Monday, 13 October 2014

Be Creative | No Mourners Doesn't Mean No Funeral Ceremony

Every life is precious
I conducted two very different funeral ceremonies today. The first was for an elderly man who died alone and there were no family or friends present. He’d had a colourful and complex life both personally and professionally. Not only was it the stuff of books and films but, indeed, he had actually appeared in movies and TV series at one stage in his life. Our elderly gent also had strong military links.

But sadly there was a price to pay for his association with conflict and that brings me back around to the empty chapel at the crematorium.

Final farewell


So I addressed the coffin, as there was no congregation, created a candle lighting ceremony for the deceased and chose a poem that I believe reflected what little I knew of him.

The old man got a respectful final farewell with the same level of service as if the crem had been bursting at the seams with mourners. I’d like to think I did him justice and that if he could, he’d give the thumbs up to the care and thought that went into his funeral ceremony.

The second ceremony couldn't have been more different. There were dozens of grieving family and friends to farewell a man who was taken from his loved ones far too soon. A man who loved deeply and was dearly loved in return. He, too, had led a compelling life and achieved a very great deal.

Care, thought and respect
His family carefully chose music from his favourite artists, gave several heartbreaking tributes and provided a wealth of stories from which to create beautiful imagery.

Both ceremonies were moving, sad and sorrowful. Both were given an equal amount of care, thought and respect, not to mention time to craft a bespoke and meaningful service.

The integrity of a ceremony lies not in the number of people who attend to mourn a person’s passing, but in striving for a perfect farewell regardless of the obstacles and circumstances.