Who Will Officiate a Celebration of Life?

Uncle Ed

Sometimes families want to organize, create and officiate the Celebration of Life for their loved one. Frequently, I receive calls from family members who tell me they have been trying to do this themselves and it’s just not coming together. Maybe there are differing religious viewpoints, who should speak when, and primarily if Uncle Ed is capable of performing the service. I really feel for families who try to do this when this needs to be a time for grieving together, sharing memories, looking at photos and collecting memorabilia. There are SO many decisions to be made after a death – it is overwhelming and exhausting. Family-led services tend to be disorganized, chaotic and not what anyone ultimately wants.

I remember when a good friend of mine died and her husband wanted to be in charge of her Funeral. He rambled on and on forever and most of what he said was completely inappropriate. It was like a big, awful therapy session without a therapist! We all needed therapy after that one.

Pastor Bob

When a former boss passed away, the Pastor spent about 10 minutes on the phone with his wife asking just enough questions to plug into his cookie-cutter service. Not only did he get the name wrong, he created the worst analogy about Jesus being a carpenter because my boss was in the construction industry. Heaven help me!

If you want a traditional funeral service in a church, spend some time with the Minister talking about your loved one. Mention things that you particularly liked about another Celebration of Life that you would like included in your loved one’s service. Also, discuss things that you really do not want to happen and why. A funeral is not the time or place to ask for money or give a lengthy sermon. Yes, sadly I have seen that happen more than once.

Certified Funeral Celebrant

A Celebrant delivers a truly personalized, unique service without the liturgy or dogma typically associated with a Funeral. A Celebrant is a professional speaker, writer, storyteller and compassionate listener. The goal is to create a Remembrance that reflects your loved one in a meaningful, memorable way. The Celebrant isn’t the only one who has to speak, designated speakers are welcome and maybe open it up to anyone who would like to speak. Lots of options!

The Celebration of Life will have a nice flow with a beginning, middle and end. You have the opportunity to review/edit/approve everything in advance so it is exactly as you wish.

Closing Thoughts

As an Independent Celebrant, I am not bound by any rules, regulations or quotas to meet as some Celebrants who are employees of funeral homes. You are not just a number or another transaction to me. It’s personal, it’s important and it is an honor to have known your loved one through you. The Ceremony may be over, yet you and your loved one are forever in my heart. Denver can be a small town at times and it’s not uncommon that our paths may cross again. I welcome those chance encounters where we can connect under different circumstances.

Anita Larson is a Ceremony Leader and Officiant who blogs about her experiences with Celebrations of Life. Providing uncommon ideas and encouraging her readers to “Think Outside the Coffin®” when planning a Fabulous Farewell.

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