By: Shama Rhoden
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Choosing what to do with our own bodies, or those of our loved ones if they haven’t made a choice by the time they die, can be a difficult process. Many factors come into play, including cost, religious or spiritual concerns, cultural traditions, and time constraints which may influence your decision.
The two most popular options are burial and cremation, both of which come with their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Below, we’ll outline the major differences between the two, and outline a few basic differences which are designed to help you with the process of choosing what’s right for you or your loved one.
Burial involves burying a body in the earth, or placing it in a mausoleum. When the body is buried in the earth, it’s laid in a casket or wrapped in a shroud and placed in a plot in the earth, which is then covered. When a body is entombed in a mausoleum or crypt, it is laid in a casket which is placed in a large niche in the wall and sealed.
These options usually take place in a cemetery, though if you live in a rural area you may also have the option of being buried on your own property.
Basic features of burial
Cremation involved burning a body to ash, sometimes called “cremated remains” or “cremains” which may be buried in the earth, interred in a columbarium niche, kept by the family, or scattered somewhere.
Many people believe that cremation interferes with having a traditional funeral, which is incorrect. Many people choose to have a “traditional funeral” despite choosing to be cremated, and many cremations take place after a traditional funeral has been held. Ultimately, the process and traditions surrounding the cremation and how the person is remembered and honoured is up to the family.
Basic features of cremation
Whichever option you choose, make sure you are informed and make a choice that is in line with your beliefs, or the beliefs of your loved one if you are making the decision for them.
By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
When someone dies, the traditional choice has been to plan a funeral for them. A funeral is an event where the loved ones of the deceased can say goodbye to the person and mourn their loss. However, over the past few years there has been an increase in the trend towards events which are called “celebrations of life.”
Many people have been choosing this route due to the fact that funerals are often regarded as being depressing events which keep people in mourning for longer than is necessary. Celebrations of life are designed to reflect on positive things, and are believed to help people cope with the death of a loved one in a more effective manner.
A celebration of life differs from a funeral in a few key ways, which we’ll explore in this post:
Funerals are associated with mourning, sorrow and grief, whereas celebrations of life are designed to focus on the joy the deceased person brought to our lives, and the gratitude for the experiences we were able to share with them. The difference of intended emotion is what generally leads people to choose celebrations of life over funerals.
The structure of the event
Celebrations of life are a contemporary version of a memorial service, usually free of format or tradition, with celebration being the main focus. Generally at celebrations of life family members and friends will get together to share stories and look at photos of the deceased person. It is also common for family members to request charitable donations in lieu of funeral flowers from guests.
In contrast, a traditional funeral is much more structured. These usually combine religious and spiritual elements, which can vary depending on the beliefs of the deceased.
Presence of the body
One of the defining differences between a funeral and a celebration of life is the presence of the body. At a funeral, the body is usually present and displayed in an open or closed casket (depending on the wishes of the deceased and the religious beliefs of the family). At a celebration of life, the body of the deceased is absent. This means that the event can take place any time after the person’s death, that there are no restrictions on the location, and that is it a significantly less sombre affair.
In recent years the practice of having celebration of life events for someone who is sick with a terminal illness has become increasingly popular. End of life celebrations usually involve the gathering of friends and family, and together they celebrate the life and achievements of the terminally ill individual and get together as a group, possibly for the last time.
Location of the event
Generally, traditional funerals are held in funeral homes or places of worship, depending on the religious beliefs of the deceased. On the other hand, a celebration of life can be help anywhere. Many people choose to have celebrations of life at the home of the deceased, but many choose to cherish the memory of their loved one by meeting in a place where the deceased loved one liked to visit or spend time. This could include a park, restaurant, or another special location.
Ultimately, whatever you or your loved one chooses to do depends on a variety of factors, and it’s important to keep those in mind when planning the appropriate kind of memorial service.
By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Whether you’re in charge of making the funeral arrangements for a loved one, or if you’re involved planning a funeral process, finding the right funeral home is one of the most important decisions you will have to make.
