Why I love creating Memorial Ceremonies

When people see me celebrating marriages and births so joyfully, they sometimes forget that I work on “the death stuff” too.

In fact, my primary motivator in becoming a Celebrant was to work with families in the raw times of their lives… by providing deeply meaningful memorial and funeral services and of course Celebrations of Life ceremonies.

I feel at ease around death.  I’ve mourned and experienced firsthand many deaths. – friends, family, strangers – some of which were tragic deaths including suicide. Instead of numbing out, I chose to fully experience the complexity of grief, with all its swings of emotion. In many ways, death transformed the way I live my life.  One of my guiding personal values is to “To move towards sorrow and not away from it.”

In 2006 I trained as a Palliative Care and Hospice volunteer. This has been a great gift in my life.  To be with people at the moment of death, and to be of comfort to their families, is a tremendous privilege.  I also learned a lot about living from some very forthright souls in the final days, weeks, and months as they prepared to die.

This mindful awareness is what I bring to the families I work with in my practice as a Funeral Celebrant. Helping people create a Celebration of Life, Memorial or Funeral Service, Ash-Scattering, or Committal Ceremony isn’t ‘just a job’ to me!  Oh my gosh… so FAR from it!

I love to hear their stories.  I see how the telling helps to make things real especially in the first week after a loved one’s death.  That’s a weirdly unstable time… I suspect that our brains simply cannot compute that the person who was, is no longer.

My gift is to draw out the stories and the memories in a way that illuminates the deceased in the fullness of his or her being.  And then to weave all the threads into a beautiful tapestry — the actual ceremonial experience.

Often people ask me to write the eulogy.  I have to use all my senses when I am with the family so I can absorb the personality of their loved one.  As you can well imagine, it’s hard to write a Memorial Eulogy for someone you’ve never met.  And to have it be a ‘bang on’ portrait of the person.  It’s an extraordinary experience for me!

Death is a chapter in the book of our remarkable human lives.

With heart,

Master Celebrant Michele Davidson

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