or… Do Birds Drop Out of the Sky when You Think Hard About It?

Well, having had a good run of funerals from December through to March, things have suddenly stopped.

I know that it’s rather insensitive to use the phrase ‘good run of funerals’ because every funeral marks the loss of a loved one for someone and, in that sense there isn’t anything good about a funeral.

Funeral Cortège — Paul Quispe — Unsplash

However, death is a fact of life — it’s going to happen to each and every one of us at some point, whether we like it or not. There isn’t anything that…

Sorry for those people who were following me, I realise that I haven’t posted anything for a while but I’m back and I hope to get going again in the coming weeks.

So far, I’ve managed to avoid contracting Covid-19 and, now that I’ve had the first instalment of the vaccination, I feel a lot more confident about going out in public and mixing with people, whilst still maintaining social distancing.

I had the Astra-Zeneca version of the vaccine, which gave me about a day of feeling rough. I gather that others have had variable experiences with that same version…

Can you die of a disgraceful disease?

There should be no shame in death. Any death is a shame but we all know that it’s got to happen sooner or later, so should we be ashamed when someone dies?

The concept of disgrace in death has been around for a long time. When military might and success in battle were seen as the defining concept of a country or race, one’s death in battle was either seen as heroic or ‘disgraced in battle’, depending whether you were on the winning or losing side and who got to write the history…

I haven’t always been an atheist and I have been, what you might call ‘a Humanist’, for even less time than that.

As the title suggests, I sometimes think of it as my slow realisation of the truth, which sounds a little like some sort of Damascene Conversion — it certainly isn’t that because that’s not what Humanism, or atheism is about. There’s nothing special about Humanism, it’s just a set of philosophies from which you can pick and choose, with certain strong underlying themes, such as compassion and responsibility to yourself and everyone and everything around you.

I was…

I’m sure that everyone has wondered these things, or is it just me?

Maybe most people ‘just don’t like to think about it’. Well, sorry but I find all sorts of things fascinating and, yes they are often some of the ‘Yuk!’ things that I enjoy finding out about.

Inside a Crematorium in China — Pinterest

Training as a funeral celebrant, it is probably important that I know a little about crematoria, because sometimes people ask. Sometimes people tell me as well, they’re often very authoritative, and wrong!

There are a lot of myths about crematoria and cremations, the sorts of things that people will tell you…

I wonder how many people have read ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle’ by Charles Darwin.

Book Cover of ‘On the Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin

It’s actually a surprisingly easy read, despite its full title being so long-winded. What amazes me is how readable it is for anyone with a basic knowledge of biology, although that was Darwin’s intention. He always had an eye on sales and he wanted his books to be read as widely as possible, so he went to a great deal of effort to make them readable.

For some people, the book…

or — How Do You Know that You’re a Humanist?

Do Humanists Worship anything?

Are you born a Humanist?

Do Humanists have a Holy Book?

Are there any core Humanist beliefs?

Do Humanists sing hymns?

Worship — Photographer Nathan Dumelao

The answer to all those questions and probably several more, as well as the title is; No!

So if the answer to all those questions is no, the next ones have to be;

What do Humanists believe and how do you know whether you are one?

There’s no simple answer to either of those. You could say that we believe in the essential goodness of…

You learn how to grieve…

It’s a lesson that everyone needs to learn and it’s something that almost all of us find out about as we grow up. It’s actually an essential part of growing up.

When you raise children, it’s natural to try to protect them from the hurt and pain that exist in the world and shield them from the unpleasant parts of life. The easiest thing to do is to say, ‘Well, they’re too young to find out right now. Perhaps when they’re a bit older.’ …

No, I had no idea what it meant either. I stumbled across the phrase in a biography of Freidrich Nietzsche that I’m currently reading. The book had been residing for several years in my stack of unread Christmas presents and I finally reached it. I’m not sure that I would have picked it out in a bookshop but I knew nothing about him and it was there, so I’m reading it. (It turns out that he was barking mad and a chronic hypochondriac, who ultimately went completely mad and died quite young. …

One of the consequences that comes with being involved in funerals is that whenever a funeral is mentioned, or something appears in the news that is related to funerals, I am drawn to listening or reading about it.

Police Officers and Rugby players perform a haka outside the crematorium.

I read a lovely piece in today’s paper; the funeral took place yesterday, of Police Sergeant Matt Ratana. It followed an awful incident in which a dedicated police officer was killed in his own police station by an arrested suspect. Not surprisingly, it hit the headlines and created a lot of interest.


In the report of his funeral, there was a…

The Quiet Celebrant

After a career spent largely in education, ranging through almost every sector, I am now a Humanist Funeral Celebrant. I work in the West Midlands and beyond.

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