What to expect from a good Funeral Celebrant
Ellie Lomas ©2020 (Member of the Institute of Civil Funerals)
Funeral Directors have been gradually calling on the services of Celebrants more and more for around 20 years. Perhaps friends or relatives have suggested having a Celebrant to take the funeral for you, but for many people, this will be the first time dealing with all the arrangements and it is very likely that you will never have heard of one.
Celebrants come generally in two forms; some are strictly ‘Humanist’, where there will no mention of any religion. Some are ‘Independent’ or ‘Civil’ Celebrants who give you the freedom to have hymns and other religious content if you wish to, or none at all. All Celebrants should do their utmost to create a ceremony that will be centred around your wishes and all about the life and personality of the person who has died.
With an average of 1 in 6 people in the UK experiencing a mental health issue within the last week, more and more families are being affected by the death of someone they love who has battled with their mental health.
Through working with families at their time of grief, I have found that they often wish to acknowledge the more difficult parts of their loved one’s life during the funeral ceremony.
Of course, no two people are the same, and most ceremonies will still be filled with fond memories, family stories and musical tributes to the person who has died, reflecting their personality and celebrating their life.
Funerals can be a difficult subject. There is of course immense sadness, and often anger and frustration to deal with at such a difficult time. So where do you start?
Firstly, you should feel confident in your choice of Funeral Director, if you are using one. Your loved one may have taken out a pre payment plan in which case the choice will have been made, but if not you do not have to go with the first one you visit, none should make you feel pressured in any way.
It is worth remembering that many Funeral Directors are called to their line of work due to a personal experience or a real passion for caring for the deceased and their family. You should feel that you can trust them to make all of the arrangements and that they will treat you and your family with dignity and respect.
Music can be so important in life and is always something to consider when organising a funeral. Music can uplift the soul even at the hardest of times. It also allows us to pause for reflection; some people prefer to choose a song to honour their loved one rather than write a personal tribute, the melody can add more meaning than simply words alone.
Some people leave their family with strict instructions on what to play during their funeral ceremony. This is always wonderful as these songs often hold special memories for family and friends and are sometimes tongue in cheek or what would have been seen in years gone by as ‘inappropriate’ for a funeral, causing eruptions of laughter amongst the tears.
Live music also works brilliantly and there are many singers and bands that offer their professional services for the ceremony. Some people have bagpipes playing or, in the case of a military funeral, a Bugler to play the Last Post. If you don’t know of any yourself, it is likely that your Funeral Director, Celebrant or a musical friend will be able to advise you.