There are many different reasons why people take the decision to become a Humanist celebrant. I was reminded recently of just one of the many reasons why I chose to take a different direction in my life and help people celebrate important milestones in their lives with a fitting and personal ceremony.
A few weeks ago I received a request to conduct a marriage ceremony at short notice, nothing out of the ordinary there. Sadly, however, the bride to be had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and was tragically loosing her battle with the disease. One of her last wishes was to be married to the man she loved so very much and had been engaged to for a number of years.
All their friends and family had rallied round and were determined to make this wish come true, so in the space of an afternoon, they did. The dress, kilts, cake, flowers, hair, make up, decoration, ceremony and the ring were all arranged.
Having quite literally dropped everything as soon as I received the call, I headed up to the hospital to meet the couple and in the space of a few hours we composed their wedding ceremony. Although the bride to be was understandably tired, she was determined to make sure she was involved in their big day as much as possible.
The very next day, I headed back to the hospital where, surrounded by friends and family, this amazing couple exchanged their vows and were married.
I was utterly astounded at the two adjoining rooms the hospital had put aside for the celebrations. You would be forgiven for forgetting you were in a hospital at all as the rooms had been beautifully decorated, chair covers in place and both rooms were filled with fragrant flowers. The afternoon was one of celebration. I felt truly privileged, as I do for any ceremony, to have been able to have helped the couple realise a long term dream.
Tragically though as I started to put pen to paper and write this blog I got a phone call to tell me that just a few short days after the wedding, the bride passed away, peacefully with her husband at her side.
Again, I was reminded why I decided to be a celebrant when I was asked to lead the celebration of life and conduct this amazing woman’s funeral service. She really was an fabulous person who was well loved and respected dearly. I am thankful that I got to spend some time with her and get to know her just a little. However, just a few weeks after celebrating her wedding day, it was sadly time to say our goodbyes.
I really have been reminded that our journey in life can be too short and we have to make the most of every day. It makes you realise the small things are the big things and wherever there is an opportunity to help someone, for good or bad times, we should be there offering what support we can freely and unconditionally.