Merren Wilkinson – Cinta Celebrate Love

by | Aug 25, 2023

1. Tell me a bit about how you fit into the End-of-Life care space.

As a civil celebrant who designs and facilitates farewell ceremonies, it is of the highest importance that we authentically honour and celebrate a person’s life together. For me to help to create a profoundly heart-warming ceremony space, I find myself connecting with people about life and love, sometimes audio recording our conversations, often being an independent listener, and advocating their wishes. I also work closely with end-of-life doulas, funeral directors and palliative care workers to provide the highest level of care, sensitivity, support and guidance.

2. How long have you been in this line of work?

I have been a civil celebrant for 12 years and have begun working closely with people during their end-of-life and their loved ones for the past nine years.

3. Tell me about your business and how it has evolved.

Cinta celebrate love evolved naturally as I personally evolved as a human being. My emotional intelligence continues to grow, combined with my innate ability to care and nurture and view life and death from different perspectives.

4. What drew you to work in End-Of-Life? Was there a significant moment in time?

What drew me to this work was witnessing the lack of doing things differently. All the funerals I had been to were the same: the same eulogy, the same songs, the same music, the same funeral booklet, the same ceremony… and after working with different funeral directors around Tasmania, I witnessed their level of empathy as shallow and unauthentic. I began to see the enormity of the funeral industry, the money-making machine it was.

I began to think about my own end-of-life phase – what do I want during this time of my life? How do I want my loved ones to be cared for? How can those who are grieving move forward with their own lives with a sense of well-being? When does the healing begin? These questions and many more were floating around in my head!

5. Tell me a bit about growing up. Were there any influences that might have carried on into your adult years?

Kindness, love and compassion for self and for others have always been important to me. As a young person, I never understood why kids could be so mean… why did anyone want to hurt another person?… As an adult, in a previous government job, I experienced bullying behaviour from a work colleague that lasted for over six years. This taught me so much about myself, the powerful benefits of increasing our emotional intelligence, feeling good about my place in the world… This showed me sure ‘gifts’ I have… and when faced with adversity, I knew I could bring extra layers of light and warmth to other’s lives to help them move through their heartaches and challenges with positive energy.

6. What experiences have you had that have touched you profoundly working in End-of-Life care?

Sitting beside a person during their end-of-life is something indescribable. It’s a powerful feeling of love, gentleness, open-heartedness, and deep sadness. It draws on spiritual connections – whatever that looks or is defined as is very different for everyone.

7. Any aha moments?

Every moment is an aha moment.… each time I work with someone and/or their loved ones, I discover more, I feel more, I learn more.

8. What has been the best change/progress that you have seen of late in the industry?

People are beginning to realise they have choices… and those who work in the industry authentically and wholeheartedly support dying people and their loved ones to make informative choices. We help to empower people.

9. What part of the industry do you think needs the most work?

I don’t want to single out any part of the industry that I think needs improvement… I believe that there is a natural alignment between dying people’s and their loved ones’ needs with funeral directors, doulas, palliative care workers and celebrants… and I believe that as we come to understand our choices, those alignments happen more easily.

10. Who are your biggest influences/people you look up to?

Dying people. Anyone who experiences deep grief. Anyone in the industry who gives families time and space to make their possible decisions.

11. Who other great businesses/people working in the End-Of-Life space should I check out?

Everyone in our little chat group!… In particular, Bec, Lynn + Leigh, Danielle… the beautiful artist woman (I can’t remember her name!)… Philip Stephens Funerals…

12. Which book would you tell me to read?

Honouring Grief by Pixie Lighthorse

13. Your spirit animal?

Not an animal but The Universe

14. Words of wisdom.

Know your boundaries… and… trust and act upon your intuition.

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