Not everyday in a celebrant’s life is about helping people on the happiest day of their lives, when they pledge their commitment and dreams to each other and look forward to their future together. Sometimes we have to do a full circle and be with people when they are at their saddest, people who feel that they’ve not had long enough to live out their pledges and dreams with their loved ones, whose future together has been snatched away too soon.

Yesterday, I helped a wife say goodbye to her husband in the most uplifting, dignified and beautiful way possible and although it was an occasion full of sadness, it was also complete with laughter and wonderful memories. With two heartfelt tributes written and read by close family members and music, handpicked to celebrate the life of the deceased, it was a fitting way to honour the passing of someone so special and dear to the family and friends who have been left behind.

A funeral is already by nature a solemn occasion, so it is my belief as with other Humanists that we must do what we can to see the positive side of death and honour and celebrate someone’s life, through music, the telling of stories and eulogies, poems and beautiful readings and anything else that people feel captures their love and respect for their loved ones.

None of us can evade death, but we can take comfort in knowing that on our departure we can be remembered, commemorated and celebrated by our family and friends, with the knowledge that we will live on in their hearts and minds.

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