My new Funeral Celebrant Website


Above are parts of the two Testimonials I received.

I am smiling.

Below is the link to view,  if you wish 🙂

PS:   I would like to thank Shaun from who helped me sort out this post from the original website – so thank you Shaun 🙂

PPS: Yes the photo does look familiar doesn’t it.

The Service for the man I called my ‘Uncle Les’

Yesterday conducting the Service for the dear family friend, who I have called my ‘Uncle Les’ was a very proud day for me.

I could not write about the day (only in prose) last night as I was mentally and physically drained.

I arrived at 12:15 with mum in toe (I had to collect her) as my brother had to remain home with Pop to look after him. For those following Pop – he’s feeling much better.

The FD Assistant also a Celebrant took me under her wing – she was lovely. I told her it was only my second service and she said it takes ‘guts’ to do it for someone you know.

The entrance song was Josh Groban – To where you are – – this song gets me EVERY TIME.

I read the Eulogy, the family liked two of my poems that I wrote, so I read them, I recited the Lords Prayer by family request. I called their son up to speak, then his mum, who was very brave and read a few lines of love. It was tough when I was reading and looking up at the family who were crying and I had to concentrate on looking at others to get through.

I had to read a piece that Pop had written – I did well to the last lines – “I have lost a good mate…” I started to break and excused myself to have a drink of water, then forged on.

The reflection was beautiful, they played two songs country and western John Williamson’s ‘True Blue’ and Slim Dusty’s “Don’t laugh in the face of Father Time – which I cannot find on youtube.

Whilst True Blue was being sung, some of the Assembly started singing the words. I wanted to get up and say if you know the words – please sing along, as it was truly a beautiful moment.

I then asked everyone to stand for the committal and final words. I read, and the final song chosen by his wife was “We’ll meet Again” – Vera Lyn which she started (and mum) to sing.

I stood facing his coffin as they took off his guitar that he played and his medals and photos, his coffin being placed under a large skylight, I looked up into the sky and then I broke.

I then had to lead the hearse out with family members walking him, tears blinding my way to the front door.

I walked up to the open hearse and kissed his coffin and stood back for the family to say their final good-byes. As I stood a gentleman came up and took my hand and told me what a beautiful service, then inside another gentleman, you don’t know me, but that was the most beautiful service and you are such a natural. I was blushing, I had such warm and fuzzies. The compliments continued, I couldn’t believe it.

I write this not to brag/boast or pat myself on the back. I write this for you to be along side me on this journey. The family were so happy and told me how proud of me they were… THAT is what this is all about. Having those who have lost a loved one – come away feeling special, that their loved one’s goodbye was memorable and that they were happy with what I read and did for them.

A day that shall always be remembered by me.


PS: They had the service recorded, I have asked for a copy – so I can see if anything should be changed oh…and also to show Pop and the rest of the family that weren’t able to attend.


thank you for reading and being part of my journey


Today (Prose)

a breath ~ deep controlled
uncurling hidden knots
that brewed as a storm
under water

a glance ~ as eyes meet
tears of those who wait
for signs of comfort
sea of faces, seeking hope

a start ~ as words are read
trying not to stumble
mispronounce or body
crumble under pressure

Aussie flag draped over coffin
guitar that you played
medals won in battle
tears of mine withheld

committal ~ closing words
I lead the pall-bearers
to the hearse and I break
the tears cannot be held

the poem I wrote for you today

I’m still around

Today you bid farewell to me
and I strum my guitar and sway
listening to the ivories
that my Barbara played

I want you to remember me
but with happiness in your hearts
not with tears or sadness
now we are apart

please treasure all our good times
the laughter and our smiles
as I tread my journey forward
up into the skies

you will not walk your life alone
I’m always by your side
and I’ll be watching from above
with love and so much pride

I’ll dance as I once did
and I’ll whistle a tune or two
though I’m gone ~ I’m not forgotten
and please remember I love you

so when you wave your last goodbye
smile and live without a tear
for as the years tick slowly by
know I’m always here

©jmtacken 7 Oct 2013

A tough day- a good day. Pop’s not too well and couldn’t attend the Service of his life long friend. I was going well, till I had to read a letter that he wrote, knowing he couldn’t be there to watch me conduct the Service. I got to the last line.. then started to break..but I forged on. Emotional roller-coaster today.

Apologies if I haven’t been around to visit your sites the last few days, getting organised for today was paramount. For those that have visited me regardless of my lack of visiting ~ I THANK YOU.

