Call Us Today! 540-685-4321|info@funeralresources.com

What to Do After a Death

What Should You Do After the Death of a Love One?

125 Tasks After a Death Has Occurred

What to Do After a Death
125 Tasks After a Death of a Loved One

A. Secure Vital Statistics

  1. Full legal name, address, telephone number, and email address
  2. Religious name (if any)
  3. Date of birth
  4. Place of birth
  5. Marital status
  6. Name of spouse (if married)
  7. Spouse’s maiden name (if wife)
  8. Educational attainment
  9. Citizenship
  10. Father’s full legal name
  11. Father’s birthplace
  12. Mother’s name and maiden name
  13. Mother’s birthplace
  14. Full names, phone numbers, and addresses of all children, grandchildren, and/or great-grandchildren
  15. Acquire Social security number
  16. Obtain Veteran’s serial/service number
  17. Determine date and place of military service
  18. Date of military discharge
  19. Research how long at current residence and former residence(s)
  20. Occupation, job title, nature of work, and employment history
  21. Workplace name, address, phone number, and email address
  22. Ensure family origin

B. Pay Some or All of the Following

  1. Estate/Inheritance taxes
  2. Funeral and burial costs
  3. Purchase a family cemetery burial plot, estate, mausoleum, crypt, cremation niche, or other
  4. Permanent resting place
  5. Monument and marker engraving details
  6. Funeral Director
  7. Clergy
  8. Organist and vocalist
  9. Funeral Flowers
  10. Obituary
  11. Clothing preferences
  12. Long distance telephone service
  13. Food
  14. Transportation and removal costs
  15. Doctors
  16. Nurses
  17. Medical practitioners
  18. Ambulance
  19. Hospital or nursing home
  20. List of all medications and drugs
  21. Current and urgent bills (mortgage/rent, taxes, car payments, debts, utilities, etc.)

C. Collect Documents and Paperwork

  1. Last Will (check to see if any final wishes were specified)
  2. Prepare legal papers, death certificates, state permits
  3. Birth certificates and/or any legal forms of proof of age
  4. Citizenship papers
  5. Social Security card or number
  6. Marriage license
  7. Veteran’s discharge certificate
  8. Submit all insurance policies (life, funeral/burial, health, long-term care, etc.) and also necessary government forms
  9. Disability claims
  10. Bank books and listing of all accounts
  11. Records of other financial documents (outside of bank)
  12. Property deeds
  13. Cemetery deed or proof of ownership
  14. Auto titles or bill of sale
  15. Income tax returns, receipts, and cancelled checks

D. Decide and Arrange Within a Few Hours

  1. Make cemetery arrangements
  2. Secure interment space and location of burial disposition
  3. Arrange for opening and closing of the grave/mausoleum/crypt/estate/niche space
  4. Secure endowment care
  5. Arrange graveside committal service
  6. Secure use of cemetery chapel for committal prayers
  7. Decide on embalming and other preparations of the deceased
  8. Choose restorative art
  9. Funeral Home preference
  10. Location of funeral service
  11. Service type (religious, fraternal, military, etc.)
  12. Time and place of visitation and funeral service
  13. Arrange any special religious services
  14. Choose person and provide information for funeral eulogy
  15. Select from casket (open or closed?)
  16. Select outer burial container and/or burial vaults
  17. Select cremation urn and niche space (if cremation)
  18. Provide vital statistics of deceased for the newspaper obituary
  19. Choose clothing for the deceased
  20. Choose jewelry and glasses for the deceased
  21. Select cosmetology and hairdressing for deceased
  22. Selection of Scripture, readings, poems, etc.
  23. Choose preferred clergy to officiate
  24. Marking of grave (either temporary or permanent)
  25. Select memorial market/monument setting and inscription
  26. Select charitable contributions in memory of the deceased
  27. Register book, memorial/prayer cards
  28. Select pallbearers
  29. Floral arrangements and transportation (before and after)
  30. Select funeral music
  31. Organist, pianist, vocalist
  32. Arrange for funeral coach
  33. Arrange for limousine for family and pallbearers
  34. Arrange funeral car list for family and guests
  35. Clothing for you and children
  36. Decide who will look after children and/or pets
  37. House cleaning
  38. Extra chairs
  39. Transportation for family and guests
  40. Review and sign all paperwork (burial permits, etc.)
  41. Answer innumerable phone calls, emails, letters, and visitors
  42. Meet with Funeral Director, Cemetery Director, clergy, lawyer, CPA, financial advisor, insurance agent, etc.
  43. Arrange transportation and lodging for out-of-town guests
  44. Acknowledge and thank those who help in a special way (flowers, food, donations, etc.)
  45. Decide how many certified copies of death certificates to order
  46. Food for family and out-of-town relatives and guests
  47. Items for memento display and/or memorial board
  48. Decide on memorial video tribute production, pictures, music
  49. Arrange for writing thank you notes

