Killing the Time?

One of the questions frequently put to me following retirement is “what do you do to kill the time?”.  The question suggests that retirement represents a threshold beyond which we are expected to sit back and resignedly wait for the end.  I respond by saying that there are not sufficient hours in the day or days in the week to allow me to do all the things that I want to do especially with my increasing awareness of the fact that time is passing at a rate previously not realised.

One of the projects I have just completed is a course in Funeral Celebrancy which I undertook with the Irish Institute of Celebrants here in Dublin.  Having passed  the test I am now qualified to conduct civil funeral ceremonies.

You might well ask “why would someone want to do that?”  The answer is quite simple.  There are people who do not adhere to the practice of any religion.  For people in that category, having a funeral in a church to which they do not belong in fact or in spirit lacks honesty and simply does not make sense.   The simple alternative of having a purely humanist service is equally unattractive.  There are many people who neither subscribe to the tenets nor fit into the constraints which attach to a particular religious faith.  Nevertheless they have not rejected the fundamental search for meaning and a spiritual dimension to existence that has been the basis of various faiths and philosophies stretching back through millennia of time.

And hence the need for personalised funeral ceremonies which express thanks for the life of the person and celebrate that life by means of a ceremony which reflects the lived life of the individual concerned in accordance with the wishes of the family.

That ceremony may include readings from a wide variety of sources including prayers and readings from a wide spectrum of religious, philosophical or secular texts all depending upon the wishes of the family in question.

The ceremony can be held almost anywhere one wishes, most usually in a crematorium or cemetery, but also at home or in a funeral home, all in accordance with the wishes of the person charged with making the arrangements.

As a civil funeral celebrant I will arrange to come and and hear about the the life, hopes, dreams, achievements and philosophy of a deceased. This will enable me to prepare, for approval, a meaningful ceremony which celebrates the life of the person whose loss is mourned. The ceremony may include music, readings, prayers or poetry which have special significance for the person concerned

The choice of music is particularly important. When you reflect back on this ceremony, which is a tribute to a loved one, you will not want to recall the playing of some piece of music which fails to reflect the significance of the occasion. The music need not be solemn but neither should it be undistinguished and lightweight. “Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It pulls heart strings. It acts as medicine” says Benjamin Hammond Haggerty, known by his stage name, Macklemore.

It is a harrowing time for a family when a loved one dies. In a short period of time, and at an emotionally distressing time, the next of kin are faced with making many choices and decisions about the funeral arrangements. It is possible in this situation to allow the ceremony itself to fall into routine which does not particularly reflect the lived life that we wish to celebrate. My aim is to put together a service that will be a fitting and memorable tribute to the unique individual life that has now come to an  end.

So since you have held in there to the end of this explanation can I ask you to please let your friends and contacts know that this personalised funeral service is available.  Further details can be found at and the service is also listed under civil funerals dublin in

And on a lighter note can  add that I can also arrange the celebration of other important milestone events in life. These can be conducted in any place of your choice.


Baby naming ceremonies where a baby, the cause of so much joy, is simply, warmly and meaningfully given a name and welcomed into the community of life on earth.

Moving on ceremonies where a person is turning a corner and beginning a new phase of life. This might be the passing of an exam, the taking on of a new career, the setting up of a new home

Even the quiet marking of the amicable ending of a relationship, what you might call a Separation with Civility, Symbolism and Goodwill.

These important life events can be marked by symbolism and ceremony which have meaning for the individuals involved.

Renewal of Vows ceremonies either private or public

Re-dedication ceremonies (usually private) marking a formal change in direction and a re-dedication to new life purposes and goals

“This is your life” type events marking a significant birthday.

Please let me know what it is you wish to have celebrated and we will work together to make the occasion a meaningful and memorable life event.

“Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated” – Osho


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