Monday, 26 September 2016

Surviving Bereavement | A Loved One Passes | Part 1 of  4

A Loved One Passes

When a loved one dies, people wonder, when they feel so sad and bereft, will I ever feel better?
                    It’s important to know - it won’t always feel like this.

Your emotions are not static and will change as you go through this initial period of experiencing loss. Every feeling, mood, emotion you go through is absolutely valid and right for where you are right now. 

It is normal to feel out of kilter and off balance. Your life has changed, possibly in ways you hadn’t anticipated.

It is equally okay to feel stunned and emotionless. No one is the same as anyone else when it comes to grief. This is an individual journey.

Dean Inge said: Bereavement is the deepest initiation into the mysteries of human life, an initiation more searching and profound than even happy love.

There will be days of uncertainty and fear, when you might want to wrap yourself up in a warm blanket. And there will be days of feeling in control and able to get down to the necessary business required after someone has died. 

This has been compared to being adrift on an ocean where the peaks and troughs of the waves pound your boat. 

              When neither platitudes nor comforting words help, remember:

              like every ocean journey, there is a destination, a safe harbour.

It can be frustrating during this time of grieving when our usual ways of thinking and behaving seem to have disappeared. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel incompetent, or less efficient than how you usually are. It is hard enough to deal with the loss of a loved one, without getting annoyed with yourself.

Sometimes, we feel we need to put on a brave face. Hiding our emotions to others is one thing; pretending to our self is something different. Grief needs an outlet as holding it inside can make a person ill. 

Many people journal their feelings privately. As well as this being a necessary outlet, in the long term it is a record of your journey and will show you how far you have travelled. This opens you up to hope and realization there will be a better time ahead.

There is no such thing as ‘ought, should or must’ at this time. Things can wait. Some people may want to organise you because they see things needing attended to. If you feel not up to doing something, you can say No thank you. Listen to your own feelings. Take time to pause and be in your own space.

However, it is often the case that friends and family members feel lost and don’t know what to do. You may even feel let down by people close to you. 

Now is the time to let in the kindness of strangers: the person down the street who offers to walk the dog, do the laundry and some of the daily tasks which seem mountainous.

It may take all of your courage to accept the compassion of someone you don’t really know very well. Often, people may surprise us with their sensitivity and kind-heartedness.

You can let this be a time when you allow others to be your support and shoulder, to allow others to show how much they love you by caring and doing for you.  

This is a time to be kind to yourself, to be gentle on yourself.  

Grieving takes its own time and often longer than we expect. So just take your time and give yourself permission to be in the space and heart you need to be.

Deirdre Lambert
The Leeds Celebrant

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Civic Funerals | The Unique Send-off Many Now Seek | Part 2 of  2

A Time to Celebrate 

the Life that was Lived

For most of us, a funeral is a time when family, friends, colleagues and others who shared some element of their life come together to say goodbye to someone they knew, loved and respected.  While it may be a sad occasion, it need not be designed to reinforce the loss, as much as to celebrate the life the deceased lived.

When planning the Celebration of Life ceremony, consider how you want the person to be remembered; how they themselves would want to be remembered. Your funeral celebrant is there to help you design and plan a ceremony that exactly fits your needs, with compassion and consideration. 

The Music

Apart from the eulogy, many see this as the most important element of the ceremony. How can the lyrics of a song uplift the mourners and say something special about the person they knew? Does it reflect the era they grew up in? Aspects of their personality?

Live music is lovely at a Celebration of Life ceremony. Is there a song or hymn you’d like sung? Is there space for a group of musicians to play? Could you have a jazz band lead the cortege?  


What pictures could show their life journey? Do you want a montage celebrating their life on screen for a few minutes during the ceremony? Is there room for a series of pictures around the ceremony venue, or at the wake? 

Mourners’ Farewells

There are many kinds of memorial books for mourners to sign. At a farewell for a friend of mine, his daughters gave out decorated cards to mourners, who were invited to write their own farewell or memory on them.