But how do you know when you’ve found the right funeral home to suit your needs? Below are a few key things to look for, which should help you with making a decision during this difficult process:
Price and quality of the funeral home
When visiting funeral homes, bring a list of questions from a friend or family member less emotionally invested in the choice than you are so that your conversation stays on track. Ask to see their General Price List, and have the funeral director review it with you.
If possible, ask to see the array of urns and caskets they offer, and ask about their billing policy. It can be helpful to bring a friend with you, if you’re uncomfortable asking these kinds of questions, or feel like you might get overwhelmed or make an emotional choice.
One of the main reasons why many people choose a funeral home is because it’s close to where they live, though this may create barriers for some people to attend, depending on the location. If possible, try to find a funeral home somewhere easily accessible to everyone who may want to attend the service.
Additionally, many people choose funeral homes because they are adjacent or close to the cemetery where the deceased will be buried.
Licenses, qualifications, and training
One of the most important questions to ask during your interview with the funeral director are the kinds of licenses that the funeral home has, as well as the qualifications and training of the funeral director and the staff that they employ. Knowing that trained, skilled professionals are assisting you with making sure the funeral runs smoothly can do a lot to put your mind at ease.
Word of mouth matters in the funeral home industry, so make sure to ask family members, friends, and colleagues for recommendations and listen to their feedback about various funeral homes. Key things to listen for are the cleanliness and professionalism of the funeral home, the demeanor of the funeral director and staff, and how they made them feel.
Compassion and courteousness
This is a key component in choosing the right funeral home. If a funeral director or their staff upset you or your family in any way, you may be making the wrong choice. Staff should be courteous and show your family compassion and kindness during your time of grief and loss. Quite often, it just “feels right” because you feel like you’re being taken care of, which is sometimes all you really want.
By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
There’s a reason why most professionals will recommend planning and at least beginning to pay for your funeral while you’re still alive. The cost of a funeral is not cheap. There are many aspects that go into the expense of a standard funeral and once everything is said and done you can expect to pay anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000.
If that number shocks you, we will take a closer look at what the actual expenses are when it comes to a funeral and everything that goes with it.
Funeral Home Services
Once you die, your body is sent to the funeral home. There it is embalmed and kept until the time of your funeral. The cost of embalming and storing your body can range from $500 to $1000. If you choose to be cremated, you can expect to pay about $600.
Once your body is prepared for the funeral service, the role of the funeral director really becomes important. A funeral director will take care of all the loose ends for your funeral and will make sure everything that needs to happen will happen. Typically funeral directors charge around $1500 for their services.
If you choose to hold your funeral or viewing at the funeral home, other fees to use their space may apply.
When it comes to the actual burial, there is also a set of fees to consider. Assuming you have already purchased the actual burial plot where you would like to rest, there is a fee to dig the grave, a fee for the casket and headstone. There is also an option to purchase an outer shell for the casket called either a grave liner or burial container.
All of these expenses can range in price, from how intricate your casket is, to how big the headstone is. For a standard funeral, burial services can cost at least a couple thousand dollars.
The above expenses cover all the basic necessities for a standard funeral, however there are other costs that can greatly affect the price cost of your funeral. Items like flowers and other post-funeral receptions can add more to your cost. Placing obituaries in the newspaper will also cost extra, and is often not thought of as an expense pertaining to a funeral.
Be Smart About Planning Your Funeral
One of the biggest advantages to planning your funeral while you are alive is that many of these expenses can already be taken care of, so your family is not left on the hook to pay for a funeral. By planning and pre-paying for many of these services you are giving your family piece of mind that in your passing you have taken care of them and they can focus on their grieving and comforting each other.
By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
The death of a child can be the most devastating and difficult event in a person’s life. Everyone will deal with this profound loss differently, depending on the situation and the support systems in place. Here are some tips you may find helpful in this process:
There is no right way to grieve. There are many different feelings that this hardship can bring up, including numbness, anger, sadness and despair. It is even normal to feel relief if you have watched your child suffer an illness. Give yourself permission to feel whatever comes up and remember that each feeling will be replaced by a new feeling, and eventually the intensity of your feelings will lessen. Also, remember that grief can impact your life in ways you may not immediately recognize as grief. Be gentle with yourself as you go through this.
