Please Let Me Know When A Loved One Dies

(it’s likely this is not what you think!)
This week I made my way to the Blair Chapel at Springvale Botanical Cemetery to commemorate and celebrate the life of someone who married into the family of a guy I worked with as a teenager (pure coincidence – that’s another story all together). As I was walking into the chapel foyer I bumped into a friend. She became a pseudo family member about 15 years ago, when my grandmother-in-law was living next door to her.
She knows I am a funeral celebrant. I knew that her dad had been ill. Yet, there she was standing outside the chapel where the committal service for her father had just been held. It was the first I’d heard of it. She thanked me for coming and asked how I found out as she knew she had not told me. Whilst giving her a hug I told her I was here to celebrate a funeral in the same chapel… that I had not known her dad had died.
She invited me back to her place for the wake. I told her I would visit after I had completed the service I was about to commemorate. She promptly started a litany of apology… for not telling me her Dad had died, she said every time she thought about telling me another round of tears would start… for not asking me to celebrate the funeral. I quickly established that her aunts and uncles were equally as devout Catholics as her father and that a church funeral was the only choice for the family. There was absolutely nothing for her to apologise for.
Like in so many areas of life, we will not always – or even frequently, be the best fit, best person, first choice for any given situation. And yes, that’s irrespective of your expertise, your experience, or how good you are at what you do. There are so many factors to consider in making some of the easier life decisions, let alone the head and heart bending that can occur when a loved one dies.
And so it is with funerals. I will not always be the best fit, best person, first choice for your loved one’s farewell. And yes, that’s irrespective of my expertise, my experience, or how good I am at what I do (so the feedback tells me). There are so many factors to consider in choosing where, how and who will celebrate your loved one’s life.
It is an honour and a privilege to celebrate and commemorate a person’s well lived life. To be able to make some of the most difficult days just a little easier. I have one request. Don’t let me being a funeral celebrant – and you wanting to have another celebrant, priest or clergy member – stop you from letting me know about a loved one’s death.
Let me know. Maybe I can help in other ways. I know a lot of good people in the industry these days and some things you can look out for!
Or maybe I can just be there.
We have just one life…
Jacqui Chaplin
Independent Funeral Information | Life Story Collector & Writer | End of Life Tributes | Easier End of Life Experiences | Funeral Planning and Celebrancy
Just One Life… doing and designing dying and death differently and with dignity and distinction.
For more information on doing dying and death differently or to start thinking about how to handle a death of a loved one before you are overtaken by grief, organise a conversation with Jacqui today.
Call +61 (0)412 741 531 or email

Jacqui Chaplin is a Lifetime & End-of-Life Commemoration Specialist (a funeral celebrant among other things) based in Melbourne, Australia. She loves capturing stories about the nature of life and being human, as well as, celebrating and commemorating well lived lives and lives that have ended. Jacqui has a passion for bringing the conversations that many of us find difficult to think about, let alone speak about, out in the open so we can see how our stories, values and beliefs influence our attitudes.

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