I'll open this post by stating how deeply I strive to celebrate life every day I live it. It is because of my own sense of wonder, awe, and gratitude for life that I would feel honored to write and craft a Celebration of Life with a family mourning the loss of a loved one to death.
I am fully aware that my youth may preclude my being initially thought of as a Minister, Celebrant, or Chaplain for a family confronted with death. Many Memorial Services or Funerals I have attended have been presided over by aged friends of families . . . people who have known the parents or grandparents or great-grandparents of either the person who died, or the family members mourning their loss.
So as an under-thirty Humanist Minister, I feel I have something different to offer. I would love to have the honor of meeting a non-theistic, non-religious, or inter-religious family who is dealing with death, loss, and grief. I may not have known your family since before you were born . . . but I understand and respect your religious doubt and questioning. I will not come into your home and places of grieving with my own religious perspectives, and most importantly I will honor the beliefs (and disbelief) of the one who has died. Their memory will live on through you and every person they touched while living - and that is an occasion to celebrate!
Life and death are two sides of the same coin. We are all living and dying from the moment we are born. I believe that a profound recognition of this can bring peace to mourning . . . just as we can better comprehend true joy through having experienced true pain.
By sharing laughter and tears with those we love, we embrace what makes us human. And it is when we lose a loved one to death, no longer to know their physical presence in this life, that we begin to understand how valuable it is to live life to its fullest. We can do this by honoring and celebrating, with those friends and family members who also knew the one who has died, the life that they lived - in all its honesty, complexity, pain, and happiness.
Thank you for sharing these thoughts and hopes with anyone you may know who is searching for a non-religious officiant for an upcoming Memorial Service.