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Doug McCleary: Celebrant, Officiant, Musician


Reflections, Memorials, and other Non Funeral-Related Musings...

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Shop Before You Drop

Posted by Doug McCleary on January 4, 2016 at 7:40 PM Comments comments ()

You may not realize this, but it can be very expensive to die.  While the "average" funeral (according the the National Funeral Director's Assocation) costs about $7000, in my years as a celebrant, I've occasionally seen contracts for funeral services cost upwards of $30,000.  That price of course includes many high-end amenities--service, burial, expensive casket, etc.  But still...$30,000.  I don't know about you, but for me that's not pocket change, nor i...

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Embrace The "Ugly" So Beauty Can Take It's Place

Posted by Doug McCleary on October 28, 2013 at 11:00 PM Comments comments ()

While walking with my dogs today, this is what I was thinking about: We Americans have become so detached from death, it's a wonder we can move on at all.  We expect life to be about being "happy" and anything that challenges our happiness (like the subject and reality of death) is not welcome conversational material (imagine how much fun I am at parties).  But without facing death squarely and for "the end" it is, we can't heal or move forward.  Let me suggest t...

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Why Funerals Demand a Body (Article)

Posted by Doug McCleary on October 21, 2013 at 1:25 AM Comments comments ()

...or at least a frank and honest ritual which acknowledges the finality of death, the pain of loss, and the recognition that this is the common human experience and we are not alone...

A voice was heard in Ramah...

Posted by Doug McCleary on December 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM Comments comments ()

For those familiar with the Gospels--the four books of the New Testament which present our only portrait of Jesus--one of the more troubling passages comes from the very early chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.  The story goes like this:  The "wise men" have come from the east guided by the star.  They stop at Herod's palace (Herod was the Roman governor of the province of Palestine) and ask him "where is he who has been born king of the Jews?"  Herod seeks ...

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The Holidays After

Posted by Doug McCleary on December 9, 2012 at 1:00 PM Comments comments ()

2012 Holiday Remembrance Message

Posted by Doug McCleary on December 8, 2012 at 11:00 PM Comments comments ()

The Sharpness of Grief, the Certainty of Relief


Before I begin, I'd like to say, one more time, what an honor it is to be here with you all...invited to share a little from my life and experience during this holiday time...a time when the losses we've experienced are felt a little more profoundly... I hope that something I have to say encourages you this season...


As someone who specializes in helping families through the first steps of los...

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2012 Holiday Remembrance Services

Posted by Doug McCleary on November 28, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments ()

I am honored, this year, to be invited to speak at 3 Funeral Homes' "Holiday Service of Remembrance"... The title of my presentation will be (excuse the cheesy alliteration) "The Sharpness of Grief, The Certainty of Relief"... Each service will have a unique "flavor" and is an opportunity to come and remember loved ones during the difficult holiday season. Here is the schedule of services...all are welcome:


December 1: Gateway Little Chapel of the Chimes, 3:00pm, Michael Al...

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Sometimes I am Struck...

Posted by Doug McCleary on September 13, 2012 at 11:55 PM Comments comments ()

by how the world keeps on going...more and more without me.

I picked up my 22 year old son at his work the other day...and as I was walking into "The Ford Building" in SE Portland, I noticed all young men and women in their mid-20's to mid-30's.  They were closing up shops, or coming in and out of offices of design firms, etc.  I couldn't help but notice the lack of anyone my age in the bunch...  So, there I was looking at the next generation of small business...

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2011 Holiday Message

Posted by Doug McCleary on December 22, 2011 at 12:10 PM Comments comments ()

I had the distinct honor of officiating at the holiday memorial services of three funeral homes in 2011.  The following is my brief message.  There's nothing "religious" or political.  Just a primarily secular meditation on stories, memory and loss:


If I were to begin a story... ”Once upon a time, there was”... how would you continue the line? ...I know you can fill in the story...most of us grew up with fairyta...

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The Slowness of Grief

Posted by Doug McCleary on September 1, 2011 at 5:50 PM

Recently, while working with a family to plan their loved one's funeral service, the comment was made "well, now that we're getting through the grieving, we can have the service and then get on with our lives."  Upon hearing that, I commented "you've barely even begun grieving...once the service is over, that's when the real work of grieving will begin...and it can take a long time."

Grieving is not an overnight affair.  As we face death and loss (and, actually, as...

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