Sunday, July 15, 2018

Anticipatory Grief

Knowing that a loved one has a life limiting illness, or you may be anticipating a death, is known as anticipatory grief.  It is a trying time and understanding why, can help to cope with the powerful emotions it evokes.  

How to help someone who is grieving

Monday, April 30, 2018

Some ideas for positive, life affirming funeral poems. Some are quite light-hearted, even humorous.

Sometimes its quite appropriate to have a laugh at a funeral or memorial. 
Other times, well, sadness means that humour is not appropriate. Perhaps if it was a tragic death, the death of a child or of a young person. 
Its important to make sure that the tone of the funeral is fitting for the person being remembered.  This is what makes a memorable and consoling farewell for those who loved the one who has died.

My Funeral and Memorial celebrant website

Monday, March 26, 2018

Supermarket Flowers, Ed Sheerin

Thoughts on loss from Proust

People do not die for us immediately but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive.

It is as though they were travelling abroad. ~Marcel Proust
Image result for marcel proust images

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Grieving the people we’ve loved and lost |

 Grieving the people we’ve loved and lost |

Click on the link above to go to an article on the grief rituals which help in the everyday.The writer looks at how to explain death to a child, according to your own beliefs.

She also describes a number of lovely and helpful rituals which bereaved people have devised and which provide comfort. 

Really worth reading.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

An irreverent, humorous poem

This poem was read at a recent memorial which I conducted.  The woman who had passed away had an irreverent, cheeky sense of humour.  It's good to have a few laughs, as well as tears, as we say goodbye to someone we love.

Image result for cartoon image of woman drinking winePardon Me for Not Getting Up
Oh dear, if you're reading this right now,
I must have given up the ghost.
I hope you can forgive me for being
Such a stiff and unwelcoming host. 

Just talk amongst yourself my friends,
And share a toast or two.

For I am sure you will remember well
How I loved to drink with you.

Don't worry about mourning me,
I was never easy to offend.
Feel free to share a story at my expense
And we'll have a good laugh at the end. 

Facing the Abyss: Planning for Death ~ Pallimed


Facing the Abyss: Planning for Death ~ Pallimed

Click on the link above to read an interesting and thought-provoking article.

Monday, July 17, 2017

An interesting funeral custom

I conducted the funeral for an lovely elderly man recently. I met him about twelve months ago when his wife of over 70 years, passed away, so when he died, they contacted me to conduct his funeral. I remembered him well, and how sad and lost he had looked at his wife's funeral.
After 72 happy years together, it was a terrible loss for him.

Image result for pictures of australian coins

He had spent his last days in a nursing home, and his family told me that the staff there had been lovely, especially the Filipino nurses who did their best to cheer him up, and make his last days happy.  Of course he had many visits from his family who all loved him very much.  The gentleman loved a good cup of coffee, so the nurses put some coins in his hand after he passed away.  They said that it was a Filipino custom so that the deceased could buy a good cup of coffee on his way to heaven. What a great custom!

Monday, July 3, 2017

A Personal Funeral with Elaine Searle - Home

You might like to visit my Facebook page for information about funerals and grief. Click on the link below.

A Personal Funeral with Elaine Searle - Home

I am a founding member of the Funeral Celebrants Association and adhere to professional standards in practice and ethics.  Contact me on mob. 0402810062, or email at Email Elaine

Disenfranchised Grief by Doris Zagdanski

About disenfranchised grief

Loss is one of the most common experiences that brings about grieving, but some types of losses are just not recognized and so we have to keep them hidden. This means we can’t grieve about them openly either.
Disenfranchised grief is a concept that was first described by Kenneth J. Doka in 1989. He defined disenfranchised grief “as grief that persons experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged, socially sanctioned or publicly mourned”.
When does disenfranchised grief happen?
When the relationship is not recognised – such as the close ties of friends, a secret lover, same sex couples, foster parents, colleagues, roommates, teenage romance, step parents & step children.
When the loss is not acknowledged – death of an ex-spouse, miscarriage, abortion, having a disabled child, being an adopted child, placing a child up for adoption, pet loss, financial ruin, loss of home/personal possessions, boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, loss of hair/physical appearance due to chemotherapy or illness, death of a public figure/personal hero you admired, death that occurs to people you are not personally acquainted with such as victims of war, natural disasters, crime, capital punishment, misadventure – that touches you.
When the griever is excluded – thought to be too young, judged as not central to the relationship, overlooked due to culture, mental disability or ageing. It could be the loss of access to grandchildren or extended family because of divorce or conflict.
When the circumstance is taboo – suicide, AIDS, drug overdose, anorexia.

Sometimes grief can be disenfranchised by well-meaning family and friends when they set a time limit on your grief or expect you not to cry or encourage you to ‘move on’ or ‘get over it’. This can result in the griever feeling more lonely, misunderstood, more isolated. It doesn’t help when support and comfort that are offered for other losses, that are perceived to be ‘acceptable,’ are not as readily on offer to you.
Remind yourself that you are the best expert on your grief.
Your loss is real, whether or not other people recognise it.
Your grief is what you say it is,
because you are the one going through it.

Doris Zagdanski BA Dip Ed
Doris Zagdanski is a leading figure in modern day grief and loss education. Her seminars are included in vocational qualifications in Allied Health, Counselling and Funeral Directing. Her books and free factsheets are available at