Contact us now
07931 538 487

Making the Best of it

Making the Best of it

Being a civil celebrant has its challenges. I never know quite what to expect when I contact my next client.

It may be relatively simple. The client is looking to mark a major event in a joyous way. Or fairly solemnly. Or even a mixture …

The point is that the client has expectations and, whatever they may be, I need to be aware of this and act upon them.

So my discovery conversation is based upon me asking the right questions to establish the client’s vision.

That can apply to a funeral just as much as to a joyful event.

Either way, we need to work out the tone of the ceremony and which (if any) religious elements we include. Then we can agree on the content.

There are surprisingly few differences in the way a funeral and a celebratory event are prepared . The process is similar, although the eventual tone (and content) may not be.

One likely difference is the atmosphere that surrounds our discovery call. For a celebration, people are usually good-humoured and amenable. For a funeral, the client could be in any stage of grieving (denial, anger, bewilderment, guilt, etc.). I recall visiting one family of four, all of whom were cracking jokes. On the day of the funeral, they were crying their hearts out. (Laughter had been their way of coping.)

I hinted earlier at more challenging instances. Well, there have been quite a few of these.

Bad blood has featured.  

On a couple of occasions, my client was expecting violence at the ceremony. (In one case, the expected aggressor didn’t show up in the other, I managed to persuade them to hold their peace). Scary moments, though …

One funeral looked as if it would never happen. The father had been violently abusive to his daughter and widow. The daughter wanted nothing to do with him or his funeral. Strangely, she still invited me over to discuss the service.

I listened to her sympathetically and told her we would do whatever she decided. Even if that was nothing. However, I made the point that, if we did nothing now, we could not go back and have a retrospective funeral . She might feel bad further down the line. She might well eventually have regrets and feel the need to mourn (despite everything).

I left her to think about it.

She decided to go ahead. A (limited) funeral took place and the lady was even able to cry at the service.

Of course, the vast majority of my several hundred ceremonies have gone peacefully and to plan. But you just never know …

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *