"I’ve spent a large part of my professional life helping people deal with life. Now I’ve decided to help people deal with death too."
- KARL ROLLISON
Thank you for visiting my page. If you are here because you need my services then I’d like to extend my sympathies to you and your family.
There are a few things I’d like you to understand...
Firstly, grief is a strange thing. It affects different people at different times in different ways. Despite what people tell us, we can’t control our emotions; we can observe and manage but not control. The key to managing grief is to acknowledge whatever emotion we are feeling and accept them as ‘OK’. Go with them rather than resist against them.
Secondly, no two people will experience the same emotions from the same bereavement. This can cause friction within a family as people expect others to act in a certain way. Accept the fact that grief doesn’t follow any rules and accept the emotions of the other people grieving.
Understanding this simple fact can help alleviate stress during an already stressful period.
Another thing that helps during this time is to remember that a funeral should be a celebration of life. If I am helping someone deal with grief I’ll ask them to remember a time they witnessed the loved one laughing. Add as many details to the memory as possible. What were they laughing at? What were they wearing? What did their laugh sound like? Did they cry when they laughed?
The above works really well and can raise a smile in an otherwise humourless time. It also shifts the focus to their life rather than their departure.
If you employ my services then we’ll need to discuss some delicate matters so it’s important that you’re comfortable and relaxed. We’ll chat for about an hour, so it should be at a time appropriate for you. You’ll need to feel calm and relaxed. We can chat over the phone or via a video conference. Alternatively, I can come and visit you at your home.
One of the key things to remember about funeral services is that they usually last around 30 minutes unless a double slot is opted for.
Remember, this is a celebration of the life of the departed, so some things you should think about:
Were they religious at all? If not, then we could create a secular funeral service. This makes the whole affair about the individual without any mention of god or the bible.
It's not unusual for familes to request a funeral with no aspects of religion but to include the Lord's prayer. Most people are familiar with this Prayer, and for many, it may be their only experience with relgion.
Some people have not followed a religion enough to warrant a religious leader to take the service but still want a religious funeral including, bible readings, hymns and prayers.
When the religious aspect has been established and the religious framework decided it is then time to focus on the individual.
Everyone has particular songs or music they favoured and the music throughout the service should reflect this. There are usually 3 to be decided on:
The entry music. This is played when the congregation file into the service. It can be something familiar to bring everyone together.
The reflection music. This is played in the middle of the service where, perhaps, an image of the deceased is displayed for the mourners to sit with their individual memories of the loved one.
The exit music. This is a preferable to have something uplifting so everyone leaves the ceremony on a high with lovely memories.
Many funeral services include memories of the deceased (Eulogy). This can be written and read by a member of the family. Alternately it could be written by the family and read by me. The option that many people go for is for me to write the eulogy based on our interview. I will then send it to you before the service for your approval. I will then deliver it on the day.
This is a very basic overview of what I can offer but please feel free to contact me with any questions.
WHAT IS A CELEBRANT?
I didn’t know what a Celebrant was until my dad passed away...more about that later.What do they do? One official definition goes something like this...
“a person who officiates at funerals which are not closely connected with religious beliefs and practises”
As with most definitions they tend to be clinical and impersonal. My question was:“What do they ACTUALLY do?”Well, there are two main types of funeral services: religious or secular (non-religious).
Religious services are for an individual who actively followed a specific religion. Therefore the service will be carried out by a leader of their particular religion such as a Priest, Vicar, Rabbi or Imam.Secular services would be performed by a Humanist. The ceremony would be completely about the individual and devoid of any religious connotations, such as mentioning God or the Bible...there would be no prayers or hymens.In the middle of these sits the Civil Celebrant.
He can do the work of any of the above as well as tailoring the service to include aspects of each. For example, lots of people don’t want any aspect of religion at all but still request the Lord’s Prayer.
When my dear old dad died a few years ago I found myself numbly sitting at my mum’s dining room table staring at four other dazed members of my immediate family. The funeral arrangements were in progress and we were now waiting for the” Celebrant” to arrive.
To be honest, I didn’t even know what a Celebrant was. What I did know, however, was that the atmosphere in the room was not what one would describe as “harmonious”.
He walked into the room. He had a kind face, a warm smile, a full head of hair, a neat beard and was dressed in dark, smart-casual clothes. The most important thing he brought, however, was a much-needed air of serenity. He listened to everyone’s concerns and quietly made notes. When the time was right he stepped in and calmly took control of the room.
He subtly extracted the essential information for the framework of the funeral service: how much religious content was required, favourite songs, hymns, poems, etc. He then began coaxing out the human aspects of the family unit with my dad as the central character. He took us from prickly, warring individuals to a warm, loving, laughing family unit within 90 minutes and a few cups of tea. He gave me the confidence to write and deliver my dad’s eulogy with the understanding that, should I falter, he would step in.
This particular Celebrant is somewhat of a celebrity in his area and I could see why, he understands people. You see, we were all grieving in our own ways. Grief is a rollercoaster of emotion and no two people have the same response to the same loss. Whether you are feeling anger, resentment, abandonment, guilt, despair, confusion or nothing at all, the most important thing is to realise that it’s OK. We cannot control our emotions, we are at their mercy and it’s easier to ride them out without judgement. I realised that a good Celebrant isn’t just a good listener, writer and speaker but is also there to offer guidance and support. They are there to make a difficult time more manageable.
I’ve made my professional life about helping others. I was already a professional listener and writer in addition to being a seasoned public speaker but I felt that something was missing. So when I was approached after the lovely funeral service and recommended that I consider being a full-time Celebrant, it just made sense. So Here I am.
I have been extremely fortunate to receive training from two seasoned and highly regarded professional Civil Celebrants, Steve Howes and Gerard Dalton. On successful completion of my training I was invited to join the highly prestigious Guild of Professional Civil Celebrants.
I am a former Harley Street therapist, Registered Hypnotherapist, Life Coach, Stress and Phobia Consultant, Grief and Bereavement Counsellor and Author of 3 highly successful self-help books. I have also written for newspapers around the world as well as medical journals.
I can write and deliver your service to a high degree but, more importantly, I’m a professional listener and I genuinely care about people.
If you’d like to use my services please call me on 0780 8883888.
Or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to know more about me visit karlrollison.com
Thank you for your time.