Exciting news…possibly?

Dear Readers,

I haven’t been able to post prolifically as I have done of late as I am a tad under pressure at the moment.

Over the next few days,  well up to my Tuesday of next week at least I will need all your rousing support of  YOU CAN DO THIS!

Yesterday I got a phone call …. yes THE phone call from the F.D Home (the guy that let me see his other 2 Celebrants in action) and yes readers… next Wednesday at 12pm, I will conducting my first Funeral Service.

I can see you all smile..can you see me grimace??

I have my list of questions, it is a phone interview unless this changes tonight and I see the next of kin over the weekend. However there is a little time limit, so I must get everything prepared, gather the information, write-up the service, ritual (if any), find out other speakers all within the next few days.

Now most of you know me – do you think I wasn’t a nervous wreck all yesterday and throughout the night thinking of this… well for those who don’t ~ I was.

So this is what I shall be concentrating on, I maybe able to slip in some prose, but if I don’t or if I am unable to read your posts and comment PLEASE forgive me as this is now taking precedent.

That’s all I wanted to say, just be behind me, telling me I will be fine (which will all be ignored on Wednesday at 11.55am)








A little interlude from Poetry – my weekend

and it’s time my good readers for my WEEKEND PAST post, we will resume with current broadcasting of poetry, 3 word prompts and the like tomorrow.

My weekend  ~ well let’s see.

  1. Out for dinner on Saturday night to a Chinese Restaurant. Since we discovered Thai & Vietnamese cuisine sometime back, we don’t frequent the Chinese Restaurants as we have in the past, but in saying that we were pleasantly surprised with the quantity, quality and price of the food. 6 of us, entrees all round, 6 main dishes plus the fried rice (have to have the fried rice) with a total cost of $220.00. I shall let you do the math, but it was very reasonable.
  2. Saturday afternoon (which I really should have written about first) I completed my recording of my Eulogy reading that I had to also write.  Now apart from the fact (mere technicality really) that I perhaps mention the words, death, die and dying too many times, I was very pleased with the result. Yes, readers I am patting myself on the back. I shall be handing in the USB to the trainer in the morning for her to assess, which she said could take anywhere up to 2-3 weeks… I am not happy about this as I have been out of work since the end of July and I am wanting to make headway into my new career as soon as possible, but will my grumbling hasten the process, no, so I shan’t.
  3. Today (Sunday) Mr. S and I took Pop to the Caribbean Market (remember the one that sells the machetes and blades)  as we purchased some ink cartridges for our printers last weekend and of course…they don’t work. Mr. Vendor behind the counter was wanting to offer us $5.00 back (as he had never had any complaints before) erm we paid $20, so I stuck to my guns (no I don’t own one, don’t be silly) and said no we want to exchange them.  A disgruntled Mr. Vendor swapped them over and we were off to the fruit and veg stand.  What I haven’t mentioned is that the market car park is some considerable distance from the entrances and Pop had told me he wanted to go. When we arrived at their place to pick him up I said to Mr. S it will be quicker if I just grab his cartridges and change them. Opening the front door, there he was all dressed up ready for his outing…he looked so cute, how could we say no. Fortunately we were given a wheelchair that Mr. S’s mum used, so Pop sat like the King being pushed around by a puffy face Mr. S and we finished the shopping.
  4. Lastly on the weekend agenda, I have started writing a book, the title (at this juncture) How I became a Funeral Celebrant. Now if that isn’t going to spur me on,  nothing will… I figured this is what I have set my heart on doing and hoping to succeed so why not start writing a book about the how’s, why’s and wherefores’ of how I started in this industry.


That is it dear readers, if you got through my Weekend Past blurb again, I thank you. Tomorrow is Monday in Aussie Land and Spring is finally showing with an expected temperature of 27C – yes I am excited ..another day of writing (and possibly weeding) ahead and trying to seek out part time employment ( that I am SO not interested in obtaining) but which may be required to help my depleting bank balance.


Hope you enjoy my tags 🙂

Thoughts, doubts and a little anxiety

We have been home 1 day, I think I have already settled into a routine of sorts, not that I really had one.

I am feeling quite anxious though, in fact I realised it the moment we started our holiday.