While you may feel the need to remain strong for the rest of your family or to keep your life from falling apart, it is important that you have somewhere and someone to go to where you can allow yourself to fall apart and be supported. If you have benefits through work, make sure to find out what the bereavement policy is. Here are a few of the many supports available to you:
Family and Friends:
Some people are uncomfortable with death and may move away from you, but others will be there wanting to provide support. It is okay to lean on them and to let them know what you need. Whether it is support in organizing a memorial, or just to talk, let them know what would be most helpful.
Sometimes we are afraid to burden our family and friends or we are not sure they would understand. A professional counselor can provide a non-judgemental ear and a shoulder to cry on, and may be able to offer other resources for getting support in your area.
There may be a bereavement group in your area where you can listen to and talk to other parents coping with the loss of a child. It can be a relief to know you are not alone.
You will be unable to care for anyone else if you don't care for yourself. Here are a few tips for self-care after such a traumatic loss:
Moving on does not mean that you love your child less. Your child lives on in you. There are many ways to honor their memory.
You will never stop loving your child but it is healthy to move on and to live your life.
By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Whether to have a traditional burial or a cremation is a very personal and at times complicated decision to make. The choice you are faced with may involve balancing the desires of family members, and those of the deceased, with your personal beliefs or financial constraints. Understanding some of the reasons people select either traditional burial or cremation can help you make the right choice.
Advantages of Traditional Burial
Disadvantages of Traditional Burial
Advantages of Cremation
Disadvantages of Cremation
By: Shama Rhoden
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
For each of us, at different times in our lives, the loss of a loved one will affect us differently.
Yet, it is commonly one of the hardest things we will go through, with grief and change being an all-consuming process. Despite the fact that we may wish we could forget the holidays during a time of grief, they still come. Along with holidays may come memories, family and friends wanting to visit, and a call for us to be a part of the hustle-bustle and cheer. If you are facing the holidays while coping with the loss of a loved one, the following are some things to keep in mind to help get you through.
If you are reading this blog then you are already taking this step, but here are a few details to help make planning effective. If you are dreading some things you know will come with the holidays, such as certain memories arising or a visit from family members who mean well but get under your skin, you may want to spend some time thinking about or writing about those things. By seeing those things in advance, you are better equipped to avoid certain triggers or to deal with them more appropriately as they show up. Knowing what your triggers are makes them less likely to side-swipe you. Remember, it is natural to have strong feelings. You cannot avoid some of the grief you will experience, but by considering the possibilities ahead of time you may feel more okay with what is happening in the moment. On the other hand, it can be okay to avoid situations that will be very distressing, however, those closest to you will understand. This is one time in your life when it is okay to be selfish.
Make Time to Grieve
A coping strategy for many is to remain busy to avoid thinking about the loss or having to deal with the strong feelings that come up. This is not a negative coping strategy and can be useful to a point, but if the emotions are left to build up, they can come out in unforeseen ways or take an immense toll on your health. The holidays can be a busy time and so it can be easy to get wrapped up in doing things and not take the time to identify with your true feelings. Carving out some space in the day or week to feel your grief means that you can continue to live your life while honoring your feelings.
Call on Support
Feelings of loneliness or difficulty with day-to-day necessities are common after a loved one has passed. These effects can increase during the holidays. It is important that you have a lot of extra care and support at this time of year if you're having a hard time. This means giving extra care to yourself, such as eating healthy foods and going outside for a walk. It can also mean asking for extra care from friends and family. Accepting help is not always easy but this is one time in your life when you can let down your guard. People are generally glad to help. You may also want to seek out a counselor or a bereavement support group(s) in your area so that you can share with people who truly understand what you’re going through.
Give yourself the gift of extra care this holiday season.
By: Shama Rhoden
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Dealing with a loss is hard for anyone. For many, a funeral can be seen as a final goodbye or as a celebration of life. In some cases, however, the deceased may have left specific instructions regarding their funeral.
A funeral can be expensive. It’s an unfortunate fact, and one people are often surprised by. If the deceased requested there be no funeral, they may have had concerns regarding the financial strain it would put on their loved ones. On the other hand, the deceased may simply not wish to think about a room full of friends, family and loved ones grieving at their passing. There are many other potential reasons, such as personal, religious or family issues, that may cause them to make such a request.
