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The celebrant family visit

What happens during the family visit from your celebrant Katie The Funeral Lady?

I prefer to meet families face to face, it is by far the best way of getting to know about the person and their background. During recent times, when visiting homes was not permitted, the family visit was often conducted by Zoom or FaceTime which works well, and has the advantage of everyone being present regardless of location! Many services have also been arranged entirely by phone so technophobes need not worry.

When I first make contact with the family by phone, I will often briefly ask about your loved one, and their relationship to you. I can then select and send on some poetry suggestions by email for you to browse through before our meeting, these are only suggestions, and often families will choose their own tributes.

So what do we need to discuss? Most families will have already chosen or have some idea of the pieces of music that they would like included. If not I can help with some suggestions. I will ask if any member of the family would like to contribute to the service, and I help and encourage them to participate if they are unsure.

Once the basic framework of music and poetry is decided upon, I can concentrate upon finding out about your loved one and their life story in order to write their eulogy. It is helpful to have to hand some basic details such as dates of births, marriages, names of employers, parents and siblings names, etc. Details such as schools attended are useful as school days are  something that are often reminisced about but also frequently the name of the school is long forgotten.

I prefer not to ask questions, but to let your loved one’s life story and memories unfurl naturally. Often when the family are gathered together, the emotions are a roller coaster of memories, happy and sad and everyone ends up alternately laughing and crying.

Each family is as totally different and unique as was their loved one. There are often many communications between us during the time of constructing the ceremony, with perhaps separate chats to other relatives, or extra tributes or memories being added. I keep in touch however is preferred by the family, perhaps by phone, email or setting up a WhatsApp group that everyone can join in.

It is comforting for families to know that I am available for them whenever they need to check details about the ceremony. I am so privileged to feel a temporary part of their family and their journey.

She is Gone – David Harkins

You can shed tears that she is gone

or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back

or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her

or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she’s gone

or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back

or you can do what she’d want; smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

She is gone by David Harkins

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