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Celebrations of Life

A Celebrant memorial service reflects the wishes of the living while honoring the personality, beliefs and values of the deceased. The Celebrant memorial also takes into consideration possible participation by family and friends and includes that in the service, as well as music or any cultural or religious elements desired. While I am a secular Celebrant and will not appropriate any practices that I am not trained to perform, I can help families navigate these cultural and religious elements and identify appropriate participants to perform specific rites or come up with new rituals that evoke a feeling that we are trying to achieve.

Funeral / Memorial / Celebration of Life

Whatever term you feel comfortable with, ultimately you are looking to honor your loved one's life and come together with community over shared grief. To make sure I get the ceremony right for you and your community, usually I meet with the family, or whoever is responsible for planning the service and knows the loved one, for 2 to 3 hours so I can learn all about their life and the family’s preferences and needs. Then I go back to my office, research appropriate readings as desired, and then write the service, including the eulogy or life biography unless someone else will be offering the eulogy.

Once the entire draft of the service is complete, I email it to the family so they can review it for accuracy but also to be certain that the service is true to their loved one. On the day of the ceremony/service I arrive an half hour to 45 minutes early to be available for questions and to provide a grounding presence. By this time, I have coordinated with the funeral director or wherever the service is to be held about logistics. I officiate while delivering the ceremony from a presentation binder that I hold. If the group is small (less than 50 people) I do not need amplification and usually stand in front of the podium in order to invite an intimate, warm feeling. I also make certain to have a final keepsake copy of the ceremony to give to the family afterwards.

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Pet Memorials

When a person you love dies, it's natural to feel sorrow, express grief, and expect friends and family to provide understanding and comfort. Unfortunately, the same doesn't always hold true if the one who died was your animal companion. Many consider grieving inappropriate for someone who has lost "just a pet.” Nothing could be further from the truth!

People love their pets and consider them members of their family. Caregivers celebrate their pets' birthdays, confide in their animals, and even turn pictures of their pets into phone and computer backgrounds. When your beloved pet dies, it's not unusual to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your sorrow. Animals provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love during the time they share with you. If you understand and accept this precious bond between humans and animals, you've already taken the first step toward coping with pet loss: knowing that it is okay to grieve when a pet dies.

It is a growing trend for pet owners to have a personal memorial service for their friend and family member in order to pay tribute to a pet’s life. This special ceremony offers comfort, allows family members and friends to express themselves, embraces the grieving and transition process, and acknowledges their relationship with your pet. It is a chance to remember all the wonderful times and unique qualities of a pet, and look back at their life together.

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Graveside Services

This may be similar to a Funeral or Celebration of Life described above, but it may be a simpler and shorter ceremony done in conjunction with a Funeral or held at a separate time when a body is interred or an urn is inurned into the ground. This may also be done for ashes spread in a special place. Sometimes, in northern climates like Maine, when the ground is frozen, we hold a larger celebration right away and have a more intimate graveside service when the ground has thawed. Sometimes it is nice to sit with a loved ones ashes prominently displayed while you work through your grief and then have a small ceremony when the time comes to spread or bury the ashes.

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