Too Soon

There really are no words adequate; no words can come near, to soften the blow when we are faced with the shock of an unexpected death. But how much more so when that death is of a child.

A Flower Bud

A flower bud, holding so much beauty and expectation

Perfect in shape and colour and size

But sometimes it never opens.

So like a young child who dies

So beautiful in shape and form

Holding so many expectations for a future journey shared together

But it is a journey never to be taken

Never known

A journey which is cut off short and unfinished

A bud which never opened

Tessa Wilkinson

Memory Table for Funerals

Create a Memory Table at the ceremony to celebrate all the hobbies and achievements that meant so much to your loved one.  I recently performed a Funeral for a carpenter who, over many years, had made a large collection of small wooden animals.  His wife handed out them out at the end of the ceremony to everyone’s delight.  A perfect memory of such a wonderful man.


Afterglow is a beautiful poem and a popular ending to a funeral or Celebration of Life ceremony.  Over the years I have collected many poems which I always share with families when we plan a funeral together for their loved one.  Poems and music are emotive parts of the ceremony and stay in the mind for a long time afterwards.

Celebration of Life – with a PARTY!

To make it a successful event, plan the Celebration of Life as you would a party, but make it the party of a lifetime. You may wish to organise this with friends and loved ones.

Either way use this checklist to make your event a celebration of your life.

• Food: select samples of your favourite cuisine, your special dishes;

• Drink: provide your favourite wines and beers and maybe sparkling wine for a toast;

• Favourite Pastimes: have on display things such as golf clubs, tennis racket, embroidery, photographs of you enjoying your hobbies;

• Achievements: have on display certificates, press cuttings and items you are proud of;

• Messages: write a brief speech at which you give a short message to the most important people in your life;

• Video: ask (or employ) someone to make a video of the party, and consider storing it so others can see it in the future.

On the day of the event have visitors sign a guest book and encourage them to leave positive messages.  A slideshow presentation is appropriate, highlighting memories and accomplishments.  Encourage people to share funny and uplifting stories and to bring photographs or other memorabilia to share.  Remind people that this is not meant to be sombre as a funeral would be, so the dress code does not need to be restricted to the traditional funeral black.

Celebration of Life

When someone is born we celebrate their entrance into our world and our lives.  We feast and celebrate when a child is born.  We celebrate each year that passes with birthday parties, marking the annual ceremony of when someone’s life began.  Why should the end of life be any different, why focus on the negative aspect of a person leaving us when we should look back and celebrate all that they have accomplished?

Celebrations of Life are becoming popular, often organised by hospices to increase the quality of life for the dying patient and to give support to the family.

They are also being organised by individuals who want to be present, and indeed to be the centre of attention, at the last celebration of their lives.  It is a time to honour and appreciate the living. 

They want to enjoy their own funeral and the opportunity it gives them to see for the last time their friends, relatives, former colleagues, neighbours, team mates and those whose lives have touched theirs.

You can acknowledge important relationships, recount stories, give and receive comfort, and answer questions. You can smell the flowers, hear the eulogy, readings, prayers, and music. You can speak of your own life and legacy, about what mattered to you and motivated or inspired you over your lifetime, and about what your relationships have meant to you. You can convey hopes, dreams, and last wishes and share in the tears and in the laughter.

Having a Celebration of Life doesn’t mean there can’t be a traditional funeral after death. It simply means that there is a ceremony with the person before they are gone, and they get to enjoy life with those they love before they must go, and hopefully pass with renewed good memories and the feeling that they’ve made peace with their life, peace with those in their life, and peace with their eventual death.

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