If you disagree with their wishes, then you’ll need to think long and hard about what you want to do. You may have equally valid reasons to hold a funeral, and you’ll need to weigh those against the wishes of the deceased. Additionally, most US states have specific laws regarding the wishes of the deceased, so you’ll need to be aware of those too, if you happen to live south of the border.
Other Ways to Honor a Memory
If you choose to follow their wishes, you do have multiple options for remembering the deceased. Based on your relationship with the deceased and your knowledge of their personality and wishes, you may wish to consider one or more of these alternatives.
A Memorial Service
Depending on the faith of the deceased, a minister, pastor, priest or other clergy member may perform a service, which you have control over. You may want to keep it a small, private service just for family and certain close friends. Typically, a graveside service follows a funeral, but if the deceased does not want one, a simple graveside service is a good way to bring comfort to some mourners.
A Celebration of Life
Everyone has a special day, like a birthday or wedding anniversary. On those days, you may consider holding a celebration of their life, rather than mourn their passing. These are much more in your control than a traditional funeral might be. Be it a night of ballroom dancing, a feast for friends and family to eat at the deceased’s favorite restaurant, or simply coming together with photo albums and recordings to remember the deceased, you and yours can come together to remember a loved one who is no longer with you.
In the end, keep in mind that your loved one made a point of detailing specific wishes, and it is wise to honor them just as you’d want your family to honor your wishes. If you have been put in control of seeing the funeral through, then take your responsibility seriously, even if you don’t completely agree.
By: Shame Rhoden
Thursday, January 21, 2016
It can be difficult to find the words to say when a person in your life has experienced the loss of someone very important in their life. We want to offer help, let them know we are there for them or do things to make them feel better. Often times we’re afraid that we might say the wrong thing and make things worse. It is important to think carefully about the words we choose to say so that we don't inadvertently say something that is unhelpful or hurtful. Below are a few examples of things you can say to someone in grief.
Don't Say Anything – Just Do Something
Many of us feel as though we have to find the right thing to say, and it can be uncomfortable to have no words to offer in times of loss. The truth is, it can be a great relief to the person who is suffering to not have to respond to our condolences. If you are not finding the words to say, you can say it with your actions. Give them a hug and look lovingly into their eyes. Better yet, just be there to help out. Let them know that you care by doing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk, bringing food, running errands, or perhaps spending time with the children. Your actions will be worth a thousand words.
Say I Care
If you have no words to express your condolences or the overwhelming love and concern you feel for the person who has just lost a loved one, this can be the right thing to say. Let them know that you have no words, but that you care and are there for them. Let them know that they can call on you and that you are holding them in your thoughts or prayers. This simple gesture can be far more consoling than any attempts to express your thoughts on their loss.
Remember the Good Times
If you were friends with or somehow related to the person who has passed, a welcome gesture is to remember how they touched your life. Let them know that you will always remember how funny, or smart their loved one was. Tell them about a special memory you have, or a powerful lesson you learned from them that you will always cherish. This is good way to honor the loved one and can bring you closer to those left behind, as they will see you as someone who knew and cared about their special person.
Things to Keep in Mind
Even if you don't use the above suggestions for what to say, you may want to keep in mind a few things that will help you avoid saying the wrong things. Before you say anything, ask yourself if your words might be taken as judgmental, meddling, trying to explain things away, or are about your own emotions and beliefs. When we say things like “it all happened for a reason” or “you will get over this soon” we may mean well, but it can sound judgmental or as though we are making light of the loss. Keep your intention to be kind and caring in mind and if you don't have anything good to say, it is usually better to say nothing at all.
By: Shama Rhoden
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Every culture and religion has its own views on death and burial rituals. In Islam, for instance, the body must be buried as soon as possible, making it difficult or impossible to hold a public viewing, while a Catholic death almost always includes a wake and viewing before the funeral. In addition, the deceased may have specific instructions on how they wish the funeral proceed, which may include a “no viewing” clause. This article will assume you have the option of holding a public viewing.
What is a Viewing?
A viewing is the opportunity for a family and close friends to see their loved one before burial. A private viewing usually (but not always) will be held before the public viewing to give family members a chance to say goodbye before receiving their friends for the public viewing, where the body has been embalmed and is ready for burial.
