As The Celebrant Storyteller, the focus of my work is on ceremonies for older people who have lived a full life, where the mood is one of genuine celebration rather than overwhelming grief. Crafting and presenting a personal story around such people is where my interest lies. It also suits the expertise I bring from my three decades in the event, entertainment and corporate communications industries. I love playing with themes and concepts, looking for quirky angles, creating Ah-hah! moments for audiences, and bringing out the best in other speakers.
Having spent my whole life in Melbourne and regional Victoria, I am very familiar with every aspect of our state, from its sports and cultural activities through to its industries and natural attractions. Also, my extended family has lived and worked across the state for generations. As such, I have been able to relate particularly well to other local families whose loved one also made this part of Australia home.
To learn more about the approach we’ll use to craft a funeral ceremony, watch the clip called ‘How to Tell Your Loved One’s Story’.
Feedback from families I have assisted:
‘Thank you for yesterday’s service, it was fantastic. Everyone commented on how great it was. You brought Dad’s story to life.’
‘Many people have said what a wonderful service it was. All the relatives were happy that dad had been looked after so well and sent off in such a nice way. Thanks again for all your help.’
‘I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the incredible words you put together to honour my father. I have thought about the service so much the last few days and you made the day as perfect as a day like that could be. I had so many people tell me how fantastic you were, and they knew dad better from going to the service. You said my sister’s and my words so beautifully and exactly the way we wanted them to be said. You have a very special and unique gift and what you do makes such a huge difference in peoples lives and gives them something to remember forever in such a positive way. I am forever grateful for the life and character you gave our service.’
‘Our Family were extremely pleased with the choice of Graeme’s presentation. His approach in providing comprehensive research in preparation for the ceremony eased the burden of this difficult time for us. He captured moments of my husband’s life in a warm and friendly way with a touch of humor. He created an atmosphere which continued on, long after the ceremony. We are grateful for Graeme’s compassion and professionalism.’
‘Thank you again for delivering such a fine service yesterday. We really are incredibly grateful for your help throughout the entire memorial service process.’
Letting a Loved One Tell Their Own Story
I also have an interest in working with families where a loved one is approaching death, either through old age or terminal illness. The aim here is to capture that person’s thoughts, feelings and wisdom before it’s too late, with the intention of weaving their input into the inevitable funeral ceremony. This can be done via audio or video clips, or quotes and messages integrated into speeches, displayed around the venue or printed in the order of service.
This is a very contemporary concept, one that won’t appeal to everyone, but an approach I believe will become increasingly popular as more families appreciate the extra depth of meaning and continuity that can be conveyed in this way. I talk further about this in the clip called, ‘Letting a Loved One Tell Their Own Story’.