Guidance

Get recover from your loss?

Sigmund Freud first brought up the concept of grief work in 1917, and today the idea that bereavement is purpose-driven continues. Dr. James Worden chose to see the work of bereavement as task-oriented :

  • To accept the reality of the loss
  • To process the pain of grief
  • To adjust to a world without the deceased
  • To find an enduring connection with the deceased in the midst of embarking on a new life

Benefits of Guidance

Dr. Stephen Joseph identifies what he calls six signposts to facilitate post traumatic growth. He reminds readers too that "post traumatic growth does not imply the absence of emotional distress and difficulties in living. It does imply that it is possible through the struggle to come out on the other side, stronger and more philosophical about life."

Emotional Benefits

Are you physically well? Are you getting enough sleep and eating the right foods for optimum health? Have you received the kind of medical, legal, or psychological help you need? What is your current condition: physically, spiritually, and emotionally?

Financial Benefits

People traumatized by loss often feel hopeless. It's hard to get up in the morning and thinking about the future sparks pessimism and negativity. Find inspiration in the stories of personal growth written by others; set goals and practice hope as you set out to achieve them.

Family Benefits

Learn to tell your story differently. Take the victim mentality out of the story of loss you tell yourself and others and replace it with the word survivor to return to a sense of control over your life.

Help with Eco funeral 

"Death can be terrifying." Dr. Todd Kashdan opened his article, "Confronting Death with an Open, Mindful Attitude", with those four painfully-honest words. He goes on to explain why death is such a scary thing for most of us. "Recognizing that death is inescapable and unpredictable makes us incredibly vulnerable. This disrupts our instinct to remain a living, breathing organism."

What to Expect?

Will People Cry?

Even at weddings and baptisms, people cry. Just like at a funeral, these pivotal life moments are very emotionally-charged. That means you can certainly expect to find people crying at a funeral. It's always helpful to remember to bring a travel pack of tissues with you; however, the funeral home staff will also have access to tissues if you—or the person seated next to you—has a need to wipe their eyes.

But, here's something you should also know: people laugh at funerals too. A funeral is a rich bittersweet mixture of sorrow and joy. In fact, when we're at a funeral (which is fairly often) the behaviors of guests remind us of the well-known remark from Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss: “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

You'll see tears, and you may hear some laughter. Without doubt, emotions run high at funerals; sometimes there's even a demonstration of anger by one or more of the survivors. Expect people to be on their best behavior, but also know that anything can happen.

How to Leave the Funeral?

The funeral officiant will make it very clear that the funeral service is over. They will invite the the immediate family and close friends to leave the building first. Unlike at the end of a theater performance, people don't simply stand up and walk out. Instead, they wait for the rows in front of them to empty before stepping out into the aisle.

Guests and family may collect outside the location for some quiet conversation. If you are now ready to leave, do your best to say a sincere good-bye to the bereaved family.

If you choose to follow the hearse and casket to the cemetery or crematory, you'll be given clear directions by members of the funeral home staff.

If you choose to leave at this point in the funeral, make a quiet, discreet exit. Make a note to yourself to contact the bereaved family by phone in the next week or so. Offer them some time to for them to talk about their loss; and if you're willing, make a few suggestions about chores and other things you could do for them. Know that even if they decline your offer, they'll be delighted to know you're thinking of them enough to call.

Call Us to Learn More
Whether this is your first funeral service, or your 100th; it can be an unnerving experience. If you've got specific questions about what to expect during a funeral service, give us a call. We'll be privileged to assist you.

What to Expect After the Funeral?

Will People Cry?

Even at weddings and baptisms, people cry. Just like at a funeral, these pivotal life moments are very emotionally-charged. That means you can certainly expect to find people crying at a funeral. It's always helpful to remember to bring a travel pack of tissues with you; however, the funeral home staff will also have access to tissues if you—or the person seated next to you—has a need to wipe their eyes.

