I’m researching an article on “celebrants”—people who get paid to do secular ceremonies like funerals and weddings.
They also do ceremonies to order, like “living funerals,” for the family of an aged or dying person who’s not dead yet.
And like the creative ceremony whereby an 84-year-old woman formally relinquished her car keys.
“She was hoping her kids would step up” to give her rides, said Charlotte Eulette, who is international director of the Celebrant Foundation and Institute.
So she did something both emotionally healthy and practically clever.
On the premise that when a 16-year-old gets their car keys, it’s a big deal, so should it be a big deal when an old person gives up their car keys, the old woman had the whole family over for a ceremony where she talked about the importance of cars in her life—from her first taste of freedom to the family station wagon to a Mustang she once owned.
“And now I’m giving up my keys,” she told her kids solemnly.
And they leapt to it: I’ll take you to the pharmacy! I’ll take you to the downtown flower show!
“It was a coming-of-age ceremony,” Eulette said.
Between weddings and funerals, we ought to have more ceremonies.
They give us an excuse to communicate. (And give speeches.) —DM