Funeral Officiant, Memorials, End of Life

Funeral Officiant, Memorials, End of Life

A grieving heart needs time, time to heal, freedom to cry.
No need to pretend to the world you are ok because you are not.
A thought shared by my Aunt, on her experience of mourning the loss of her daughter.
Jennifer Nealon Garone, Funeral Officiant.

 

Funeral Officiant: Custom Funerals, Memorials, and End of Life Celebrations

There is perhaps nothing more sorrowful in the experience of being human than saying a final goodbye to someone we love.  When I was eleven, long before I even had an inkling of being a funeral officiant, my beloved nine year old cousin was hit by car and died.  It was the first time tragic death had struck my young life, and I was reeling.  During the funeral, the priest said, “God plucked his favorite and most beautiful flower for His garden.”  The priest’s words upset me, deeply, so much so that they are still with me, more than thirty years after they were spoken.  He didn’t capture the beautiful soul of my best friend, he didn’t tell stories about who she was and how she lived in her short nine years, and the funeral did nothing to address the deep pain and confusion and loss I was feeling.

 

I think I wanted to hear the priest say, “This sucks. Bad.” Or…. “This is impossible to make sense of.” Or…. “This will be painful for a long time, but there is a way through.” The platitudes did not comfort me. And maybe that really is it: I longed (and still long) to be met in the reality of the situation, to be honestly told by a funeral officiant, “This is terrible. None of us want to be here for this reason today. And yet, here we are…. so…. let’s wail, let’s grieve, let’s find our way through together.”  (read more of my thoughts about this experience)

 

Now that I am a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant specializing as a funeral officiant, I know that this childhood experience planted the early seeds of my dedication and my calling to create beautiful, authentic, and honest funerals and memorials.  Whether we are marking the tragic end of a life cut too short, or celebrating the fullness of a life lived to a ripe old age, our funerals and memorials need to feel real and relevant, in order to help nurture and sustain us through our grieving.  We need to know and feel that we are truly honoring the ending of a life.  Sharing all the paradoxical feelings that arise when we face the death of a loved one, sharing their full life story, and sharing our grief as well as our praise, creates layers of richness and depth and adds authenticity to the act of saying, “Goodbye.” We are fully present to all that we are bidding adieu.

 

A lovingly and well crafted funeral, memorial, or end of life celebration is the foundation upon which your healing journey is built.

 

As your funeral officiant and celebrant, I will take the time to get to know you and your family.  I will sit with you to learn what is important to you, to hear the stories, facts and events of your loved one’s birth, death, and everything in between.  I will support you in making your own meaning, in your own way, and with your own understanding of what is sacred. I will help you choose music, readings, and rituals and incorporate contributions from everyone who wants to be a part of the ceremony.  We might cry, we might laugh, we might be filled with sorrow, and we might experience some joy — all of it is welcome.

 

In short, it is my honor to create a custom funeral, memorial, or end of life celebration that is a true reflection of the deceased, that gives you and your community the sense of sharing a moment that is sacred and real.

 

I offer these Life Passage Ceremonies in and around Boulder and Denver:

  • End of Life Celebrations
  • Funeral and Memorial Ceremonies
  • Ceremony Facilitation (you have created the ceremony, but I am your MC, and guide the service)
  • Anniversary of Death Ceremonies
  • Wakes and Living Wakes
  • Home Funerals
  • Grief Sharing Circles
  • Gravesite and Final Disposition Ceremonies

 

If you are looking for someone who holds a reverential, nontraditional, and compassionate understanding, who is committed to helping people mourn and celebrate in ways that feel true to them, please contact me.

I was very emotionally touched by the words you used when you came over last week. I keep thinking I’m over most of the grieving, but deep emotions still get triggered often by some of the simplest things. You have a gentle, caring way of expressing what you believe. I think it’s great that you have chosen work that lets you help others learn to express and act on their beliefs and feelings. It’s very therapeutic. I think people may not have been fully ready for the depth that you went to, but they soon went with your lead. The singer said that she had trouble singing because she was filled with deep emotions. You obviously care greatly about people, and it’s wonderful to see you use that in your work.
-MA, Boulder, Colorado

Thank you Jen. Your words at the ceremony were very meaningful and I think they had a large impact on those who attended. Thank you so much for working with us and for honoring “M” so well. I miss her incredibly, it will be a very long process moving on in my journey.
-MC, Boulder, Colorado