Our Journal

Featured funeral celebrant – Sandra Jason

At Tomorrow Funerals our focus is on ‘celebrations of life.’ That’s why our celebrant partners are so important to us.

As a Melbourne Funeral Celebrant, Sandra Jason is in demand and after working with her, we’ve come to understand why.

Sandra has a unique ability to bring emotional sensitivity, practical experience and an understated eloquence to the task. Her professionalism, compassion and kindness make her a Celebrant we are proud to have on board.

We were honoured to hear more about Sandra’s work as a Celebrant and what motivated her to begin her career as Funeral Celebrant.

Which funeral are you most proud of and why?

This is a tough one. When I was just 24, I gave birth to premature twins – Amy was stillborn and David died several hours after birth.

Having only reached 23 weeks gestation I hadn’t really contemplated their birth yet. I certainly hadn’t contemplated their death.

The hospital offered a mass grave burial which would occur “at some point in the future!” I knew in my heart that this was not the right thing for my children and that I had to arrange a funeral for them that reflected the love and respect I had for them.

I found myself organising a multi-faith funeral ceremony. It proved to be a beautiful combination of traditional rituals and multi faith readings.

The most important thing of course, was that my babies received the recognition and respect they deserved and that everyone present was able to connect to them as beloved family members.

As deeply sad as this experience was, it is my proudest moment by far and a profoundly special gift that laid the foundation upon which I now support the bereaved.

How did you come to working as a Funeral Celebrant begin?

Eleven years ago, whilst I was studying to become a Marriage Celebrant, I was in fact, quite adamant that I didn’t want to be involved in funerals – too sad, a real downer, not enough joy etc… I couldn’t have been more wrong!

But when I tried my hand at funerals, I discovered that there is an abundance of love and gratitude expressed at a farewell. And some of the stories I hear??!! Rather than feeling upset by the grief and tears it has always felt like an absolute privilege to step into a family’s life at such a vulnerable stage and support them in farewelling their loved one in a way that feels comfortable and authentic.

Do you find working as a Funeral Celebrant upsetting?

Of course, there have been some funerals that have been devastatingly sad, especially where a young person had died… but ultimately there is much light amongst the darkness and much laughter mixed with tears.

The loss of a loved one is always sad but ultimately it is the love that will sustain the grieving family and guide them to a place of healing and acceptance. I like to hope that the funeral / memorial ceremony sets the tone for that healing to begin.

What special skills do you have that make you a good funeral celebrant?

I came into celebrancy because I wanted to work with people and make a difference in their lives. I’m personable and warm and genuinely interested in people’s stories – I can sit through any amount of storytelling, manage challenging family dynamics and always find a way of extracting the “essence” of the person who’s passed away by gently guiding the conversation towards memories, reflections and anecdotes.

Many times, whilst meeting with a family, I hear stories that will never end up in the ceremony– stories that simply need to be shared, aired and acknowledged. I understand that this opening up proves to be a healthy part of the grieving process.

I also have a background in performing arts which comes in handy when I need to project my voice through gale force winds!

Tomorrow Funeral Celebrant, Sandra Jason

What do like about Tomorrow Funerals?

Tomorrow Funerals offers an experience that’s transparent and accessible and their website is easy to navigate and user-friendly.

Tomorrow encourages the idea of thinking outside the square and hosting a memorial at a location that reflects the person whose passed away and of the grieving family. (This is so often overlooked by other Funeral Directors).

Tomorrow is to be congratulated for taking the guess work and stress out of organising a funeral!

What advice would you give to a family who needs to organise a funeral?

If at all possible, consider your options before the person has passed away. Once you’re dealing with the death of a loved one, you’re often exhausted and emotional and it’s not an ideal time to be making big decisions if it’s possible to avoid it.

But let’s face it, most people don’t want to think about organising a funeral until it actually happens, so I would suggest two things:

Firstly, ask family and friends for recommendations. Read reviews and never be afraid to ask questions.

Secondly, if at any time during the preparation of the funeral you’re not comfortable with the service you are receiving, let them know. The last thing you need at a time of loss is to feel unsupported by anyone involved in the preparation of a beautiful farewell for your loved one.

Whats the most important thing in planning a funeral for someone you love?

Working with people you feel you can trust is a great place to start. Also, personalising the space in which you come together to farewell a loved one is important – creating a memory table, the placing of photos, memorabilia, a crocheted rug, a favourite toy, a golf club – whatever it is that personalises the space you’re in on the day is a really special way of expressing your love. And last but not least, speak from the heart!

What do you get out of being a funeral celebrant? Why do you do it?

I’m so often asked why I do what I do and how I can stand being a part of so much sadness. I feel I perform a service to grieving families – that my own life experience has brought me to a point where I’m able to really listen, empathise, connect and put into words the story of their loved one with kindness and care.

I also find when people ask me why I do what I do that posing this question in response works quite well: Why does a doctor do what a doctor does?

It’s the same answer I guess… I’m helping people. With compassion and support I’m helping them develop a framework upon which they can create their tribute and tell their loved one’s story.

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