E. Plan to Notify ASAP

  1. All family members
  2. All relatives
  3. All friends
  4. Minister and church
  5. Funeral Director
  6. Pallbearers
  7. Cemetery
  8. Doctor
  9. Employer of deceased
  10. Employers of relatives not going to work
  11. Organist, musicians, and vocalists
  12. Newspapers regarding obituary notices
  13. Social Security Administration
  14. Veterans Administration
  15. Insurance Agents and Financial Advisors
  16. Religious, fraternal, civic organizations and unions
  17. Attorney, accountant, financial planner, and executor of estate
  18. Credit card companies, mortgages, utility bills, etc.

Need more information or help?
Please contact us at info@funeralresources.com

COVID-19 Funeral and Memorial Technology

FuneralResources.com and MemorialTechnology.com Offer COVID-19 Families
New Funeral and Memorial Technology Tools

Memorial Technology
New Memorial Technology Helps COVID-19 Families Heal and Remember

COVID-19 Families Face Funeral Planning Challenges

In response to the overwhelming number of families losing loved ones to the COVID-19 pandemic, Funeral Resources.com and MemorialTechnology.com provide COVID-19 families with the awareness, education, and access to some of the funeral industry’s newest and most innovative memorial technology tools.

Chris Hill, Founder says; “With a national shutdown in place, COVID-19 families and the death care industry are both facing the most devastating funeral planning challenges in the history. Not only are there extreme limitations on accessing traditional funeral planning needs like funerals, visitations, wakes, memorial services, but to make matters worse, lots of stress and pressure to afford the significant costs and expenses of losing a loved one.”

COVID-19 Families Have Much-Needed Help and Hope

Not only is there an abundance of free information, answers, and support available at these family-focused online resource centers for COVID-19 families, but also access to new memorial technology tools.

Most Popular New Memorial Technology Tools:

  1. Funeral Webcasting – Allows families to “attend” a memorial service “live” online
  2. Video Tribute – Powerful combination of video, pictures, and funeral music
  3. Memorial Website – Personalized websites so families can share together anywhere
  4. Gravestone Technology – Amazing way to see much more than a name and date
  5. Memorial Diamond – Customized genuine diamonds for family heirlooms
  6. Memorial Reefs – Green Burials at sea offer an underwater living legacy

“After losing a loved one, my loss became an inspiration to help families make these difficult situations easier. Given the COVID-19 crisis facing families today, we felt compelled to serve as the hands and feet of Christ. We knew God was calling us to find a way to come together and do something special…at a time when families need it most”, explains Christopher P. Hill, Founder.

Click Here to Learn More: MemorialTechnology.com

COVID-19 and Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning
Advance Care Planning and End of Life Planning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 = Special Urgency

What Special Urgency?

Isn’t it ironic that after 8 years of putting out my newsletter and talking to people about the importance of advance care planning, we are faced with a healthcare challenge of monumental proportion? One that emphasizes end of life plan reasons but, equally if not more importantly advance care planning, in many ways.

As I sit down to write my 100th newsletter, the current COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the world and there is a special urgency to do advance care planning; by having the conversation, identifying someone to speak for you, and completing an advance directive.

Every day, there are new articles, by people who have never addressed the subject before, touting the importance of doing an advance directive and doing it NOW!

I receive calls from reporters asking for clarifications and quotes about how to make the process work. The momentum is building and hopefully people will take heed to the warning to have their conversations and complete their directives. This would be wonderful as it would be great to have something positive come out of this pandemic.

COVID-19 is a New Call to Action!

Your help is needed to continue to move the bar. If you’ve done your directive already, take a look at it and see if it is still current and meets your needs in this day and age. Update as necessary. Make certain the right people have a copy.

If you haven’t gotten there yet, now is a great time as the resources to plan a funeral, create a Last Will or Living Trust, and advance care planning, are available to make it easy for you to act.

If you still need help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. My contact information is below. Talk to your friends and loved ones. You know, those people whom you have mentioned it to before but who haven’t moved forward to do their plan.

