I had never been through anything more painful and more beautiful.
I had watched my sweet and strong 20-year-old sister, the person I was closest to in the world, take her last breaths, after months of gradual debilitation. The night before, knowing what was to come, I sat near her bed, looking at her beautiful face as she slept in a near-coma, writing the words that would be spoken at her memorial – to express all that I loved about her… and all that she meant to me. Because she was so uncomfortable with facing death, the only question I had been able to ask her about how she wanted to be honoured after her passing was – Do you want serious music, or happy music? She said, “happy.” In the days following her death, I along with my Mom, and in partnership with the ministers involved, poured myself into creating a service that would reflect the beautiful, strong and gentle, creative, intelligent, kind and loving person my sister was. I will always remember how I felt that morning the sun streamed in as we payed tribute to Kerry. It was so hard and so sad – and at the same time I was overflowing with love. There were so many kind and caring words, and so much beauty. And I had been inspired with the perfect way to end our time of remembrance.
I believe that love, in all its forms, is at the heart of life. It is the root of everything. It is the reason it feel so good to hold our new baby granddaughter, or hear the emotion in our partner’s voice when they speak their wedding vows, or to see our son receive his diploma. It is also the reason why it hurts so much when we lose someone – whether it’s someone we had a wonderful relationship with, or a challenging one. It’s all a testament to the love we have within us.
The experiences I had after I lost my sister, directly led to where I am today, and the work I do in this world.
I help people to recognize and express the value and beauty within themselves and their experiences, so that they feel loved, heard, seen and inspired. With active listening, transformative writing, and heart-felt ceremonies, I enable and empower people to validate and express their love during the most profound changes of their lives.
I will never forget the final moments of my sister’s Celebration of Life. Sun was streaming in the windows and three friends of mine who play Irish traditional music sat among the guests near the front. The fiddler began to play a reel, very slowly. Gradually the accordion player joined in and the tune’s pace increased… and then finally the guitar was added as the reel became the perfect tempo for dancing. Sadness mingled with joy in that incredible progression of music. It was the perfect send-off for my beloved sister.
Having a deeply meaningful and beautiful ceremony didn’t change how much it hurt to lose her. My words of love for her and the music, the participation of her friends, her cherished daisies and the other details of that very personal ceremony – what they did was empower me to find the beauty within that pain – and to feel, hear and see the love I had for her (and the love she had for me) in a powerful way that helped sustain me.
Whether you are celebrating the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, or honouring someone you will miss for the rest of your life, I am here to help you share and express your love in this world and to help you feel, hear, see and know just how loved you are.
I’m Laura Higgins and I’m a Celebration of Love and Life expert.
A Selection of Credentials:
A graduate of the prestigious Celebrant Institute & Foundation, I am a ceremony specialist trained in the personalized use of effective structure, ritual, symbolism, storytelling, choreography and other elements. As a Masters in English, a writer and artist, I bring a creative touch to everything I do. I am also a metaphysical minister ordained through the Bancroft Centre for Awakening Spiritual Growth. I honour each individual’s beliefs and values and their unique path, and I believe that Love is Love. My training as a life coach also enhances the support I offer to my clients and my community.
*Licenced by the government of Ontario to perform wedding ceremonies
*Facilitate workshops to help people honour and cope with their grief through personal ceremony
*Offer support to families who have worked with me regarding the loss of a loved one
*Provide consultation services regarding ceremonies, end-of-life tribute pre-planning and expressions of love
*Assist with or ghost-write eulogies and letters of love and celebration
*Create and officiate community ceremonies of both celebration and remembrance
*Facilitate Inspired Life Gatherings in Newmarket and online