Although viewings can be cathartic for some, there are select times when it may not be appropriate. The most common reason would be a death caused by an accident that has altered the appearance of the deceased. Although both the funeral home and relevant medical professionals will endeavor to repair any such damage, some injuries cannot be properly repaired. In these unfortunate cases, we would recommend you forgo a viewing.
Is a Viewing Important?
As noted earlier, different cultures hold their own opinions on viewings. Generally speaking, a viewing can provide a sense of closure, and expedite the grieving process. When death becomes real, you will be forced to grieve. You cannot argue with a body, after all. This could be especially important for mourners who have not seen the person or lost contact for an extended period.
For those same reasons, many people find the very concept of viewings disturbing or even horrifying. You should make a point of noting that the viewing be optional, giving those who do not wish to see the deceased the option to skip it.
If a viewing is not possible, for any reason, you may hold a visitation before or after the funeral. A visitation is a small meeting for family and friends, usually with a small memorial for the deceased, such as photos or flower arrangements.
This is a smaller arrangement, and is much more manageable for some mourners. Given that it is held at a smaller location than a viewing, you have more control over who attends and can ensure a more manageable and intimate meeting.
Whichever you choose, you need to weigh the positives against the negatives before making your decision.
By: Shama Rhoden
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The loss of a loved one is a traumatic event in anyone's life. After it has happened, many people feel as though their life will never return to normal and find it very difficult to carry on. Some also feel like if they were to resume their normal life, they would somehow be turning their back on the love they felt for the deceased.
Deep feelings of sadness, loss or guilt can make the survivors feel trapped. Some things can be done however, to help you deal with those feelings so that you can go on living a happy life while still keeping a special place in your heart for your loved one.
The Grieving Process
Grieving a personal loss is different for everyone. It's important to be kind to yourself through the entire process. You must deal with your emotions so that they do not have control over you.
Many people believe that being strong means keeping your feelings hidden or pretending they don't exist. They mistakenly think that this is the fastest path to resuming a normal routine. Unfortunately, bottling up your emotions will not allow you to move forward in a healthy way. It's better to take the time to allow yourself to feel the full range of emotions that you will doubtlessly experience. Give yourself permission to cry when you feel sad or become angry.
Take all the time you need to grieve. The grieving process does not have a set schedule. It takes as long as it takes. While you're grieving, you probably won't want to do some of the things that normally would make you happy. You may find it difficult to laugh even at the funniest jokes. Accept that you're going through a very difficult period, but you will get through it. Don't try to rush through it too fast.
Grieving is a very difficult process that often requires the support of others. In addition to seeking comfort by spending time with friends and family members, you may also benefit from other forms of support.
Many people who have a deep religious conviction find solace and help from their faith-based community. You can also find support elsewhere within your community. You can look into support groups made up of people who are going through a similar situation. This can help to make you feel less isolated and give you insight on different coping strategies.
What Comes Next?
It's difficult to imagine what your life might be like without that person you held so dear. Again, it's important to give yourself some time to allow it to unfold. Avoid making big decisions at first. You may have an impulse to sell your house, move to a different city or start a new career in an effort to change your surroundings. Be careful not to make any rash decisions that you may later regret. You may want to wait a little while, in order to think it through clearly and possibly seek the advice of trusted friends to make sure it will be the right decision for you in the long run.
In time, you will want to move forward and resume a social life. Gradually, venture out and do some of the things you used to enjoy. Take your time, and understand that you will have good days and bad days and that the bad days will eventually grow fewer and fewer.
Resuming an active lifestyle doesn’t mean that you are completely leaving the person you have lost behind. Pay tribute to their memory by talking to others who loved them, looking at photos and remembering them. This will help you to accept that they have gone while still keeping their love alive.
In time, you will once again discover the joy in life. Laughing, loving and enjoying life doesn't mean you have to stop thinking about the person you have lost or stop loving them. As you heal, you will naturally find that you can once again appreciate and enjoy some of the good things in life. It may seem impossible from your current vantage point, but with patience and kindness for yourself, you will eventually get there.
