On this episode of the Funeral Celebrant Podcast, Tyler talk with Julie Kay Donegan. She's Project Manager at The Life Chest and recently went through the Life-Cycle Celebrant® training. She talks about The Life Chest and her perspective on ceremony.
TranscriptFuneral Celebrant Podcast, Episode #3
When you invite people to participate in something they are not just bystanders at a memorial service. They are really connecting with the family, its really beneficial for everybody.
Hello listeners and thank you for joining me on the Funereal Celebrate podcast I am your host Tyler Fraser. I hope you have a nice day and I just liked you express my gratitude for joining us here on Always Memorial Radio. There is a lot of resources out there for end of life planning and care and I just want thank you for joining us today. Today I have pleasure to speaking with Julie Donegan.
Welcome to the show Julie.
Thank you for having me. So you are with The Life Chest is that right and so one of the things that Donna does over at The Life Chest has the employees goes through the celebrant training and just over so cool that she did that because it just brings a lot of experience a lot of exposure and kinds of round out the individual when it comes to helping families and its knows common in funeral homes to encourage the funeral directors even not funereal directors and assistance and other positions to just become a celebrant to at least to go through the training so I think I , I actually just made the cut to become a millennial, So I think its 1981 is the year so I think you are firmly in the millennial age bracket, where did you do the training what company?
I did with Donna through Insight Institute it was at the ICCFA in Nashville, this past spring. And it was really interesting only suppliers I have ever participated and I travel a country with the life chest I need a distribute and … that offer life chest to families and what I do I train their team they provide the poor and get their feedback. So by going to celebrate training the expectations was that I walk away with this needs fresh ideas and new prospective that I would then teach our friends that can more effectively incorporate the life chest into their services. So that how I got introduced to celebrant training and Don did it alongside me like I mentioned and it was such an interesting experience I really took away quite a bit of it.
Yeah I think I defiantly want deviant to how the training is helped in your training of the funeral home that you are presenting the products but yeah so you went through inside and gland a teaching; that was right.
And how long was training? 3 days well you registered and check in 1st day like afternoon and you are doing evening session, then 1 full day and the 3rd day is filled with presentation where you are partner of day prior and you actually pre the original funeral and it put together and present it to the group to get their feedback and so it’s very interesting structure to the trainee and they pack in a lot in that 3 days.
So in your training and ideas and the concept you were introduced to at the training, how that was affected the way you present the life chest to funeral homes? We’ll be actually through those presentations and had the opportunity to use the life chest in the services because one of the elements of any celebrant service you put together need study those elements you learnt when you go to the training and whatever I am participation and Don and I had been fine looking for way the to share with funeral directors.
How do you incorporate the life chest add in to,,, people. Add agitations to memorial services and when you invite people to participate in something’s they are not by standards Adam and MO lace service are really connecting with the family they its really beneficial for everybody. The life chest we incorporated by you can do it couple of different ways. You can use it almost as interactive cast work where you have it I am gone people into the visitations any dropping, photos, mementos, letters to the family or that they receives from the loved one that passed away. The kind of the way to share your relationship without… with their family so they can learn new thing about their loved one. You can also invite peoples to part of this ceremony whether just be the immediate family or any of those ,, bring up mementoes and drop inside the life chest and share stories why you they are putting inside the life chest. And you can also use the life chest to display and holding alongside someone keep safe of cherished item represented they are so there is a number of different ways you can use as life chest and by going to the Celebrant training I learnt what ways makes the biggest impact and how to shows this to funeral directors though I thing by going to this training and experiencing and having to put together the service myself and get the feedback from my peers now when I say funeral directors they really do get it.
Great, I can just imagine and how an urn can be kept inside of life chest for somebody who wants to put it away in a special place. Right because lot of people we speak to they end up oh I have selling through Urn ………. But it’s not in the closet or it’s in the basement or they aren’t always out in display because not everyone comfortable having them out in display. The life chest is a beautiful place that you know where important thing is inside of it because of its quality and because it’s displayed in the home and it safe place to play putting urn waiting all to have keep safe to visit to you.
