End of Life Ceremony Testimonials

Photo by tiffany-chan

The work you did on the celebration of life for my older sister was one of the most uplifting, comforting, instructional moments about this lovely woman that I could have ever expected. In its aftermath, many people have praised not just your calm demeanor and therapeutic manner, but  they have shaken their heads at how you wove together words so deftly into a tapestry of Linda’s life, not glossing over the hard times or making excuses but showing the world what a jewel of a human my sister was. Your words and the entire presentation of the evening still encourage, and share with us my sister’s lasting love, a love that I will never let die within me. You have helped bring her closer to me and for that, I will always be forever grateful.

Love and RESPECT, Jim

Bob loved his furry friends.
Photo by Daniel Lincoln

It was so wonderful to have Laura’s support during the passing of our Bob, my husband, a father, a grandpa and a great-grandpa many times over.  Laura understood our meaning when we said we wanted a Celebration of Life.  She took the time to talk to the immediate family, laughed with us in our memories and molded things she had learned about us, our thoughts and feelings in and around our eulogies.  We have been fortunate to know Laura for a long time now, always warm and empathetic, the kind of person you can count on when the world tips….

– M.S.

Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova

My mother passed away during her morning nap in her 90th year. I contacted Laura that same day and within 24 hrs she was meeting with me, my sister and my father in the privacy of his retirement home. WE spoke for three hours.  She not only talked about flow of the service, but asked innumerable questions about Mom. She then asked that I obtain input from other family members by providing three questions.  The answers and feedback that she obtained from these sources was then woven into the service making all family members feel included and involved.  This is but one way that Laura demonstrated her exceptional empathy, inclusiveness and understanding.

As we drafted our eulogies, she offered gentle suggestions which only made our writings better. As we discussed flow of the service, she provided insightful guidance.  Then during the service and internment, Laura worked closely with funeral home staff paying attention to the smallest detail. Following the service, time and time again we heard people comment “That was the best organized funeral I’ve ever attended.” Laura is an outstanding communicator. She readily responds to emails and phone calls and texts, keeps you abreast of how things are unfolding, gets to meetings/appointments on time and is the epitome of compassionate professional.  I will use Laura for every important life event in the future and highly recommend her to others. 

– Irena K. Lawrenson

I had the pleasure of meeting Laura earlier this year when she led a beautiful memorial service for my mother’s twenty year anniversary.

Laura is someone who is genuinely interested in people and their stories. She worked diligently to create the most beautiful tailored ceremony that was so incredibly special. Her guidance and suggestions for things we could we incorporate in the ceremony were so perfectly tailored.  I had many family members approach me after the ceremony to express how touching her words were and delighted at how flawlessly the whole service ran. I highly recommend Laura. She was the best choice and I am honoured she was part of my family’s special day.

– Lindsay Hicks

Laura was wonderful to work with.  Her patient and gentle nature made creating the ceremony much easier than I thought it would be. She is honest and genuine and a delight to work with. The feedback from our guests has been nothing but positive.  We created a simple yet classically beautiful ceremony that I know my mother would have loved. Laura is professional, knowledgeable, and creative.  She is caring, empathetic and gentle.  This combination made for a wonderfully colourful experience.

– Becky

Laura’s kindness, warmth and compassion made it so easy to connect with her in a very short period of time. She was a tremendous support to me as we planned my seven-year-old daughter’s funeral. Her eulogy was beautifully reflective of my daughter. Laura truly has a gift with words. My respect for her many talents and integrity runs deep. I don’t believe I have been able to adequately express my gratitude to her for walking beside me in my darkest hours and her valuable contribution to the poignant celebration of my daughter’s too-short life on earth.

– Helen

Photo by Jeff Wade

Dear Laura,
Thank you for all of your careful attention, listening and beautiful delivery of Mum’s service. We are so very happy and feel that you captured her perfectly and with sensitivity. It was all absolutely perfect. Thank you also for making a difficult situation so much easier for us. Your support and kindness will always be remembered.

With love, Jill and Jay

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic

Laura conducted my mother’s Legacy of Life service in July 2018. I asked her to perform this delicate ceremony as I had attended a wedding where she officiated and was so impressed with her presentation. A Legacy of Life ceremony is so much more difficult. Laura had never met my mother so she took the time to meet with my son and me in order to get a better picture of the life she was to honour for us. She looked at mountains of cards, pictures, and just listened to stories we recounted of funny moments, of poignant moments, of embarrassing moments, quips and antics (embarrassing to us, not my mom – she just laughed), of her fighting spirit, her love of travel, people, her positive, youthful approach and her contagious laugh. My mom was a vibrant, energetic personality. Laura was able to embody all of this. Her delivery of my mom’s life journey, characteristics, gusto for being alive and charisma made my mom vivid in the minds of the 100+ people in attendance. Such is not an easy feat to accomplish and requires a celebrant to submerge themselves into the person(s) they are representing and project that accurately. We received so many compliments from attendees of the ceremony on Laura’s presentation and amazing grasp of my mom’s essence and character. They also appreciated that the service wasn’t maudlin as that is not what a Legacy of Life is about. One friend commented that he wanted to get Laura’s number so she could prepare his eulogy while he is still alive as then he knew it would be done the way he wanted it! He is still very much alive and adding to his life accomplishments. Thank you, Laura. We were so fortunate to have you available at that trying time and continue to have you in our lives.

