Soul Sketch: The Heart of a Modern Celebrant Funeral

In her book Remembering Well Sarah York introduces the idea of a “soul sketch” – a concept which lies at the very heart of every Modern Celebrant led memorial service.  The soul sketch is a whole lot more than just a biography of a person’s accomplishments, and a chronology of their life.  And it is so much more than what we are used to hearing in a traditional eulogy!

Our “soul sketches” go deeper.  We explore your loved one’s life in the context of his or her relationships because all of us are shaped through our relationships – to ourselves, to others, to nature, and to our understanding of the transcendent.  When we work with you and your family to create a memorial service, we seek to tell the story of how relationships gave meaning and purpose to your loved one’s life.

We have all been to end of life ceremonies where we’ve felt alienated by the words that were spoken.  Often the words have been too impersonal.  It felt as if the person conducting the service didn’t really take the time to get to know our loved one.

That’s not our thing here at Modern Celebrant. We want to know you, and through you how your beloved lived his or her life.  What was really important?  What mattered most?  It takes time to have these types of conversation.  We take the time.  We understand you are grieving.  We understand that it takes time to reflect upon a life.  And we understand that different family members will have different perspectives.

You may tell us that your father loved his children.  To craft a soul sketch, we ask you to tell us more about that. HOW did your dad demonstrate his love for his children.  What did he do to express his love?  When you tell us your mother achieved great professional success, we ask what motivated her.  Why was she so committed to her path?  How did it fill her soul?   Your beloved brother may have loved the outdoors.  Was his love of the outdoors an expression of his humanity and values?

Whether you call it a celebration of life, memorial service, or funeral – your loved one deserves to be remembered well – and you deserve to feel deeply connected to the tribute given to celebrate their life.  As Funeral Celebrants, this is our heartfelt commitment you.

Funeral Celebrant Marcia Thomson

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