I believe that I was born to be a celebrant. I’ve always been a woman who knew that life needed ceremony. As a young girl, I said prayers and quoted poetry over cats, dogs, birds etc. When I found myself suddenly single again, I wrote and performed a funeral for my marriage, complete with the burial of the ashes of long ago love letters in a beautiful sugar bowl.
I’ve always known from somewhere deep inside that so many of the moments in our lives longed for ritual and ceremony. Moments that had something to say.
And then one day, I knew that what I felt was the truth. July 11, 2003. My brother Jon’s life ended in a flash. My baby brother. He wasn’t supposed to be gone before me or my sister, and he especially wasn’t supposed to be gone before our dad. But he was, and none of us could change that. The family was a mess. The funeral arrangements were non-existent. No one knew what to do or where to turn. Something from deep within me said, “Call his wife, offer to do the service.”
With great fear, I made the phone call and offered to be the one who would send him on his final earthly journey. She accepted my offer and the next 24 hours were a complete blur. Family, friends, tears and stories. Stories that became the eulogy for Jon. Stories that carried all of us through those awful days of realization that he was gone. Stories that became the defining moment of my life. Jon’s story. I was determined that he would not be remembered by the way he died, but by the life that he lived. A life of passion, laughter, excellence and pain. A real life.
Jon’s story needed to be told. So does yours and your loved ones. Every story is waiting to be told.