Why I became a Celebrant
I like to help people – that is a source of joy in my life. I have been helping people in one way or another throughout my life.
I had never thought about becoming a Celebrant until one of my best friends died.
Her name was Pieta.
She was one of the greatest people to ever grace the Earth and I miss her every day. I have her name tattooed on my wrist to remind me to make the most of every day, and to never take this life for granted.
She would have given anything to have lived.
Pieta had cancer. She was told from the outset it was terminal.
She taught me so many valuable life lessons and you can never understand the impact an individual has on another and how you really feel about that person until they are no longer here.
Time doesn’t heal the loss of someone you love – time only gives you the ability to learn how to live without them.
So, she taught me to tell those close to me how I feel about them every day – in case there were no more tomorrows.
Pieta showed me the meaning of true strength and courage. She never lost her sense of humour or positivity – even when battling an enemy that was always going to win.
I took leave from work and was fortunate to spend time with her during her last weeks of life.
I was there when she died.
I was a pall bearer and spoke at her funeral service.
When I struggled and emotion overwhelmed me, I was reassured by the Celebrant conducting Pieta’s service – she placed her hand gently on my back and whispered words of encouragement into my ear.
“You can do this – just breathe”.
At the conclusion of the service, the Celebrant approached me and suggested I look into becoming a celebrant. I thought the idea was ridiculous and told her so. She said in 12 months she wanted to see my name on the Register of Celebrants, and she walked away.
People who know me, know I am impulsive; I make decisions quickly and I move forward. Procrastinate - not me - but I thought about this decision for months.
Maybe I could do this. It can’t hurt to try.
I enrolled in the courses to become a Marriage and Funeral Celebrant online, taking additional units in dealing with grief and trauma.
Over the next few months I completed the course work and applied for registration with the Department of the Attorney General.
My authorisation was granted on what would have been Pieta’s birthday – the 18th of November 2009.
I worked for the WA State Government for nearly 27 years, and during that time I undertook a variety of roles.
I love working collaboratively with teams of people and in front line customer service roles.
From the service of demerit point suspension notices and Court prosecution work, to managing a Licensing Centre in the country, to a variety of roles in the motor driver assessment space.
My final role was the creation and delivery of awareness sessions on behavioural ethics and corporate governance throughout the State and through that work I met so many people – people with stories to tell about a variety of things – good and bad.
I like people – I find them fascinating.
I like to try and understand what drives people – why they do what they do.
I love to hear people’s life stories; what they experienced, how they overcame adversity and to hear about their accomplishments.
I have always been able to write – it has been a skill that comes naturally to me - something I inherited from my Dad.
In the years after becoming an Authorised Celebrant, I conducted weddings for family and friends, as well as the occasional funeral service for friends.
I have always been curious about death. Not in a morbid way, but how people deal with loss and grief. I knew I always wanted to be involved in the funeral industry and as I got older, felt I could help people by applying the knowledge gained through my own experiences with death, loss and grief.
Along the way I have lost a former partner, best friend and the father of my son, my younger brother, my Dad, aunts and uncles, grandparents and too many friends, either suddenly, as a missing person, or as a result of degenerative illness.
I always try to see the positive side to life, whatever the situation, but appreciate how difficult it is to maintain when life throws us curve balls.
Life is a series of highs and lows – and it is important to understand and try to maintain a balance.
I think my life and career so far has been an apprenticeship for the role I am doing now.
When I left the State Government, I decided I would work as a Celebrant full time.
It has been hard work and long hours, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If it wasn’t a challenge, it wouldn’t be as rewarding as it is.
What I do is a privilege and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of special moments in people’s lives – good and bad.
Thank you for choosing me to be a part of your special day.