FUNERAL CELEBRANT & MEMORIAL SERVICES KENT, EAST SUSSEX, TUNBRIDGE WELLS, TONBRIDGE, SEVENOAKS, CHARING, HASTINGS
Losing a loved one is an emotional experience that most of us will have to face at some stage during our life. It can be a very difficult time as we grapple with emotions such as exhaustion, shock, anger, pain and grief. And just when one longs for time and space to grieve in peace, there is the process of registering the death, the heavy burden of dealing with complex administrative tasks, official forms, insurance companies and many other unwelcome, stressful and unfamiliar tasks.
Just communicating the news of the death and the funeral arrangements to family, relatives and friends can be a long and daunting affair. During this time of upheaval, it can be an enormous relief to have comfort and assistance from an experienced and sensitive professional. We lead such diverse and busy lives, we put such a lot of thought into how best to spend our days, that we all deserve to have the richness and wonder of our life remembered in the best way possible.
So what will an independent celebrant do for you? First of all, the celebrant visits the bereaved family to learn about the life of your loved one. Often this is very healing in itself. Having been a therapist for almost twenty years, I have a lot of experience of being with people during very difficult times in their lives, and bereaved people really appreciate my sensitive, gentle, thoughtful and caring support. I am also a skilled speaker with a particularly fine command of the English language. During my visit, people often find that they can let out all sorts of pent up thoughts and emotions because they no longer have to put the feelings of family and friends first. When I visit, we will also look in detail at what made your loved one’s life special, and also about whether you would like music, poetry, readings, and contributions from family and friends.
Sometimes there are delicate and sensitive issues which need to be handled with great care and discretion. There may be things in the family history requiring tact and diplomacy. Having a celebrant deliver the funeral tribute (also known as the eulogy or address) means that family and friends are relieved of a taxing and potentially distressing task. Death is never easy and the presence of a mature, tactful, and well-organized celebrant will significantly ease the burden of bereavement for all concerned.
Working closely with your funeral director, my aim is for everything to be done in the most helpful, sensitive, dignified, professional and compassionate manner possible. By using my services you will have a first class funeral that you will be able to look back on as a special and beautiful occasion.
A really beautiful funeral can be a very powerful ceremony that both honours the deceased and helps you say your own very personal farewells. It can bring healing and release, and the funeral tribute often sheds new light on the life and times of your loved one. A good funeral draws people together in a special way. Often people meet who may not have seen one another for years. And a good funeral can prompt us to reflect on our own lives, and to use the occasion to re-evaluate the direction our lives are taking and the balance of our priorities.
Sometimes people are unaware of just how much freedom they have regarding funeral service content. You really can have just what you want. You can have recorded or live music; friends and family may sing or play or contribute anecdotes, readings and poems. Or, if you prefer, readings can be done by the celebrant. Sometimes people hand me a reading on the day because they just don't feel they can do it without breaking down, and that's fine. Knowing you have someone you can fall back on is always very comforting.
The one constraint can be time: if the service is in a crematorium, you do have to stick rigidly to the time slot allocated for your funeral service and you are not allowed to overrun in order to be fair to those attending subsequent funerals.
You can have as much or little religious content as you like. If you use a vicar or minister, they will generally be restricted to working within the framework of their particular religion. Humanist celebrants will conduct funerals but you are not allowed any no religious content whatsoever. Even such a universal text such as the Lord’s Prayer is forbidden if you use a humanist celebrant. As an independent celebrant however, no such constraints apply, so that I can carry out all your wishes to the letter. My training enables me to work with people from any religion, and I really welcome the opportunity to take funerals for peoples of all faiths and backgrounds, including atheist, humanist, agnostic, pagan and multi-faith services.
At this moment of grief and loss the sensitivity, kindliness, compassion, professionalism and the reassuring familiar face of your celebrant can help to make this most difficult of times just that little bit more bearable.
Helen France, Funeral Celebrant Kent & East Sussex - Helping you bear the burden of bereavement.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
W H Auden
“Life was not a valuable gift, but death was. Life was a fever-dream made up of joys embittered by sorrows, pleasure poisoned by pain; a dream that was a nightmare-confusion of spasmodic and fleeting delights, ecstasies, exultations, happinesses, interspersed with long-drawn miseries, griefs, perils, horrors, disappointments, defeats, humiliations, and despairs — the heaviest curse devisable by divine ingenuity; but death was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man’s best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free.” – Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth
“I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind — and that of the minds who suffer the bereavement. The nihilists say it is the end; the fundamentalists, the beginning; when in reality it is no more than a single tenant or family moving out of a tenement or a town.” – William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” – Helen Keller
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
Christina Rossetti (1830 - 1894)
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
“ATLAS” BY U.A. FANTHORPE
There is a kind of love called maintenance
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it
Which checks the insurance, and doesnt forget
The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;
Which answers letters; which knows the way
The money goes; which deals with dentists
And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains,
And postcards to the lonely; which upholds
The permanently rickety elaborate
Structures of living, which is Atlas.
And maintenance is the sensible side of love,
Which knows what time and weather are doing
To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring;
Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers
My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps
My suspect edifice upright in air,
As Atlas did the sky.