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A Look Back: A Thoughtful Reflection About Presence, Permission and Participation

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And so the time has come. After 18 passion-filled, thought-driven years, Busch’s very own Cathy Nichols is headed into retirement.

Cathy has served and excelled as Busch’s Certified Celebrant Coordinator for nearly two decades—and while you can retire from the workplace, you can’t retire from being great.

Cathy has spent her time not only creating thoughtful, personalized tributes for our Busch families, but also training her fellow Celebrants. She retires from the Busch staff with a team of well-trained and eager Celebrants ready to follow her in footsteps.

Continue reading to take a look back on Cathy’s time here at Busch and see what the future has to hold for our caring staff.

Cathy Nichols' Retirement Reflection

It was July 2004. I was serving as the Director of Congregational Care at Bay Presbyterian Church when I was approached by Jim Busch to consider attending Certified Funeral Celebrant Training with Doug Manning and Glenda Stansbury. One of the key takeaways that I have used as guiding principles in my career include:

  • Presence, as a non-judgmental listening presence.
  • Permission to grieve whether with laughter or tears as they remember.
  • Participation by offering their personal memories and honoring the legacy in whatever manner they wish.

 Having been an elementary teacher, mother of two sons, mission team leader, ministry program leader and Stephen Ministry Trainer, it felt like a natural next step to design and conduct unique, meaningful tributes that would incorporate these three aspects.

That’s when I began my role as Celebrant Coordinator for Busch Funeral and Crematory Services. 

For the last 18 years, I have endeavored to be that non-judgmental presence, give the bereaved permission to cry and laugh, and provide them the chance to participate in not only the planning, but also the delivery of personalized tributes.

It has been my privilege to witness a tremendous amount of healing during those family meetings when loved ones recount the stories that are their personal treasures. I am deeply grateful to the families and individuals who have allowed me to hear their stories, create unique tributes and share their grief journey.

Our team of Certified Funeral Celebrants will continue to bring compassion, wisdom, understanding and creativity as we commit to providing uniquely personalized tributes in significant settings.

Additionally, it has been a privilege to encourage community partnerships with healthcare providers, churches and senior programs—all of which align with the Busch mission statement to “serve, educate and genuinely care for families and communities.” I have had the opportunity to serve on the Hospice of Western Reserve Advisory Board for Lorain County and volunteer at the Cornerstone of Hope summer camp as art instructor. Our partnerships with these entities, along with The Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, University Hospital Parma Hospital Foundation, St. Augustine Ministries, MetroHealth and The Gathering Place, make me proud to represent Busch as a top tier provider.

Since 2017, Busch has given me the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the caregivers of the community with our monthly caregiver award. These efforts resulted in several organizations becoming aware of the breadth and depth of Busch’s sincere commitment to honoring professionals and volunteers. It has been an honor to meet and acknowledge these humble, compassionate individuals. This unique and meaningful way to pay tribute to “end-of-life” caregivers is just another opportunity to change the way folks think about the funeral profession.

cathy and friends

In my time as a caring Busch staff member, I was able to support my colleagues in various capacities to encourage and assist whenever possible as we serve the bereaved families and individuals in our community and beyond. I am at peace with my retirement because I know all those I have had the privilege of working alongside are being left in good hands.

All of these and so many experiences I haven’t even mentioned have enriched my mental, emotional and spiritual growth—and for that I am grateful.  

There are so many more stories to tell, lives to celebrate and legacies to honor. Thank you for the opportunity and privilege to share so many unique and meaningful life stories.

 -Cathy Nichols

Cathy Nichols
Cathy Nichols
Considers it an honor as a Certified Celebrant to listen to life stories, and then design and conduct meaningful tributes. Cathy also trains celebrants nationally, equipping them to share those legacies in ways that comfort and enlighten. Honorably serving Busch families since 2004.

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