The Sweetest Words for Growing Beyond Grief

Deb Brandt

Deb Brandt

Certified Funeral Celebrant, Professional Writer, Public Speaker and Educator

Celebrant Services

As a certified funeral celebrant, Deb is a story-catcher, listening for and collecting the stories of a family and their precious loved one. Collaborating with family and funeral directors, Deb develops highly individualized memorial or celebration of life services that tell the stories of a life well-lived. Together with family members, Deb remembers the one who has died while creating the space for mourning to begin. Service elements may include music, stories, video tributes and poetry, as well as traditional practices.

Some people choose to work with Deb prior to their own death. She helps them define their wishes for how they would like to be remembered and honored. Pre-planning with Deb empowers individuals to have a voice in the process, provides personal peace of mind and helps create a parting gift for their surviving family members.

Deb’s expertise as a celebrant is grounded by a master’s degree in religious studies, certificates in grief and death studies and as a creative grief practitioner. In addition to her work as a celebrant, Deb offers grief education programs in a variety of settings.

Recent Blog Posts

Grief Pandemic | Navigating Traumatic Losses

Grief Pandemic | Navigating Traumatic Losses

Last week I read that for every COVID death, there are at least 9 grieving family members. Grandparents, parents, spouses, and partners, and of course children – while I wonder about the accuracy of such a thought, I know there are many people being affected. With...

Self-Care Through Minding Yourself

Self-Care Through Minding Yourself

Last fall I attended a story telling workshop at Pendle Hill Quaker Center for Study and Contemplation. The workshop was led by Irish poet/theologian Padraig O'Tauma. At the beginning of our time together, Padriag told the large circle of attendees that it was our job...

A New Normal

A New Normal

I keep hearing people talk about arriving at a "new normal." As if the circumstances we are in have already achieved this milestone when we are neck-deep in the shifting sands of uncertainty, vulnerability, and fear. We might have one day that feels like it might be a...

What Are You Planting for the Future?

What Are You Planting for the Future?

With the prevalence of news available to us all in a 24/7 cycle we are all witness, daily, to the unfolding traumas of this pandemic. Every single day we have access to the powerlessness and vulnerability of our families, communities, countries and world. We can...

Echoes of Losses Past

Echoes of Losses Past

After my mom died in 2006, I attended a grief support group at an area hospice. There were many takeaways in that time of loss. One that stays with me in this time of great upheaval is that our losses can have an echo. The feelings of older losses come back and...

COVID-19 Coping

COVID-19 Coping

In the wee hours of the night when sleep escapes me, I start to pray and listen and think about how I can survive wherever this process takes us. Like everyone I know I feel powerless, full of emotion, fearful and broken in turn. Feelings come out of nowhere. They can...

The Grief Diet

The Grief Diet

What I've been reviewing lately is how hard it can be to fix meals in a time of loss. After a long work day, I find myself staring into the refrigerator and freezer and noticing delicious and healthy supplies—and still not being able to choose. Sometimes when I...

Grief Garden

Grief Garden

Digging, chopping, pulling, pushing—shovel, hoe, pitch fork, wheel barrow. Working in my weedy vegetable garden in recent days I began to think about the how much this physical effort is a mirror for grief. Mourning the loss of someone or something seems...

What’s On Your Plan B List?

What’s On Your Plan B List?

In the months after my mom died (nearly 10 years ago) I participated in a grief support group offered by a local hospice facility. One of the takeaways that has stayed with me across the years it to have a plan in advance. That empowering thought—have a...

What is a Funeral Celebrant?

Funeral celebrants bring a personalized approach to creating a meaningful celebration of life or memorial service. Highly trained to work with grieving families, celebrants create the space so that glimpses of hope and encouragement can be experienced. When words aren’t enough, funeral celebrants bring creativity, ideas and elements of ceremony to enable families to honor and remember their loved one. Funeral celebrants serve as resources for the most difficult day in the life of a family.

Covid-19 Loss and Celebrant Offerings

Deb has developed resources for families who lose a loved one to the Coronavirus. Using her experience as a certified celebrant Deb is helping families honor their loss in the days after the death. She is also offering caring conversations to families that will enable them to think about the service they would like when public gatherings are available in the future.

Grief is all around us as we collectively and individually face the losses related to this pandemic. Everything has changed. Making meaning as these traumatic events continue to unfold is very difficult. With gentleness and care, Deb is listening to the needs of those who mourn and supporting the process of being present to fresh grief. Learn more...

Listen: art and story

Listen to Deb's writing experiences and upcoming opportunities on Indy's Art of the Matter with Sharon Gamble on WFYI Radio.

Click here to listen

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Working with Deb

“When you are grieving someone or something you’ve lost, there isn’t an answer or solution or just the right words to make you feel whole again. Working with Deb was a gift within my grieving. Deb’s gentleness and thoughtful listening was so compassionate.

There was healing kindness within her silence, between and among her words. She followed my lead, guiding me gently toward connection allowing me to celebrate my memories and live fully within the sadness of my loss. She helped me. My heart opened around her in a unique and unguarded manner.

It was with the utmost gratitude and highest respect that I recommend her to anyone who is working to grow within and ultimately beyond grief.”


- Jill

Certifications

Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner