I have been to many, many funerals; some good, some indifferent, one truly bad one, and one brilliant.
My mum’s funeral was a good one. She had died just before her 80th birthday and my sister and I had planned a birthday party for her so we decided to incorporate into her funeral many ideas that we were going to use at her party. We chose a relative who was a lay preacher to be the Celebrant .
The truly bad funeral ceremony was for a lady of 104 years. At the end of the ceremony we were no wiser about her life, there was no music or words chosen for her; the funeral could have been for anyone at all.
Then one funeral made me sit up and listen. It was taken by a warm and lovely Celebrant and I discovered what a funeral should be like. I didn’t know the person who had died very well but I recognised anecdotes about her and was amazed by the life she had lead. The words were beautiful and personal, the music choices were her favourites. Everything seemed so right for this lady who had died and we left feeling uplifted, thankful for her life and dancing a little cha cha to Tea for Two.
I knew this was the job for me! I felt comfortable with public speaking, I liked writing and most of all I wanted to help people through a very difficult time in their life. I wanted everyone to have the sort of funeral that this lady did.
I also knew that I wanted to become the best Celebrant that I could be and researched training programmes all over the country from many and diverse organisations. I was drawn to the Green Fuse training as it was thorough and based on beautiful words and giving people choices. I was quite delighted to later find out that the warm, lovely Celebrant had been trained by Green Fuse also! It was meant to be and so I embarked upon 6 months training and finally attained my certificate a few months before my 60th birthday.
Green Fuse training is extensive and with them I have explored my own beliefs and spirituality, all aspects of death and every possibility with regard to the funeral . They gave me voice coaching and singing practice but mostly I have been trained to give you the best ceremony I can.
My training showed me what is possible with ceremonies and funerals. Admittedly, in my experience, most people want a simple 25 minutes at the crematorium but maybe they would choose another way if they knew it was possible. For instance, you could hold the ceremony anywhere, in your garden or at home, at the club or pub. Not many organisations are happy to have a coffin on the premises yet but we hope things will change in the future.
I would really like to get people talking about what they want for their own funeral. It would be so much easier for those trying to organise it later. I would love to speak to people about the possibilities and creating new rituals as we move away from those associated with a Christian funeral.