From traditional oak caskets, to beautiful wicker coffins that can be decorated with flowers and ribbons by family, choice is vast. You can buy a plain pine box or a cardboard coffin if you are environmentally concerned.

People I knew had a small family farewell for their mum / grandma; everyone wrote or drew on the beautiful pine box her son made. 

People have placed hats, books, toys, shoes, headphones, personal things on the coffin that reminded them of the person they knew. 

A friend of mine put his father’s old, worn electrical pliers he’d used for 40 years on top of his casket.

The Cortege

Traditionally black or white cars, or carriages and horses, but there are options. Most modern funeral directors will accommodate your needs. You can even hire motor bike hearses, or have any other mode of transport to reflect the deceased's life.

Darth Vader might lead the cortege of a Star Wars fan. Ask mourners to come dressed as their favourite super hero, or in the deceased’s favourite colour in remembrance and love.

Role of the Celebrant

Your funeral celebrant is there for you, to help you create the best farewell that suits your family.  Whether you want something more formal and traditional, or an individually designed send-off: it is always intended to truly reflect and celebrate the life your loved one lived.  

Your funeral celebrant will ensure you and your family will have the experience of a compassionate, memorable and special Celebration of Life for your loved one. 

Deirdre Lambert
The Leeds Celebrant

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Civil Funerals | The Unique Send-off Many Now Seek | part 1 of 2

Civil Marriages are now very familiar in society - so it’s no great surprise that 
Civil Funerals are following a similar trend.

A changing world has seen more and more people move away from organised religions and religious traditions. This has led to more people seeking alternatives to the kinds of services the churches used to provide of old.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that all people no longer hold spiritual beliefs. While there are humanists who have no truck with any form of reference to divine intervention in life, there are many others who have personal, spiritual beliefs in a higher power and want that referred to in their final farewell to the world. Their families may need a prayer or blessing incorporated into the ceremony but without specific religious connotations.

The church, synagogue or temple will always be there for those who need it. But the time of the modern Funeral Celebrant is now here, offering a civil funeral ceremony, or as we prefer: Celebration of Life: for any person, regardless of beliefs, if any, they may hold.

                                                     Celebration of Life

There is no set format for a Celebration of Life ceremony. Each ceremony is unique - as individual as the person who has died, and as distinctive as the life they lived. 

It is a ceremony created especially for their family and friends to remember them by.

Your Celebrant will invite you to share all of your memories of the deceased: all of their successes and achievements, and joyful experiences they enjoyed in life.

The family can share in the writing of the eulogy which will be professionally delivered by the celebrant.

What do people want from a funeral?

A day to remember that you can talk about and share with others: the stories that you heard; the music that said more than words; the unique way everyone said goodbye: a farewell that reinforces love, respect and joyful remembrance of the person who has gone.

Coming up next time  - the individual and special ways you can say goodbye exactly as you might want to, as the deceased themselves might enjoy.

Deirdre Lambert
The Leeds Celebrant

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Wedding Celebrant | Love and Relationships | Part 4 of 4

15 Clues to Making Love Last - After the Honeymoon

You have returned from the magical, intimate world of being somewhere exotic with your beloved. 

You spent 2 wonderful weeks exploring each other in ways unimagined. 

You're just starting your life together as a married couple, still in the after glow from that secret land called honeymoon.

John Keats wrote about such passion: 
I cannot exist without you. You have absorb'd me. You have ravish'd me by a power I cannot resist. 

Heady stuff...

Then the plane lands back at Gatwick. Holding hands, you walk down the air-bridge. 

At baggage claim, your bags are last to come round the carousel. You don’t care. 

You laugh and kiss in the rain, waiting for a taxi. You have your love to keep you warm, if not dry.                                         

Home again, Home again...

Rose Leslie said The honeymoon phase always ends, for everyone.

How can you make this feeling last: when you are going to work every day; someone has to do the laundry; bills come in; you don’t always agree about everything?

Clue No 1 : Always talk honestly and calmly with each other

The love nest need not turn into a battle zone, where sarcasm is the first weapon of choice. Remember the three rules of what to say in disagreements:

Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? 