By: Shama Rhoden
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Archeologists have found evidence of flowers arranged around many ancient burial sites, meaning that the practice of using flowers to commemorate the dead and comfort the grieving can be dated back to at least 62,000 years ago. It’s a nearuniversal tradition that has crossed borders and oceans, and stood the test of time. Although the reason for placing flowers on a grave all those years ago may be different from the reasons we do it now, the sentiment remains the same. Comforting the griefstricken and respecting the deceased are a few reasons why we send flowers to funerals.
Then and Now
In many cultures throughout history, and even today, flowers and other plants are often used in art and poetry as a metaphor for the cycle of life. We begin as seeds, grow and mature into adults, and eventually wither and die. We share blooming flowers as a reminder of the beauty of the deceased’s life, not as a reminder of their death. Today, we have attached meanings to the different flowers we use. One of the most common funeral flowers, oriental lilies, are often used at religious services to represent eternal life, while other lilies have come to represent the innocence of the deceased and sympathy for their mourners.
Flowers are a simple, but beautiful, gift that are usually easy to find and send a very clear message of support. In older times, the scent of flowers could also mask the smell of decomposition, which were especially useful during times of plague when graveyards were often overly filled with the recently deceased. In times before embalming or when there was simply too many people dying to be properly prepared, the scent of flowers was often all there was to keep the air fresh and clean. Fortunately, we no longer have such problems.
When Flowers May Be Inappropriate
Although flowers are still a very common gift at funerals, there are times when it may not be appropriate or where time is too limited for flowers. In Judaism, for instance, burials must be performed as soon as possible, almost immediately in fact, so flowers are not ideal. In this particular example, food baskets are instead gifted to the family afterwards. There is also a growing trend where families request donations be made to a charity of choice, either theirs or the deceased. In this case, we would recommend that you respect the decision of the mourners as well as wishes of the deceased. Despite these changes, you should remember that we have been using flowers to salute our dearly departed for a very long time, and that trend is set to continue for just as long, if not longer.
By: Shama Rhoden
Friday, March 11, 2016
A funeral is an essential rite that marks life’s final passage. The service, however, isn’t important for the deceased, but rather for those left behind, and this includes children. Funerals help with mourning and allow the grieving process to begin, and being allowed to say a final goodbye is an important part of accepting that your loved one is gone; again, this applies to children as well as adults.
Choosing whether to have a child attend a funeral is a difficult decision—and one you shouldn’t make lightly—but there is no right or wrong answer. Every child is different, every family is unique, and no two situations are alike, so you must consider what's right for your child, your family, and the situation when making this decision.
Children Attending Funerals: To Go or Not To Go
Most children don’t regret attending a funeral; instead, there are many more children out there who are hurt or angry because they weren’t allowed to go to one. Moreover, adults who weren’t allowed to attend an important funeral as a child sometimes find that it affected their ability to mourn properly.
On the one hand, a child at a funeral may be scared or confused, but on the other hand, the funeral gives children a valuable opportunity to see how much the deceased meant to other people. Many parenting and bereavement experts agree that children of any age can attend a funeral, so long as they want to. The point to take away from this is the importance of allowing the child to decide. As a parent, you should explain what the funeral is all about by telling your child:
Once the child has all the information necessary to make a decision, you should allow him to choose for himself—without pressuring him either way—whether or not he would like to attend. Death can be just as difficult for children as it can for adults, especially because kids don’t necessarily fully understand what death means. You can make this time easier for them by respecting their opinions, giving them a say in what happens, and allowing them to choose how to participate in the grieving process.
Preparing a Child for a Funeral
For a child who decides to attend a funeral, you must help prepare him for what will happen. The first and most important element is explaining exactly what death is and what it means.
For younger children especially, you can help them understand this by explaining that death means the body stops working, that you no longer need to eat, breathe, or sleep, and that you no longer feel pain or happiness. It’s also important to avoid euphemisms because children have been known to interpret things literally.
You can also prepare your child by explaining what will happen at the funeral service, and that it’s a time to say goodbye, celebrate and honor the dead, share memories and stories, and provide support and be comforted. Since children may not be accustomed to seeing adults crying and sharing emotions so openly, you can also prepare them by telling them about the different behaviors they may witness.
