Ask A Celebrant - CCN Blog

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More CCN Blog posts can be found in the Blog Categories to the right.
Oct
21

Remembering Loved Ones

The 11th of November is Remembrance Day.  This is the day we pay our respects to those soldiers who died in the First World War.  It marks the day the war ended and at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month we observe a minute silence to remember and think about all the people who have died in wars since.  There are lots of ways to remember our loved ones after they've died - here are just a few ideas...

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Jun
12

Loss of loved ones

"People do not die for us immediately but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad." Marcel Proust

The death of those closest to us presents challenges not imagined, even though death is a natural part of life the sadness, grief, shock and confusion that may present itself at the time may feel like it will never go away...

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Nov
07

Different ways to remember

Different ways to remember....

Why do we memorialise people and events?

It is such an important part of grieving and it is just simple common sense that all of humanity has an innate desire, even emotional need to stay connected with itself through the ages.

To want to be remembered and to want to remember is a natural part of being human.  When we mark our history through memorials we not only ensure that we will not forget the person or event that we are paying tribute to, but that it is there for our future generations as well.

Here are some different ways we can memorialise a person or event:

* Have a gravestone or plaque

* Erect a statue



* Plant a tree



* Add a 'legacy person' for your Facebook page and ask them to memorialise your page after you've died

* Have an annual get together of loved ones to talk and reminisce about the person who has died

* Get a tattoo



Visit the place where the event happened

* Keep your loved one's ashes in an urn



* Play music that reminds you of the person, place or event

* Hold a memorial ceremony

Speak to a CCN Celebrant today about holding a memorial ceremony for your loved one.

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Thank you for 
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πŸ‘πŸΌ We would love it if you would let us know what you think πŸ€”.  
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Sep
26

It's Time



It's Time!


Spring equinox 23rd September 2017


It's officially spring....
the flowers are blooming...
 new life is emerging....


Photo courtesy of The French Click

IT'S TIME to book your celebrant

If you are planning on getting married anytime in the next eighteen months (that’s how long your NOIM is valid for) then call and book your celebrant soon and get that paperwork done.

You can still get married this spring if you're quick, the Notice Of Intended Marriage (NOIM) form must be lodged with your celebrant one month before the ceremony; plenty of time still for a November wedding.


Photo courtesy of The French Click

IT'S TIME to plan your summer celebrations

Clean up the garden, pack away the winter clothes, and make your bookings for festivals, concerts, holidays, backyard BBQs and beach weddings.

elaine blog3
Photo courtesy of The French Click 

IT'S TIME to have your say on marriage equality


Interesting Fact from Wikipedia: With several countries revising their marriage laws to recognise same-sex couples in the 21st century, all major English dictionaries have revised their definition of the word marriage to either drop gender specifications or supplement them with secondary definitions to include gender-neutral language or explicit recognition of same-sex unions.  The Oxford English Dictionary has recognised same-sex marriage since 2000. 


 Haven't Voted Yet?
  
Fill in and post your Vote as soon as possible and if you would like more information visit

CCN's Marriage Equality section. 

elaine blog4


Remember not to add anything other than the response required (i.e. no comments, no glitter, etc) or your survey response could be invalid.

If you’ve lost or damaged your ballot, you can request a new one from the Australian Bureau of Statistics here any time before October 20th.

IT'S TIME to begin planning the final celebration

If you plan on living your life to the end, then you can start by talking to a celebrant about recording β€˜your life story’ or filling in those important documents such as: Advance Health Directive, Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship, a valid Will (who gets what) and emotional will (words of love and wisdom)



Don’t leave it to your family to make difficult decisions at an emotional time, have the conversation now.

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Passage of Time

Sadness passes with time 
A hollow field blanketed with snow 
Soon fills with swaying blooms A darkened sky suddenly illuminates            
A weary traveller’s way 
And Spring follows a Winter’s road 
Which butterflies array 
Somewhere, somehow, shadows 
Give way to sunbeams 
Life’s fabric is painted with promised purpose 
And each day new freshness springs 
Laughter envelops an empty room 
And a broken heart sings 
With an abandonment of joy 
As it finally kisses the dawn 
Of a bright new day!


