Every loss has its own unique stories. The story of the life lived, stories about the person’s influence and impact on those he or she loved, stories of shortcomings and successes. A multitude of stories help define, honor and celebrate the one who has died. Every time I perform a funeral with a family, I relish learning about the ways in which the person chose to live their one wild and precious life. Family and friends have taught me that it is in the stories told that we find glimpses of hope for how to live life forward after a death.
Stories are also supported by generous rituals. We need rituals when there are not enough words to express the loss and grief we are experiencing. Rituals can look very traditional and include practices such as musical elements, candle lighting, the comfort of scripture or poetry. Rituals can also include very personal elements. Moments of silence, offering space to write notes for surviving family members, the spoken words of family and friends. Ritual elements may include inviting everyone to wear their favorite sports team jersey or to join in the funeral procession riding their motorcycle. It might include sparklers or firecrackers or fresh baked pies filling the room with their scent. Rituals offer ways to connect with the beloved and with meaning and relationship. We need rituals to help us begin the journey of healing after a loss.
As a certified funeral celebrant and creative grief support practitioner I serve as a companion to finding clues to making meaning during difficult times. Using tools of listening, creativity, silence, laughter and more, together we can create a service during which we can reflect, honor and hold dear the one who has died. We can look for the sweetest words for living towards wholeheartedness after loss.
As for me…
There are many things that inform my work as a certified celebrant and creative grief practitioner. The loss of my grandparents, parents, a precious uncle and a younger sister not to mention the passing of beloved pets have deeply touched and influenced who I am and who I have become. Actively choosing to leave behind a career path, moving across the U.S. not once but twice… leaning into new communities and rediscovering my own creativity in the face of change are all aspects of what I’ve learned about purposeful mourning and the creativity of growth through grief.
My experiences have taught me much. I hold a master’s degree in religious studies and certificates in organizational development, nonprofit management and mediation. I completed Dr. Alan Wolfelt’s training to earn a certificate in Grief and Death Studies. I am also a Certified Creative Grief Support Practitioner through the Creative Grief Studio and a Certified Funeral Celebrant through In-sight Institute’s Training Division.
For more information about Deb’s work as a funeral celebrant, creative grief support practitioner and professional writer, contact Deb Brandt at 317.603.4112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.