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  • clairejtownsend

This is your life...Your funeral your way!

Have you thought about what you would like your funeral to look like? This is your life...Let me help you to tell your story your way.

So many people take out a pre-payment plan for their funeral to take the burden of cost and hassle away from their loved ones when that time comes. How many people actually realise that usually planning the fundamentals is the easy bit? Often it is the content of the funeral that is the headache. Over my time as a celebrant I have sat with countless families to discuss funerals and I hear the same things time and time again... What music would they like? What poems did they like? That families are unsure if their loved one would want people to wear black or whether to waste money on flowers. They don't know in full their loved ones story and feel bad because things are somewhat sketchy and there is nobody here who would remember to help them... You name it I have heard it and I am here to say it doesn't need to be this way. Ultimately, choosing to write your own eulogy is a proactive and thoughtful way to contribute to your own narrative, leaving behind a powerful testament to the unique journey you've traveled.

Many funeral directors offer varied funeral plans now to suit your wishes. Even the direct cremations can be organised through your chosen funeral director. Just because you choose to simplify your actual funeral it doesn't mean you have to have no attendees. Simple funerals can still have a handful of the closest family present in a shorter service in chapel. These services are usually 20 mins and can have a celebrant say a few words, a prayer or a blessing and perform a committal to send you forth without the need for so much structure. Loved ones struggle to cope with their loss when they don't get a goodbye but they feel they are going against their loved ones wishes to hold a funeral if that is not what you want. The key point is to ask questions and to consider options. Don't just merrily go to the companies you think or assume are the only ones on offer. Always talk to the local professional service providers before parting with your money.

Some funeral homes now also have memorial ceremony rooms that you can hold an informal service in. This removes the need to convene in a crematorium chapel. It is new and exciting as it means family and friends can join together to celebrate your life in a much more relaxed way. They would get the chance to visit you in the Chapel of Rest where they can say goodbye and place things into the casket with you like a rose or a letter. Then, in the ceremony room you could have a photo music tribute. Someone could read your life story how you want it to be read. They can play your favorite music and honour your life with a celebration. Many of the rooms offer kitchen facilities where your family and friends can mingle afterwards with a drink and some nibbles. It removes the need to move between several different sites and is especially amenable for those with mobility or transport issues. It is a new, exciting and refreshing idea that is fast becoming popular. Following the Memorial or Thanksgiving service you would be taken to the crematorium at an agreed time or date and have a simple cremation. It means your loved ones get to say goodbye but don't have to do it in a traditional way.

If you wanted to plan a living eulogy or service with me, I would come out to meet you at your home whilst you are still very much here. Together we would discuss your life and I

would take notes and learn about you. You ultimately get the chance to tell your story your way. I then write a living eulogy for you. This means that I would write your script and submit it to you for sign-off. You would work with me upon any tweaks and adjustments and once you are happy this script would be filed away for when the time comes. In this way you can ensure that nobody has the stress of choosing music, readings, poems, stories, flowers, caskets, venues etc. You will have done it all and it will all be how you choose. I can recommend Funeral Directors who can accommodate your wishes.

On the chosen day, when your memorial or Life thanksgiving is to be held, then it can be

arranged that either I, or a speaker of your choice, would conduct the pre-written and approved eulogy/service for you. Everyone attending would be given the chance to see you to say goodbye and then conduct the service that you have prearranged. Afterwards, family and friends can mix together with refreshments before they go home. Ultimately it means that your family and friends can concentrate on grieving and coming to terms with your loss in their own time and way. It removes the burden and worry from their shoulders. It allows you to rest easy knowing it is ALL how you want it to be. No stress, no fuss, no burden and no unnecessary costs.

If you decide you want it to be more fluid and informal you can hold it as a celebratory affair where your loved ones gather together on a planned day, socialise and speak to those who wish to say farewell, enable people to pay their respects and say goodbye to you in the chapel of rest and maybe just hear a short written tribute from you to them. The gathering could be held at a village hall or alternative venue whereby at the end you are taken to the crematorium for a direct cremation.

Did you even know that a funeral service can be conducted anywhere? I have conducted services in the deceased's back garden before going on to lay them to rest at a cemetery or let them go to a private cremation. It is a myth that the actual service part has to be held on consecrated does not. If you were a garden enthusiast and wanted your family and friends to surround you among the blooms in your back garden then that is possible!

A memorial service and living eulogy offers a unique opportunity to celebrate life, honour memories and create a meaningful space for reflection. These gatherings transcend traditional mourning, providing a platform to share stories, laughter, and cherished moments. By coming together in a spirit of love and remembrance, we not only pay homage to the departed but also create a supportive environment for those left behind.

Funerals are no longer about the traditional black clad sombre occasions. They have transformed into much more personalised affairs with colour, tributes, live music, themes etc. People want their life to be remembered in love, light and laughter. Their funerals now reflect them as individuals and much more forward thinking. They are not always held on weekdays. Body preparation, ritual washing and dressing can be something family members wish to participate in. Lets face it, even interments and ash scattering is different now. You can do everything from be sent into the sky travelling to near space where you are released to being a firework.. You can be scattered at sea, at a favourite place or reside in a back garden at home if you wish to. The choice is yours (permissions may need to be granted).

So, in summary what is a living Eulogy... Writing a eulogy while alive can offer several meaningful benefits:

  1. Personal Reflection: The process of crafting a eulogy allows individuals to reflect on their own life, experiences, and the impact they've had on others. It's an opportunity for personal introspection and self-discovery.

  2. Expression of Values: Writing a eulogy provides a chance to articulate personal values, beliefs, and the lessons learned throughout life. It becomes a way to share one's wisdom and insights with loved ones.

  3. Communication of Wishes: By composing a eulogy, individuals can express their preferences for how they want to be remembered, specific memories they value, and any particular messages they want to convey to family and friends.

  4. Ease on Loved Ones: Preparing a eulogy in advance can alleviate the burden on grieving loved ones during an emotional and challenging time. It ensures that the person's voice and sentiments are heard even in their absence.

  5. Celebration of Life: A living eulogy can focus on celebrating life rather than mourning death. It allows individuals to share positive memories, accomplishments, and the joy they've experienced with those closest to them.

  6. Personal Legacy: Crafting a eulogy becomes a part of one's legacy, offering a lasting and tangible expression of their personality, values, and the impact they've had on the lives of others.

  7. Healing for the Writer: Writing a eulogy can be a therapeutic process. It allows individuals to confront mortality, come to terms with life's journey, and find a sense of closure and peace if they have a terminal illness.

  8. Facilitates Communication: A living eulogy opens lines of communication between the writer and their loved ones, fostering a deeper understanding of shared experiences and the emotions connected to them. The person can tell people what they feel and pay tribute to them in their own words from the heart.

  9. Inspiration for Others: A well-crafted eulogy can serve as an inspiration for others to reflect on their own lives, relationships, and the legacies they wish to leave behind.

Overall, writing a eulogy while alive is a powerful and thoughtful way to contribute to one's own narrative, leaving behind a meaningful testament to a life well-lived.

So, if you are considering a more simplistic departure, this could be what you are looking for. I am happy to discuss all of these options with you and to help you get exactly what you want. Please do reach out if you would like to know more about my services or to consider the options available to you locally. Remember it is your life...celebrate it your way. Lets work together in Life, Love and Loss!

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