As a child I experienced the tragic loss of my dad and brother. Not being able to attend the funeral has made me aware of the negative impact of not being able to say a final goodbye. I realise how daunting it can be for families to have these difficult conversations or consider including children within the service.
I can offer support to involve children in creative ways that are appropriate to their age and developmental understanding should the family request this. My own experience of loss has given me a real depth of understanding and a natural warmth to connect with others especially the bereaved.
Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about celebrants like me, and what part we play in ceremonies
Autism and grief is very complex. If you are recently bereaved and planning a funeral whilst trying to also meet the needs of a family member with additional needs then I understand what a challenging situation this can be.
I am a mum to twins both with autism. They are my little whirlwinds who keep me smiling and learning in equal measure. It was through our own experience of grief that I realised the very deep and chaotic Impact it had on the children. They found it very difficult to understand their grief and ours. It was at this time , I realised that in my professional role as an independent celebrant I needed to provide a much more inclusive service.
Alongside my role of planning a beautiful and highly personalised ceremony for your loved one, I am able to support a person with ASD or other additional needs to take part in and/or attend the funeral. I do this by providing social stories, feelings cards and a now and next planner so they understand exactly what will happen during the ceremony. If someone is non verbal I can also use PECS. Where appropriate I try to include the young person or adult in a small task to help reduce anxiety before the ceremony and give them a sense of being part of a very special Goodbye. I will explain any noises they may hear during the ceremony and when the music will play. I can also do my best to get them seated first so it is less overwhelming. This can then support their emotional healing and yours knowing they were fully included despite the challenges they face.
As I’m committed to providing an inclusive service, my celebrant fees remain the same with no extra charges for any of the extra support I’ve described. If you are faced with planning a funeral and feel I’m the right celebrant for you then please get in touch.
What People Say
Gem you were amazing on what was an emotional day for the the whole family, thank you for making it easier for us.Family Member
The words you helped us with for the adoptive naming ceremony were so fitting, it was a wonderful way to welcome a child.Parent
Skills and experience
I have worked with children and families for over 10 years supporting them through both pre and post bereavement. This challenging yet fulfilling role has given me a great variety of skills and encouraged my decision to become a funeral celebrant. This role has helped me develop my creativity and has given me transferable professional skills that I will use in my career as a celebrant.
I am able to provide a more inclusive service as I understand how challenging it can be for families with an adult or child with an autistic spectrum disorder or other additional needs to attend the funeral. I have many ways to offer support with this and can discuss this further with the family.
I have recently trained with Green Fuse. This level 3 diploma involves intensive training and is conducted by working funeral celebrants and funeral directors. It has provided me with the skills, knowledge and understanding required for this multi-faceted role.
It is an absolute honour for me when families feel able to sit and share the most precious memories of their loved one. I carry out all my work with sensitivity, professionalism and I’m passionate about making a difference to bereaved families.