Little Pebbles and Stepping Stones, Compositions from the heart by Ruth Van Gramberg - 2005


For more information on any of the above or to contact a Celebrant near you visit
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Jun
20

Why have a memorial ceremony?

 
Memorial ceremonies can be held shortly after death, perhaps following a private or family funeral ceremony.  They can also be held on significant days, months or even years after a death, on birthdays or other anniversaries for example...
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Nov
08

Remembering Loved Ones

Ways to Remember loved ones

 

The 11th of November is coming up this Friday which is Remembrance Day.  The day we pay our respects to those soldiers who died in the First World War.  

 

To do this we wear poppies as a way to mark the day, we lay flowers, we march wearing the medals of our grandfathers and great grandfathers, we hold services where a bugler will sound the β€œLast Post” and we observe a one minute silence.

 

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We do all these things so as not to forget those people who died for our freedom.  It’s one day out of the year that is set aside to specifically think about those men and woman.  We do this, even if we never knew any of them personally, so what do we do to remember those loved ones that we did know? 
Here are some ideas that you might like to use when you choose your own day of remembrance for your loved ones.

 

Gather relatives and have your own day of remembrance for those family members who have died.  You could incorporate some of the ideas below at your gathering.

 

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Play their favourite song - you could do this at your gathering or you could listen privately - anywhere.  We all know the power of an old song to trigger vivid memories that seem to transport us back in time and space.   Music has the ability to evoke such strong memories of people and places.

 

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Get all the grandchildren and try to emulate Nana’s famous biscuit recipe.  Whilst you're all there, stories about all the things you loved about your Nana can be shared, passing on the love to the younger members of your family.

 

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 Go to their favourite park for a picnic - Go with family and share in the day remembering and swapping stories.  It may help you to feel closer to them and if you choose to go on your own, gives you a quite place to reflect.

 

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Plant a tree in their honour - You may have heard of planting a tree in celebration of a birth; the same logic applies for a death. The tree symbolises not the fact that your loved one has died, but that they lived.  A flowering tree is great because when the tree blossoms every year, the branches can be brought into the house, symbolising the celebration of that life.

 

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 Dedicate a memorial bench -  I love wandering through parks reading the memorial plaques on benches, thinking about who the people could have been and what their lives were like.  This is a place that you can go to actively think about your loved one and if the bench is in a place that they loved to go, that can help you to feel that bit closer to them as well.

 

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Light a candle - This has always been symbolic in memorials.  Gazing at flame helps you to focus your thinking on their memory.  Just be careful not to leave the flame burning when you're not there!

 

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Create a book of stories about your loved one - Ask family and friends for their favourite stories and precious memories, include photos and make a treasured keepsake.

 

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Display old photos of your loved one in a creative way - It's nice to display pictures instead of keeping them tucked away in a photo album. Friends and family members can be hesitant to discuss their deceased loved one, but pictures can be very comforting to those who are grieving.

 

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To make the special day even more memorable, you could add a meaningful ceremony to your day.

 

It takes nothing to speak to one of our CCN Celebrants who can help you to arrange the perfect tribute for your loved one.

 

Want to Read More... Click here!

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Aug
06

What would you like to ask about funerals and memorials?

For Dying to Know Day - today Monday 8th August 2016 - CCN would like to encourage everyone to talk about death and particularly funerals and memorials.  What questions would you like answered by CCN and our celebrant members?

To start the conversation, here are some questions our CCN celebrant members have been asked:

Must we organise a funeral within a few days of a person's death?

Are there any laws we need to know, if we want to organise our own 'send-off'?

Can we have both a funeral and a memorial?

Am I able to pre-plan my funeral ceremony?

How can our family give a loved one a fitting tribute, but not cost us 'an arm and a leg"?

questions answers

Can we have a religious funeral ceremony and a civil memorial some time later?

Can we include religious material in a civil funeral?

Our parent does not want any fuss, and tells us not to have a funeral. However we feel uncomfortable about that. What can we do?