But, here's something you should also know: people laugh at funerals too. A funeral is a rich bittersweet mixture of sorrow and joy. In fact, when we're at a funeral (which is fairly often) the behaviors of guests remind us of the well-known remark from Theodore Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss: “Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

You'll see tears, and you may hear some laughter. Without doubt, emotions run high at funerals; sometimes there's even a demonstration of anger by one or more of the survivors. Expect people to be on their best behavior, but also know that anything can happen.

How to Leave the Funeral?

The funeral officiant will make it very clear that the funeral service is over. They will invite the the immediate family and close friends to leave the building first. Unlike at the end of a theater performance, people don't simply stand up and walk out. Instead, they wait for the rows in front of them to empty before stepping out into the aisle.

Guests and family may collect outside the location for some quiet conversation. If you are now ready to leave, do your best to say a sincere good-bye to the bereaved family.

If you choose to follow the hearse and casket to the cemetery or crematory, you'll be given clear directions by members of the funeral home staff.

If you choose to leave at this point in the funeral, make a quiet, discreet exit. Make a note to yourself to contact the bereaved family by phone in the next week or so. Offer them some time to for them to talk about their loss; and if you're willing, make a few suggestions about chores and other things you could do for them. Know that even if they decline your offer, they'll be delighted to know you're thinking of them enough to call.

Clearly State the Facts

When it comes to properly completing death paperwork, and writing a detailed obituary, accuracy is everything. So, when it comes to the first task, that of sharing your loved one's biographical details, you'll want to bring as much documentation of the following as possible:

  • The deceased's full name
  • Their Social Security number
  • Parent's names
  • Spouse and children's names
  • Maiden name of mother
  • Marital status
  • Educational history
  • History of military service
  • Work history
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Church affiliation
  • A list of organizational and club memberships
  • A recent photograph

Naturally, if you're unable to bring any of this information, you can always call us later to share whatever is missing.

Planning for the Funeral Event

The second step in the funeral arrangement conference, that of planning a meaningful ceremony to pay tribute and celebrate the life of your loved one is really at the heart of what you'll be doing that day. In order to facilitate things, we ask that you bring:

  • Pre-arrangement papers, if applicable
  • Clothes in which to bury or cremate your loved one
  • Cemetery property information, if applicable
  • A list of preferred charities for memorial donations, if applicable
  • A list of pallbearers, if applicable
  • Desired musical and readings selections

There are really two more things to bring: your memories, and your heart-driven creative thinking. After all, we will be guided in planning your loved one's funeral, memorial service, or celebration-of-life by your stories, personal perceptions, and insights into their character and lifestyle.

Call Us to Learn More
Whether this is your first funeral service, or your 100th; it can be an unnerving experience. If you've got specific questions about what to expect during a funeral service, give us a call. We'll be privileged to assist you.

FAQ

Why is having a funeral ceremony important?

Throughout human history, and around the globe, people have gathered together to acknowledge the death of a member of the community. No matter who the deceased was, a funeral ceremony is the one (and sometimes the only) opportunity for everyone to come together to acknowledge their death, recognize the community's shared loss and share the burden of grief.

What is the average cost of a funeral service?

The National Funeral Directors Association states the national median cost of a funeral details the average costs of a funeral in 2012: $7,045 (however, if a burial vault is required by the cemetery–and it usually is–the median cost can rise as high as $8,343). These statistics aside, the cost of a funeral service is wholly dependent on the specific services and products selected by the family member(s) responsible for making funeral arrangements. Your funeral director will thoroughly explain all options, ask the important questions about your family's budget restrictions; and otherwise do everything he or she can to provide you with a funeral, memorial service or celebration-of-life that meets your emotional and social needs, all the while staying in line with your financial expectations

How does the cost for a funeral ceremony compare to the cost of a memorial service or celebration-of-life?

