Faith and Family are solid supports

Simon and Stefanie Lloyd have been married for 19 years after first meeting at a Windale Catholic Parish Antioch closing ceremony in 1985.

The couple currently reside in the Maitland area with their children.

Simon is the eldest of eight siblings and grew up in Raymond Terrace, while Stefanie is the third of five Jansson siblings and spent her formative years in nearby Kurri Kurri.

Combined, they have more than 50 years of Church ministry experience and together they have travelled the east coast of Australia with their work. In recent years Simon and Stefanie returned to their Hunter roots and 12 months ago established The Lloyd Family Funerals.

What Catholic school/s did you attend?
Simon: St Brigid’s Catholic Primary School, Raymond Terrace; 1971−1978

Maitland Marist Brothers, Maitland; 1979 − 1982

Stef: St Francis Xavier’s Catholic Primary School, Gunnedah; 1975 − 1981

St Mary’s Dominican Convent, Maitland; 1982 − 1985

St Peter’s High School, Maitland; 1986 − 1987

Do you know why your parents chose Catholic education for you?
Formation in faith was an important part in both our upbringings. Coming from a long history of Catholic education it was a continuation of education in the faith, as
well as a place to build strong relationships with peers and be formed in the charisms of the Josephite, Mercy, Dominican and Marist orders.

You have chosen a Catholic education for your children. Why?
It is as a reflection of our own upbringings. We believe their formation at school should be complementary to our own faith formation, and a comprehensive education of the whole young person is important to us. We also appreciate that many teachers are ex-students and have a common understanding of the values we were
all raised with. We feel this is a positive influence on our children’s formation.

This edition of Aurora takes inspiration from the Catholic Social Justice Statement 2020-21 ‘To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia today’. Working in the funeral industry must present some challenging moments. How do you maintain your mental health?
We are available to families in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but we understand the importance of having interests in other areas of our lives.
Spending time doing light-hearted, fun, engaging and different things away from the workspace environment is essential. We walk together every morning.

(Simon is an avid aviculturalist, breeding and showing canaries and racing pigeons in his spare time. Stefanie enjoys her Body Shop At Home opportunity which helps others find their joy.)

We enjoy family gatherings, which provide an opportunity to celebrate life with those we love.

Based on your experiences, what advice would you have for others seeking to support their loved ones during periods of grief?
We have experienced more than our fair share of personal grief and loss, having lost all our grandparents, Stefanie’s father, her brother and our son. From our perspective: grief has no timeline – so just take your time; grief is an individual experience – sadness can be shared but grief is personal; and grief can be a time of reconciliation. It is OK to be in a sad place – just don’t stay there.

We connect grieving families with appropriate support beyond the funeral service. Dealing with death can be a confronting and difficult time. We are here to walk with you and your family.

Some people choose to partner alongside you in their final stages of life, helping
to prepare their funeral. What has this experience taught you about the life?

It is such a privilege being invited into people’s lives. We take nothing for granted. We constantly remind ourselves that every moment could be a last and try to live life to its very fullest.

You both come from large families and chose to have a large family of your own. What does family mean to you?
Family is most important to us – understanding that “family” comes in all shapes, sizes, personalities and gifts. We embrace every moment together. We laugh out loud, we continually celebrate the blessings we have and enjoy the gift we are to each other as family.

We have been raised by strong, faith- filled, loving, parents and grandparents, which has made us the family we are. We continue to grow in our understanding of family through the authentic witness of those we call family.

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Lizzie Watkin Image
Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.

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