Funerals and Memorials

Death is not the Opposite of Life – But a Part of It ~ Haruki Murkami

When it comes to saying goodbye to a loved one, emotional feelings can overwhelm and confuse. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone when this happens. Each end-of-life service I perform is as unique as the individual. I believe it is important to capture memories and tell a story about who this person was. In this trying time, I can help you create something inspiring and beautiful.

I have had the honour of being with loved ones and their family members in the last days and hours of their life.  I offer comfort through facilitating “goodbye circles” in hospitals and Palliative Care facilities. This gathering provides family members precious moments to express their love and say goodbye. It gives the loved one comfort in knowing they are not alone on this last leg of their journey here on Earth.

I believe that death is an extension of life and that each life lived and completed should be preserved through celebrating the impact of that life on others. It may be through family, professional accomplishments, or hobbies and activities.  Whatever was meaningful to the deceased is worthy of commemorating.

Many different circumstances surround the act of dying. Each loss calls for a special and unique way of honouring your loved one. 

Death in order occurs when elderly people complete their time here on Earth and are ready to move on to the next stage in their life cycle. This death is often welcomed by the individual as their life may have become difficult and possibly lonely. Perhaps this is a parent you must bid farewell to, knowing this time was foreseeable, but the detachment is emotionally painful.

A sudden traumatic death through accident or illness that seems so unfair, it leaves you numb, maybe the loss of a spouse or child.  How can we make sense of such a death?

Celebrating the memories of that particular person’s life is a tribute to who they were and how they touched the lives of others.

A Celebration of Life, whether it is a traditional funeral in a Funeral Home Chapel or a less formal gathering at a meaningful venue is an opportunity for family and friends to come together to share memories and find comfort within one another.

I am here to help you plan the ceremony that reflects your traditions; religious or non-religious, spiritual, or non-spiritual, formal or non-formal.  I will be with you every step of the way. I will speak with you and your family, listen to your words, memories and learn the personality traits of your loved one to create a special goodbye.

All Services are “Celebrations of Life”

Funeral Service

A Funeral Service has the deceased body or ashes present.  This service usually takes place within a few days of death.  This type of service can be either Formal or Informal in its structure. It could take place at a funeral home chapel or a reception hall. If a Funeral Director is involved, I will collaborate with them to become a “team” and know each other’s roles and responsibilities.

Informal Service

With an Informal Service, the venue may be in a funeral visitation room, home, garden, a park (with permission), or at the gravesite.  The deceased body or ashes may be present, or there may be no remains. This service is more casual and less structured. Family and friends may be more involved.

Memorial Service

A Memorial Service does not have the deceased body or ashes present.  As there is no time limit; this type of service may take place any time after the passing,

Committal Service

The Committal Service can happen immediately following the Funeral Service or at a later date.  In a less formal setting, the Committal Service may be part of the ceremony if it all takes place at a cemetery.

Whether the Celebration of Life is Formal or Informal, hearing stories and memories about the deceased from family and friends is a beautiful way to find comfort in mourning a loss, yet celebrating a life lived!

What’s Included

  • Planning meeting, unlimited texts, emails or phone calls
  • Suggestions for eulogies > readings, biblical verses, poems
  • Suggestions for music
  • Setting up the Order of Service
  • Ensuring the Chapel/Venue is set up as desired > photos, candles, flowers
  • If an Urn is present, ensure the display is complete > photo, candles, flowers, any religious or personal objects

Service Delivery

  • Welcome message
  • Processional (If formal, I will describe how it will take place)
  • Candle lighting (If part of the service)
  • Opening remarks of Service or Introduction of Speaker
  • Delivery of Order of Service > Introduction of Speakers
  • Cue music
  • Other special components
  • Closing remarks
  • Recessional (If formal, guiding family to exit first)

Committal Service

  • Internment (casket) or Inurnment (Urn)

  • Following the service, the family may choose to have a final disposition.  This could be at a graveside, niche, or a “spreading the ashes” ceremony.  I can provide several suggestions for prayers, poems, or particular actions such as a Memory Tree or a favourite food such as ice cream cups or pies.  

  • I will conduct the Final Disposition Ceremony.