• Social Death.

    An odd title maybe, but I am not talking about the effect of an ill thought out remark at a dinner party.

    Social death is what may happen as people retire from all that is famililar to them through ill health such as dementia or the time when people enter the world of palliative care. Things are done for them often not by them.Their opinions begin to loose impact or are maybe not heard at all.They are seen, they breath but they may cease to be included or are unable to be included in decisions or to be truly interacted with. It can be a choice. It can be the consequence of the great busyness of those supporting the person who is becoming frail or, of course it maybe like me today just withdrawing from all that is noisey. I may not be interacting with anyone today but the difference is, I could if I wanted to. All this has come to mind as I am finishing a paper for a confrence in June on Social death.

    It impacts my work as a funeral celebrant if when planning a funeral the family can only bring to mind those last retiring, quiet, low impact years and months when thinking about the person who has died. Our last metaphorical moment should not define us, the many years before this moment should so while you are still making your opnions heard talk to those close to you about the things that have made you happy, what lightens your soul, what brightens your day, what you did when you were 17, why you loved those purple velvet flares!

    Give those around you a new definition of you. Most of us feel so much younger than we really are and our children find it hard to imagine us at 17 not being privy the stories that we carry in our hearts... so share them.

    Something beautiful remains.

    The tide recedes

    But leaves behind

    Bright shells on the seashore.

    The sun goes down

    But gentle warmth

    still lingers on the land.

    The music stops yet

    it lingers on in sweet refrains

    For every joy that passes

    something beautiful remains.




  • Toffees!

    I have been out today buying six bags of toffees. The young woman in Asda asked me, "does your family love Toffees?" She looked a bit shocked when I said that they were for a funeral I was putting together.

    As folk leave the service we will offer everyone a toffee. Why? well because the person we will be honouring loved them and always offered any visitor one when they left his home. This is such a simple way to remind friends and family of his generosity and maybe to offer them a smile as they leave on this sad day. If they don't like toffees well, they could just keep it in their pocket as a reminder of why they loved him.

    I have also offered people sprigs of lavender from a clients garden.

    Funerals should talk of all the little things that make us who we are.

    What would the "little thing" be at your funeral?

    My family could gather all the shells in our house and offer one to everyone who attends my funeral.

    Simple, inventive acts can make for very special moments at funerals. We don't need to make big statements. Quite often less really is more.



  • A great way to go workshops

    I am getting myself organised for the workshop happening in Painswick on Wednesday.

    As ever, I know that I am going to learn as much from those attending as hopefully they may learn from the workshop. There are a couple of spare places if you would like to come along.

    Everyone's experience of death is different and the insights offered on the workshops are always a revelation.

    Ideas about funerals vary tremendously and hearing about them can make our own views come into sharp focus.

    Thinking about, talking about and experiencing the death of someone we loved or who was a really good friend, is never easy, but, this act of sharing nearly always makes us feel better. Every time we offer a snippet of information about someone who has died, the person listening often helps us just by that act of listening but also by affirming how we feel, they may have felt it too.

    I am in my office looking out onto the garden, where a small clump of snowdrops are delicately bobbing in the breeze. In the language of flowers they represent hope, just what we need on this cold soggy February day.

    I must get back to work now as I can't earn a living by "stopping and staring"...if you know how to do let me know!

    Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the services I offer or would like to come on Wednesdays workshop.

    Best wishes,

    Su Chard.

    Here's a wonderful poem that may resonate with some of you, when considering what to use at a funeral:

    Late Fragment.

    And did you get what

    you wanted from this life, even so?

    I did.

    And what did you want?

    To call myself beloved, to feel myself

    beloved on the earth.

    Raymond Carver



Su Chardgw2go

A Great Way to Go


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Welcome to my blog

I will ponder on the things that my work as a celebrant and workshop facilitator offer me.

I hope you enjoy reading it...

june 09 008

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