No Service by Request

I take a daily paper and read the obituary pages. When reading the notices, I am both saddened and made curious when I see the words “No service by request”. I can’t help but wonder What has happened in someone’s life to leave to such a last wish.
Have they sat through too many boring, ineffective, meaningless, or disrespectful funeral or memorial services to want to inflict that on the people they love?  Have they found themselves on the receiving end of a heaping helping of religion that meant nothing to them or the person who has died?

Do they think that nobody will go to a memorial or funeral service for them? Do they want to save money & effort for their family & friends? Have they been living on the surface of their lives, afraid to face their own grief and pain and unaware that others may need or want to?

No matter what their reasons, I believe it is unfair of the person who is dying to  impose their wishes on those who are left to grieve.  Memorials and funerals are for the living. They serve many purposes. Perhaps the most important function of memorials and funerals is to help people mark the changes that come with the loss of someone they have cared about, played with, and/or worked with. The close family experiences being supported by a community of friends and relatives through a time when everything can feel upside-down and backwards.  And everyone can take a few minutes to think of their own mortality and to reassess how they are living their lives.

My work as a Celebrant is to offer memorials and funerals that are engaging, effective, meaningful, and respectful.

Small Rituals

the Front Porch

The Front Porch

I’ve been thinking about the small rituals that make my life sweet. I love to sit on my beautiful front porch in the summer as the sun comes up over the ocean, listen to the birds, feel the breeze on my face, sip my coffee, and give great thanks for all that is in my world. And then. . . I do the Sudoku.

So what makes this a ritual and not just ritualized behaviour? To me ritualized behaviour is all about going through the motions of living and not being very present to yourself or the world around you – just doing the next thing you have to do. The thing that makes my summer mornings on the porch a ritual is that my brain is not churning about the past or the future. I am fully present with the pleasure of the moment and giving thanks for what is.

And maybe the Sudoku is a form of meditation since I don’t think of anything else for a while – or maybe not.

As We Head Into the Dark of the Year

I am very excited to be starting this web site and blog as we head into the dark of the year. This is the time for reflection, for looking back on what we have “harvested” in our lives based on what we sowed earlier in the year or even in past years.Coffee and candles

What is left to be done? What did we neglect to do?

As the days shorten and the clouds move in, it is a good time to come in out of the garden and begin to think, to write and to communicate with friends and family.