Death comes in many ways, at any age, and in any season, and for those left behind it can be a shocking and paralysing time. Unless you specifically request the undertaker, a traditional funeral will see all the legal and ceremonial requirements fulfilled with a minimum of fuss, but these services often fail to reflect the unique character and personality of the dead person.
As a funeral celebrant I will take time to visit you as the bereaved, and get to know through conversation, photographs, stories and memories what sort of a person the deceased was. Tenderly and delicately, we can choose readings, poems and music together that reflects their personality, or I can offer suggestions. In a cremetorium the service would have to have the familiar format as it is time limited, but if you chose a different venue there is much room for creativity, stillness and remembrance.
Funerals do not always have to be solemn events. Though, inevitably, sorrow will be prevalent, the ceremony can be a celebration of the person's life and of what they have given both to the world and to yourselves as the bereaved. It can celebrate not only their achievements, but, perhaps more importantly, the energy they radiated and how they made other people feel when they walked into a room. I would hope to distill all of this into a sensitive, unique occasion, which, as time moves on, could be remembered as a source of solace and comfort.
I am also happy to use any traditional funeral prayers and to bless the coffin and grave if you wish it.
May this grave be blessed by the passing of the seasons.
May it be warmed by the summer sun, covered by the golden leaves of autumn, held by the frosts of winter, and glow with the daffodils of spring.
May it be a place of peace and love for those who come to stand by it and remember.
What you leave behind is not what is engraved on stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives, and hearts, of others.
Dear Reverend Parkinson,
I was today at the funeral service for Terry that you took at Anfield Crematorium. I wanted to contact you to say that it was the most beautiful service that I have ever been to, extremely moving. With very best wishes, Carol B.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for us. Joanna was so happy to have spoken with you before her death. For myself it brought a great deal of comfort to know that the person conducting her funeral had had the opportunity to meet and speak with my amazing, brave sister.
When I sat beside her coffin at Rivington Chapel I felt a tremendous sense of peace. Again thank you for everything. Kind Regards, J.
"He's good, use him again." Jim, Funeral Director, The Co-op Ambrose Grove, to Danielle, Funeral Arranger.
We want to formally thank you most sincerely for the beautiful service on Tuesday. You have a special gift, and it was wonderful how you captured Dad’s character and spirit in the story of his life. One person at the reception told me they were surprised when you said you didn’t know him, and I have just seen his house keepers, who were also present, and they said the same. You gave off an energy that suggested you could have been an old friend of Jack’s saying goodbye. We will therefore treasure the memories of your fresh, compassionate send off of Our Dad for ever. We wish you well and would recommend the type of service you can provide to anyone we come across who has a need. Once again, a huge thank you Phil! S. and S.
We just want to say thank you for giving my Dad such a lovely send off - you really listened to what we said and we thought the Brown Boots were a great touch (that would have made him laugh). A lot of family and friends thought you knew my Dad and that you were a family friend. I am so relieved that my Dad's service went so well because it had been worrying me (I wanted to do my Dad proud because he was such a lovely man and a wonderful Dad) and you certainly helped us to achieve that.
Thank you again Phil. A. and M. D
That was so heart-felt. Our mother would really like to have met you. C. and J.
That was just what he would have wanted, Phil.
Tracy, Liverpool care worker.
We have never felt felt so calm and peaceful sitting with someone as with you. You were such a help in the first few terrible days. Then what you said about our son in the church did him proud and really helped the other school kids as well. S. and D. B.
Dear Rev Parkinson, Just a line to thankyou for the lovely service yesterday. I can only commend you on the geat job you did in the circumstances. Many thanks again. L. L.
The Service you did for my Bob was so beautiful. You caught his personality so well. F. K.
I want to say thankyou again for taking us all through a lovely and fitting goodbye to mum. My hubby and many folk who attended the the funeral said how warmly you took us through the service. Kind regards, P.S.