Tuesday 21st February 2012 by Louise Carron Harris, No comments
Raised eyebrows, embarrassed giggles, “What????”, “Good grief…!” are just some of the responses I’ve been given when I tell people of my new venture with Sentiment, which only reinforces the idea that what I’m doing is right; that death is still a taboo area and that this needs to change. Whatever your belief of what happens to us afterwards, whatever culture or religion, we are all united in the fact that we will depart this life at some point.
I love life. I try to see the richness of every moment. I look for humour, and laugh often. I am happy. This doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced so-called ‘negative’ events. Quite the opposite, but I choose to see the positive and my life is fun. I also choose to accept that one day I will leave this life for something else, and in leaving this life I will leave behind some amazing people who have enriched my being more than they would ever know. And so when they come to my funeral to say goodbye, I also want to say goodbye to them. I don’t want a sombre, Dickensian affair. I’m sure (the ego suggests ‘hope’?!) there’ll be a few tears, but I want smiles and laughter to break through those tears. I want to hear “Emily would love this” and “That is SO Emily”. Black clothes and cucumber sandwiches just won’t cut it!
When my beloved mum (who was also one of my best friends) died in December, I helped arrange her funeral. There were bright colours and an ‘anything goes’ attitude towards the dress code, a 5 foot spray of flowers in her favourite colours on her coffin which was made of golden wicker. Each guest took away a collection of people’s tributes and memories of her, intertwined with photos and her artwork in a pearlescent booklet. It was a beautiful day. My only regret was, that due to the short time you have to plan a funeral and the emotion that surrounds it, I didn’t get to personalise it even more. Or film it. I felt the funeral was my last connection on this earth to my darling mum. I was in such a haze that day; I wish I could see it again.
To work with someone and to give them their final wish, or to help grieving families honour someone for the individual that they were, and to reflect their personality, whilst allowing them the space to concentrate on the difficult time they are going through, will be so fulfilling. I am so looking forward to this journey and cannot thank Louise enough for inviting me to join such an empathic, unique and special company.
Emily Lamont – Operations Director
Monday 18th July 2011 by Louise Carron Harris, No comments
It’s been a month since the National Funeral Exhibition 2011 but the ripples that Sentiment made at the show are still making themselves felt! It looks like our offering made a real impression on Rev George Callander, who saw us at the exhibition and has written an excellent article in this month’s Funeral Service Times:
“Among the many new services springing up is funeral photography and videography, which I believe to be splendid adjuncts in bereavement support. For some years I have offered to record funeral and memorial services for families. This allows them to either send the CD recording to family members or friends unable to attend in person, but who may wish to share in the service, or allows those present to listen again to the service at a time when they feel more emotionally able to do so. Increasingly, crematoria are offering recording as part of their customer service – and all credit to them for doing so”
It’s really interesting that the Reverend has also been offering to record his services; it goes to show that there is a real growing demand for a souvenir of the day, something that people can keep, look back on and treasure. (Ironically it sounds like I would have met the Reverend in person on the BBC Breakfast sofa back in November 2010. If he’d been able to travel at short notice!)
Funeral videography is still relatively new and unusual and some people may have reservations about it. The Reverend makes the point well:
“For some, the concern about filming/photographing funerals is intrusion into what is a solemn occasion: a lessening, perhaps, of the dignity of the service. While this might be so in some poorly prepared cases, I believe if the photographer and camera person liaise with the family, funeral director, officiant and cemetery/crematorium staff regarding boundaries then this should not be a problem.” This is where we come into our own; at Sentiment we use highly professional photographers and camera operators who blend in unobtrusively and are extremely respectful of the mourners and their emotions.
“I realise it is not for everyone, but as part of a wider freedom of choice for the bereaved, the availability of these services should be more widely known. For some grieving people, having the opportunity to listen to the funeral, watch the service on video or simply reflect by browsing through high quality photographs, can offer just the cathartic experience they need.”
We’re really pleased that what we do here is starting to filter in to the wider consciousness and we’re confident that in time what we offer will be no more unusual than hiring a wedding photographer or videographer. Increasingly there are more and more ways to document and remember each significant stage in our lives, and the acceptance of death as something that can be embraced as the end of a remarkable journey can only have positive repercussions for those left behind.
Friday 17th June 2011 by Louise Carron Harris, 4 comments
NFE 2011 was an incredible year for Sentiment. Having exhibited in 2009 we found that funeral directors thought the Sentiment product range was too modern – however this year things were very very very different…
Wednesday 25th May 2011 by Louise Carron Harris, 2 comments
We’ve just finished a Commemoration Memory Book for a lovely chap who died a few weeks ago.
