Billingshurst woman urges people to focus on precious memories

A Celebration of Life Ceremony is a way to transform a negative experience into precious memories.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 11:47 am

My organisation Last Wishes seeks to encourage people to think about their legacy and have open conversations with loved ones about their end of life wishes. I believe it’s more important now than ever before.

‘To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die’ – Thomas Campbell

For those dealing with grief following a death of someone close to them a memorial ceremony can be a meaningful way to celebrate and honour the life of the person who died. It is also important to consider what will bring comfort to those left behind as this will be the memory that lives on.

Jean Francis.  Photo by David Graham SUS-210225-123250001
Jean Francis. Photo by David Graham SUS-210225-123250001

How creative do you dare to be?

Choosing a theme makes decision making easy; whether it be where to hold the event, choosing poetry, readings, music and what to eat or drink. How would best reflect your loved ones spiritual beliefs, personality, hobbies, and passions? Flexible plans can be put into place now in readiness for when lockdown is lifted.

Consider choosing the birthday or perhaps an anniversary of the person whose life is being celebrated.

Depending on whether you plan to scatter cremated ashes and/or plant a tree as part of the occasion, this will define your choice of venue. There is nowhere more comforting than a family home and or garden, space permitting. A Community centre if decorated will afford space, especially if children are involved. A function room at a hotel, restaurant, tea rooms or the local, should that feel appropriate. Maybe plan a country walk, scattering the cremated remains as you walk, dogs and all. Hold a ceremony in the great outdoors followed by a picnic; providing you are willing to take a gamble on the weather.

If you decide to use the services of a minister/celebrant locate someone in your area that you feel comfortable working with and begin to plan ahead.

It is never too soon to start discussing ideas. A truly personal ceremony takes time to construct and for everyone to feel comfortable with the contents. Words will be exchanged until everyone involved is comfortable with the script

Research readings, poetry, make notes recording the person’s life history and achievements; such information will be invaluable when creating the service/ceremony for the unique being whose life is the reason for the celebration.

Decide on the time of day.

Make a guest list, Invite friends, family, neighbours and the wider community as appropriate. Design the invitations in readiness to add the date and dispatch when the lockdown is lifted.