‘Nestled deep in the UK countryside is The Repair Shop,’ and I love it, for all sorts of reasons; I love how they restore items their owners’ believed were beyond repair and within a warm atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual respect. I love how the programme’s team of highly skilled craftspeople transform pieces of family history and bring the memories associated with them back to life.
There’s something cathartic about how they painstakingly pick apart and repair the pieces brought to them. And behold, witnessing their resurrection. And yet, many of the pieces are of little monetary value. Because you see, their value is in the memories they evoke, and it is only after a sympathetic conversation between the specialist and the owner that the restoration work begins.
The Repair Shop makes me think about my work as a Funeral Celebrant. Because in many ways, there are similarities, for example:
Warmth and Respect
Any professional worth their salt will want to honour and respect others within their line of work. In my opinion, the work of a Funeral Celebrant should never be competitive; but rather complementary and supportive.
This warmth and respect will naturally spill out and offer something restorative and helpful to all grieving families. There must be a resolve to care about the families we are not serving directly as funeral celebrants.
A person’s story and journey in life are of immense value. A well-managed funeral ceremony will give value, meaning, and substance to the life it is celebrating.
Coming together in memory of someone who has died can be a mixture of memories and music, prose and symbolism, anecdotes, and photographs, where every gesture and every detail is well thought out, picked apart, restored, and executed to an exceedingly high standard.
And all of this, in my opinion, can only ever happen after quality moments of sympathetic conversation. A competent Funeral Celebrant will listen carefully and intently to the stories, the sentiments, the emotions, and the unspoken words of the bereaved and will do so with sincerity and compassion.
The whole experience for the bereaved family must feel like the funeral is for keeps, from the start of the process to its conclusion. There must always be something tangible about it.
Make or break
So, you see, when thinking about the TV programme and funeral Celebrancy, there are many similarities. And the quality of craftsmanship is of equal worth. Funeral Celebrancy is also about the work of restoration and repair. The funeral can be a ‘make or break’ situation after all. So, I encourage you to select your funeral officiant carefully because the quality of their artistry can make all the difference.
If you haven’t yet watched an episode of The Repair Shop on BBC, I urge you to do so; you’ll be captivated and entranced by its magic, I’m certain of it!
As Johannes Brahms writes, ‘Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind.’