My Story

Don’t you love arriving at just the right place without knowing it was where you were headed?


Becoming a Funeral Celebrant is not something I could have predicted – but it turns out to be the perfect expression of my own life story.


Before settling in Edmonton, I grew up in Legal, Alberta.   I always knew that I wanted to be of service to others. I was involved in many aspects of the community as a young person and adult. I have worked in different sectors of health and have always enjoyed meeting people in all walks of life.


A few years ago out of the blue, I had a thought that I should look in to the possibility of becoming a Celebrant. After some online research I enrolled in a Funeral Celebrant course from the In-Sight Institute that was being held in Calgary, a program widely recognized by Funeral Directors. After the first hour of lectures I knew in my heart that is what I was meant to be doing and have not looked back as I have found my calling and am truly grateful.


I experienced a lot of grief in my own life having lost close friends in a car accident in my teens, my younger sister and dad from cancer, my brother in law recently from a sudden heart attack and other family members and friends. I have walked down that deep dark valley of grief. My own life experience and circumstances have paved the way to this profession where I can now be of support to others. The purpose in my life now is to help families start the process of healing and to create a meaningful service.


I have always enjoyed meeting and connecting with people. Being a Celebrant has allowed me to share compassion and empathy. It has made me realize that we all have a story and each life story matters. I can share your loved ones story in either English or French.  My responsibility is to make the deceased person’s farewell one that is meaningful and purposeful for those that are left behind as they share memories. Funeral Ceremonies create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of grief or trauma, and we share that with others who are in attendance. A Celebration of Life is not a day in a lifetime, it is a lifetime in a day.


Robert Stolorow says it well in these words: “Grief that is dismissed, suppressed, or silenced harms individuals, families, and communities.” A good Celebration of Life/Funeral/Memorial does the opposite of suppressing…it brings those emotions to the surface and honors them.


I have found this to be so true in all kinds of difficult situations in my role as a Celebrant and when I worked as a College Chaplain in New Zealand where my family and I lived for ten years. 


Grief I’ve learned is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat and in the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.
– Jamie Anderson.