Wait for 5 minutes before you say something regrettable.

Clue No 2 : Remain open minded
He may have a valid point to make. She may be telling you something you don’t know. If you show you respect their feelings, and their right to express them, you will be paving the way for your words to be listened to equally respectfully.

Clue No 3 : Trust your loved one. 
The longer you are together, the more things you will find out about them, even things that may surprise or shock you. Listen and trust them to work it out.

Clue No 4  : Keep your relationship fresh. 
Try out new things together. Look for ways of having shared fun. 

Avoid habits, convenience and repetition as much as possible. If you feel married life is becoming tired and dull, brighten it up!

Clue No 5   The first one to admit they are wrong in an argument always wins. 
Three sentences always to remember when things are getting past the point of no return. 

I am sorry. You are right. It was all my fault. 

Why? Because 9/10 times, your beloved will respond: No, it was my fault. 

And the joy of making up will surely follow.
Kindness in thinking or giving, creates profoundness and happiness. Kindness in saying creates an everlasting love.      
Morgan Freeman

Clue No 6 : Remain open-hearted and loving. 
Never, ever take your loved one for granted. Always pay attention to their needs.

Hug them when they least expect it. 

Clue No 7 : Encourage your loved one in all that they do. 
Support their endeavours. Even if you secretly think it’s a bit daft, or they can’t do it, never tell them. Wish them well with a hug and a smile.

Clue No 8  : Spend real time together every day. 
Make dinner together. Take time to share your daily experiences. Have a bath together.

Clue No 9 : Rekindle intimacy as often as possible. 
Sure romance can be challenged by children, daily grind, tiredness. 

Bring home surprise flowers. Whisk him away for a picnic

Use your imagination to keep the spark alive.

Clue No 10 :  Forgive and let go. 
Remember that you are both human. They say to err is human and to forgive divine.  No one marries an angel. 

Avoid holding a grudge. Let what happened in the past go. Forgiveness is the first step to resolving hurt.

Clue No 11 :  Do nothing - hold the space for them. 
They have had a bad day. You sit your loved one down with a cup of tea or glass of wine. 'Tell me about it darling.' Say nothing, listen and be there. 

Your loving presence can be the space they just need to be in.
Clue No 12 : Team work even in the mucky stuff                If the garden is untidy, do it together. 
If the bins need taking out, take one each. 

Share the cleaning.

When you can share even the messy things, the nice things are even nicer.

Clue 13  :  Laugh a lot together
Life was meant to be fun. Do you cry when disaster happens or do you laugh and look for a way to fix it? Our minds work  better when we're laughing than when we're miserable. 
Which means, we are more likely to find things to smile about.

Clue 14 :  Make your loved one feel important in your life. 
Everyone needs to feel validated and needed. Tell them what’s good about them. Thank your loved one for the things they do. 

Remind them that you feel happy and secure and loved just by having them there.

Clue 15 :  Always remember to say I love you
When you first heard your loved one say these words, it lifted your heart. They always will. Say them as often as you can to keep the loving connection flourishing in your hearts.

These are only 15 clues to keeping love alive. There are hundreds, thousands of ways you can do this together. 

Remember how it felt when you fell in love. 

Change is an inevitable fact of life, and as you change as people, so will your relationship.  

You won’t always get it right; sometimes you may get it wrong. But if you keep working on it, magic can happen in a relationship when you least expect it. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Wedding Celebrant | Love and Relationships | Part 3 of 4

Weddings, Dresses, Ceremonies, Celebrants 

and all that jazz…

So you popped the question and your beloved answered,

Yes, I will marry you!

Phew. So that’s the hard bit done. Yes? Oh no…

First up, who is going to pay? Funding your own wedding is the best way to avoid any arguments with others, because then neither sets of parents, nor anyone else can interfere.

However, most engaged couples don’t have at their disposal the £10,000 - £50,000+ a modern wedding can cost. You can do it with less money, as long as you both agree that is what you want: heavy stress on the agreeing bit.

