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Dealing with grief around the holidays

The feelings that we experience when a loved one dies are never easy to deal with, but they can be even more difficult during the significant dates in your life and the holidays.  Celebrant Roslyn McFarlane walks us through dealing with grief at this time of the year...

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Recent comment in this post
Melissa Sheehy

Thank you

Beautifully written. Christmas is not a "merry" time for so many.
Monday, 20 December 2021 10:58
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As Christmas approaches... be aware of elephants

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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Recent Comments
Guest — Carmel Webster

Thank you Robyn for your insig...

Thank you Robyn for your insight into a timely subject of Christmas. Just yesterday we had (my side of the family) Christmas lunc... Read More
Monday, 21 December 2020 19:37
Guest — Sue Middlewood

Great blog

Thank you Robyn so beautifully said. We find we have to acknowledge out loud our children who have died and have a drink to them b... Read More
Friday, 18 December 2020 16:53
Leslie Ridgeway

Sometimes the risk of embracin...

Thank you Robyn. This is beautifully written. I am an advocate of talking about elephants in the room (unless it is just too overb... Read More
Friday, 18 December 2020 16:50
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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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Recent Comments
Lou Szymkow


Nice article but perhaps to avoid confusion for visitors to this page, the article might be updated?
Tuesday, 28 April 2020 10:07
Sonia Collins


In the few days since this was written some States now allow 10 guests plus the celebrant and funeral director’s staff
Wednesday, 08 April 2020 20:17
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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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Recent Comments
Susanne Middlewood


Hi Melanie, Thanks for your comment. I would love to write a blog sometime in the future. best wishes,Sue
Monday, 03 February 2020 14:36
Melanie Lawson

Feedback always welcome

Thanks for your feedback Susanne; it is appreciated. The Celebrants Network social media team would love to hear from you if y... Read More
Saturday, 01 February 2020 17:34
Melanie Lawson

Models of the grief process

Hi Susanne, Yes you are right there are many theories and models to help us understand the grieving process. I’m sorry if this ar... Read More
Thursday, 30 January 2020 14:58
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Death Doula

Today we are proud to present one of our TCN Members, Elaine Dinnigan as our guest blogger.  Elaine is a Celebrant and also a Death Doula and she's here to tell us all about it....
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Special Holidays - The dark side of celebrating

As Australians gear up to summer with public holidays and end of the year/new year celebrations, it is time for focus on families and friends.

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.
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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.

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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. 
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Other things some people have to deal with at this time of year are:

Dealing with death

Many people find the emphasis on loved ones - family and friends - especially difficult when a loved one has died.  

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Dealing with loneliness

Playing 'happy families' once a year for families who are fractured, can cause more pain than pleasure. 

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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. 

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Dealing with debt

Of course, sometimes we spend more than we planned.  

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Many famlies these days are finding ways to limit the money they cannot afford to spend. 

There are many ways to do this
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.

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    Search our TCN Directory for a TCN Celebrant near you.
Read TCN's full article  on Special Holidays - The dark side of celebrating for more examples and ways to deal with some of issues mentioned above.

Remember - Holidays are meant to enrich our lives, our health and well-being. 

Let's make that the focus of this special time of year. 

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Jill Fry

Holidays and Christmas

There is too.much pressure on parents to spend up big at Christmas. As families we can agree to limit the amount spent per person ... Read More
Friday, 22 December 2017 09:54
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