Attempting to compare the costs of the three is rather like trying to compare oranges, mangoes and apples; it can't be done. Perhaps it's easier to see funerals, memorial services and celebrations-of-life as three points on a spectrum–a range, if you like–of ceremonial formats. At one end is the funeral; at the other, the celebration-of-life, and in the middle, the memorial service. The funeral is most commonly the most expensive of the three; which is especially easy to see when you consider the cost of the casket is a significant expense. The cost of any of the three is totally dependent on the choices you make during the arrangement conference.

Who should be invited to a funeral?

It's a lot like asking 'who should be invited to a wedding': people who would want to be there. A person's role at a funeral is two-fold: one, they are there to demonstrate support for the bereaved family. Second, funeral guests are there to tend to their own sorrow; to begin to come to terms, in the safety of a shared collective experience, with the death of someone they held dear. While it's not common to send out invitations to a funeral (generally, the service details are published in the newspaper or online, and those who wish to attend, do); it does make a certain amount of sense to reach out to certain individuals by phone, email, or social media to ensure they are aware of the service date/time (and express your desire for their presence). When preparing the guest list for a funeral service, you should both listen to your heart and use common sense. You know the people that mattered most to your loved one, as well as those who mattered least. Whatever you do, don't invite more people than the venue can comfortably handle.

Is it necessary to have flowers at the ceremony?

Flowers create a background of warmth and beauty which adds to the dignity and consolation of the funeral service. "Necessary" may not be the right word; but there's no doubt flowers at a funeral or other end-of-life ceremony serve many valuable purposes including a means of a visual expression of sympathy, love and respect or a means of lending support.

What's involved in preparing the body for viewing at a visitation or funeral?

The preparation of the deceased can involve a number of different tasks performed by trained and licensed embalmer and restorative artists. Without going into too much detail; the body is temporarily preserved by embalming, refrigeration, or a combination of the two. It is washed, dressed and otherwise groomed; then placed in the chosen casket for viewing. Should you wish to know more about the process, contact us. There are also many excellent articles online describing the process in greater detail.

If it makes people uncomfortable, why is it necessary to view the body in the casket?

Human beings are interesting creatures: sometimes we need to see in order to truly believe. It's a way of confirming the fact that, indeed, this individual is dead; but it's also an opportunity to say your "good-byes". You may find it a cathartic time where you can quietly share a long-held secret, let go of any anger or resentment, and otherwise come to terms with their death.

How can I best prepare my children to attend a funeral?

When asked this question, we like to tell people it's best done with honesty and awareness. Let them know basically what they can expect. Advise them there will be people there who will be sad and may cry openly; tell them there will be time for some people to stand up and talk about how much they loved the person (but they won't be required to do so). Let them ask all the questions they need to ask, reassure them you'll be right next to them throughout the experience. Never force them to go to a funeral, and always give them the opportunity to change their mind about attending.

What is a celebrant?

The Celebrant Foundation and Institute define celebrants as "trained professionals who believe in the power and effectiveness of ceremony and ritual to serve basic needs of society and the individual. The Celebrant's mission is to help the client create a ceremony that reflects his or her beliefs, philosophy of life, and personality." A life-cycle celebrant is especially valuable when a family has no religious affiliations or ties to a clergy person or minister who can officiate the funeral service, but involving a celebrant in the funeral planning process has been found to enhance the funeral experience for all concerned. "The Celebrant comes to the table with no agenda," shares the Institute's website, "and no preconceived notion of what the ceremony should or must look like. Instead, through careful interviewing, the Celebrant elicits what is meaningful for each client." If you think hiring a celebrant is the right for your family's situation, contact us for more details.

How long is a funeral service?

Simply put, "it depends on the service". Just as no two movies or novels are the same length or cover the same emotional ground; no two end-of-life ceremonies are the same.

Must I wear black to the funeral ceremony?

Black used to be the only color to wear to a funeral; but not anymore. Today things are less formal than they once were, and it's not totally uncommon for families to ask prospective guests to altogether avoid wearing black clothing. Should you have additional questions about funeral attire or etiquette, please contact us.

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