The Guests …

Who is going to be at your wedding? Returning to budget, how many can you afford to have?

Who do you want to have who will enhance your day?

Who can’t be in the same room together or violence might ensue?

Who is likely to get drunk and slurp over the attractive female, or male, guests? 

Oh dear. Decisions…decisions.

The outfits…

How much will the wedding dress cost?

Who is going with the bride to ‘help’ her choose?

What budget is there for the groom’s suit?

Is it cheaper to hire than buy?

What about the bridesmaids?

Even more decisions.

Ways of Doing it Yourself…

A young man, who I know well, and his fiancé bought their dream home, a beautiful property in the country. They made a secret decision about their wedding day that only 5 people knew about.

Neither bride nor groom wanted the hassle of deciding who would be invited and who would have to be left out, and neither wanted a big wedding. So they organised their Wedding Celebrant and 2 witnesses to come to their home one lovely day in early summer, and had their private wedding in their garden. The bride wore a gorgeous gown and the groom was handsome in his wedding attire.

Their parents and siblings were sent photographs by text within half an hour of the wedding. Yes, it caused a bit of the grumps amongst certain family members but everyone got over it, eventually. Especially when family groups were invited to barbecues around the bride and groom’s pool for quite a few weekends following the actual wedding day.

 Another way…

My daughter and her fiancé decided to book a Las Vegas wedding, taking just 4 close friends with them to the Little White Wedding Chapel. No family members were invited. 

Again, it caused some upset with certain family members, although we did know in advance this was happening.

It was still wonderful to see Van and Ben get married, taking their vows live, via a web link.

When they came back home, they had a sumptuous wedding breakfast for family and close friends in a hotel in Leeds, and a big party in the evening for a lot more friends.

Whichever Way, it’s Your Wedding Day!

Some people have long held dreams of what the day they get married will look like. Some fall into marriage by default and just let whoever wants to, organize the whole thing. Some parents have saved all of their lives to give their daughter the wedding she always imagined. And as for the famous big fat gypsy weddings…each to their own.

However you choose to have your wedding, the important thing is to remember it is Your Day; the day you promise to love and be true to the person you want to spend your life with.

So you need to get clear on what you want and how much is in the budget. If you are having a formal wedding, you need to be organised and lots of websites can advise you there. Book important people at least 9-12 months in advance: the reception venue; the church or registrar; the caterers, professional or Mum; and the Wedding Celebrant.

Or blow the budget and hire a wedding planner.

Invite your bridesmaids, best-man, and groomsmen well in advance. These are the people who are on your support crew. Choose wisely… 

All That Jazz

Your Wedding Celebrant will help you to:

plan your wedding ceremony;
write your vows;
decide on your music;
choose what additional elements you might want from her wedding ceremony menu.

On your wedding day, she will deliver a beautiful, professional wedding ceremony at your venue, ensuring you have a wonderful day to remember.

And when you return from your honeymoon, she will give you a personal copy of your ceremony to keep for ever, as a memento of your special day.

You can make your wedding day as beautifully simple
or as gloriously elaborate as you want.

And hey, if you want a jazz band, why not go on and have one…

Look out for Love and Relationships, Part 4 coming up soon:

15 Clues to Making Love Last After the Honeymoon

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Wedding Celebrant | Love and Relationships | Part 2 of 4

Passion, Emotions, 
and The Big Question
It’s about 3 months after you met this amazing, gorgeous, fascinating person. You are head over heels in love. You’re texting love notes, 5, 10, 20 times a day. You want them so much it hurts, like you could consume them and make them a part of you.

When you are out together, you can’t take your hands off them. Passion and desire rule. The need for closeness is intense. And it’s not like how you felt about anyone else, because you’ve never felt like this before. You think they might be The One. You might even hear words like wedding, vows, honeymoon flitting through your mind.

You stay at their place or they stay at yours at the weekends. There’s a space in your closet for just a few of their things, and your toothbrush sits beside theirs in their bathroom. You cook meals together and go shopping for the ingredients. Sometimes, you just stay in bed all day and order out for food.

