Tom Hafey and Funerals

…in 400 words find out why you don’t want Tom Hafey as your funeral celebrant

I remember the first time I heard a talk by Tom Hafey, former AFL Player and Coach of quite some repute. I was blown away. He spoke with passion and conviction. He definitely ticked all the boxes when it came to motivation. That was until I heard him speak for a second time! I was all keyed up to hear more brilliant pearls of wisdom and motivation but they were not forthcoming. I sat through his whole presentation, knowing exactly what was coming next. No matter how many times I would hear him speak again, I would never learn anything more. He was not one to change his tune or sing from a different song book.

They say when you are on a good thing, stick to it… but sometimes sticking to that good thing means there is little or no room for new things. Things that might be better. Things that might speak more appropriately to a given time, place or space. Things that create learning and growth. Things that generate useful self-reflection. Things that might speak uniquely to a person.

Speaking to the unique attributes, personality, spirit and energy of a person is what their memorial, funeral or leave-taking service is all about. It’s about respecting, recognising and honouring the individual gifts, talents, conversations and contributions one person has brought to their life and the lives of all those they have connected with during their lifetime. Wheeling out the same old same old words and phrases, readings and poems is neither respectful nor able to truly capture one person.

One of the challenges I experience as a funeral celebrant is balancing the creation of a service which is tailored to the person being commemorated whilst respecting a family’s choice of format, music or poetry. Classics are classics for a reason.

So, when you are selecting a celebrant to create and lead a ceremony that honours your loved one, consider whether originality and uniqueness are important to you. Reflect on the opportunity to make sense of their death in the larger picture of life and what is possible. Decide whether their farewell service can positively impact the lives of those who are at the service in significant and meaningful ways?

If any or all of those things are important then give me a call. Even if you don’t know where to begin, know that there is a way to work it all out.

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

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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.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.