The Good Funeral Guide Blog

Eat up your greens

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Very short clip here in which GFG hero Thomas Long questions the value of happy funerals.

“To start at the end – to start at the celebration … without processing the sadness, jumps over steps and in effect paralyses us … If one really wants to be sure that one will remain sadder for longer than necessary, then pretend to be too happy too soon.”

6 comments on “Eat up your greens

  1. Kitty

    Monday 3rd December 2012 at 7:37 am

    Well said Robyn! And for a bear of very little brain, Winnie the Pooh was very clever!

  2. Sunday 2nd December 2012 at 12:26 pm


    A colleague of mine in Western Australia (I live on the east coast) just sent this link to me. I am a Funeral Celebrant (civil) and recently at the Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants conference, I spoke on this very topic, asking the question – has the pendulum swung too far the other way? We are almost making people feel guilty if they grieve! Acknowledging loss is equally as important as celebrating life!

    I believe in Australia that we have to find the balance and the sooner the better! As a Funeral Celebrant trainer, I strongly emphasise the importance of loss in a funeral ceremony to my students. Grief is a hard enough journey without putting more pressure on grieving families.

    Well said Thomas Long!

    Robyn O’Connell CMC, Dip FC, MC
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne

  3. Monday 26th November 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I think what may be happening here is a misunderstanding of the term ‘celebration’. As the meaning has changed over time. It is not something that is necessarily unrelentingly joyful. The meaning includes the idea of ‘acknowledgement’…but I’m not sure ‘Acknowledgement of Life’ is a phrase that would catch on!

  4. Jed

    Friday 23rd November 2012 at 12:30 am

    Agree totally, the best funerals are seen through the lens of grief.

  5. Thursday 22nd November 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Brilliantly put and so succinctly.

    Thomas expresses something I have felt for a while about many modern funerals. The originally Humanist term ‘celebration of life’ seems to be what a lot of people ask for these days and I think this misses a significant element of the healing opportunity. A well constructed funeral ceremony will include, and does not shy away from, the dark before the dawn.

    Is being sad and showing our grief the new taboo?

  6. Thursday 22nd November 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Even in half an hour, an effective funeral can and should take people through the painful truth of goodbye as well as the joy of having known someone you love. Miss out the first bit and the second bit is a danger to grieving well.

    You surely can’t really celebrate someone without also grieving for them.

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