Toni Feldstein wrote: When we fall in love, our heart becomes full of feel-good qualities that infuse our life with joy and excitement. Everything feels light, fresh and more vibrant. We wake up to a brighter day, the air is warmer, the sun is brighter, everything is right with the world. Living life through the interactive and colourful kaleidoscope of love is one of the highest human experiences.

You know their likes and dislikes and your only wish is to make them happy. By now, you know they are The One. And it terrifies you to wonder if they feel the same. The chemistry hasn’t changed, but a whole lot of other emotions are appearing. Fluctuations in how you feel day to day, week to week, make you think and do strange things.

The thing is, you simply can’t live forever at the intense state you had at first. The time comes when you descend from the lofty heights of intense passion and your romantic life takes a different turn. You are moving from the adoring state, to loving this special person.

You ask yourself: are we having a love affair, or are we in a relationship? And if you want to be in a relationship, something long lasting and permanent, there is a lot of talking, and even more listening, to be done.

And that ‘big question’ may be waiting just to be asked. You want to feel like Tom waits when he sang of his love, who said Yes to his proposal;

It was a hubba, hubba, ding, dang, baby you are just everything.  

  • Do you buy the engagement ring together? 
  • Does the one who wants to propose buy it in secret? 
  • Do you bake it into a cake and pop it in the icing on the top.
  • Do you drop it into your loved one’s champagne glass?
  • Do you go to your favourite restaurant and have the waiter put it into her / his dessert?
  • Do you tie it inside a bunch of red roses?
  • Do you organise to have Will you marry me? up on a billboard, or flying on a banner from a plane as you drive to work in the morning?
As the saying goes: Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage.

Coming up next: Weddings, Dresses, Ceremonies, Celebrants and all that Jazz…

Click here to view Part 1

Deirdre Lambert - The Leeds Celebrant

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The Wedding Celebrant | Love & Relationships | Part 1 of 4

Falling in Love
Isn’t amazing what love can do to us?

The excitement of the initial attraction that makes us happy, energised, and exhilarated.

The world suddenly looks different somehow.

You get that ‘turmoil in your tummy’. You can’t eat.

You can’t sleep. You can’t stop thinking about the one you love.Maybe you’ve heard about the release of chemicals in the brain that send all kinds of messages throughout the body that send us into a euphoric high. The physical desire that tingles and stirs seems beyond our comprehension.

Into your mind sneak thoughts of marriage, weddings, honeymoons…

Read what ‘sexpert’ Simone Bienne says about what actually happens in our bodies when we fall in love with someone. And this goes for both genders.

"When we feel that initial attraction to someone, a cocktail of chemicals, phenethylamine, dopamine, and oxytocin are released," says sexpert Simone Bienne. "They keep your senses extra alert and give us the urge to bond and attach. As these secretions increase, our attraction to the object of our desire intensifies, and we get more and more of those dizzy feelings"

Gentlemen, did you know that when you are kissing your beloved, you are actually passing through to them the male hormone testosterone? Ladies, were you aware that in the height of a deeply passionate kiss, through his lips you are receiving the strongest sex hormone there is, straight from your man?

Phew! Kissing really is better than any aphrodisiac around.

Let’s calm things down a tad, and go back to the other physical effects of the love thing. Your body is reacting in the same basic flight or fight response you feel at any stressful time: sweaty palms, heart beat raised, and your blood is diverted away from your non vital organs, hence the ‘butterflies in the stomach’.

And as everyone knows, your pupils will dilate during this initial magnetic rush, hence the reason girls may blush and avoid looking directly at the object of attraction.
While your curious, conscious mind wants to know more about this very interesting person who is stimulating all this strong, physical attraction, your subconscious is attempting

to keep you safe from making too quick judgements and hasty decisions in the heat of the moment.

As Professor Martin Cowie from Imperial College says, “Large amounts of adrenaline running through our system can cause problems for the body.”

No kidding!

(Staying in Love...coming up soon!)