Celebrating life not death
( why a celebration of life without a traditional funeral may be appropriate )
For some people church , ceremony , family tradition and various other reasons make a traditional ceremony in a recognised building the most appropriate way to give thanks for the life of the deceased .
But buildings , ritual , ceremony ( and the connected expenses ) are not for everyone .
I’m paraplegic , and write now with the para Olympics , people , even total strangers keep asking me what my sport is . I don’t have one , I’m not sporty . In the same way not all wheelchair users are para Olympians , I have been pondering recently the concept that not all deaths need result in a funeral .
What then do we do with the body ( I’m sure some nihilists long for yet another coloured bag from the council , in which the dead can be put out on rubbish collection day ) . whoever we are , however our life has gone , their is an energy in life that seems to cry out for celebration within death .
I don’t want to dwell on the financial implications , so let’s just say a direct funeral , where there is no ceremony at the crematorium or anywhere else will cost you roughly half what a ceremonial based funeral will cost . So somewhere downwards approximately of £2000 pounds .
With this the emphasis shifts to celebration and this could take place anywhere or no where , with or without words . Gathered round the juke box in a favourite pub or looking out to sea at a familiar family spot . It may however be a huge deal , a party , a festival , a bike rally or the annual caravan club convention . What it won’t be is conventional , anything but , no somber suits , no uncomfortable behaviour .
As an experienced celebrant I work with you to achieve a celebration of life that resonates deeply with the deceased and their life experiences . Effectively you are employing me for a brief period around the death of your loved one, to manage planning and delivering a celebration of their life, at a time when you may be hurting and energy levels are low . It may also be appropriate that I offer ongoing support through the bereavement process in some instances and we can explore this further .
You may be puzzled as to what happens with the body . Simply put , arrangements will be made for it to be collected from your home by a funeral director , and taken in a simple and dignified way to the crematorium , to be cremated at an undisclosed time slot with no friends or relatives present . The ashes will then be made available to the next of kin to collect .
Again as your celebrant , I will work with you to help you decide the what , when and where to do with the ashes . I can plan an occasion as simple or complex as you like to appropriately and enjoyably scatter or burry these earthly remains . This may happen at the same time as the celebration of the decease ‘s life or possibly on another occasion , weeks , months or even years into the future .
The important thing here is the freedom of choice and the freedom from tradition . My primary role is to be alongside and support you as the next of kin through the journey of bereavement . To help you find words or silence , pictures and music , places and people to gather together into a colourful celebration of all that it has ever meant to have lived .