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Final Days, Funerals, and Memorial Services

450px-Gesteck_in_HerzformEvery life has its moments of illness, healing and death. Beginning or ending complicated medical treatment, recovering from an acute illness, or living through one’s final days — it is wholesome and life-affirming to mark all of these transitions with blessings and ritual in the presence of others. This is my specialty. If you’d like to learn even more about approach, please read this funeral celebrancy book chapter I wrote.

Final Days Appreciation in Hospice, Hospital or Home

The best time to tell someone “I love you” is when they are still alive to hear it, and can feel cherished, and respond. A ritual or ceremony in a hospice, hospital, home or natural setting, where family members and loved ones can take turns expressing their love and appreciation and say goodbye to a person during his or her final days, can be a nurturing and deeply satisfying act for all concerned. I can help plan, orchestrate and officiate ceremonies for these deeply significant, although often difficult, milestone moments.


A funeral is a time both to mourn the loss and to affirm the life that was led by the deceased with an authentic and open-hearted display of emotion and sentiment. Although I am comfortable and competent with Jewish funeral rituals, I work with families and funeral directors to design, write and officiate at funeral services of any size for people of any faith, or no faith at all. This includes open and closed casket funerals, cremation ceremonies, and burials, or later, memorial services where headstones are unveiled or ashes are scattered. I can also arrange for burial at sea.

If you’d like to learn even more about approach, please read this funeral celebrancy book chapter I wrote.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMemorial Services and Dedications

Memorial services are opportunities for family and loved ones, as well as members of the departed one’s social and community circles to gather and remember the person that has passed and to formally acknowledge what his or her life meant to them.

Memorial services usually take place well after the funeral, although they can be held earlier if desired. They therefore allow for a more complex ceremony than a funeral, and permit more people, from a wider circle, participants, to reflect upon the person who has died, and prepare their own personal contributions to the event. Memorial services can be held when the headstone is dedicated, a garden is planted, or some milestone in the grieving process has been reached.


People are often so deeply bonded with their pets, that when a beloved pet dies, it can cause a sense of loss and grief almost as intense as when a human family member has passed on. I can help design burial and goodbye ceremonies in which these milestone moments are honored.