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  • Writer's pictureChristina Mackay

Last Rites | A Loved One's Final Journey

As a celebrant, I am privileged to spend time with families in the happiest moments but also at their saddest and most vulnerable.

In this blog, I want to talk about how I see my role as a funeral celebrant, and how I work with families to celebrate their loved ones' life.

I consider it an enormous privilege to work with families to enable them to say their goodbyes to a loved one.

Last Rituals celebrant on auckland

Nothing ever prepares us for the loss of someone we hold dearly, and for many families, it is often the first experience of having organized a funeral, and they often don’t realize what is possible. It is always a time when family and f friends and the community find their lives taking on a deeper meaning as we slow down to reflect recount and share in the memories.

So firstly I see my role as an enabler to families to offer ideas around the Celebration of Life Service, which can be anything from the immediate family arriving early and decorating the casket before friends and family arrive, to writing messages on to the casket.

I have officiated a service where the son sang a song to his father and another where the family played live music, another where, as each speaker finished, they placed a gift of relevance to the deceased onto the casket, all of these ideas help to enable the family and empower them to find the words going them the confidence to speak.

Secondly, I see my role as holding space for the family so that they can share in the stories and memories of their loved ones. As it is through the continued sharing of the stories that their memory of them will stay alive.

I work with respect and mindful care to weave the family's words, thoughts, and memories of the deceased life narrative with all their quirks and contradictions into a dignified and memorable service. Honoring the special and unique person they were in your life.

Below is a small offering of poem titles that you may find useful.

  • Taking Leave - Erice Fairbrother: From “Water in the Trees -poems from Kopua and other quiet places”

  • The Bridge - Joy Cowley

  • Grief Is Like A Jigsaw Puzzle - Victoria Guthrie

  • Blessing for one who has taken their own life - David Whyte

  • Friend - Hone Tuwhare

  • Excerpt from the Tempest - Shakespeare

  • Excerpt from As you Like it ( The seven Stages of Man) - Shakespeare

  • This is Love - Rumi

  • On Death - Kahlil Gibran

  • Life Unbroken by Henry Scott Holland

If you are interested in any of my services, please visit my website or contact me.


Christina Mackay.


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