Celebrations of Life

As a Humanist Officiant, I perform Celebrations of Life, which is the secular approach to a Funeral or Memorial Service.

As in marriage ceremonies, the Humanist secular approach offers latitude and customization, which can be more personal and meaningful than a recitation of a centuries-old text from a prayer book. I will work with you to create a service which is both appropriate and dignified in order to honour the passing of a loved one.

Why do we have a memorial or celebration of life?

We cannot replace a person’s personality, wit, kindness and devotion to family, but we can be sure to find comfort in their ongoing example to us. We can ensure that their standards continue to inspire the family and all who knew or worked with them. Memorials allow us to recognize the pain of the loss and acknowledge the reality of that loss. The memorial is the first step in adjusting to a new environment and to begin to shift into the reality of a new life.

A celebration of life is a way not to be alone in suffering and is a step towards recovering hope, to give meaning to loss so we can go on and believe in ourselves again. Mourning is the process to escape our solitude and begin to re-establish our bond with others. Amidst the loneliness of loss the memorial service integrates mourners back into the community. We discover that we are never alone.

Testimonial for Chris

Over the weekend, I was reflecting on the service and felt blessed that there was an initial mix up which led Trish and I to you. I whole-heartedly believe in life that everything happens for a reason and this is another perfect example. The service that you officiated was absolutely beautiful and captured the true essence of our Mom, including her love, passion, values and accomplishments.

As a family, we are grateful, as you truly had a pivotal role in bringing closure for us. In our hearts, we know that our Mom would have been proud and very pleased with how we chose to honour her and who we chose to officiate her celebration of life. She would have loved your gentleness, compassion and integrity, as well as your advocacy with the cemetery. The celebration of her life was truly exceptional and this is a reflection of the remarkable individual that you are!

We are extremely appreciative that you took the time to get to know our Mom, including many of her idiosyncrasies that made her so endearing. You empathetically gathered and efficiently consolidated all of the information into an absolutely perfect service. Your attention to detail was incredible. The music was amazing and it was very thoughtful of you to arrange the music, including bringing the music and speaker with you.  This was a huge burden that we were relieved of.

In closing, I truly believe that this was the best tribute/service/celebration of life that I ever attended. I received so many positive comments and texts/emails from those who celebrated with us. I think it is fair to say that you far exceeded everyone’s expectations! I honestly believe that you have a precious gift to share with others. Thank you again for everything. I wish you the very best and I will be, as well as my family eternally grateful for your support in celebrating our Mom’s legacy. 

Gillespie Family – London, ON October 2021