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HOW THE FUNERAL CEREMONY IS WRITTEN

This an overview of what typically happens following death up to the funeral ceremony. Individual circumstances will affect the organisation of the ceremony and will be accommodated. The intention here is to give you an idea of how I deliver the best ceremony possible to you and your family.

Initial Contact

Following the death of your loved one, your family will most likely retain the services of a funeral director to assist you in the preparation and delivery of your loved one's funeral as well as all the logistic and legal imperatives which shape the period between death and burial/cremation. In your initial meeting the Director will ask you if you wish to have a religious or lay ceremony and will ask the name of the celebrant you wish to have write and deliver the ceremony (the director will recommend a celebrant if the family have not one of their own). The director then contacts me and provides me with your contact details and some background information on the deceased. I will contact you immediately after I receipt of this information to introduce myself and to agree a time for us to meet to discuss and shape the ceremony. This meeting usually takes place that same evening in your home (or whatever location you are most at ease in).

Our Meeting

This meeting will usually be the only opportunity we get to sit together in person before the actual ceremony and so we want to make sure it is comprehensive and serves its purpose well. At the same time, I am very much aware of what you and your family are living in the aftermath of a death and my duty of care is to you. The meeting will be conducted in a supportive and human centered manner, responding in real time to any difficulties you may experience in telling your loved one's story. This is, in effect , what I will ask of you when we meet, to tell me the story of your loved one's life. It is best if one person's voice is heard, with one or two people to assist/make suggestions. Poems, pictures, songs can all be part of this story. Together we will decide what shape this story will have, what you would like to emphasize, perhaps a  funny or heartfelt anecdote that may be known to only a few of those gathered on the day of the funeral. Anything that brings the person to life and allows them to be there with us when we gather to remember them. The meeting typically takes 90 minutes.

Writing/Approval

I take the material from our meeting and write the ceremony including any contributions by family & friends, music etc. The finished work will include a eulogy, which is really the central part of the ceremony. It is my recommendation that I deliver the eulogy on the day but I will of course follow the instructions of your family. The reason I make this recommendation is that it is sometimes overwhelming for the reader to deliver the eulogy. There are also time constraints to be managed (there is a set amount of time for each cremation for example) and no one wants to be rushed or told to cut short the delivery of their eulogy. If you decide to have someone else deliver the eulogy, I will nonetheless prepare one just in case it is needed at the last minute.  The day following our meeting I will send you a copy of the ceremony, usually by email but we can discuss other delivery options and then speak to you by telephone to ensure that delivery was successful. It is very important that the ceremony is read and approved or edited. We will typically only have this day to do this and family approval has to be received before the ceremony.

Ceremony Delivery

On the day of the funeral, we will meet at the crematorium or graveyard before the appointed start time. I will be there well in advance to ensure all is in place (musicians/flowers). Your family may have requested that I conduct a smaller ceremony prior to the funeral (closing of the coffin for example) at your home/funeral home. I will deliver the funeral ceremony as written, cuing musicians/ at the appropriate time. Following the ceremony I will present you with a bound copy of its text.

 

 

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