FUNERALS & MEMORIALS
“It is not possible love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right - love is eternal."
- E. M. Forster
A Humanist Farewell...
Since time immemorial, humanity has been marking the deaths of people they love with affection, care, dignity and with meaningful rituals and celebrations of their lives, loves, legacies and their relationships.
A humanist funeral or memorial is exactly all of these things; carefully collected together by working closely with friends and family to create a unique and personal ceremony that truly expresses the love and the loss,
and possibly everything in between these two, in a way that is appropriate and meaningful.
Watch the introduction video to Humanists UK funerals
It's not all Doom and Gloom...
I always ask families to give me a few words to describe the person they have lost and the kind of ceremony they want. The answers are always so revealing, personable and poignant, for example:
"it should be uplifting - not morbid - a celebration - a great sense of humour! - were full of life - a great cook - loved motorbikes - was a very private person - was terrible at DIY - really grumpy in the morning, before a coffee - swore like a docker - could talk for England - they loved a G&T!"
...and so on, through the full and exotic spectrum of human quirks and small characteristics that make them, them!
Funerals should be sensitively handled, authentic and true representations of the life lived, no matter how long or short that precious life was. Tragedy and grief are indeed unstoppable forces, and just have to be, but they don't walk alone - life, love and remembrance will always endure.
But it is Personal...
I think we may have all been to funerals that were less than representative of the person who died. I have attended family funerals that were profoundly unsatisfying experiences, simply due to the lack of personalisation and care with the details, not following family wishes and, in one case, even getting the name wrong.
Like all other Humanist UK funerals and memorials, my ceremonies are far away from the 'insert name here' school of writing, as I invest whole-heartedly on taking the time to visit, to listen, to record and respect the lives and stories told to me and work hard to reflect it back in meaningful way. You will always be given the opportunity to read and check the script before and, at the end, I will give you the final version as a presentation copy for you to keep.
For more information, please contact me to discuss your needs.
“They say that before you die your life flashes before your eyes.
This is true, it's called life."
- Terry Pratchett
The Funeral Celebrant Accord
The Funeral Celebrant Accord is a much needed central organisation that was set-up to raise awareness for the need of a code of best practice across the board for all types of funeral celebrants, including Humanists UK, ensuring that everyone receives a meaningful, professional funeral.
Humanists UK training and professional network ensures that their celebrants are continuously monitored, supported and peer reviewed, with a robust feedback procedure and continuous professional development as standard practice. I am very proud to be part of Humanists UK celebrants, a network that so actively promotes and maintains the highest standards.
“A very BIG thank you for all that you said and put together, to make the celebration of my sister’s life so special and memorable”
“I just wanted to send you a quick message to say a massive thank you again for yesterday. We all thought the service you gave was just perfect for my brother, you captured him and his personality perfectly with plenty of humour to break the sombre occasion. It wasn’t just us who thought that – we had a lot of praise for you from many of the people there, which is a testament to how good it was.”
“Barry had obviously worked hard in the preparation of a well researched, well planned and memorable ceremony. Much appreciated by us all.”
“Barry was an accomplished speaker. His strength of voice and emphasis of the important areas of our lives was excellent.”
“Thank you so much for the way you made the service into a unified, thoughtful and positive occasion. I felt the way you gauged the tone was spot on, and how you placed death in relationship to life. The family and friends represented a wide range of thought, faith, backgrounds, but it’s a tribute to you that so many talked to me afterwards about what you said and how you conducted it.”
“Thank you, many times, for leading our family through a unique experience with such kindness, thoughtfulness and tact – we could not have had a better person to help give my husband the ceremony he deserved.”
"Barry completely understood our wishes, he carried out the service with great warmth, respect and was a pleasure to meet. He made it just what we wanted and our Mum would have been so happy. He totally got who she was."