– Marg

My family engaged Laura to officiate a End-of-Life Ceremony for my grandmother. She had expressed that she did not want a religious ceremony for herself, however my family wanted an intimate and meaningful event that would give everyone who wished, a chance to share words or music. To prepare, Laura took the time to listen to our memories of her life and she was able to write a ceremony that expressed the unique woman that was my grandmother. The ceremony incorporated a symbolic flower gift to all the guests, and Laura’s words helped us all to remember and celebrate my grandmother’s memory. This was NOT a cookie-cutter ceremony at all, it was very personalized to our unique needs. It was a very special day for our family, and Laura did a masterful job of dealing with the different personalities, logistical challenges and emotional sensitivities present, to create a meaningful End-of-Life ceremony. Thank you so much, Laura. We wish you every success in this important work you are doing.

– Katie Weston

Photo by Jez Timms

Laura officiated at a celebration of life for our beloved mother, Betty Davey, in October of 2018, at our home. The family is extremely grateful to Laura for her professional and caring approach during preparation for the event, and for her wonderful handling of the event itself. She paid great attention to detail, and seemed to find exactly the words to express our feelings, lovingly and with just the right dash of humour. I would highly recommend Laura for your celebration of life, or any other ceremony where these admirable qualities are required. Thanks once again Laura, we will long remember that day, and your part in it!

Sincerely, Tony Humble, on behalf of the Humble and Davey families.

We had a special toast as part of the ceremony.

I would like to tell you about Laura from Portrait Ceremonies. She helped me plan a Memorial service for my sister. She interviewed me to get to know about her. Laura prompted me with questions and she listened with great intent for clarity and truth. She showed me compassion for my feelings and strength when I needed it. She validated my need to remember my sister and the good times and silly times we had together. When Laura spoke at the ceremony she was spot on with how my sister truly was. We laughed, we cried and we celebrated my sister’s life. All who attended commented on the easy flow of the service and how comfortable it was with a touch of fun. Thank you Laura.

– Reta

Thank you for making this day a very special one. Your tribute to my Mom is exactly as I had envisioned. It has been a pleasure working with you and seeing the day come to life. You are very inspiring and great at what you do.

– Sue S.

I have heard Laura speak at various ceremonies, including funerals, milestone birthdays, and a baptism. As a writer, she weaves multi-coloured threads of human experience to tell stories that are at once personal and enriching. She is relevant, eloquent and engaging. I recommend Laura without hesitation. Like my own father who was a pastor and passed away suddenly in 2012, Laura is also a bridge-builder. She gave me the words to honour his memory, for which I’m ever thankful. Certainly I would endorse her services to any family I serve professionally.

– Monica Valitalo, Funeral Director

Photo by Pure Virtual

There aren’t enough words in the universe to express our thanks to Laura. Laura was amazing when she officiated the Memorial Service for my father, John Stimpson. Laura was very professional and engaged for the entire week leading up to the Memorial and continues to check-in during the time that has followed. Having been to too many funerals it was refreshing to witness how Laura collected relevant and very personal, but appropriate information for use during the service. Comments from the congregation on that day support that Laura helped to make my Dad’s service very personal and touching. Happy occasions make it fun to look for an officiant, but my Mum and I and many other family members and friends highly recommend Laura for the sad times too. She made us feel comforted and loved. Could not ask for more.

– Robin

Testimonials for grief workshops and speaking engagements.

What a wonderful workshop Laura ran for incorporating, traditions/rituals/ceremonies with memories of loved ones that have passed. She is a wealth of information and ideas to help you “travel” through grief and loss and honour your loved ones in both small and large ways. Everything she does is done from the heart and with a passion for her work and endearing charm and a light presence. <3 this woman !

– Janice

I had the privilege of hearing Laura Higgins speak at the Bereaved Families of York Region’s Annual Memory Tree of Light on December 10, 2014. It was evident that Mrs. Higgins is very knowledgeable about grief and mourning. She recognized that each individual’s grief journey is unique and yet was able to normalize feelings and grief symptoms. Laura had a very beautiful and honest way of describing and sharing her own journey since the death of her sister. She was able to invite the listener into her own self-expression of loss, pain, love and hope. Her presentation style was professional, eloquent and insightful. Laura Higgins was very articulate and was able to make her story applicable to everyone in the room and offer sound advice on what has been helpful in her own grief journey. It takes a very caring, empathetic and respectful person to make their story inclusive to others. I would highly recommend Mrs. Higgins in her role of Life-Cycle Celebrant and welcome her compassionate, warm and insightful support to bereaved individuals and families.

– Christine Goguen, B.A. Sociology, HSC Diploma