Funeral Colours



The most meaningful funeral captures the life and personality of the person,

which can be shown through the choice of music, poems and flowers and the

involvement of family and friends. Over a person’s life, they may have shared

their journey with many people; friendships have been made, love shared and

memories created. Adding personal touches to their funeral can involve all these

people who meant so much to them.

 

It may be the wish of the person who has died for mourners to wear bright

colours, or the family may ask to wear a specific colour or ribbon in support of a

charity.

Dave’s family wanted everyone to wear Manchester United colours. They

draped their grandad’s Manchester United scarf on his coffin and then sang

‘Glory Glory Man United’ at the end.

Man United Store - Manchester United Scarf-Red

Music for Funerals



Every ceremony is unique and personal, and music can be crucial in setting the

tone and feel. Music can bring people together in emotionally distressing times

and also give pointers back to the past, drawing on family traditions that have

been laid down and maintained over the years. Hymns and religious music are

sometimes chosen for this reason and it is always moving to see family and

friends stand and sing a favourite hymn together.

 

Songs that have the most impact are often those that were favourites of the

deceased because the lyrics and style reflected their life, loves and achievements.

Music can also celebrate special events in their lives such as a first dance song or

music chosen for their son’s wedding. The music that you choose can be purely

instrumental or with lyrics; it may be a live performance or pre-recorded. If your

loved one enjoyed walking on the moors, maybe you could listen to a recording of

birdsong?

 

To find out about your loved one’s taste in music, begin by talking to family and

friends and looking at their CD or record collection.

 

There could be a professional singer who will perform the music that has special

meaning for your family, from sacred music and favourite hymns to popular

songs. Everyone can sing together – maybe a song that strongly resonates with

the loved one’s life and legacy and, ideally, is familiar to the majority of those

present.

 

Bring Me Sunshine – Morecambe and Wise is a very popular song.

The lyrics can be printed in the order of service so that everyone can

follow the words as they sing together.

What Does a Celebrant Do?



The dictionary definition of a celebrant is: ‘a person who performs a rite’. This has

traditionally meant a vicar, minister or priest, with the ceremony taking place in a

church or other religious building. These days, we have more choices and the

importance of selecting the right celebrant for your loved one’s celebration of life

cannot be underestimated.

 

The celebrant is there to hold the ceremony together and make sure it runs

smoothly. They set the tone, cue the music and introduce the speakers. It is

preferable to have someone who is not emotionally attached to the deceased, can

speak well and will also deal with any unexpected occurrences. At a crematorium,

the celebrant also has to make sure the ceremony keeps to time.

 

This is the one occasion when your loved one’s life story is to be told, their

memories are honoured and their body is put to rest. The celebrant will meet the

family in advance and – through sensitive questioning and careful listening –

enable them to have their stories and feelings shared, before writing the ceremony

and reading it on the day. The family should choose someone they feel

comfortable with.

 

To find a celebrant, recommendations from friends are helpful and online

research is worth doing – always check the celebrant’s testimonials. It is entirely

your choice who leads the ceremony and, even though the funeral director may

recommend a celebrant, check they are experienced, fully trained and aligned to

your values and beliefs. Bear in mind that celebrants work with the funeral

directors and are not employed by them.

 

Celebrant fees will be listed under ‘prices on request’ on the funeral director’s

website. This means that celebrants can continue to offer a completely

personalised service at a cost that is appropriate to their creativity, experience

and local economic market.

Funeral Processions



The situation with COVID19 means that funeral numbers are, sadly, still heavily restricted.  It is heartbreaking talking to families who have lost loved ones but cannot say a proper goodbye because of social distancing restrictions at the crematoriums or burial sites.  Grieving relatives have found it difficult not to hug one another – or even attend the service, with numbers still limited.

There is another way that we can all pay our respects and that is by lining the streets as the funeral procession passes. I am seeing more people coming out on to the street, they bow their heads, they clap for the deceased, bringing comfort to the relatives.

A funeral procession can also pause awhile outside your loved ones home for family, neighbours and friends, who cannot be at the ceremony, to say their farewells.  The journey may then pass personal landmarks that were of significance to the loved one. One family asked the funeral director to drive past all the local pubs as friends raised a glass of real ale to show their respect. 

In this new era of social distancing there are still many ways of showing we care. 

