“And in the end, it is not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years”
Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
Living Funerals and Celebrations of Love, Life and Special Memories.
A FOND FAREWELL
Most of us live our lives not knowing when we’ll pass away, spending our time in the company of friends and family and endeavouring to enjoy each day as much as we can.
When the day comes to part from our loved ones, a funeral is usually arranged for us, with music and words chosen to celebrate our life and all the special memories.
But have you ever thought about sharing those memories, choosing your own music and words, and creating a celebration of your life with friends and family whilst still living?
For someone with a terminal diagnosis who is nearing the end of their life, or perhaps someone with dementia whose memory is slowly slipping away, wouldn’t it be wonderful to share memories and celebrate a life with a special ceremony whilst they are still well enough to remember?
As an established celebrant, I have extensive experience of crafting very special, unique and highly personal ceremonies, tailored with care to the needs of each individual. It is very important for me to build a close relationship with you, to understand the kind of occasion and atmosphere you are looking to create, so I can plan with empathy, a special gathering to remember forever.
The occasion will naturally include tears and sadness, but it will also be an uplifting time with a lot of laughter, enabling you to remember your loved ones with happiness and joy.
The style of event you choose will depend on your individual circumstances and time remaining, can be as simple or as lavish as you wish and can be created to take place in almost any location: on land, sea or even in the air.
Whatever style you choose, I will manage it personally with care, empathy and respect to ensure you feel comfortable every step of the way at this very sensitive time.
Perhaps you would like:
- An intimate brunch, lunch, picnic or afternoon tea?
- Or a larger party, a barbeque or even a formal dinner?
- Or just a beer with a few friends at your favourite pub?
Whatever your chosen style of farewell, if you would like to build it around a particular theme, I will work closely with you to choose and plan the finer details, for example:
- Music: a harpist, quartet, saxophonist, choir or perhaps a favourite, personal playlist.
There may also be special personal elements that you would like to include which would add particular meaning to the event.
Your Ceremony – Your Way
Writing your life story, your way, can be an incredibly uplifting experience and I will sit alongside you, listening and recording the detail of the people and places who have been significant in your life. Weaving together the many facets of your story, we will create a tribute together that is accurate and up to date and populated with your favourite poems, readings or photographs, to ensure that it reflects who you really are.
You may also wish to think about how others may wish to remember you and there are several ideas here that may interest you that can be included in your ceremony.
Renewal of Vows
Some couples ask me to conduct a renewal of wedding vows when a life-changing event [H3] occurs, prompting them to revisit and reconfirm their vows to each other. Others just like the feeling of closeness and commitment it brings. Whatever the feeling, I will craft a vow renewal ceremony that reflects your personal circumstances helping with words, readings and poems that confirm your ongoing commitment and love for each other. You will be free to renew your original vows, or we can create new vows. You can buy new rings, or we can bless existing ones. You make the occasion what you want it to be.
You can include your friends and family in this ceremony, and it represents the coming together of the people who are so important in your life.
As family and friends each pour in their different sand colour, the grains layer up to produce a beautiful sculpture that can be kept as a memento of the day.
This ceremony symbolises the gift of love in marriage, representing the ongoing love you have for each other as you exchange your roses. The wording for this ceremony can also reflect the importance of having a place in your home for roses – so that if or when things get tough, simply by placing a rose in your favourite spot, you will always remember your love for your partner.
It is often a lovely gesture to light a candle or candles with a brief period of reflection and music.
Other ideas might include asking friends and family to recite a poem that reflects their relationship with you, play a piece of music that you or they love, sing songs or simply tell a wonderful story.
Your event could be hosted in one of many different locations, dependent on your individual preferences and circumstances.
If you are well enough to travel perhaps the farewell could take place:
- At a seaside cottage or a country castle?
- On a beach or a boat?
- In a garden or in your own home?
- If time is short, or you are not well enough to move far, a more comforting environment to hold your farewell could be at your bedside, hospital or hospice.
Whether you are planning a small or large farewell, I will discuss everything with you to ensure it is meaningful, memorable, dignified and a truly personal experience to give you and your loved ones the opportunity to honour and appreciate the special moments you have shared together on your journey through life.