Losing a loved one, no matter what age, is incredibly hard.  I have personally experienced the loss of parents, friends, and a child.  I take the task of conducting a funeral very seriously.  It is my aim to create a ceremony that pays homage to the person in the way that enables the family members and friends of that person to grieve and to say goodbye in the very best way for them.  


I have conducted funerals for three very close friends. That is not easy, but it is the last and best thing I can do for them and their families. When I do a funeral for someone I have not met, the challenge for me is to get to know that person through their family and friends, so that the ceremony I write reflects that person faithfully.

 

Because I am a secular celebrant, I do not offer comfort from a religious perspective. Rather, I use words that celebrate the person’s life, that mourn their loss, and that acknowledge the vital way in which that person lives on – in the memories of those that loved her or him. My personal experiences of loss (a father, a mother, and a child) have taught me that there is great comfort in remembering the person, in acknowledging and talking about him or her, and in reaching a point where we can be grateful for their lives no matter how long or short.


It is common to be referred from a Funeral Director when a person dies. However some of the most moving funerals I have taken have been for friends or for friends of friends.  Whichever way it happens, I ensure that I learn as much as I can about the person who has died by talking to family members.  I encourage eulogies as they are a potent way of getting to know the many facets of the person that are often not known by others. 


I have recently published a memoir about losing my son 37 years ago. In it I discuss the grieving process, and the ways in which one can find consolation and even triumph over grief.  See the website 'afteralexander.net.'

I can help with suggestions including readings and blessings.

It is almost impossible not to be moved, as a celebrant, by the grief and sadness of a loss.  For me that means I can take a more meaningful ceremony, at the same time as knowing that this is often the only thing I can do for the person and the family and that I must do it to the best of my ability.


"A funeral of a loved one is the most important event a family comes together to arrange. There is no event that a family have more of a desire to get totally right. At the time that you want to crawl into a corner and weep a family must pull together and organise the final tribute to their loved one. I will always be eternally grateful to Jan Pryor for being that person who could talk us through the funeral. To stand beside us and talk with us to create an authentic tribute to our Mum. Jan is wise, intelligent, gentle, present and eloquent. All these attributes enabled Jan to navigate us through organising a funeral for our Mum that we feel very happy about. On the day Jan as celebrant opened the service that set a tone of love and honour to our loved one. Jan’s eloquence meant that her words spoken, including a perfect reading were perfect in reflecting an authentic account of Mum. I will always look back on this day and know we couldn’t have done better to give thanks to Mum."  Susie


"In February our family suffered a loss and we asked Jan Pryor to act as celebrant for the funeral. From the moment we contacted her we found her services to be compassionate, responsive to our needs and unwaveringly professional."  Caroline.