If we are not church goers, and do not want to use a funeral chapel, what other venues could we use?

Do we have to have a "Celebration of Life", if our family member was a rather difficult character who caused more pain than joy?

If we were considering a "Do It Yourself" funeral or memorial, what tips do you have for us?

How can we get mum or dad to discuss what they want us to do, when they die?

How can we get our adult children to talk with us - anytime we try they seem to brush the topic to one side?

Civil Celebrations Network (CCN) invites you to ask these questions and more!

You may ask a question via our Blog Comments Section at the bottom of this blog - anytime today or tonight.

In fact, if you are too busy today, then ask when you can.

It's very easy to do.

However, if you have any hassles, please feel free to contact us.

Civil Celebrations Network (CCN) has created a special Dying to Know Section for your information, in addition to our Ceremonies for loss and grief Section for Everyone.

questioning 1300894 450

What have you done to farewell a family member or friend?

You are also invited to share your experiences here with us.

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πŸ‘πŸΌ We would love it if you would let us know what you think πŸ€”.  

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Jun
22

Are memorials becoming more popular than funerals?

It seems in recent times, more families, who would normally be choosing a civil funeral service, are having a private service or even a simple viewing to say 'goodbye' to their loved one, then organising a Memorial for the wider circle of family and friends a few weeks later. 

There may be many good reasons for taking this approach.

Flexibility with timing for the ceremony

b2ap3 thumbnail flexibletiming

There are a lot of decisions to be made following a death, especially an unexpected one.  A private farewell and a later Memorial ceremony reduces the immediate stress and helps people make clear decisions about the type of farewell they would like.
 

Having a Memorial a few weeks after the death, gives extra time for planning the ceremony and more choice of day of the week, time of day, length and content of the ceremony, and location.  This flexibility can be very useful where family and friends are overseas or interstate.

The family can take time to find a civil celebrant who suits the style of tribute the family wants.  Civil celebrants are very flexible about the arrangements and will encourage family members to be involved in planning the ceremony and actively participating in it.

Consideration of Costs 

b2ap3 thumbnail Funeralcosts

 
A lavish funeral using the funeral company’s chapel and other facilities can cost many thousands of dollars.  A simple farewell is more cost effective and enables the family to consider how best to create a personal and fitting ceremony to honour their loved one.  

 

 The Memorial ceremony can be as beautiful and heartfelt as a funeral

flower 408833 600 

There are many ways a ceremony can involve beauty and show respect for our loved ones who have died. 

You may have a beautiful urn or hand crafted box with the deceased’s ashes as a focal point.  You may have a favourite photo, or display of personal items in place.

There could be floral arrangements, inspiring poetry, carefully chosen music, a slide show capturing the highlights of the deceased life, room decorations that reflect their personality or interests.  These can all be part of a Memorial and can be carefully prepared in the weeks between the death and the ceremony. 

 

b2ap3 thumbnail Foreverlovedchair

You may decide to have caterers arrange a lunch or afternoon tea to follow the ceremony, enabling family and friends more time to share memories and expressions of love and respect.

 

Remember to contact our CCN Celebrants first if you need to make arrangements for a loved one.
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Jun
12

Should we be talking about Funerals?

When we think of the end of our life, there are probably a few different thoughts going through our heads.

Have I lived a good, fulfilling life? Did I remember to sign my will? Who will look after my loved ones? Why me? I wish I'd lived, loved, laughed more. Are my affairs in order? Did I delete my browser history?
 
But one thing that not many of us have thought about, and if we have thought about it, haven't done much about it - is our funeral.

It's not the nicest of topics to talk about, but to those either on their way there soon or for those who just like to be prepared - this is an important conversation to have and it's important that we listen to the wants and needs of our loved ones.


If you're unsure how to go about starting this type of converstaion, there are people that can help you, like the organisation called: Death Over Dinner who recently featured on Ch 10's The Project who do exactly that - helping people to have that awkward conversation about your dying wishes.

