When Carol Seay started training with The Celebrant School, her primary goal was to become a marriage officiant. But in the first hour of the Funeral course, she had an epiphany. No stranger to heartache from losing loved ones, she immediately felt a deep connection with the bereaved people she was learning about.
Her life experience and background in acting, counselling, and teaching meshed seamlessly with funeral celebrancy and prepared her for the more difficult services. Funeral Directors in the Counties Manukau environs now seek her out her for the suicides, the stillborn babies, the deceased children and the car-crash teen deaths.
When asked what makes this role of funeral celebrant possible, and even rewarding for her, she reflects how it parallels her work as a preschool teacher. “I’ve worked for forty years with pre-schoolers” she replied. “Children of that age are real. They’re not yet inhibited by social expectations. They’re honest. If they’re hurting, they tell us. If they’re angry, they tell us. If they’re in emotional pain, they are open and raw, and show us. Adults who are in newfound grief are like that. There’s no room for pretence. I can connect with them on a level that would not be possible in normal times, and I can hear their truth. I give them however long it takes, and when I have enough trust and knowledge, I can write a story with them”.
Meeting families on such an authentic and honest level and with well-honed celebrant skills, Carol is rewarded by the knowledge that she has made a devastating time slightly easier for her families.