Why I became a funeral celebrant in Adelaide

My decision to become a funeral celebrant in Adelaide came from my own personal experiences. Both of my parents died relatively young, my mum in a car accident and my dad of cancer. Ever since my mother’s death I have been drawn to better understanding grief. I was especially interested in the role that funerals can play in healthy mourning and grieving.

Over time, I have followed the real changes our society is making in our attitudes to death and our funeral practices. Death care at home, sustainable burials and DIY funerals are all growing in popularity. They help us to make better sense of our own mortality and to make peace with the deaths of people we love.

At the same time, I have taken great comfort and seen much beauty in our traditional rituals. In my work, I want to help people create a funeral that is true to the spirit of a life as it was lived.

 

My mother’s influence

My mother was a great storyteller and I grew up knowing that stories help us to make sense of life and of each other. I believe that a funeral gives us a chance to tell the most important story of them all – the story of a person’s life and the role they have played in our own. This is a rich and powerful gift.

My mum gave my lots of strange advice when I was a child. But it was the advice she gave on the last day of her life that has been the most profound. The events of her death underlie my decision to become an independent funeral celebrant in Adelaide. I have written more about this on the page the story behind my business.

 

Becoming a celebrant

I began my celebrant studies in 2008, but when my partner was offered a job in Abu Dhabi, I put those plans on hold and spent seven years in the Middle East. While there, I cared for my children and worked for an international humanitarian organisation. I also completed studies in psychology, and I kept reading and writing about grief and mourning.

Moving back to Adelaide, I started work as a funeral assistant. I knew immediately that this was where I wanted to spend the rest of my working life. As I learnt more about funerals I knew that I wanted to be a funeral celebrant.

My work as a celebrant is based on the skills I have developed as a writer and performer. I also draw on my education in literature and psychology. And of course, my many life experiences have taught me a lot. I am always looking at ways to extend my skills and knowledge. In 2017, I took the wonderful residential course offered by Robyn O’Connell.