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Monthly Archives: February 2020

Dragonfly Symbolism

How can we answer the many questions young children have about death? Looking for a meaningful way to explain to neighbourhood children the death of a five year old friend, Doris Stickney adapted the graceful fable about the waterbug that changed into a dragonfly.

Doris Stickney’s Water Bugs and Dragonflies offers a child’s perspective on what the nymphs think and talk about under water when they see others disappearing up the plant stems.

It’s a great place to start discussion on the concepts of death, transformation and the soul. It’s a beautiful story, perfectly pitched for young children during the stressful, trying times around bereavement.

It is why I chose the dragonfly as my logo as it symbolises change and transformation.


Funeral Wishes

Remember your life, memories can fade no matter how hard you try to hold on to them.  Record your memories down while they’re vivid.  Write them down, video them or make an audio recording to share with the family.  It makes the Eulogy at your funeral much easier for your family!

Decide how you would like to be remembered:

Build a library

Buy a village, goat or a well

Plant a tree, or bulbs that come up every year

Name a star

Adopt an animal

Fund a scholarship

Start a charity

Record a song.

Talk to me and I will help you create Funeral Wishes for you to tell your loved ones what YOU want to happen when you die. 

Remember death is the destination we all share.


I’ll Remember You

I have collected many poems for all types of ceremonies over the years and can share these with families when they are planning their loved ones funeral.  This poem is beautiful.


Inspiration for Funeral Celebrancy

I was inspired to change my career from teaching music and drama to becoming an Independent Celebrant when, in 2012, I read a poem at my mother in law’s funeral.  I had such lovely comments after the ceremony that I trained with Civil Ceremonies Ltd. and have a Diploma in Celebrancy: Naming and Couples (QCF) and a Diploma in Funeral Celebrancy (QCF).

The funeral ceremony will focus on celebrating and reflecting the life of the deceased and the tribute will be respectful and highly personal.

I come to your home and share a cup of tea, you can explain the photo on the mantlepiece and have an ordinary conversation about planning this extraordinary occasion.  Now I offer meetings by Zoom, phone, Skype, Whats app and email so that we all remain safe.  I also organise Virtual Ceremonies online so that you can be in a “room” with relatives and friends.

As part of the ceremony you can sit in silence, play music or chat amongst yourselves, ask relatives and friends to talk about the person’s life then have a space where everyone can come up and share stories of your loved ones dreadful jokes!  You can definitely laugh!  You can light candles, place flowers and you can ask everyone to wear purple or Plymouth Argyle shirts.  With gentle questioning, I find out about your loved one’s life then write the eulogy for you, I always give you a draft for you to change, adding memories as they occur, until it is perfect for you.

As a former music and drama teacher, I can advise you about poems and music.  They are the most emotive elements of the ceremony and can stay in the hearts and minds of those attending indefinitely.

Whilst not a religious ceremony as such, religious content may be included, such as prayers or hymns.

There appears to be a growing demand for these types of ceremony and the feedback from families is excellent, expressing heartfelt thanks for a ceremony that provided the funeral that they believe the deceased would have wanted.


Scattering of Ashes at Sea

For all water lovers, consider scattering your ashes out at sea or a favourite river.

Click on the link to find good advice……..



Natural Burial Grounds

Where would you like to go when your life is over?  Donate your body to science, be cremated or be buried in a Natural Burial Ground?

Natural or Woodland  Burial Grounds are similar to cemeteries, however, with one key difference, they are managed according to ecologically sound principles, to create beautiful, nature-rich areas without the formality and memorials of traditional cemeteries.  Natural burial grounds are places full of natural life and offer an ideal environment for peaceful reflection, within nature.

I have performed ceremonies with only bird song and the rustling of trees for music.  There is no rush or time limit and the bereaved can plant bulbs or trees to commemorate their loved one.

I recommend ceremonies at these local grounds:


What is a Funeral for?

What is a funeral really for?  A funeral has to do three things. First, and simplest, it must enable everyone to say farewell, in the way that best suits them. Second, it should show the love, affection and regard in which your loved ones are held. And third, it gives time to remember the person they were. 

Celebrate a life by holding on to your loved ones in your thoughts: there is no need to part from them too hastily, talk about them often, repeat the words and sayings they used, and the jokes they made, and enjoy your memories of them


Too Soon – Babies and Children

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.

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