Whilst the funeral is more for those left behind, you might like some particular words to be said; you may have a piece of music in mind; you might prefer your funeral to focus on celebrating your life rather than mourning your death; you might have a definite choice of being buried or cremated and maybe you have a specific location you'd like your ashes to be scattered.

None of these things will happen in your final moments though if you don't tell somebody about them.

 

You could also contact one of our wonderful CCN Funeral Celebrants to help you with ideas.

READ MORE about pre-funerals planning here.

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Apr
20

Anzac Day

Anzac Day

 

Anzac Day, 25 April, is one of Australia’s most important national occasions. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War and then, after 1945 the services moved to include those who served in WWII.

 

I don't think there's a person alive in Australia who doesn't already know the Anzac story, so I won't try to educate you here.  What I would like to talk about though is the importance of ceremony, not only for the people who were directly involved, but for their families and loved ones who were left behind.

 

Holding a ceremony brought people together to mourn and to remember and give thanks to those brave soldiers who lost their lives during WW1.
The first Anzac Day commemorations were held in 1916, on the 25th April.  The day was marked by a wide variety of ceremonies, marches and services across Australia.  There was also a march in London and a sports day was held in the Australian camp in Egypt.  It wasn't until the 1920s that Anzac Day became an established national day of commemoration and every state in Australia observed some form of public holiday.  

 

The rituals and services we observe today - the dawn vigils, marches and two-up games started around the mid 1930s and have been a steadfast way of spending the day for the past 80 years.

 

So, why is ceremony so important?

 

It gives us a place to be with other people who are in the same frame of mind.  It gives us an opportunity to reflect on the many different meanings of war.  It gives us a way to speak to lost loved ones, to mourn their passing and to be proud of their courage and their strength. 

 

After the First World War, returned soldiers sought the comradeship they had felt in those quiet, peaceful moments before dawn and so a dawn vigil became the basis for commemoration.

 

Today, we collectively gather together with people that we don't necessarily know, but who are all there for the same reason.  It's usually pretty cold in April, especially at dawn and as you're standing there in the dark, shivering, it gives you a small sense of what those soldiers might have been feeling.  It gives me a feeling of loneliness, respect and gratitude and that is what ceremony does - it takes you out of your own world for a moment and places you into another and makes you think.

 

What will you be doing for Anzac Day?

 

There are plenty of ways for you to add ceremony to Anzac Day...

 

* Get together with famiy and friends and talk about it "Lest we forget".  
* Tell the younger generations the stories of the heros, both sung and unsung.
* Visit Gallipoli - I have never been to a more moving place

 

* Join a dawn service near you
* Keep up your own comradeship with your mates with a get together and game of two-up

 

This next snippet was on a friend's Facebook page today.....

"A lovely military man selling poppies stopped me today and asked if he could re-position mine - while doing so he told me that women should wear their poppy on their right side; the red represents the blood of all those who gave their lives, the black represents the mourning of those who didn't have their loved ones return home, and the green leaf represents the grass and crops growing and future prosperity after the war destroyed so much. The leaf should be positioned at 11 o'clock to represent the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the time that World War One formally ended. He was worried that younger generations wouldn't understand this and his generation wouldn't be around for much longer to teach them."

 

Lest we forget...

 

Talk to one of our celebrants who can assist you with preparing a ceremony.

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Feb
02

Celebrants do more than just weddings...

It's true that a lot of civil celebrants only conduct marriage ceremonies or funerals but there are also many Family Celebrants who offer their services for a multitude of celebrations that will continue on throughout your lifetime.  

Betrothal / Engagement Ceremonies

Making the decision to get married is just as important and exciting as it is to actually get married, so why not celebrate it?  When you get engaged one of you is asking the other to spend the rest of your lives together.  And if the answer is yes, then that is cause for celebration.  A promise to one day soon be married (legally you need to wait at least one full month after you've signed the Notice of Intended Marriage form with your celebrant).  How wonderful it will be to find a CCN Celebrant who will become your Family Celebrant for all the celebratory milestones in your lives.

Blessingway Ceremonies

This is a lovely ceremony for when you're pregnant or adopting a child.  It is a beautiful and relaxed way to honour the mother in her preparation for the arrival of her baby/child.  There are rituals that can be performed and advice offered from experienced friends and relatives.