 

Alternative ways to saying goodbye



As the rules surrounding Funerals change, you may be deciding that Direct Cremation is the best option to protect your family. But you may be thinking, if you cannot hug each other and hold hands, how can you grieve together? In these uncertain times, I have been working on a few alternative ways to truly celebrate the life of your loved ones. 

Creating a bespoke ceremony

Talking to you and your family about your loved one, I will create a ceremony that is a celebration of their unique life. It will reflect your (and their) wishes, beliefs and values and can include spiritual content and prayer. To listen and create your bespoke ceremony, we can talk by phone, email and online communication tools such as Skype or Zoom.

You then have a choice of a Virtual Ceremony now or, when this pandemic is over and we emerge out the other side, you can then get together to hold a Celebration of Life, Memorial or Scattering of Ashes Ceremony.

Virtual Ceremony

Once I have written your ceremony, we arrange a time and date to perform the ceremony virtually, this could even be 9pm so that relatives in Australia can be included! You all then join the Virtual Ceremony using your preferred device; smartphone, tablet or computer, or you can listen to the ceremony through an ordinary landline.

You may like to create a special space around you for the ceremony; put up photographs and light candles. To make it personal, you might want to dress in their favourite colours or play some of their favourite music while you’re waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Although a traditional wake or reception will not be held afterwards, you could make and eat a special meal or cake, or raise a glass in their memory. Even when the formal ceremony ends, you could reconnect virtually and continue to share your memories.

Celebration of Life

If you opt for a Celebration of Life or Memorial Ceremony, I’ll create your ceremony now and we’ll stay connected to agree a date in the future when you can all get together. These ceremonies have no time constraints and can be held anywhere that is important to you. Ideas include sunrise on a beach, an afternoon tea on a river boat or a lavish evening celebration in a favourite hotel.

Nearer the time, I can update the ceremony with more of your memories but for now you could start collecting items to celebrate their life. Why not create a Memory Table to display their achievements and hobbies, in fact, anything they were proud of. You could organise a slide show or video of their life accompanied by their favourite music. If it is “Rocking All Over the World” wouldn’t that be great! 

Scattering of Ashes

You may wish to hold a Scattering of Ashes Ceremony together in the future. I will write your ceremony now and you can take your time to select the right spot. Mine would definitely involve a field of bluebells but you choose the perfect place to gather together and remember your loved one.

There are many ideas to make your ceremony more personal, you can send their ashes up in a firework, plant them under their favourite tree or even send their ashes off in a Viking Boat. All these ideas are possible!

Continue to connect

While we are all in lock down, continue to reach out and connect virtually to share memories of your loved one; their stories, their adventures and even their terrible jokes. 

There appears to be a growing demand for different types of ceremony which allow family and friends to come together and celebrate the life of a loved one in this challenging times. And the feedback from my families has been excellent, expressing heartfelt thanks for a ceremony that they believe their loved one would have wanted in these extraordinary times.

The Future of Funeral Ceremonies



As the rules surrounding Funerals change, you may be deciding that Direct cremation is the best option to protect your family.  But how do you celebrate the life of your loved one if you cannot hug, hold hands and grieve together?  When this pandemic is over and we emerge on the other side, then you can get together, hold meaningful ceremonies and give thanks that you were a part of their lives.

Ceremonies can then have no time constraints and can be held anywhere that is important to you.  Sunrise on a beach, a lunch time river boat trip, afternoon tea in a cliff top café, a lavish evening celebration in a hotel, sunset on Hay Tor, Dartmoor, in fact anywhere you choose.

For now, collect items for a Memory Table to display their achievements and hobbies, in fact, anything they were proud of.  Organise a slide show or video of their life accompanied by their favourite music.  If it is Rocking All Over the World wouldn’t that be great!  Share memories, stories and their jokes and make this Memorial a celebration of your loved ones life.

You can hold a Scattering of Ashes ceremony in their favourite place, mine would definitely involve a field of bluebells. Send their ashes up in a firework, plant them under their favourite tree, send the ashes off in a Viking Boat, all possible.

I will help you to create a ceremony that is a Celebration of your loved one’s life. My role is to offer bereaved families a Memorial ceremony that reflects the wishes, beliefs and values of the deceased and their family.  I can also include prayers, hymns and spiritual content.

Contact Sarah on 07870763304

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