“…….a sketch in words that everyone present can recognise as a true likeness of someone they knew and loved”
Bereavement can be bewildering as well as upsetting and devastating. So to be bereaved abroad even if you’ve been living in France for many years can be even more difficult and pressurised. Funeral ceremony choices are rather limited and tend to be restricted either to a religious church funeral conducted by a local priest or “Obsèques Civiles” that is a non-religious ceremony conducted by the family or, if you’re fortunate, by a member of the funeral director’s team.
In the UK there is a long tradition of Humanist funerals which have gathered an excellent reputation because of their focus on the life of the person who has died and because the care, sensitivity and experience of the Humanist Celebrant.
The British Humanist Association (in England and Wales) and the Humanist Society of Scotland provide high quality professional training for all their celebrants who are carefully selected and undergo frequent review and assessment.
In France, there are one or two Humanist Celebrants who are available to conduct Humanist funeral ceremonies.
A Humanist funeral ceremony places the life of the deceased at the centre and I will spend time with you learning about your loved one’s life and personality and about the memories you would like to share. I will then weave these together to tell the story, as a celebration of your loved one’s life.
All funerals are all personal and unique and usually include readings, poems and music; I will help you with these decisions and will be able to make suggestions if you need them.
I recognise that amongst those attending a funeral there may be people of faith and although I don’t include acts of worship such as singing hymns and prayers there is usually a period of quiet reflection where those in attendance can choose to remember your loved one in a way that is right for them and their beliefs.
Funerals may be painful, but they’re also a wonderful opportunity for families to pay tribute to a loved one. It’s a great privilege to prepare a suitable and appropriate ceremony to say farewell to a unique and special individual. Music, readings and the tribute all combine to form a fitting funeral. Grieving, humour and honest reflection all play an important part. As I see it, my most important task is to draw a sketch in words that everyone present can recognise as a true likeness of someone they knew and loved.