You can find our latest posts on this page. Click on the blog titles below or click on the calendar to review postings from prior periods. Remember to check back here often!
Why should you attend a funeral? The presence of family and friends at the funeral is appreciated. We gather to acknowledge a life that was lived. We gather to comfort those for whom life has just been forever changed by the death of someone they loved.
If you care for one or more of the survivors, you should attend the funeral (even if you did not know the person who died). Your friend will appreciate your presence. Being there shows that you acknowledge that your friend’s life has changed in some way. Your presence shows your support.
If you knew the person who died but do not know their family, you should attend the funeral. Your presence demonstrates your respect for human life in general and the life of the person who died in particular. Perhaps you worked with the person who died. It is comforting for the surviving family to know the person they loved was also appreciated at work.
If you are hesitating because you are unfamiliar with the person’s faith and fear you will embarrass yourself or feel like a fish out of water, go anyway. You will be fine. You can prepare a little in advance by looking for some information online about the funeral customs of the family’s faith.
When should you stay home? Anytime you are going to a funeral and you know it will make one or more members of the immediate family uncomfortable, perhaps you shouldn’t go. If going is more about you and less about the deceased or the surviving family, don’t go. A funeral is not a place to prove a point.
Nothing means more to a grieving child, spouse, sister, brother or friend than a personal note from the deceased. It’s something that will be cherished. The note will make its way out of it’s safe keeping spot whenever the mourner needs to feel close to the person who died. It will be read on those tearful days that are sure to come. It will also be read on those days that are full of joyful remembrance.
The note doesn’t have to be eloquent. It doesn’t have to be brilliant or witty. It doesn’t have to be long. It just needs to tell the person how you feel about them. The writer might also include what they liked about recipient, enjoyed doing with them, or how the person was helpful. The note can express gratitude or love. It can include a shared “remember when” story. In the end it’s a love note. A personal connection that lasts even when life has ended.
So, when do you write these notes and where do you keep them? There really is no need to wait. Write your notes today or tomorrow as you live your life. They can always be revised and updated. Waiting may mean that you never get around to it. Remember, life is fragile.
If you have an advance funeral plan on file at your preferred funeral home, you might ask the funeral director to keep them for you. Just imagine how lovely it would be for your family to receive your note at the conclusion of their conference with the funeral director to finalize your arrangements. If you don’t have a plan on file, make sure someone in your family knows where the notes are kept and when they should be distributed.
“We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy.”
― Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World
Cremation, like electric cars and cell phones is here to stay. For some people cremation is part of their religious practice. For other people, cremation just feels right for them. The big question is who should help you with your cremation, a society or a funeral director?
Cremation Societies specialize in what is called a direct cremation. Direct cremation means the society will remove the deceased from the place of death and take the body directly to their crematory where the cremation process will take place. Following cremation, the ashes are returned to the family in a bag or box. It’s all pretty quick. The cost is quite low for direct cremation.
But something is missing.
How do we feel when a family member dies? What helps? Death is a loss. It is hard to describe how loss feels, but it is something like a void, a vacuum, or an energy shift. You see something close when you watch victims of the California wild fires or a tornado on television. You see that dazed and stunned look on their faces. That is loss. There they stand looking at a pile of rubble that was their home … and now it is gone. That look is about loss of a building. Loss of a person, someone you love, is so much more. It hurts your heart.
Funeral directors are trained and specialize in taking care of the deceased AND in taking care of the family of the deceased. They know people need more. They are going to encourage you to slow down a little and give the family a little time for the reality of the loss to sink in. Give a little time for the family to consider what they need to do to begin to heal.
Funeral directors specialize in helping families put together a gathering to honor the one who died. They know that being with those you love and who love you helps. They know words, as a part of a religious, spiritual, or life celebration ceremony help. Funerals are the funeral director’s specialty. They have done this many times with many families. Funeral directors are the experts.
Of course, the funeral home will help you with a direct cremation if that is what your family prefers. To be fair, cremation societies will also add on some service options at the family’s request. As you add services the cost increases. It is important to look for value.
The funeral home is staffed by licensed trained funeral directors and serves families from a clean, company ready facility with plenty of parking and is a good value. Do your homework. Where will cremation take place? If your family wants service where will the service take place? If you add service and products what is the difference in price? How important is cost over expertise? Share your budget with the funeral director at your funeral home. Don’t assume you need to sacrifice ceremony for savings.