“…For me to pick just one moment, to cherish, save and keep,
is proving really difficult, as I’ve gathered up a heap.
Digging deep inside my heart, I found the safe and looked inside,
There was room for lots of moments, in fact hundreds if I tried…”
Extract from the poem ‘My Memory Library’
by Sarah Blackstone
In this section you will find more information that will help you to think about planning the funeral and exactly how you would like it to be. Please click on any of the links to find out more information.
Amid the uniqueness of our life’s journey, there is also commonality. Times when we need to pause to reflect for events which can change our lives and the journey of our own souls. Times when, as families, friends and communities, however big or small, we come together to share in a joyous occasion, or amid a terrible sadness we need acknowledged.
More and more now, people feel the need, even a longing, the mark these events in a meaningful, yet personal way which resonates for them – perhaps something a bit different to what might be considered a ‘traditional’ funeral ceremony. Of course, sometimes, that traditional Funeral Ceremony may also be exactly what’s required.
For most of us though, funerals are not in our thoughts until the time when we have to plan one is upon us. By that stage, we are often already grieving – still numb from the initial loss. Inevitably, with so much to do; choices and decisions to make, important thoughts, or simply having the time to reflect can begin to pass in a blur as the opportunity to explore all of the options erodes. Think of you too, though. It’s OK to say ‘I need a little time to catch my breath’ or ‘I need a moment’.
Arranging the Funeral
Here are some tips on arranging the Funeral and there is a lot of useful information on that link. Of course, your Funeral Director may help you with a lot of the arrangements, some of which – particularly for cremation – might be dictated by the choice of ‘slots’ they have secured at local crematoria. You may also want to specify having the funeral in the morning or afternoon. Crematoriums are normally busiest between 12:00 and 3pm.
If you feel that the funeral will be well attended, or you know that there will be a lot of tributes, then most crematoria will allow you to take 2 consecutive ‘slots’ for an extra cost.
For example; at the South Essex Crematorium, funerals are held every 40 minutes in both Chapels. This allows approximately 25-30 minutes for the actual Ceremony itself and also allows your Family to enter and exit the Ceremony. Having an additional ‘slot’ would then allow up to another 30-35 minutes. You will need to tell your Funeral Director, or me about this.
Times between funerals vary at each crematorium. Forest Park Crematorium currently has funerals 45 minutes apart, whilst at Chelmsford Crematorium, funerals are 1 hour apart in each Chapel.
If you are arranging a burial however, whether in a church yard or at a woodland burial park, then you will find the time you can have it revolves more around you, rather than being slightly dictated by the venue. Typically, Epping Forest Woodland Burial Park allows 2 hours per funeral.
Some advice on involving Family or friends at the Funeral Ceremony can be found here and there are so many ways to do this. The link will give you some thought provoking ideas of just how much choice you do have available.
- Speaking at the Ceremony.
- Writing the Eulogy, or providing stories for it.
- Participating in any ritual activity – for instance, lighting candles.
- Carrying, or helping to carry the coffin into the venue.
- Free space to speak in the Ceremony.
- Perhaps providing a collage or photo board to be displayed during the Funeral or Memorial Ceremony.
Here is some information on Funerals with Personal Style – again, a lot of information which ensures you get visibility of what is really available to you in terms of choice. Each Funeral Ceremony will be as unique as the person who has died. A crematorium may host many Funeral Ceremonies in a day, but I can guarantee you that each one of them will have been different in its own special ways, so the families will have said the most fitting farewell to their loved one that was possible. I have also added some suggestions, below.
Making things different
Dove Releases. Releasing a dove / doves can be another way to personalise a Funeral Ceremony www.foreverdoves.org are based in Hertfordshire, but also cover Essex.
Coffin Flags & Drapes. These can be provided locally by Eclipse Flags Ltd www.eclipseflags.com who are located in Rochford, Essex.
Balloons. Arranging for balloons to be released may be a great way to honor someone, too. Balloon Wishes of Rayleigh, Essex (01702 233133) should be able to help you if this is something you are interested in doing.
Natural Coffins. Ecoffins, based in Sittingbourne, Kent, are able to provide beautifully made coffins for your loved one. Their website is here.
Urns. Some truly stunning urns are made by Urns UK, whose website is here. They are located in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire.