Monthly Archives: April 2016

Not having a funeral

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My Nan passed away recently and decided that she didn’t want to have a funeral. I can understand this to a point. I assume she didn’t want people spending money and she didn’t want a fuss.

We still had a family gathering, we still shared our memories and we still looked at photos of her throughout the years. We spoke about things we remembered and my Pa asked my cousin to sing ‘I Will Always Love You’ (Whitney Houston/Dolly Parton). I had prepared a little something to say. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be anything said and the celebrant part of me would have been really upset if others spoke and I hadn’t written something for the occasion.

It got me thinking and, I think more than I did before, that the funeral isn’t so much for the person that has died. Yes it is ABOUT them, but it isn’t FOR them. It is for the people left behind, heart broken, lost and grieving. It is about having a time and place to come together and to talk about this wonderful person that was a big or little part of our lives.

For me it is a time to reflect on the life that they had and the wonderful things that they did. The last few family members that passed away I have conducted the ceremony, so for me it’s very different than attending a funeral. I think that it is a really valuable time to even learn something about the person that you didn’t already know, even people that you have known all of your life. Other people can share stories and their memories and that way you can always learn something about people.

I’ve also blogged about planning your own funeral in the past and raised some questions about the details of your funeral and is that something that you would think about. Would you choose songs? Poems to be read?

Do you think it is part of the grieving process and seeing what they meant to other people helps with realising that they will not be forgotten? Every time I go to a funeral people always say how lovely it is to see people that they haven’t seen for years and that they wish it was under happier circumstances. I got to see cousins that I haven’t seen for around 20 years and cousins that I see every couple of years. I loved that part of it. It’s not the happiest of occasions but these are the people that see you at your worst. There was a lady who was there and I recognised her the instant that she walked in the door although I hadn’t seen her since I was a small child. It was one of my aunties oldest friends.  I think a funeral teaches us a lot about family, and friendships and love.

What do you think? Do you think it is important to have a funeral? Or don’t think that it matters if you have one or not?

 

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Filed under Ceremony ideas, Funerals, Recent Ceremonies

Funky save the date

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Friends of mine, Scarlett and Tom, are getting married this year and a few weeks ago I received my save the date. They know how to make a good invitation! I conducted their little girl, Emily’s, naming day which had some great invitations too! Scarlett and I have had many wedding discussions (one of my favourite things to talk about) and I had heard a couple of the ideas for the save the date. I wasn’t 100% sure what way they were going to go with them and when I opened it I was blown away.

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I could feel that it wasn’t just a standard postcard type save the date as the envelope was thicker. I was so excited to see how it looked. They chose to have a pop up polaroid going along with their love of photography, film and taking a great selfie. The best bit is the actual little polaroid that pops out of the camera. It’s a magnet! So all of those people who mean to put their save the date in a safe place can actually put the most important part of it all on the fridge so that it doesn’t get lost.
What a great idea! I love the metallic paper for the background, it really makes all of the photos pop and the magnet is such a brilliant idea. Can’t wait for the actual invites now!

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Filed under invites, upcoming wedding, Wedding Planning

She succeeded

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My Nan passed away a few weeks ago. She decided that she didn’t want to have a funeral. The last few family members that have passed away I have conducted the funeral and I have had to work out my own way of saying goodbye as I haven’t been able to attend the funeral like a normal guest. Conducting the funeral is a very different mind set. With the other funerals I’ve sat and wrote about them and looked at photos and thought a lot about what I would say. As it turns out I said a lot of the things that I sat down and wrote at our family get together, so that was a great way for me to share my memories.

I was thinking about my Nan’s life and all of the things that I remember about her and all of the things that she did. There are lots of things that I remember about Nan and always will. The first thing that came to mind was her sense of Family and her love for her own. There is never a moment I’ve doubted the love that she felt for any of her children, born of her or not, any Grandchildren, born of her children or not, or anyone she considered part of her family. The love was the same for all of us and it was endless.

I’ll always remember Nan’s love for people, always thinking about others, praying for someone, being on the phone supporting others.  I remember my stepdad, Jimbo’s, running joke with Nan. For a while when they first moved to Merbein and the phone wasn’t connected yet, Nan couldn’t walk past a payphone. She would either need to use it or break into sweats of withdrawal!

Another huge thing was her love for animals, and their love for her. I cannot remember a time, or if it was it wasn’t for long, where she didn’t own an animal. It may have been hers and my Pa’s or one that they found or that found their way to Nan. I’ll always remember Nan with animals on her lap.

No one could really rival Nan’s love for shopping in my whole life and hers, I’m sure.  Even when she was too sick to do much else, she would always find something nice in Millers.

Nan loved a good eye roll, a tut, and I got my love of the word ‘Strike’ from her. When I was chatting with other members of the family they don’t really remember her saying it. It’s funny as my sister and I say it all the time now, and remember hearing her say it a lot.

There are little things that I remember and I don’t know why. I remember when I stayed with Nan and Pa in Merbein and being introduced to the Phantom of the Opera.  I remember the time that she purchased a brand new leather jacket that I thought looked so cool. I remember the time that for no reason she brought me a little trinket that says “a friend walks beside you” something that I always think of. I remember walking into the Mildura centre Plaza and being proud to see Nan at her job in Target.

I remember her always saying “God Bless”, at the end of a conversation, end of a visit, or in your birthday card.

The past week or so I’ve thought a lot about Nan’s wonderful life and all that she had done and I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

‘To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!’

Nan you succeeded, Strike you succeeded over and over again.

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