Bug them, emphasize its importance. Remind them of the adage:

Failing to Plan – Is Planning to Fail!

They need this for themselves as well as their families. Equally as important, are the healthcare workers who are doing such a Herculean effort during these trying times. Make sure that they have access to people’s advance directives. This will allow them to be guided by the goals and preferences of their patients and not guessing what the best treatment course for a particular individual might be.

I have neighbors who have been very clear as to their plans. They are sheltering in place because of their ages and their medical conditions. They have made it very clear that they will not go to the hospital if they should come down with the COVID-19 virus. They feel strongly that they are at that point in their lives that they do not wish to go on the ventilator or receive aggressive care during their end of life stages. If they can survive the virus from home, great. If not, it was meant to be.

Now, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that other people should take this stance. We all need and deserve to make our own decisions whatever may be best for each of us individually. Thus, the advance directive is a critically necessary important part of your end of life planning and funeral estate planning!! Remember, it is still critically important to:

Have “The Conversation” … and … Give ‘The Gift

Courtesy of M. Jane Markley, www.mjmarkley.com.
If you have any questions, you can contact her directly at jane@mjmarkley.com.

Best Memorial Technology

Top Six Memorial Technology Tools to Remember a Loved One

Like me and many other families who have lost a loved one, I was unaware of many of the new, best, and most innovative memorial technology options available for helping families plan a funeralburial, cremation, or even serve as an added value to their end of life planning. 

Each of these wonderful new memorial technology tools allow families to remember their loved ones.

They also provide a much better opportunity for individuals and families to heal from the inevitable grief and loss associated from losing a loved one.

You can find more information about each of these six new memorial technology options by visiting the following extremely educational and FREE family-focused online resource center: 

MemorialTechnology.com:

Click each picture below to learn more:

 Memorial Reefs
For loved ones who were in the Navy, divers, sailors, swimmers, or other types of sea lovers, memorial reefs are becoming very popular option for final resting places for cremations.
 Memorial Diamond
Rather than storing a loved ones ashes in the traditional cremation urn, many families are choosing memorial jewelry such as a memorial diamond and many other creative opportunities.
 Memorial Website
Memorial websites allow people to come to together in one place on the internet and post thoughts, poems, pictures, funeral flowers, video tribute, stories, donations, and much more.
 Video Tribute
By creating and combining a series of pictures to tell a loved ones story, with beautiful special funeral music, a video tribute is one of the most helpful and healing additions to a memorial service, as well as a priceless keepsake.
 Gravestone Technology
Instead of just a name and date, gravestone technology is becoming a very common addition for cemetery gravestones, monuments, and tombstones to tell the story of someone special.
Funeral Webcasting
When family, friends, or co-workers cannot attend a funeral, funeral webcasting is becoming an extremely popular option for people to attend a LIVE funeral online via the internet as another way of coping with grief and loss.

Difference Between Memorial and Funeral Services

What are the Differences Between
Memorial Services and Funeral Services?

Funeral and memorial services are often confused with each other, but there are distinct differences that we will help you distinguish them apart. This will help those who have never before attended either to know what to expect, the formalities and funeral etiquette to follow.

Funeral Services

A funeral service has the body of the deceased present at the service and tends to be more traditional. This is the main difference between a memorial service. The funeral service is comprised of three main parts; the visitation, the funeral service and the committal service and more often defines unlike a memorial service which is a reflection of their life. But there is no reason a funeral service cannot also incorporate a reflection at the service. Funeral services are normally held at the place of worship or a cemetery whereas memorial services can be held almost anywhere.

Funeral Service Etiquette

Traditionally funeral services are quite formal and, with regards to funeral etiquette, you are expected to wear attire that is also formal and suitable for the occasion. It’s important to keep greetings short and be respectful of your surroundings as others are mourning. This is a time to pay your respects to the family, not a time to socialize and ‘catch up with old friends’. Try to have your phone switched off for the service as using it can be insulting to the family. If you are unable to hold your emotions and you are having a visible impact on others, please excuse yourself until you gain your composure. Remember to arrive early and sign the guest book (if present) the family would like to know who was in attendance. If you would like to send funeral flowers with a message to the family these can be sent to the home, prior to the service or directly to the funeral home or church service. When sending flowers to the place of worship, it’s customary to send sheaves or funeral wreaths. If the family requests ‘in lieu of flowers, please donate’, it’s important to honor the families requests.

