Things to consider

Things to consider for the ceremony…


An important part of any ceremony. How many times have you been asked to sing ‘All things bright and Beautiful!’ usually because the deceased was not a church attendee, did not have any favourite hymns or even music – but the family heard they used to sing it at school – probably over 80 years ago!  I have strong feelings about the choice of Music.  Choose music and songs or hymns, which reflect the character you have lost….for a window cleaner we had George Formby singing ‘When I’m cleaning windows…’  for a member of a sailing club – we had ‘I am Sailing’ by Rod Stewart.  The options are endless.


Words can be very expressive and poetry, humorous poems especially, can lift the feelings of those present.  Funerals are traditionally ‘sad occasions’ where everyone’s expectations are to be sad and even cry, especially among the younger element.  It is ‘expected!?’  WHY?  It is better to celebrate the life and value what the person has left…even difficult lives, suicides and young deaths can been explained with a positive outcome.  Specially selected poems can be invaluable, especially if they lead to a ‘good laugh’.

Who should speak?

There are no rules and whilst it is easier for a trained celebrant to speak and share the life story, there is no reason why friends or family members should not say a word or two.  HOWEVER, I urge you to consider obtaining the words that that person might wish to say…Why?  If the person freezes, it is easy for the celebrant to continue saying the words the friend WANTED to say…it help stops people going off at a tangent, and most importantly ~ keeps control of the time.


Most ceremonies held in crematoriums are restricted to 20-25 minutes and depending on the person and life they led, this can be sufficient. However where there are ‘special’ circumstances, i.e. well known, famous or popular people, just getting everyone in and out of the Crematorium chapel can take 10 minutes. Again a trained celebrant will discuss this through with the family.

The Eulogy

This is the ‘meat’ to the pie…why people have attended and what they enjoy, yes I said ‘ENJOY’ hearing. A well constructed life story, which mentions, if possible, where the attendees paths crossed with the deceased is valuable to all.  It helps people with closure, to know what and why life events occurred, the ups and downs and especially if there are difficult bits…..the grumpiness and idiosyncrasies of a person being mentioned helps bring them to ‘life’ again in the memories of others.  The story is REAL, yes people remember them.  When thinking about YOUR ceremony, reflect on the following….


I went to a funeral today.
Someone who obviously knew the family well
Stood to ‘say a few words’.

Well, the chap in the coffin was hardly recognisable!
He’d been so unbelievably good at everything
It’s a wonder anyone liked him at all.

So don’t make me a hero when I’m gone.

There’ll be good things about me to miss
And some not so good, which you’ll be better off without
So keep things in balance.

Whatever you do, have a laugh.
I’ve loved tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks
Tummy aching with hilarity
Always made me feel better about things.

So have a good laugh
It’ll do you good – and don’t make me a hero when I’m gone.