It is often just moments in life that are life-changing; moments when your thoughts and long-held views change instantly. The following are a few of the moments that led me to become a funeral celebrant.
In the early 1980’s I had what would be best described as a calling. A very strong and unrelenting desire to become a celebrant. As a person who believes strongly in freedom of choice, justice, and that one person can make a difference the role of a celebrant fitted my psyche well.
I was raised in Brisbane, Queensland, baptised and confirmed in our local church. Along with my mother, father, brother and sister, attended church every Sunday and then Sunday School. During the week my sister and I would attend GFS, Girls Friendly Society at the church hall where we enjoyed crafts, plays, and the fellowship of other girls in our neighbourhood. I was married in the same local church that I was baptised in. My children were also baptised in the same church.
As a student, about to enter high school, I would attend confirmation lessons after school, once a week, leading up to my confirmation. I was excited and felt it was an important rite of passage. I was looking forward to this day of confirmation where I would feel closer to God. The day came, and I attended my confirmation ceremony in my white dress and did everything that I was meant to, however, I did not feel any different than I did before being confirmed. I did not feel closer to God. I did not look any different. No one treated me differently. I was just the same. Maybe I missed the point!
Many years later when my children were very small I attended the same church. I sat at the back so as not to disturb the congregation, if my infant son became upset and I had to sneak out. I kept wondering why I was being looked at. Then half-way through the service, I was asked to leave. Apparently this service was not the family service. At the time, it was the only service I was able to attend due to transportation restrictions. I recall leaving and being so very hurt by this attitude. It seems the church doors were only open to certain people at certain times.
Whilst this was my personal experience; it was this occurrence that had me thinking about choices. I realised that I can hold Christian values and live by these principles but going to church makes you no more a Christian than going to the garage makes you a mechanic, so to speak.
Overriding all of the above, is that I believe strongly in an individual’s choice to make their own decision regardless of religious beliefs or upbringing, traditions or any other personal or societal constrains. Therefore, I believe that also in death you have a choice and the service should be your way, to the end.
I am Keryl P Fedrick, JP NSW and Civil Celebrant appointed by the Attorney General, a 4th generation Australian of mainly Scottish and Irish descent. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, colleague and friend.
I have loved and I have lost.
I have been at death’s door twice and came back. This experience has been a blessing by bestowing upon
me insights and understandings. It has given me peace and constantly guides me to be the best person I can be. I also use this experience to now be the best possible funeral celebrant.
I love writing and art, helping others, observing people, reading about psychology, social sciences, spiritualism and growth. I have always gravitated towards work where I can be of the most service to others.
When I tell people what I do, the common response is “Wow, That’s fantastic; you were truly born to do that!”
I look forward to meeting with you and your family and friends to help with the preparation of your service. I know together we can make this period meaningful for you and your family.