Tightness around the chest mainly and feelings of “hell can I do this – I mean really”. No, I’m not talking about the holiday, that part was easy.  As you may or may not know I completed the 2 day Celebrant’s course and have the piece of paper saying that I completed the training and I can perform a funeral ceremony. Though I still have assignments, mainly answering and typing numerous questions to finish, plus having to make 2 DVD’s one with an audience of friends (as I doubt I can pull in anyone off the street for this). One without – don’t ask why I have no idea.

These though painful to do, I shall attempt, if only to gain self confidence in my ability and speaking. My anxiety is purely built around the ‘can I factor’.

There are no second chances when you say you are a Civil Celebrant and get that first call. From the moment you knock on the door of the grieving family to conduct the interview, to having the ability to handle relatives or friends that may stand up to speak, when the immediate family have said no. There will be the moment that I first walk into where the service is being held, not knowing how I will go, will I perform the ceremony with grace and professionalism that a grieving family can and should expect?

I know as with any ‘position’ that we take on in life — the first day is always the worst. Nerves will set in, but unlike sitting behind an office desk and fumbling my way through the day, this I cannot fumble with. I can’t allow nerves to take control, though I m sure my knees will be knocking behind the lectern.

I took on this career change initially, because I felt I was capable, but nerves can be terribly debilitating and even before I have finished the assignments or produced the DVD’s, my knees are knocking at the mere thought of performing something so desperately important as a service for a departed loved one.

Throughout the holiday, when I went to bed I would be rehearsing eulogies in my head.  This may sound strange to everyone, but I could not cease . I talked to Mr. S about it on the 3rd day and he tried to put my mind at ease. It worked for a short while, but the sleeplessness returned and I found myself exhaling deeply to try and get a grip on my anxiety.

I keep running scenarios through my head during the day – a eulogy for a child, for a suicide victim, for a still born baby, a long illness, a murder, an accident. There are so many that will require careful thought process in order to write a service that is fitting.  Perhaps I am jumping the gun a little and letting myself (as us humans do) get worked up prior to even trying.   There are also rituals that can be performed, the lighting of candles, releasing of doves or balloons. Allowing someone to play a musical instrument, placing items of farewell into the casket. Time restraints are also to be considered, a half hour service or longer depending on the amount of those who wish to speak. Knowing when the music or photo tribute is to begin, when to call the speakers up, at what suitable interval.  Not to rush when speaking (as this is what we have a tendency to do when we are nervous). To pause at the right intervals, to allow reflection.

I am not writing this for everyone that follows me to say – I will be fine – honestly I’m not, I’m writing to convince myself more than anything, that I shall be okay, that this is something I can do and by putting my thoughts on paper here, it helps me a little.

Below is a picture I took from our Hotel room in Cairns, I purposely woke at 6.30 to catch the sunrise over the mountain. After this photo I have written an introduction to a service that has been swirling around my head.

If this is something you cannot read I understand, hence putting it after the photo.


The circle of life – we are conceived, we live and we die.

How many of us here today, have thought of what our reactions would be when we are faced with losing someone whom we love and cherish? To encounter a loss of a loved one is devastating and painful and how are we ‘supposed’ to manage, how brave can we be, how do we come to terms with it?

Each one of you will react differently and there is no right or wrong on how you grieve or for how long.

The question of why will be asked, why did he/she have to leave me, my life.

I wish there were answers for you, but there are none.

… played an important role in all your lives and this is proven by each and every one of you being here today, to remember, honour and celebrate his/her life.

Today you will need tissues, you may need the person next to you, a friend a relative or perhaps even a complete stranger to give you comfort, or you them. You will shed tears and do not be afraid to do so. For this is grieving and grief is not rational.  It can be overwhelming, sharp and lingering or it can make you feel numb.

As we look upon the life of … let us share stories and the shedding of tears and by gradually releasing the burden of grief through these memories of happy times and yes sad times, each and every one of you will hopefully draw further strength and solace from one another through this most difficult and painful time.

In the words of Rumi a Sufi poet – the soul flies out from the body at the time of death and lays the body aside like an old piece of clothing.

Dying is akin to a ship that sails and fades off into the horizon, we no longer see them from where we stand with the limit of our sight, but just as they fade from our view, someone will see them from their horizon and we know that their presence is nearer than we could ever imagine.

Be compassionate and understanding with those around you but in particular yourself. The pain of not having … in your life, will in time change and there are no time limits set.

We are grateful for the time we had with … rest often in this stillness and quiet strength as we say goodbye and wish … well on their journey.