The Book is stunning and made with a black leather embossed front. All his friends and family who attended the funeral left message and sent us photos. All the messages and photos have been incorporated into this book and it will be give to his wife next week.
The book ended with this poem – I do Love this Poem.
Farewell My Friend
It was beautiful as long as it lasted
The journey of my life.
I have no regrets whatsoever
save the pain I’ll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care…
And the strings pulling at the heart and soul…
The strong arms that held me up
When my own strength let me down.
At every turning of my life I came across good friends,
Friends who stood by me,
Even when the time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell my friends
I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears for I need them not
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad do think of me
for that’s what I’ll like when you live in the hearts
of those you love, remember then
you never die.
Monday 7th March 2011 by Louise Carron Harris, 1 comment
Today is one of those beautiful spring days, where the sun is shinning and the air is fresh.
Outside its almost like the sun has broken through everyones winter cocoon to find the summer smiles.
I stumbled upon this poem, its wonderful. Personally it’s the sort of poem I love to hear at a funeral, a message to thoes that life is very very special and to go on to live another day taking from it what you can
Thank you to http://www.funeralpoemsandreflections.com where I found it.
A few lines from “Life Is A Fragile Thing”:
“Life is a fragile thing
And it can change within an instant
Nothing is safe from the effects of change
No person or possession we’re given
The only things we can hold forever
Are the memories in our hearts
The loves we share upon this earth
Before it comes our time to part
So choose a pathway that brings you joy
Take time for quiet moments each day
Appreciate the challenges that strengthen your soul
And the blessings God sends your way
Don’t let your heart be ruled by anger
It’s just not worth the stress
For the tumult will only expand in your heart
And crowd out happiness
Live each day with wonder and gratitude
For the beauty that surrounds you
And share your abundance generously
It’ll ensure future blessings will surround you
Meekly accept that life’s journey will include
Unexpected, soul-wrenching heartaches
That will bruise your soul and alter the course
You always imagined your life would take
And when that happens you’ll have the choice
To embrace hope or hopelessness
You can’t avoid grief, but you can refuse to accept
A lonely future of bitterness
So choose to be grateful for each moment
With the loved ones you’ve been given…”
Monday 21st February 2011 by Louise Carron Harris, No comments
I have been chatting to a lady called Beverly Ogonowski who has been telling me all about her company Repose in Light and their “Heliostèle” – A solar-powered funeral accessory that shines all night to symbolise undying love.
Beverly tells me that the “Heliostèle” is a powerful way to remember all those who have gone before us. Personalisable, innovative, autonomous, maintenance-free and ecological with a lifespan of 15 years.
It is Placed on a grave, or at home in a sunny corner, this durable memorial lights up at night to reveal a brilliant message celebrating the life of a loved one.
The Heliostèle is made from iron, glass and polished granite. It is a funeral accessory that combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest technology to offer a unique and lasting memorial.
It gives more than 15 hours of light at night, its weather resistance and can withstand temperatures from -30º to +70ºC. Its size is 33.5 cm x 20.5 cm. Weight: 6.2 kg (approx) as even thought its not yet available the Price for Heliostèle from “la Collection divine” 980€ (£826 today)
Monday 31st January 2011 by Louise Carron Harris, 1 comment
I just heard that John Barry died, it made me cry. I don’t normally get upset by famous people dying , I deal with the real people in life and death and that’s emotional enough. I didn’t cry because of his loss I cried because of his amazing influence on me and my gratitude for his life.
I think Out Of Africa was one of the first videos I remember seeing. I was probably about 7 years old. It was not something I would have chosen to watch, I was more interested in the Care Bears but my mom was a working single parent and the only time we’d actually have time to sit with her and chill out and have a cuddle was on the sofa with a video.
Sunday 9th January 2011 by Louise Carron Harris, No comments
How many of you have analysed your life, thought about where you came from and where you are going, how you will be remembered and how you want to be remembered?
For some of us its hard to think about our existence, hard to think about life without our friends and family or think about our family living life without us. For others thinking about the end highlights how wonderful this life really is, and brings gratitude that we we are still here on our journey… and that’s what is important.
Sentiment believes that we should remember that we are living in the here and now… because we know all too well that life can short. Be aware that all your achievements and stories along the way have made you who YOU are and we should celebrate that and commemorate.
In a time when we like to preserve our history, why not preserve a little bit of your own history … whether you want to create a DVD for your family as a gift, or a life biography to pass onto your children, a Memory book of your life with photos and stories. If you want to ensure that one day your family will know what to do for your funeral and celebrate your life in the way that best reflects you, then please speak us for funeral event planning or commemoration DVD production.
Happy new year, and all the best on your Journey.