 

Naming Ceremonies

This is the non relgious version of a Christening or Baptism for your baby/child or your newly adopted baby or child to welcome them into their family and their community.  Naming Ceremonies are also for people who are transitioning from one gender to another or simply wanting a new beginning in their lives where a new name is part of that transition.

 

Coming of Adolescence Ceremonies

In some cultures, there are specific rituals for boys who are coming into manhood and young ladies have always had biological changes welcoming them into womanhood, although this is more often a secret tha tis not spoken about let alone celebrated.  However in Australia we don't really have a custom or tradition where the young men and woman are ackknowledged or eased into this special and sometimes confusing time in their lives.  In the past we had debutant balls and coming out parties which were designed to introduce young ladies into society, but that tradition is surely fading.  The Coming of Adolescence Ceremony is ackowledging and celebrating the transitions that your teenagers are passing through.  No longer a child, but not quite yet an adult and yet they are acheiving milestones that should be recognised.

Coming Out Ceremonies

Whether you are gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgender or one of the many other gender identies, that is nobody's business but your own.  However, if you want to share and celebrate this joyous occasion and you or your child have been brave enough and found the confidence to come out to your family and friends, then why not celebrate?  Coming out is all about accepting yourself the way you are and living a life that is true for you.  You are you.  You are beautiful and you should be celebrated and be celebrated!

Coming of Age Ceremonies - 18th, 21st

Since the 1960's when the legal age of 21 was reduced down to 18 in Australia [read more about this here] we typically celebrate by getting as drunk as we possibly can.  With all the alcohol related violence, it is way overdue that we look at our coming of age celebrations and rethink what it actually means to become an adult.  It means amoungst a long list of responsibilities: voting, signing legal documents and travelling.  Yes, it means that you can drink legally, but it also means that you need to be mature enough to do it responsibly.  So why not make your coming of age party more meaningful with a ceremony that honours who you are, where you've come from and where you're going in your life.

Special Birthday Celebrations

Is Nanna turning 80?  Is Granddad 75 already? What fabulously interesting lives they must have lead in their time. Why not celebrate in a style befitting family elders and leaders by giving your loved one a Party with a Purpose.  A "This is your life" tribute honours their lives, their accomplishments, their hardships, their knowledge and their experiences.

Anniversary Celebrations & Wedding Vow Renewals

Each year that a couple has worked at their marriage should be celebrated.  Check out the Wedding Anniversary symbols page for some ideas on your next anniversary party theme and how you could incorporate a meaningful ceremony with the help of your CCN Celebrant.  When you've been married for a while, you can look back on the vows you made at your marriage ceremony and decide whether they are still fitting for your relationship now or whether you'd like to add some new ones to match how your relationship has evolved.

Moving in Together

Without the legal paperwork, buying a house or moving in together is a commitment that can in some ways be just like a marriage.  You'll need to communicate effectively to feed the pets and work together to pay the bills.  This momentous occasion should be celebrated.  You could invite everyone around and combine your housewarming party with a commitment ceremony and really party with a purpose!

 

Why not talk to one of our CCN Celebrants to help you make your next celebration more meaningful?

 

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Dec
10

As Christmas approaches, beware of elephants,

As Christmas approaches, my heart goes out to the countless number of bereaved parents who maybe facing their first, second, third, 20th or even 50th Christmas without their precious child.

Some will have died as babies, children, teenagers or adults, their age is irrelevant, just as how long ago it was.  Some would have died through illness, car accidents or may have even made a decision to take their own life.  Whatever the reason or cause the result is the same, their parents face Christmas without them.

Those who have not had this experience are probably thinking, β€œ30 years ago?  You’re holding onto the past, you should be over it by now”.  But the truth is, just as in life, your child is yours for all time, whether they are alive or not – they are still a part of the family you love.

Read more

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Jul
28

A Day of Hope

Birth-coming-age-cover-BW-250A Day of Hope

Recently I visited a young family who had lost their second son at 3 months; he had caught a virus at 6 days and 11 weeks later he passed away, at home, surrounded by his loving family.  The family had contacted me to conduct his Memorial service on Monday 19th August. 

