As a green funeral director and civil funeral celebrant, I have written and guided many people through a simple, personal, unique farewell to someone they loved.
It never ceases to amaze me what a wonderful privilege it is to help a family through one of the most important events of their life.
I have recently married and we decided we too wanted something simple, meaningful & personal, so I wrote and we planned our wedding and ceremony.
I very quickly came to realise how similar it was to a funeral!
You plan a funeral for someone you love and want everything to be special, as you do for a wedding. The more we planned, the more it became like one of my ‘funerals’.
We played lovely music that was special to us, we had written ‘our story’ about how we met, why we loved each other, our thoughts on marriage etc. We even had reflection time to music (and we danced a little) while we all took in the beauty of the loch. Oh, and then there was ‘the tribute’ like an eulogy – our dear friends and witnesses said some lovely things about us! The vows were unique to us and very entertaining!
With my funerals I encourage family involvement and suggest the choice of using homegrown, garden flowers and also the option of decorating the coffin themselves. I decorate the grave surround with hedgerow foliage, we did this for the wedding too. Rosemary & Lavender from the garden for my bouquet and the tables, their relevance was important to us, as we stated in our ceremony.
Rosemary was for remembrance of people we have loved and lost and the Lavender (healing) for all those we know who are having health problems. Rosemary and Lavender are also my business logo!! Giant daisies from the garden, were not destined for a grave, but decorated the lodge. Added to this we collected greenery from the woods creating a wonderful natural effect. The finishing touch was water lilies from the loch for the table centre.
The day was perfect. With four friends and the celebrant.
We were in our favourite place in the world – a private moorland setting in the borders, by an idyllic loch with a fishing lodge for a BBQ and the dancing which followed.
Our transport was a landrover. We all wore ‘country clothes’ except me of course, I wore my ‘Mum of the bride’ dress from four years ago…… and the only extravagance (other than the champagne and lobster) were the aubergine wellies I bought to match my dress!
It was our day, it was perfect, just as we planned, but uncanny how everything we did, could have been altered slightly for a funeral.
It was so satisfying to have created it ourselves and I am now proud to be Mrs Wendy Clarkson.
This article was orginally published in More to Death, the official magazine to The Natural Death Centre.