Blessed are the vulnerable, for they shall be broken. And being so, shall break open the heart of the Universe.
"When my father died, we needed someone to create a ceremony for his memorial. I knew we would not be in church but still wanted a ceremony that would be spiritual and meaningful. Arissa was generous with her time and a wonderfully balanced presence in an otherwise turbulent time. The ceremony she created was poignant, touching and beautiful. Many of our friends said they had never been to a more moving and meaningful tribute.
A year later, we buried my father's ashes and again Arissa officiated. I was again struck by her beautiful voice, calming presence and dignified presentation. She was wonderful, again, and I highly recommend her".
"Her work is a meditation. Arissa wraps a warm blanket around the grieving soul".
"Arissa did a fabulous job and helped make my dad's memorial service special. I appreciated the way that she absorbed my dad's character in a short amount of time. Although I know she officiates many services, she seemed to truly enjoy the music and the stories about my dad. She also set a wonderful tone and kept things moving nicely. I am grateful to Arissa for her contribution to a memorable ceremony for my dad, family and friends".
"I can't thank you enough for being our Celebrant for mom's service. You have the touch for knowing how to support families and provide a beautiful tribute for loved ones lost. I have recommended you to everyone I have spoken with and know that your services help to provide loving memories whether it be for a funeral, wedding or other".
"Thank you so much for your help in celebrating our dad's life. You captured his spirit and drive in such a short time and presented him in a true way to his friends and family. We will always be able to reflect on dad's service with wonderful memories!
Your words and kindness will not be forgotten!"
Kim D. & Kip H.
"After M's memorial everyone agreed it was perfect. I sent your words about M to a family member and it moved them to tears because it represented him so well. We all appreciate the work you did to make this a pleasant memorial for us".
"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".
"We can't thank you enough for helping us through this difficult time. Your caring and listening to our pain and ambivalence during the family meeting helped us get past our own confusion. Afterward we sat around talking about how it really helped us to see each other's paths through the same landscape. Thank you again".
"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.
Arissa is a Celebrant, Officiant and Non-denominational Minister in Seattle providing custom memorial, funeral, life tribute, graveside services. She serves all families - non-religious, secular, spiritual as well as all faiths.
She is also an active volunteer with Threshold Choir.