Memorial Services

Memorial services do not have the body present at the service and they are common after burial or cremation. As generations change and religious beliefs decline, people are opting for memorial services rather than traditional funeral services. Since there is no body present you will find that memorial services can be held almost anywhere such as parks, halls and even homes and are much more creative and less formal than funeral services. You will find that memorial services are more affordable than funeral services in that much of the work in preparing the body has been formerly completed behind the scenes which leaves only the guests on the day to cater for.

Memorial Service Etiquette

Many aspects of the funeral etiquette expected at a funeral service follows that of a memorial service. Be respectful, caring and follow the families wishes on the day. Although less formal, there is still a degree of what should be worn and this may be made known to guests beforehand. Donations in lieu of flowers are also common in memorial services and again it’s important to respect the families wishes, but sometimes people are compelled to also leave a small floral tribute along with a donation.

By |August 8th, 2018|Categories: funeral etiquette, funeral etiquette tips, Funeral Flowers, funeral wreath, funeral wreaths, memorial service, Memorial Services|Comments Off on Difference Between Memorial and Funeral Services

Coping with Grief and Loss over the Holidays

Grief and Holidays

In October of 2015 the man who had been my husband for fifty-six years died. December found me still numb with grief and loss. As my children and I struggled to navigate the season without a compass, we were feeling a lot of things. Joy wasn’t one of them. If it was there, it was buried under a thick layer of pain.

It was time to write the annual holiday letter Jerry and I had always written together, but I felt lost.

Should I just skip it and leave friends wondering whether they’d been abandoned? Should I spill tears all over the page? Should I put on a happy face to hide the pain?

None of those choices seemed right.

Then I reflected on what had followed Jerry’s death. I realized that this was a season when grief, like the Wise Men, came bearing gifts.

I rarely weep, but tears were a gift that relieved my anguish. Old photo albums revived happy memories. I was comforted by the simple presence of my family and others who loved me. My church community took over all of the funeral planning challenges. Neighbors brought food and chipped in with practical help. Loving messages poured in through letters, cards, and phone calls. Friends picked up relatives at the airport. Jerry’s former colleagues offered help.

And so I wrote my holiday letter mindful of the gifts I was receiving, gifts wrapped in love. The grief didn’t leave, but my dominant emotion became gratitude.

I decided to write as honestly as I could. The pain was there and I acknowledged it. I realized I was not alone, that many of my friends were suffering too. A few of them had also lost a loved one. Others might be facing a frightening medical diagnosis, or the end of a marriage, or a child mired in addiction. Or they were haunted by the gnawing fears of aging or loneliness.

My own grief had sensitized me to coping with loss that was also confronting others. I realized that many of the people who wrote only about family fun and personal successes and talented kids were also carrying an invisible bucket of tears. But keeping pain locked in a closet carries an emotional, spiritual, and sometimes physical cost. I wanted to be real, hoping this would give others permission to do the same.

My former pastor once said, “We love others because of their vulnerability, not their strength.” If you’re ready to risk being vulnerable, you might begin, “This has been a hard year.” Or “a year of love and loss.” Or, more positively, “This has been a year of grit and grace.” Be positive but be real. Your own truth-telling may free others to face their own situation with courage.

On a positive note, remember you’re still alive. You’re a survivor. Reflect on your own sources of strength. Work? Faith? Family? Friends? A larger purpose? A stubborn will that won’t give up? Name it and claim it. Others may need to hear what has helped you.

Finally, include at least one story in your letter. After he died people wanted to tell me stories about Jerry. Many surprised me. They illustrated his kindness and generosity and humility. They sparkled with humor. They showed why so many people loved him. I put them in my letter.

Ending your letter on a positive note will bring hope to the recipients. Your honesty will inspire courage. Your letter may be the best gift a friend dealing with grief and loss receives.

And having given it will bring you something that feels like joy.

This essay appeared in USA Today on 12/11/17

Contributing author – Carolyn Parr with Tough Conversations

By |December 15th, 2017|Categories: Blog, coping with loss, funeral planning challenges, Grief and Holidays, Grief and Loss|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Coping with Grief and Loss over the Holidays

Death Facebook Twitter Instagram Social Media Passwords

Death and Social Media Passwords
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

What is Your Digital Legacy Plan?

Most people plan to document their final wishes in a last will and testament but not many consider including instructions on what should happen to their Facebook page when they die. With over 1.9 billion users on Facebook, over 300 million on Twitter, and who knows how many on other online sites, having a digital legacy plan is becoming more important than ever in these modern times.

Where do you Start?

