The Family Meeting
When someone dies, there is a story to be told: who he/she was, what happened, and the meaning for those left behind. Family meetings are an important part of a celebrant’s services and a safe place to begin the grief journey. Several days before the ceremony, we gather family members together for a couple hours – in your home or another location – to share memories of the person who has died.
This gathering has several functions:
• Convey the deceased’s personality and lifestyle, giving the celebrant a well-rounded portrait for the eulogy
• Talk about roles for the ceremony, such as who will speak, deliver a reading, or light a candle
• Perhaps most importantly, start the family’s grieving process in a healthy way: together, and with a guide for the conversation
Family meetings are not required for gathering information, and some decide against a meeting because of time or family dynamics. Many people find, however, that the meeting is one of the most helpful and healing facets of a celebrant’s services. The process of developing a funeral or memorial service provides an opportunity for those shaping the ceremony to reinvent their relationship with the person who has died. All of the emotions and many of the lived experiences with that person are taken out, dusted off, and felt anew. There are tears and laughter, joy and pain. In the creative process as well as the service itself, the presence of the individual becomes tangible in the memories that surface. Together we assemble a mosaic of collected memories- happy, sad, tender, silly, complicated. You will share your memories and take with you a deeper understanding of the honoree for solace and comfort.