My name is Debbie Merritt, and I am a trained Independent Funeral Celebrant and member of the Fellowship of Professional Celebrants. You are in safe hands
I work mostly in the North Devon and North Cornwall area, but do work around the South West on request.
Every ceremony I create is unique, just as your loved one is unique. I will meet with you and spend time getting to know your loved one, and the things that made them so specially ‘them’. I will then write a ceremony that honours them and celebrates their life, but also reflects and sensitively acknowledges your sadness at this time. My aim is create a ceremony that is respectful and caring, and uplifting. There are no ‘rules’ in my ceremonies, and I welcome contributions from family and friends, and will incorporate them whenever possible.
These days people often develop their own philosophies about religion and spirituality, and I acknowledge this in my ceremonies, whatever faith or no faith someone may be.
Ideally I will meet with people as they prepare for their death. This may seem morbid to some, but the one thing sure in life is that at some point we will die. By preparing our wishes in advance we can take much stress away from our loved ones at a difficult and emotional time. You can also visit the Dying Matters website for more information www.dyingmatters.org .
I am a member of the Dying Matters Coalition, and of the Natural Death Society, supporting the Natural Death Centre, www.naturaldeath.org.uk
Your funeral directors are also a good source of local information, and can help with such things as offering payment plans and advising about local facilities for burials and cremations, as well as information about local celebrants.
Ideally I will meet with you before the ceremony, although sometimes this simply isn’t possible, in which case we can make arrangements by email or Skype.
It would be helpful if, before we have our meeting, you could give some thoughts as to what, if the deceased hasn’t already made their own requests, you would like to be included. Do bear in mind that there are time limits to ceremonies held at a crematorium, however, tributes and memories can still continue at the wake, if there is to be one.
The more detail I have, the more meaningful I can make the ceremony. Things such as where they were born, siblings, school days, young adulthood, memberships of groups or societies, achievements, favourite memories, sayings, holidays etc.
It would also be helpful to know how many people will wish to speak, and if there is someone who will want to read and write the eulogy. If at any point someone doesn’t feel able to stand and read their tribute, I will of course step in and do that for them
Non Religious Services
These services do not mention religion at all, although that doesn’t change the ‘spirit’ of the ceremony, The ceremony will still be a moving tribute, using music, silence and poetry for example.
Many people today have a spirituality that is not tied to any particular faith or religion. I can sensitively incorporate any wishes you have in the ceremony.
New Age/Spiritualist/Pagan ceremonies
I am particularly experienced in this area, and will be able to incorporate your personal wishes, beliefs and suggestions into your ceremony.
I am a registered celebrant with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids www.druidry.org having completed their course of training.