Local Life Tribute Specialist works to tell loved ones’ stories
By Kris Leonhardt
KEWAUNEE COUNTY – A local Life Tribute Specialist is working to give Kewaunee County families options when laying their family members to rest.
Pat Ratajczak, is the former parish director of St. Louis Church, Dyckesville, who recently underwent a three-day training workshop to offer non-secular, personalized funeral services for local families.
“I went through the training and started these services in this area because I see a need for an alternative for families who have lost a loved one. The trend is that more and more people do not have a church affiliation or a religious affiliation. I have seen an increase in families opting for a memorial service or a celebration of life service or no service at all, which may not meet their needs. Many times families are offered the option of having a clergy member preside at the funeral service even if held in a funeral home chapel or mausoleum chapel even without a church or religious affiliation,” Ratajczak said.
“Some families, when given an option of having a clergy member lead a service without an alternative, opt to have no service at all. This deprives the surviving family members of a chance to offer a formal goodbye and begin the process of healing in their grief. Offering these services, which are personalized to fit each family’s need and many times are strictly secular in nature, gives them an option to have something. Funerals are not for the dead but for the living and having a funeral celebrant provides the type of individualized, personalized service which meets a growing need.”
Through the funeral celebrants training, Ratajczak is able to offer individualized funeral services, tributes, memorial services and grave-side memorials.
“If possible I have a family meeting or at a minimum have a phone conversation with family. At this family meeting, I talk to the family members about what kind of service they would want, what elements they would like incorporated into the service such as poems, readings and/or music,” Ratajczak explained.
“I then have family members tell me about their loved one, share stories, or share with me anything they would like me to know about the deceased. From what family members share with me, I try to come up with a ‘theme’ of the person’s life. I then sit down with all the information from the family and write the service from scratch.
“It is not a cookie cutter service or a set of prayers with just the name inserted in. I bring in the elements the family wants incorporated and tell the deceased person’s story.”
For more information on Ratajczak’s services, talk to your funeral director or email [email protected].