Serving bereaved families in Shropshire, Worcestershire and beyond
firstname.lastname@example.org 07849 208924
A unique and meaningful farewell for your loved oneThedeathofsomeoneweloveisoneofthemostpainfulexperiencesweeverhaveto face,andifyou’reherebecauseyou’verecentlysufferedsuchalossthenpleaseaccept my sympathies.
MynameisPennyMcCarthyandI’maqualifiedandexperiencedCivilFuneralCelebrant,working withbereavedfamiliestocreatefuneralceremoniesthatfulfil theseneeds.EverypartofaceremonyIco-createwitha bereavedfamilyisindividual,designedtoreflectthepersonality and beliefs of the person who has died.
Fromthewordsofwelcomewhichopentheceremony,tothe wordsofcomfortwhichcloseit;fromthetellingofthestoryofa lifethathasbeenlived,tothewordsoffarewell(sometimes calledthecommittal),spokenasweletgoofthelifethathas ended.Fromwordsofwisdomdrawnfromtheworkofgreat writersandpoets,tomusicthatwassignificanttothepersonwho hasdied,orwhich expressesanimportantsentiment.And,whenwords aren’tenough,usingsymbolsthathavethepowerto expressmorepotentlywhatwefeel-anopenbook,the lightingofacandle(wherepermittedbythevenue),the placing of objects important to the person who has died.
All these elements are woven together to create a unique farewell to a unique individual and help us begin to let go of us some of our pain and begin the process of coming to terms with our loss.
A ‘good’ funeral?
Itmayseemstrangetospeakofafuneralasbeing‘good’.Surelyit’sthelast placewewanttofindourselves.Butfuneralshaveanimportantpurposefor those left behind in helping us come to terms with our loss.Agoodfuneralislikeajourney.Wearrive,feelinglostandinpain,perhaps unabletoreallyacceptthatthepersonwelovedhasdied.Throughwords, musicandsymbolicactions,weacknowledgethepainandlosswefeel,we honour,respectandcelebrateallthatwasgoodabouttheirlifebefore formallysayingourfarewells.Andfuneralsaren’tnecessarilyallsad-aswe rememberthelifeofourlovedoneandallthejoywesharedwiththem,there will be smiles, too, and even laughter.Andwhenwe‘getitright’weleaveattheendfeelingchanged,somehow better,lighter.We’veacknowledgedtheimportanceofthelifeourlovedone led,theimpacttheyhadonus.Andalongthewaywe’veletgoofsomeofthe pain,andbeguntheprocessofcomingtotermswithalifewithouttheir physicalpresence,knowingtoothat,inaveryrealway,theywillalwaysbe withus.Manyofmyclientssayafterwardsthattheyweredreadingthe funeral, but in the end it was a good day and they felt comforted by it.
‘I must say a big thankyou for leading A's funeral. It was a celebration of everything that made her a unique person. Friends and family have commented that we summed her up perfectly – warts and all!...She would have loved it....You covered everything in such a remarkable way, reflecting her true spirit..a good combination of levity and deference. Penny, you made it meaningful, uplifting and a very personal farewell. Thankyou so much – she would have approved!’
Whensomeonewelovehasdied,sayingourfarewellsinawaythatinstinctivelyfeels right,allowingustoexpressourfeelingsoflossandsorrow,whilealsohonouringand celebrating their life, is an important part of the healing process
Simple dignified farewell, or joyous celebration of life.Religious, spiritual or completely non-religious.However you choose to do it, it’s a privilege for me to travel part of your journey with you and help ensure that yourloved one receives the funeral they - and you - deserve,and I’ll do my utmost to help you achieve that.
A kind of funeral that’s responsive to your needs
Manypeoplefindthattraditionalreligiousfuneral ceremonies,ofwhateverfaithtradition,nolonger accuratelyreflectthenatureoftheirbeliefs.Humanist ceremoniesmayexcludeanymentionofreligionor spirituality.AsanindependentcelebrantI’mfreetorespondtoyour wishes.Sowhetheryourlovedonehadnoreligiousbelief orheldaspiritualbeliefwhichdidn’tquitefitintoan establishedfaithtradition,orhadamorephilosophical approachtolife,I’mequallyhappytoworkwithyouto designaceremonythatreflectsthat.I’veledceremonies withnoreligiouscontent,thathonourbeliefsin Paganism,BuddhismandJudaism,andothersforpeople whohadverypersonalspiritualorphilosophicalbeliefs. Andifyou’dlikeafamilymemberorfriendtoleadapart of the ceremony drawn from your faith tradition I welcome this and will support them to do so.
‘Although it was a sad occasion and most of us shed a few small tears, the reflective and philosophical tone of the ceremony was in keeping with my father's spiritual outlookand has given me great comfort.’
‘We could not have asked for anything more, what a perfect farewell to a wonderful woman. Everyone commented on how lovely the service was. Thank you Penny, for making a really difficult time for us a little bit easier.’
‘The tone you set was perfect in every way.It was not too sombre nor too joyous, it held a middle ground which was exactly what I was looking for.It was respectful and was a true reflection of D.The praise from all who attended was universal and it has certainly raised a question in many minds about how they would like their own funerals to be conducted.’
Copyright Penny McCarthy 2022
‘We have a mixed bag of friends of different beliefsand views on life and theyall seemed to have comeout more uplifted than downcast. It was whatit was meant to be -just a celebration of lifeas C and I have always thought it should be.’
For a copy of the leaflet ‘Planning a Civil Funeral’, click here