You know my parents living room they actually have a in old chest that is kind of like cargo of 1800 an its stands up tall and it’s kind of a life chest and yeah I keep some of their you know valuable, collectible they liked them in teaks, so they cuts nice and antique, cuts other memorable things.
What size is the life chest roughly?
We have few different sizes and com collection and there you can pair them large, the largest sizes as there was like 24” wide by 17” and 17” high like the average of full size of life chest. They are good size but they do not the trunk style that perhaps you can people think over hope Chester, serial chest, there meant to you can left them up and move them if you need to different room, in a home or you take it with you and they so it’s not it something can be lifted by one person.
One of the rituals that really popular in ceremony is for people to leave something in the casket for in the special place, did you came across any ideas for using a life chest is to keep safe those items.
Yeah we definitely heard of that ritual and Donna and I were talking is that a shame you know if that’s where you want to put those items by all means but then rest of your family and generation after whom get you, you know experience those and discover the values by putting them in life chest, you ensure that you know that legacy and those keep safe that goanna be passed on so we recommend is that instead of putting those items in casket not going to see them again not only to putting them in life chest but that be our partner at beremembered.com. is that you go on that website and you write about the story of keep safe because of lots of keep safe that we have these days don’t have a kind of you know monitory value all the time sometimes they do but lots of time they keepsake that we care most about are not worth about that much you know in money but they have lots of sentimental values but you know if you write in a journal but you can also go on mine beremembered.com and put it somewhere that no matter what you can access and find and beremembered.com has all kind of section that prompt you and engage you so shares stories without changeable keep fix values that have for your favorite books or your favorite memories or bucket with there is all different ways you can charting thing down important to you on mind that cordially with you inside our life chest.
You know I think this concept of having up a place from memorial items this been around the long time and I think the life chest is really has something that presinate with people and I think I can be seen by the growth of you company and the reactions and feedback that been seen on today show and Donna yours amazing works. So what say there is someone your age that is thinking about becoming an efficient for funeral and weddings and thinking about over the next steps do I wanna become a funeral director, do I wanna become a celebrant? What advice would you give them for becoming a celebrant?
Well I will take valuable to anybody you know specially funeral director absolutely become celebrant to you regardless if you think you are going to in job performing,,,, (13:33) or not. It’s valuable, especially valuable to funeral director. Anybody else out there I would encourage that they learn about celebrant and I 100% endorse doing the training because make a big difference for me personally and like you mentioned that I am not an active celebrant and we are celebrant at the advocate because I work for life chest and then not doing ,,,(14.01) on decide to anything but it had my own personal experience be lost and before I went to celebrant training my paternal grandmother had only died couple of months prior so I was face with what,,(14.19). Lots of people are face with you know struggle between family dynamics, my grief’s and you know my own feeling how things should be done but that this was first family that I have experienced as an adult so with uncharted territory and after and after,,,,(14.37). I didn’t listen my guardians Hey we need you more than this so ultimately I walked away from 10 min rest we have her nice fell. Deep sense of regret why do we need you more so now that I had gone through celebrant training looking back I absolutely wishes I had known what I know now himself. I look forward to making in weather I am someone celebrant or I can just share with other the importance of ceremony and having a funeral. I think it’s so valuable for people to learn.
I think lots of people can say this same about the ceremony they have experience including myself, I mean so many family members I know over just left kind of one in more and I think that was one of really cool thing about the life chest is the purpose of you know the celebrant training is to bring more meaning to the ceremony and I think the life chest is a really great tool and vehicle to achieve that.
Julie I can’t thank you enough for coming on the show and telling us your story. Absolutely thank you for having me Tyler Here really nice talking with you Nice talking with you Lister thanks so much for joining me on the funeral celebrant podcast.