As long as your child has been properly informed and prepared, there is no reason he can't be allowed to mourn with everyone else at the funeral if he so chooses. However, if your child decides against attending the funeral, there are other ways he can participate, such as attending the memorial service or celebration of life, being part of the interment or ash scattering, or by taking part in a private service with your immediate family.
By: Shama Rhoden
Thursday, March 24, 2016
It’s becoming increasingly common for people to customize traditional funeral services, and there are many fun and memorable ways that you can honor your deceased loved one in a personalized way. If you're in the middle of planning a funeral and trying to come up with some unique ways to remember your parent, child, sibling, relative, or friend, here are a few of the more popular ways that people have customized funeral services.
1. Include Personal Stories and Special Memories
Many traditional funerals are officiated by a religious figure, but that doesn’t mean that friends and family can’t partake in the service. At a specific point in the service or throughout, have various people come up to share favorite stories, funny anecdotes, and special memories about the deceased. You can ask people in advance, or you can open the floor to anyone who has words to share. Don’t forget to ask special people from the past, as they can often provide tales from long ago that may never have been told.
2. Play a Favorite Song or Read a Beloved Poem
Nothing says personal like your mom’s favorite song, or your uncle’s favorite poem, or a passage from your cousin’s favorite novel. And if these things meant a lot to your loved one in life, why not celebrate with them after death? Moreover, reading passages or introducing songs is a great way to include people in the service who may be too nervous to read something of their own in front of a group of people.
3. Have a Memory Table or Photo Display
Memory tables are a way to present things that meant a lot to your loved one, and photo displays are a wonderful way to share memories. And while these are becoming more common at funerals, they can still be personalized for your individual family. Memory tables can display artwork, crafts, sports memorabilia, letters, photos, tools, or anything else that was significant. Similarly, photos don’t have to be displayed on board, but can instead be:
4. Use a Customized Funeral Program
Every traditional funeral has a program that lists important events and a timeline of the funeral service. But why not use the program to share stories, show pictures, explain inside jokes, or to recite favorite poems, passages, or song lyrics. You can even use the program as an opportunity to allow others to share some special memories of the deceased, especially for people who are too shy to share at the service.
5. Give out Keepsakes or Gifts
Weddings and other rite of passage celebrations use gifts to thank guests for coming, and you can certainly do the same at a funeral. Memorial tokens that represent the deceased can include pictures, candles, special decorations, or even foodstuffs like preserves and jellies. These items can be placed on seats, left on a table for people to pick up, given out during or after the service or memorial, or distributed by the family in the receiving line.
There are many ways that families today can personalize and customize funeral services, and most funeral homes are more than happy to accommodate such special requests. In fact, your funeral director may even have some unique ideas about how you can personalize the service for your loved one.
By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Direct or Simple Cremation Service
When looking for a funeral home and cremation service, there are various types of service options or alternatives. Some families are only familiar with direct cremation options. Direct Cremation or Simple Cremation, however, is the most basic and least expensive cremation available as it only involves the most minimal services. Direct Cremation is exclusive of any type of service or viewing of the remains.
Service with a Cremation
At Lakeside Memorial Chapel, Funeral Home and Cremation Center, we also offer the option of a service with a cremation or memorial service. A Service with a Cremation provides the option to have a meaningful celebratory service and an opportunity to view your loved one and bid final farewell. Funerals aid in the mourning process and is a very valuable experience. It is not only beneficial to the bereaved family socially, but is helpful to family and friends of the deceased, mourners, supporters, and the community alike. In essence, attending the funeral allows us to acknowledge and cope with the loss, reaffirm the importance of living, and gain closure.
Following this service, the cremation process can then take place. Again, when looking for a funeral home and cremation service, it is important that these options are carefully and thoroughly explained.
The third option is a Memorial Service. This is exclusive of any funeral rituals or a viewing or visitation of any kind. It memorializes a deceased individual without the remains or body present. One immense benefit of a memorial service is that it allows for flexibility in planning as well as time. Usually memorial services often take place several days following the death or even up to several months. For relatives that live afar, it allows them to properly plan and make the necessary travel arrangements without urgency. It allows family and friends to take an unlimited amount of time to adjust to the new realities of the loss. A memorial service can take place at a funeral home, church, residence, club house, restaurant, or special venue and can be religious or non-religious. It assists in establishing the significance of the loss and how much your loved one will be missed. You may also choose to have the remains present in an urn or not.
