Moments of Magic

Insights, Lessons, Signposts
Kelly Bannister's memorial couch of epic proportion
6 Nov 2012

Remembering a loved one – new ideas and contemporary rituals

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“If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together…there is something you must always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart, I’ll always be with you”  Winnie the Pooh.

If you’ve read much about me here, you may have already picked up that I have quite a few friends on the other side! I’ve lost close loved ones, and I’ve taken part in all their ceremonies and created ones of my own. Why? For them yes, but just as much for me. I think it helps us to process grief and let go in a healthy way when we can create something that honours the person gone.

I wrote an article about our lovely friend Kelly Bannister who passed away in 2009, for a local good news website, Happyzine. Kelly’s funeral was the most amazing, beautiful, colourful, fun and moving funeral I think I’ve ever been too. We created a ceremony for her that really was a celebration, even though we were sad and broken too. I remember dancing and throwing flowers in the air, and I felt like I was in heaven with her. One year on we created Kelly a fantabulous mosaic memorial seat, and it was this process and remembering her that I wrote about. Read my Remembering Kelly Bannister article here

Times Gone By, Thankfully

Times have definitely changed. My Grandfather’s funeral actually made me grumpy. I remember saying aloud “Is that it” when the casket swept behind a red velvet curtain. I felt like I was supposed to clap! A dodgy record player played The Lord’s Prayer and my uncle told me not to cry, there’s a good girl.

Nothing ever made me feel less like crying than that funeral, but I kind of needed to!

The sadder thing is that I never came away with any feeling about who my Grandad really was. I didn’t know him any better, and at most other funerals I’ve always learnt something sweet or funny about the person from another of their friends or families stories. Or even something sad, something I didn’t know that person was having to deal with, but then I understood them a little more.

So if I was wanting to create a ceremony for someone passing, I’d tune into who they really were, and make it about that. Not follow a set service, although a structure to work with is good, and most funeral directors can help with that.

  • What did they love? What were they passionate about?
  • What were their favourite songs?
  • Who will tell their story?
  • What’s the overall ‘tone’ of the event? If your person is quite formal, then you know that’s what they would want. Personally, I want my funeral to be outside, because I want everyone to be surrounded by beauty.

Actually, I even want dancing, but I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. (Some would even be offended, but it’s not really about them. If it seems irreverent to celebrate someone’s passing over, that’s a reflection of their belief systems)

The best thing to do is to tell people what you would want, before you go. Death is something we should talk about more, as it’s such an integral part of life, and it’s too late once it’s happened. Having the conversation about what you want at your funeral can open up the bigger conversation, of how you feel about death. I know it has been a comfort to me to know that someone I loved knew they were headed somewhere good.  

 As a healer, I understand that sometimes our work is to help someone cross over. Death is a healing, pain is over and life is completed. If you would like support through a death process for you or a loved one, or help after a loved one has passed, you can contact me for apppointments, read about distance sessions with me here, or read more about BodyTalk here

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