The family is having a pagoda constructed in the backyard and planting a Japanese maple beside it during the Memorial Service and the mulch will be stones with messages from family and friends loving placed.  A visual reminder of their son’s life. So I thought that they chose this date as the construction would be complete by then.

Asking why this particular day, I was told β€œthis is a Day of Hope, and we wish to support this initiative by Carly Marie.  Check out the website www.carlymarieprojectheal.com.au.” When I arrived home I checked this webpage. 

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May
10

Why Ethical Wills Are Important

LIVING-WILLS-250From Rebecca Skinner
Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia & CCN Inc Member
www.celebratinglifeschapters.com/
β€Ž

'Ethical Wills' are a Jewish tradition and the Hebrew Bible first described them 3,000 years ago (Genesis Ch.49).

Ethical Wills, which are not legal documents, can be either the life story of a person, the lessons they have learnt and wish to pass on or even their dreams and wishes for family members.

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Apr
24

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

25th April Australia remembers.

At the days dawn commemorative services are held across the nation and later ex-servicemen and women meet and march through our towns and cities to the War Memorials where commemorative services are held.Β  In these ways, ANZAC Day is a time for reflection on the many different meanings of war.

Let us also take time out to remember, support and honour all those fine young men and woman who have served their country in all theatres of war and returned home.Β  You cannot always see the wounds inflicted in war and today as we bow our heads in silence let us say thank you for the sacrifices made by those who have served.

It is traditional for sprigs of rosemary to be worn on ANZAC Day as this beautiful aromatic herb is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.Β  So visit your herb garden, trim the rosemary and share with your family and friends when you remember, honour and support our Servicemen and women.

As they march in time by Janice Woolrych

Remember the ANZAC’s in your hearts

Your thoughts and your prayers

As we share this ANZAC Day

As they march in time.

Β 

Remember the serving men and woman as you watch

Those gallant veterans march in time.

Left right left, eyes right, eyes front, left right left.

Those veteransΒ grow older and slower

As they march in time.

Β 

Remember the ANZAC’s….

Remember them in your hearts.Β 

As they march in time.

Remember those servingΒ Β 

Left right left ..... as they march in time.

If we remember them,

They will continue to march in time.

Lest We Forget.

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Mar
30

Michael - In Memory Of tribute

β€œA Loving Heart is the Truest Wisdom ..” Charles Dickens
Free On-Line Memorials in our "In Memory Of" section

Introducing ASKACELEBRANT''s newest section "In Memory Of" on our www.celebrants.org.au website.

Do you have a loved one or friend, or respect a community member for whom you would like to make a tribute for their life?

Every day there are short poppies that stand tall in the lives of families and communities who never receive a public acknowledge in the "Obits" of even the local papers. ASKACELEBRANT wants to hear some of their stories.

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Dec
10

Reflect & Remember

Suzie-G-celebrantThe third Celebrant initiated Community Memorial Service was held on Wednesday 5th December in Ferntree Gully, Melbourne.  Robyn O'Connell, Funeral Celebrant, headed up a small, but dedicated team of celebrants to once again organise a memorial service for the community in Melbourne. 

2012 saw the first celebrant organised Mother's Day and Father's Day Services, and now a Christmas Service "Reflect ~ Remember" can be added to the list. 

Several highly respected celebrants dedicated their time to share their feelings and help those in our community, who find Christmas

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Nov
29

Holidays like Christmas can be bitter sweet times for many

From Robyn O'Connell CMC
Melbourne Civil Celebrant
Celebrants & Celebrations Network Australia Celebrant Member
www.silvercelebrants.com.au

Losing a loved one to death is hard. That loved one's absence is obvious - especially on those occasions when family and friends come together to celebrate their birthdays, anniversaries, shared beliefs or shared community times set aside for holidays.

Such times can be very lonely for those whose depth of grief is still acute. Being sad amongst others who are contented and happy can make that loneliness particularly painful.

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