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.
There are so many that simply choosing some to visit might feel like a task in itself. If in doubt, speak to local friends or colleagues who may have advice on which company to use. Often the most popular ones are popular for a very good reason!
As well as all the other tasks that can consume you after someone has died, (dealing with bank accounts, death certificates and more), when thinking about the funeral, choosing the right Religious Minister or Celebrant to lead the funeral service for you is the next step. There might well be an obvious choice, if your loved one belonged to a particular church or faith then it might be that the minister there takes the funeral. But what if they weren’t religious, or if they (or the family) did believe in something but were not regular churchgoers? This is where the Funeral Director can advise you.
If a member of the clergy is not the right fit for your loved one then a Funeral Director is likely to suggest a Celebrant to take the service for you. Some may be able to give you the option of a male or female, depending on your preferences.
Some Celebrants are Humanists and therefore no religious content whatsoever will be included in the ceremony. This might be exactly what you are after. Or you might want a small amount of religious content such as a hymn, bible reading or The Lords Prayer, which is where a Civil or Independent Celebrant would be best suited to your needs. A Civil Celebrant will be able to create a meaningful and appropriate ceremony either with or without religious content, regardless of their own beliefs.
Many Celebrants will send you a draft of the ceremony for you to approve or amend once they have met with you. This is so important as it puts you in control. Yes, the Celebrant might have suggested some elements of the ceremony for you, but you have the final say. After all, you knew your loved one best and would know what readings and wording will be the most suitable.
Every family is different and every person is unique. Although a sad occasion, a funeral can be filled with happy memories and laughter as well as tears. In the UK today, we are lucky to be able to chose the funeral we truly want for our loved one, or to grant the wishes of the person that has died if they left instructions for their family, as more and more people are now doing.
The professionals in the Funeral Industry are here to help you, no request should be too big or small to make your loved one’s funeral the best it can be.
© Ellie Lomas 2017
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Ellie is a professional Funeral, Wedding and Naming Celebrant based in Dorset.