Friday, 1 January 2016

Some New Year thoughts on Funerals and Living in the Moment | Funeral Celebrant

It is the first day of 2016 and I’m striking while the iron is hot … i.e. making the most of one of my New Year resolutions: to write REGULAR blog posts.

January 1st is a day of reflection.While we might be feeling slightly fragile after all the celebrations, it is a good time to take things gently …. to look back, as well as forward to the coming year. 

It is also a time that we remember those we have lost. For the recently bereaved, Christmas and the New Year would have been hurdles to get over - just one more memorable date on the calendar to be dreaded, faced and then just “got through” without a partner or loved one. Even the caring support of close family and friends can do little to assuage the gaping emptiness that the dear departed leave behind especially at this time of year.

I find myself thinking about, not just those I miss in my own life, but also the families I have come to know through my work as a funeral celebrant. The people I became close to during their darkest of days. Those who entrusted me with putting together a final tribute - a celebration of a loved one’s life.

It would be inappropriate to flippantly wish the recently bereaved a “happy” New Year. That said, it is highly likely that - alongside the sadness - there will also be joyous moments waiting just round the corner for us all. 

To put it simply, life is like that. We will have memories of loved ones that will make us smile, as well as those that bring tears to our eyes. I wish my readers - and especially “my” families (who know who they are) - many more of the former.

After several funeral ceremonies in rapid succession, I was warned by a family member, not to get “too involved”. She added the question: “Don’t you find it all rather depressing?”

I have thought long and hard about this and can honestly say that I will always get involved with the families I work with. I want to feel that I know them as well as the deceased loved one. Is this a matter of getting “too” involved? I don’t know. 

I have made a silent professional oath to myself to put together exceptional ceremonies - to write and deliver worthy tributes to the absolute best of my ability. For me, getting involved is the only way I can do this.

Is this work depressing? No, not at all. On the contrary, as a funeral celebrant, I find being able to help in my own unique way, to be uplifting and incredibly rewarding. It has also enabled me - if possible - to appreciate life even more than I did before.

So, alongside reflecting on the past and making plans for 2016, let’s not lose sight of enjoying the moment we are in right now … even if it is slightly overshadowed by a New Year’s day hangover ! 

That’s another of my New Year resolutions: no, not to lay off the cava - but to remember to live in - and enjoy - each and every moment. 

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