As celebrants we use many resources to write our ceremonies. In particular, the stories of our clients, our inner creative flow in response to these stories and also, the inclusion of readings, poetry and the inspired writing from others.
A quote, like the words of wisdom from Aragorn, a character from the Lord of the Rings, can guide a funeral ceremony to speaking about the pain of grief and naming the value of seeking support. This could be invaluable if there is a young person who is involved in the grieving journey who, you know, is an avid reader of Lord of the Rings.
Celebrant: “Grief will come and go, for as long as it continues to stir within us. We might want to hold close the words of Aragorn, in the book by JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, who was looking after the hobbit, Merry, who had been through a terrible ordeal, “His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom”.
It’s hard to imagine how this pain, this heartache that you are experiencing now can do anything but darken your heart. It is times like this. when we may feel lost and alone and we find it hard to get up, let alone muster our strength to call on our friends and community. Yet, it is in doing so, that they can hold us in the light of love so our wisdom can come forth in the darkest hour.
Most funeral ceremonies are crafted for adults. Resourcing a quote or a paragraph from a children or young adult’s fiction story, that has meaning to the age group, can engage a young person and stir a feeling of inclusion and connection. As an orator, it offers a moment where we speak directly to the young person among the guests.
No Matter What by Debi Gliori
Small said: “But what about when you’re dead and gone? Would you love me then? Does love go on?”
Large held Small snug as they looked out at the night, at the moon in the dark and the stars shining bright.
“Small, look at the stars – how they shine and glow. Yet some of those stars died a long time ago. Still, they shine in the evening skies… love, like starlight, never dies”.
Beginnings and Endings with Lifetimes in Between by Bran Mellonie and Robert Ingpen
“There is a beginning and ending for everything that is alive. In between is living. All around us, everywhere, beginnings and endings are going on all the time. With living in between. This is true for all living things…Even for the tiniest insect…
Flowers and vegetables, planted as seeds at the beginning of spring when the earth is warm, grow quickly to live through the heat of the Summer. The days pass and they become old during Autumn when it is cooler. Then, when Winter comes and it is cold, they die. It is the way they live. That is their lifetime… People have lifetimes too… no matter how long they are or how short, lifetimes are really all the same. They have beginnings and endings, and there is living in between. That is how things are. For plants. For people. For birds. For fish. For animals. Even for the tiniest of insects.”
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
“And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.”
The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”