At Lakeside Memorial Chapel, Funeral Home and Cremation Center, we believe that any method of cremation chosen allows for the validation of life and for the continuance of living.
By: Shama Rhoden
Thursday, December 1, 2016
There are many things to consider when choosing a funeral home to meet your specific needs. Upon the passing of a loved one, most family members have difficulty planning the funeral arrangements of their loved one. Quite often, they do not know what to do or who to in fact, turn to.
When choosing a funeral, it is vital that you are comfortable with the choice you have made. Before making an informed decision, if you don’t already have a funeral home in mind, it is best to conduct price comparisons with other funeral home providers. In doing so, you want to call these providers and inquire about prices. You can conveniently do so via telephone or in person.
Keep in mind that there are bundled savings when considering items grouped together as opposed to the cost of single items. Some funeral homes provide packaged plans which are more cost effective.
It is also important that you ask friends or family members about any experience(s) they may have had with any reputable firms. You may also go online and peruse funeral home websites as well as directories online. If other families have posted reviews, you may find their feedback to be very valuable as well.
Most importantly, it’s not just about choosing a funeral home, but you also want to be comfortable with the funeral director at the funeral home. If you decide to visit a funeral home, it is imperative that the Funeral Director you meet with is accommodating and able to answer all and any questions you may have. If the Funeral Director becomes easily irritated or angered by a plethora or questions, then you may want to re-consider if this should be the funeral home of choice. You should always feel very secure and under no type of duress. During this meeting, you are able to learn more about the services that funeral home offers.
Ultimately, we are here to assist with the planning of your loved one’s funeral, coordinate all the details and service plans involving the final disposition of your loved one, and ensure that you are provided with the best service options. We want to be certain that the wishes of your loved one are carried out meaningfully.
By: Shama Rhoden
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
We all know that coping with grief and loss during the holidays can be extremely difficult for most families. It is even extremely more difficult when the loss is sudden or recent. It can cause some to go into a state of loneliness or depression. Appetite, sleep, mood, and a willingness to engage with others are affected as a result.
I always express to families that there is no appropriate or inappropriate way to grieve or cope with the loss of a loved one. This is, however, mostly difficult during the holiday season. During the holidays, most people celebrate the arrival of family members, host or attend parties, share in gift-purchasing and giving, cook and bake, or send special cheer to those in need. The uniting of family is an integral aspect of this, “joyful season.” When a loved one has passed on, depending on the strength of that bond, it would now appear as if a piece of that link has now been severed.
Surround yourself with people who support and love you
Remaining in the company of friends that genuienly support and care for you is indeed reassuring and soothing. Isolaton can lead to depression and a downward spiral of emotions.
Allow yourself time to grieve
There is no time table or chart relating to the process of grieving. At times, grief can be a life-long process for some. These feelings usually subside over a period of time which allows for the upcoming holiday seasons to be more bearable. However, allow yourself to feel joy, anger, or sadness. This allows you to grieve.
Find Comfort in Giving Back to Others
Giving back or taking the time to expend your time volunteering for a special cause is a great way to do something positive for someone. Whether it is through a charitable or religious organization, it is in fact an excellent way of dedicating your time in honor of your loved one and what this level of support would have meant to them. Helping those in need can assist immensely in reducing feelings of hurt or depression. This helps you to draw comfort in doing for others.
Taking Care of Oneself
Most people who experience loss neglect their self-care or ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). It is important to get enough sleep, eat well, shower frequently, and exercise. Due to decreased energy levels, it is very easy to not have a desire to exercise any of the following.
Be Honest with Your Feelings
Please understand that it is absolutely okay to express to others that you are not in the mood or spirit of the holidays. By doing so, your loved ones and friends know how you are truly feeling and know what to expect from you. It is important to communicate exactly what you need from them. By them knowing and understanding what you need is a big help in getting through those very emotional and sorrowful days.