your questions answered

What is a Humanist funeral? What is the structure of a civil funeral? What should I know about embalming? What is normal grief? How do I write a eulogy?

We have asked a selection of experts some frequently asked questions that arise when dealing with the complex issues around loss, death and funerals.

If you have a question, please let us know and we will find and ask an expert to answer it for you.

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What’s the structure of a civil funeral?

The service usually starts with music. This is an opportunity to think about what songs or hymns might have special meaning for the life you are celebrating.

Padraic Cawley MICF is a Civil Funeral Celebrant
www.PadraicCawley.ie

How do you write a eulogy?

What were the person’s passions? What made them tick? Thinking about the essence of the deceased loved one.

Brian Whiteside is Director of Ceremonies for the Humanist Association of Ireland
www.humanism.ie

What is normal grief?

You have to be patient with yourself. This is a process that takes time and is different for different people.

Mary Hayes is a Bereavement Counsellor with The Bereavement Counselling Service, a registered charity set up by professional volunteers to support grieving people in Ireland
www.BereavementIreland.com

What you should know about embalming

Embalming can only take place with the written or verbal permission from a family member.

David Ryan is a professional embalmer. He is Member of the British Institute of Embalmers and the Irish Association of Funeral Directors
www.AfterHoursEmbalming.com

Where can you hold a civil funeral?

A civil funeral can be held in a crematorium chapel, graveside, funeral home, and in some cases, a hotel.

Padraic Cawley MICF is a Civil Funeral Celebrant
www.PadraicCawley.ie

Are there different stages of grief?

Yes, but it can be very tangled and not in any particular order

Mary Hayes is a Bereavement Counsellor with The Bereavement Counselling Service, a registered charity set up by professional volunteers to support grieving people in Ireland
www.BereavementIreland.com

What is a Humanist funeral?

There has been a change in Ireland and the world, and people are looking for a different way of marking the passing of a loved one.

Brian Whiteside is Director of Ceremonies for the Humanist Association of Ireland
www.humanism.ie

What if I’m still sad after a long time?

Yes, you can be sad for quite a long time. And the deep sadness that you can feel can be linked to other griefs …

Mary Hayes is a Bereavement Counsellor with The Bereavement Counselling Service, a registered charity set up by professional volunteers to support grieving people in Ireland
www.BereavementIreland.com

Advice on writing a special eulogy

This is your chance to tell the story of the deceased, think about what made them happy in their life. What are your happy memories of them?

Padraic Cawley MICF is a Civil Funeral Celebrant
www.PadraicCawley.ie

What is reconstructive work?

Restorative arts specialists are used if someone has had injuries and these specialists would work with the family and the undertaker.

David Ryan is a professional embalmer. He is Member of the British Institute of Embalmers and the Irish Association of Funeral Directors
www.AfterHoursEmbalming.com

Making a funeral more meaningful

It can be nice to have children contribute, to bring together the different generations, showing solidarity with each other.

Brian Whiteside is Director of Ceremonies for the Humanist Association of Ireland
www.humanism.ie

What questions do you get asked a lot?

If my father or mother is embalmed, how will they look?

David Ryan is a professional embalmer. He is Member of the British Institute of Embalmers and the Irish Association of Funeral Directors
www.AfterHoursEmbalming.com