"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it".
"Her work is a meditation. Arissa wraps a warm blanket around the grieving soul".
"When I close my eyes and imagine Arissa, I see a vessel of grace—filled with love. When she works with families, she listens with open ears and her big heart and holds all the pain and joys. When Arissa responds, I wonder if she has known these people since they were born. Each ceremony is thoughtfully prepared and respectful of those who are grieving. At the same time, her ceremonies celebrate life, the joys and sorrows that were shared with all present".
"By asking tender and loving questions that are just right, Arissa hears things others might miss and puts it all together in something like poetry. She is a walking hug".
I believe rituals are an essential part of life; in them we discover our humanity. One of the most important things that make us human is our longing to be connected to one another. In looking back over a life, perhaps what stands out most clearly is how each life touches so many others. In coming together to pay tribute to one who has passed on, we feel both the depth of our sadness and loss, but also the strength of our bonds. As we share memories, stories, tears and laughter together, we see the way in which we are all connected through love, a force that continues long after physical death.
A funeral, memorial or life tribute is the beginning of the journey for those remaining. How it is undertaken, whether or not people feel heard and respected, whether or not they feel included and invited to participate, can either start them in the direction of healing or lead to more pain and frustration. With each family, I strive to always listen deeply to their needs and create a ceremony that is authentic, unique and full of heart.