I guess any celebrant will own up to a sense of heightened reality, "in tune with the truth," after a family meeting (if it's gone well) and especially, after a successful (define that for yourselves?) funeral. That's our great privilege and reward.
Chap who serviced the car today asked me about my work, and within five minutes I found out that he had an interesting view on the difference between spirituality and religion, with regard to how people view death. I hardly know him, but maybe I slip on a mask, in effect, which says "he can talk about death because he does funerals." Or rather, "he can listen to me ease my mind a bit."
Which brings me to my real point here. Over on Comfort Blanket,
there's an entirely admirable post about disseminating and accelerating the change in our culture's attitudes to funerals. This is a big subject that has been knocked around the Good Funeral Guide and its commentators a fair bit. I'll risk a few bossy points, and really I'm talking to myself (no change there, they cried) not laying down the law to one as widely trained and experienced as CB:
- remember to talk to people about what you do, not just the bereaved and the FDs, and tell them a few salient points, such as: there's no need to rush into a funeral; you have complete freedom of choice, from no funeral at all, through horses and plumes and carriages, to a blinding three-day party; talk to more than one FD; consider the family leading it, or at least select a celebrant/minister who will help the family do what they want - etc etc, you know the stuff. Tell 'em about the GFG and other good books.
- link up, on the net as we do around the GFG, and in person; strengthen and develop your own ideas.
- talk creatively to FDs; I need to tell more of "mine" that actually I'm OK with the odd hymn, "hippy" (I quote) rituals, bespoke events, we don't have to do the usual "religion sans," as Charles calls it.
- tell everyone whenever the opportunity arises (obviously, not at your nephew's christening...well, not round the font, at least) that funeral ceremonies don't have to be at a crem or a cemetery; wherever the body is to be left can but doesn't have to be the same place as the gathering where people speak of their grief, their love and their joy in having shared a life.
- encourage people to open up to you about their fears and feelings (if you've the time and energy - ours can be draining work, and we need to take care of ourselves, we're not much use to the local bereaved if we're exhausted, flu-ridden wrecks.)
- maybe form a local network of FDs, celebrants, whoever: people who are looking to create more meaningful ceremonies and rituals.