Katrina S. Baecht – Funeral Officiant

Questions You Might Have

Why are you interested in serving as a celebrant at funerals?  

What kind of funeral ceremonies do you offer?   

What do your services include?

Why should we choose you?

What do you charge?

What do you wear?

Why are you interested in serving as a celebrant at funerals?  

In 2005, my mother passed away suddenly at the age of 62.  Almost immediately I felt compelled to perform her eulogy as my last act of love and honor for her.  I knew, however, that I didn’t want to just tell a few dry details of her life, nor did I want to limit her life to her time as my mother.  I interviewed my father, her surviving siblings, and her mother to put together a picture of her life.  I did this for me, quite frankly.  I knew that if I didn’t do these things now, they would never happen.

What I didn’t realize was how much this would mean to those who attended my mother’s funeral.  So many people came up to me afterwards and said that they learned so much about my mother.  We all know each other in little slices.  Her best friend of thirty years didn’t know much about her childhood, her cousins didn’t know much about her work as a teacher, her students didn’t know much about her personal life.  A funeral is one’s last opportunity to honor and commemorate the life of the beloved.  By telling the full story of her life, I helped those who loved her learn something new about her.

Two years later, I performed a similar service for my father at his passing.   Experiencing two such profound losses within two years had a tremendous impact on me.  It made me much more aware of others as they went through grieving.

I began to wonder if I could do the same thing for others:  help them tell the life story of their loved one and honor them through a service.  The more I thought about this, the more I knew it was something I wanted to do.

Honestly, before my mother’s funeral, I thought funerals were . . . not very important.  Something one did and had to get through.  However, what I now realize is I felt that way because many funerals are impersonal events—a few prayers, a few songs, a talk about death, and maybe a reading of the obituary.  But a funeral can be so much more.  It can be a true celebration of the life lived.  I realized that funeral services can be extremely important to helping with the grieving process.

 

What kind of funeral ceremonies do you offer?

I specialize in non-religious services—if you need a mass or want a sermon, I am not the best person to help you.  My focus will be on honoring the life lived, not on any particular religion.

That said, if a person held some religious beliefs, I believe the best way to honor a person is through having a service that reflects the choices he/she made during life.  For example, my mother was a faithful church member, so her service included prayers by her brothers and a cappella singing of her favorite hymns.  My father was a man who said he felt most spiritual when out the in field surrounded by his cows—so his service included cowboy songs and no prayers or Bible readings.

Readings and music—secular or spiritual—can be part of the service but the heart of the service is the telling of the life story.

I can also help the family decide if there are other traditions they might like to use to commemorate their loved one.

 

What do your services include?

  • Planning service with Officiant (includes time to interview relevant family members  in person or by phone)
  • Coordinating day of service
  • Customization of Life Story
  • Draft and final copy of Service for review & approval
  • Performing Service/Ceremony

Why should we choose you?

I have skills and experiences that make me uniquely suited for this role.  Because of my life experiences, I feel a kinship with those in grief and feel I have the ability to offer support.  I have over the past eighteen years, served as a English teacher both in high school and college.  The helping individuals tell their stories is part of what I loved best about teaching.  I have extensive practical writing experience.  As a teacher, I developed patience, compassion, and the ability to listen—I learned that making a human connection is the most important part of any interaction.  I am comfortable leading groups and, as my father liked to say, never met a stranger.

Ultimately, the best way to know if I am a good fit for your situation is through a conversation—I will be happy to meet with you in person or talk on the phone.  I want you to feel completely comfortable with your choice.

What do you charge?

I work on a sliding scale.  Please contact me.

What do you wear?

I wear a simple, professional black dress.