow human beings and our world, the coming holidays are a special time.
Whilst these days we tend to think of holidays are being times where we are exempted from work or normal business, the origin of the word "holiday in English was hāligdæg, meaning a holy day.
A “Holy Day” usually means a day set aside for a special purpose or remembrance and the origin of the word connected with Old English hal (see hal) meaning "health".
Holidays are healthy - for taking time out - for being thankful for what we have in our lives - especially family and friends.
What is special about this time of year under the Southern skies?
The end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new. Time to take stock, trim the old and embrace the new.
So why a "dark side"?
An end to the old and embracing the new is often symbolised by the birth of a child. Along with the joys of having a new bub, can come sadness with the loss of personal time, as well as the previous roles and pleasures as non-parents.
Dealing with death
Many people find the emphasis on loved ones - family and friends - especially difficult when a loved one has died.
Dealing with loneliness
Playing 'happy families' once a year for families who are fractured, can cause more pain than pleasure.
Dealing with stress
Big holidays come with extra stress, eating and drinking too much, and extra work, especially for those with children and other dependent family members.
Dealing with debt
Of course, sometimes we spend more than we planned.
Many famlies these days are finding ways to limit the money they cannot afford to spend.
One example is:
- Make other love languages as important as gift giving. After all for many people, the other love languages are more important : quality time, touch/hugs, acts of service, words of affirmation.
TCN even suggests a combined group gift certificate for a Wedding Anniversary or Birthday in the new year where everyone contributes to the gift of engaging a professional celebrant to lead the occasion.
Search our TCN Directory for a TCN Celebrant near you.
Let's make that the focus of this special time of year.
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