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I do love a spontaneous ceremony…one that has a light sense of structure to hold a grieving family.

The matriarch of the family was 102 when she died. This glamorous and gregarious old lady had lived a great life. Not everyone in the family wanted a ceremony but once again, like another one this week, one of the family was very keen. When the daughter rang me she said she didn’t know what she wanted. After a while of chatting with her about her mum and her family, I suggested we sit in a semi circle in front of her mum’s coffin, listen to some music, share a few stories and maybe read a poem.  She was relieved that I was open to the idea of the ceremony being very informal.

I also spoke with the brother who would not be able to attend.  The day before the ceremony they got back to me saying: please no music, maybe some stories but definitely champagne and we will bring some of the mum’s favourite cheese biscuits.

On a sunny morning, driving through the forest with autumn colours, I was moved by the sense of continual change. While there would not be many people in attendance, this was a ceremony of importance. The passing of an elder generation. Ten of us gathered in the small chapel, two young children played on their parents laps. Pink champagne was served. One pink crystal glass filled with bubbles and placed to rest on the coffin with the bottle of champers. There were a few tributes read and stories shared and delicious biscuits eaten and crumbs on the carpet.

The ceremony or rather an informal chat around the coffin was simple, elegant and what the family wanted. Perfect!

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9 days ago

I love how you cared, listened, shared and guided her family. The acceptance of the simplicity of her farewell which was just right for her and those gathered.