gingko blossoms

celebrations for life and death

Origin
 
My youngest child told me that I needed an origin story. Why gingko they asked? And do gingko trees even have blossoms? The gingko I can explain. I have lived in an area of north London for the longest time I have lived anywhere. A quarter of a century, half my life and the main part of my adult years. At the bottom of my road is a churchyard long disused as a churchyard, but much loved by the community. Central to the churchyard is a tower of Norman heritage. Each Autumn, its paths and garden of remembrance are carpeted in the delicate yellow fan-shaped leaves of the gingko trees that stand either side. They reminded me of Japan where I lived for a time. When I learned they are a living fossil, unchanged for more than 200 million years, unique in that they have no known living relative, I was inspired by their resilience. And then I love the sound of the word. Gingko. A bell tinkles. Do they have blossom? I swear I saw some this spring, but not beautiful sprays and arrays of colour that other trees share. And as much as I love the beauty and resilience of the gingko tree, I love blossoms. Their heralding of spring, a faith that there will be growth, joy even after the darkest, coldest of winters. Starting my own business, changing career direction to have the privilege of creating beautiful and meaningful ceremonies with and for those overwhelmed by the loss of a loved one, it seemed to fit. Resilience,  faith in the future: gingko blossoms.

Biography

Following a few years of Teaching English as a foreign language in Greece, Japan and London, I then worked for more years in press and publicity with UK based environmental charity The Wildlife Trusts and NewVIc, an inspiring sixth form college. Looking for work that was local and part-time to combine with caring for my children, I moved into volunteer and service management for charities supporting vulnerable people. This work introduced me to Debbie Young and her work raising awareness around end of care life planning and the importance of having conversations around death and dying. Work collided with the personal as I was caring for an older relative and feeling empowered to face the impossible was invaluable. The connection with life that comes from acknowledging death. Although my roles provided me with challenge, growth and learning, I was inspired by the work of practitioners such as Poppy and her team at Poppy’s Funerals who I met through my work with Debbie. Deciding to explore this interest further, I embarked on the Green Fuse Funeral Celebrant training led by the amazing Jane & Simon and their team of trainers. Their shared passionate belief that the role of funerals as an opportunity to say good-bye, to embrace ritual as acts that communicate the unsayable are essential to healthy societies continues to resonate and inform my approach. How we manage loss and grief as individuals, families, communities determine how we manage life. With 500 hours of training, I am delighted to now be an accredited Independent Funeral Celebrant, member of the Green Fuse Celebrants Guild and adoptee of The Celebrant Accord.

Life Celebration Writing

A truly personalised piece of writing - a unique tribute to celebrate any occasion from 'big' birthdays, weddings, engagements, anniversaries, retirement.

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Funeral Ceremonies

Saying good-bye isn't easy, but it can be special. 'Alberta is warm, professional and reassuring making a difficult time easier.'

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Memorial Ceremonies

Memorial Ceremonies can be planned to take place following the funeral. You can choose where and when you want to have them and what form you would like them to take place.

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Funeral Ceremony Planning

You may wish to plan your funeral ceremony yourself or want to talk through some wishes for your funeral that you can share with your family.

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Death Cafe Hosting and Facilitation

Death Cafes provide unique opportunities to talk openly about death and dying in a safe and confidential environment. There are no agendas, themes or objectives. The conversations are led by the group.

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Death is a time for solidarity

Following a couple of in person, around a table Death Cafes, it felt a little odd to be back in the small boxes and slightly strange evening lighting of a zoom gathering. But the great thing about virtual gatherings is that they allow distance to shrink and we were delighted to welcome attendees from Northern Ireland and Bucharest ...

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East of Eden Death Café I

Saturday 25 September saw the first (we hope) of the North-East London ‘in person’ Death Cafes at the lovely East of Eden café in Walthamstow. Big thanks to Abby and her team for offering us use of the venue. As one of the attendees fedback: ‘East of Eden feels like the perfect venue, calm and reflective… ‘

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My first funeral

Having finished my training as an Independent Funeral Celebrant earlier this year, the next step was to put the training into practice. There are mixed feelings about looking for such an opportunity - that there is a need cannot be divorced from knowing the pain and loss that the person you are supporting is experiencing.

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Swedish Death Cleaning

Swedish death cleaning. Just one of the topics that came out of my first virtual Death Café.

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Is death something you can prepare for?

There are things that you plan weeks, or even months, in advance with a great burst of enthusiasm and energy.

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North East London Death Cafe in Stoke Newington

The first North East London Death Cafe in Stoke Newington in collaboration with Bless Stories.


  • Date: 15/02/2022 06:30 PM - 15/02/2022 08:30 PM
  • Location: 111 Stoke Newington Church Street, London, UK (Map)

Price: £5

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