“Ceremonies”

17 08, 2016

“But, it’s been 10 years …” Grieving a Long Ago Loss

By | 2016-08-17T07:00:05+00:00 August 17th, 2016|Ceremonies, News, Perspective, Seasons of Life|0 Comments

 || This month I am sharing a unique experience I had at a grief workshop where a 10 year old loss came flooding back to me in a deeply profound and changing way. I'm excited to share it with you! But, it's been 10 years ... As I've shared in my previous posts, I attended the Association for Death Education and Counseling Conference earlier this year. I've always left these conferences with pages on pages of notes and ideas to bring back to you and when I saw a session focusing on remembering, I knew I needed to go ... not for [...]

21 08, 2015

A List You Need to Have | Planning Ahead for What You Want

By | 2015-08-21T10:31:15+00:00 August 21st, 2015|Ceremonies, Inspiration, News, Planning Ahead|2 Comments

Ok, have I got a list for you! As you know and perhaps have seen first hand, most families have to make decisions about ceremonies with only days to plan. A lot of special conversations are avoided because people are uncomfortable/afraid/upset/fill-in-the-blank with the idea of talking about what they want at their funeral ceremony. This list could help change that. This list could begin the process of planning ahead. This list could help you have that special conversation. At one of our recent workshops Dr. Bill Hoy gave us this list and asked each of us to cross out anything [...]

22 04, 2015

I Needed To See Her In That Pink Casket: Viewing Our Loved Ones

By | 2015-04-22T06:15:34+00:00 April 22nd, 2015|Ceremonies, News|7 Comments

  When my grandmother died she looked grotesque. She suffered a sudden heart attack and was given CPR for quite a while before they stopped. When I walked in, a huge tube was in her mouth with flecks of blood, cords connected to her arms, her eyes were slightly open and she just looked the most un-grandma I could ever imagine. It felt traumatic, it was hard to look at and yet I needed to keep looking. I needed to know something about what her last moments had been like and I needed to just sit and be there with [...]

3 12, 2014

Deleting “Shoulds” from Your Grief Vocabulary

By | 2014-12-03T23:06:09+00:00 December 3rd, 2014|Ceremonies, Community, Inspiration, News|9 Comments

One of the most problematic phrases in our culture's grief vocabulary are the words, "You shouldn't be ... (fill in the blank with whatever makes them uncomfortable)." In general, our human nature is uneasy around sadness or any deep emotional pain that cannot be comforted. We fight to control or avoid grief in ourselves or others at all costs. We pick up this message subconsciously from the media, movies and even TV shows that don't generally make time to illustrate grief but push on to the next shocking plot-twist or scandal and meticulously edit out the pain. The worst though, [...]

6 08, 2014

Admit It … You Deserve a Funeral

By | 2014-08-06T22:19:17+00:00 August 6th, 2014|Inspiration, Perspective, Planning Ahead|28 Comments

If you’re like me you’ve heard many of the older people in your family say things like, “Don’t fuss over me when I die,” or, “When I’m dead just throw me in a ditch.” We accept their statements as expressions of not wanting to burden their family with the planning, cost, etc ... but what are they really saying to us when they throw these quips out? I think what they're really saying is … “I’m not sure if my life mattered enough … I’m not worthy of anyone's time … Would anyone go to my funeral? … Will someone [...]

4 06, 2014

A Buddhist Memorial Service: Making Time to Remember Years Later

By | 2014-06-04T21:00:58+00:00 June 4th, 2014|Ceremonies, News, Seasons of Life|41 Comments

It is Buddhist practice to hold a memorial service for loved ones every set number of years after their death. Recently, my family and I gathered for a memorial service for not just one family member but 3: my grandpa, grandma, and mom. My grandpa died 14 years ago, my grandma 6 years ago, and my mom 5 years ago. Traditionally, these services consist of chanting, incense offering, and a message by the reverend. The service functions as a time for you to meditate on the memories of the one who died and to recognize the impermanence of our own [...]

25 03, 2014

The Legacy Keeper

By | 2014-03-25T22:50:11+00:00 March 25th, 2014|Ceremonies, Inspiration, News|62 Comments

The Legacy Keeper: A Celebrant's Gift to Me My brother Jim had died on February 19th just over a month ago. The Sunday after my family gathered on that warm afternoon to share all of the stories we had accumulated throughout his lifetime. We (2 of my brother's children, all 4 of mine + grandkids galore) had come to meet Keith Page, our Funeral Celebrant. I had briefly met Keith last year when he and Ty Rose, another Celebrant, came to our Mortuary to provide us with a glimpse of what a Celebrant service looks like. Little did I know [...]

26 02, 2014

So, What’s a Celebrant?

By | 2014-02-26T00:22:08+00:00 February 26th, 2014|Ceremonies, Inspiration, News, Planning Ahead|46 Comments

  Last year I had never heard of a Celebrant. A what? What do they do? Sounds weird. Last week I walked into a room with 20 strangers, all there to learn about how to make a funeral personal & each life meaningful. When I was told that on the last day of training I would have to present a eulogy I had written for a fictitious person I felt overwhelmed, "How in the world will I do that?" I wondered. After 2 days of full training we were split into groups and given a situation to create a service [...]

4 12, 2013

We Lit Nine Candles: The Remembrance Service

By | 2013-12-04T21:52:44+00:00 December 4th, 2013|Ceremonies, Community, Inspiration, News|37 Comments

On Tuesday night we held our 12th Annual Candlelight Remembrance Service at the Laguna Hills Community Center. These evenings are unlike anything I've ever experienced before. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bestdesigns The evening started cheerfully enough as families filtered in and re-connected with different staff members that helped them. There are always hugs but then the context of our relationship tends to hit and the mood grows somber. For many, this is a night looked for and cherished for the healing it has brought. There is anxiety for some who don't know what they will experience or maybe don't [...]

20 11, 2013

We all have dates that changed our lives. This is mine.

By | 2013-11-20T18:52:43+00:00 November 20th, 2013|News, Perspective|44 Comments

August 2, 2000 – We all have dates that changed our lives. This is mine. My mother, brother, and I were pulling in the driveway from the grocery store, when my grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle came walking up. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bestdesigns Every one of them had a look of pain in their face, and my grandmother’s eyes were red and swollen. I remember my grandmother asking to speak with my mom in private.  So my brother and I stayed and put the groceries away. I vividly remember looking at my brother, who was only 7 at the [...]