It’s difficult enough trying to remember login passwords, so creating a detailed plan for all your email and social media accounts can seem like a daunting task. Still, it’s best to start planning sooner rather than later, and some of the media apps already have documented plans for dealing with accounts of the deceased. Here’s how Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram handle it:

What happens to my Facebook page when I die?

Facebook is the most popular networking app in the world and they offer two options for your profile after your death:

1. Memorialization – your profile can be memorialized to serve as a gathering place for family and friends to post memories and remembrances. You can choose to memorialize your page in advance by selecting a “legacy contact” to administer the account after your passing. The legacy contact (who needs to be a Facebook friend) will be responsible for managing the account, e.g., updating profile pictures or responding to friend requests. However, they have limited capabilities and cannot read your private messages or gain full access to your profile.

2. Permanent deletion – this option can also be requested in advance. Once your account is permanently deleted, it will no longer be seen on Facebook and cannot be reactivated. You’ll still need to select a legacy contact for this, but the person won’t be able to log into your account or make posts/updates.

Note that only verified immediate family members can ask Facebook to remove a loved one’s account, and they must provide either a valid death certificate or proof of authority and proof of their loved one’s passing in order to get the account deactivated.

What happens to my Twitter profile when I die?

Twitter’s policy states that they can only deactivate a dead person’s account based on a request from a verified family member or estate executor. After the deactivation request is received, Twitter ensures validity by obtaining details such as the death certificate, obituary information, and requester identification. Only then will the deceased’s account be removed from the site.

Twitter also states they are unable to provide account access to anyone other than the account owner, regardless of their relationship to the deceased. So without the necessary proof of death, vital statistics, and no memorialization options, a dead person’s Twitter account is often left as is, which can sometimes lead to unfortunate tweets from beyond.

What happens to my Instagram account when I die?

Instagram is owned by Facebook so they also offer account removal or memorialization based on a valid request from an immediate family member. The requester must fill out a form to get the process started and provide proof of death (death certificate, obituary notice) as well as evidence that they are related to the deceased. Unlike their parent company, Instagram does not allow you to choose removal or memorialization in advance, and they do not provide account access or login details for a memorialized account.

Creating a Digital Legacy Plan

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram comprise only a small share of an average person’s digital legacy. Other digital assets include various online accounts such as:

  • Email
  • Personal & business websites
  • Social media profiles (LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, Snapchat)
  • Communication apps (Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime)
  • Gaming (Xbox, Wii, PlayStation)
  • Financial service sites (banking, trading, retirement)
  • Shopping sites (Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, brand stores)
  • Entertainment accounts (Netflix, Hulu, cable tv)
  • Other apps & accounts (Uber, Airbnb, Expedia, PayPal, etc.)

The list can go on forever depending on how extensive your digital footprint is. That’s why it’s important to make a digital legacy plan and select a “digital executor” to manage, protect, and preserve your online assets. Getting started on the planning process early is the only way to ensure all your accounts are handled properly in accordance with your end of life plans and preferences.

Choose a digital executor who is technically savvy and sensitive to the confidential details of your digital estate. Whoever you select will need to be aware of state laws governing access to a person’s digital assets.

The Revised Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, completed by the Uniform Law Commission and currently enacted in 35 states, allows fiduciaries or executors to manage digital property like computer files, web domains, and virtual currency. However, the Act restricts access to electronic communications such as email, text messages, and social media accounts unless the original user consented in a will, living trust, power of attorney, or other record. If you already have a will, you can add your digital legacy plan to your will to ensure legality.

Creating a digital legacy plan to manage your online assets is just as important as having a will to protect your physical assets when you die, so make sure to include one in your end of life decision-making process. It will give you and your family much-needed peace of mind when the time comes.

Contributed by Christine Gatuiria at FuneralContentCreative. She writes and creates engaging content for the funeral and death care industry.

How to Face Grief and Loss

Facing Grief and Loss and
Putting Life’s Storms into Perspective

On a back to school shopping event with my daughter, we were drawn to display after display of beautiful pieces of costume jewelry. An elderly woman laden with packages passed by commenting on how tired she was feeling. She found a quiet spot to rest nearby, still holding her packages. I asked if she was alright or needed any help. She assured me she was fine, she just needed to rest. We continued to converse. The woman mentioned how thoughtful it was that I took the time to inquire of her well being. She said that I must not be from around here. I told her I lived 3 hours away in a neighboring state. As she spoke, I noticed some of her words and letters were not spoken clearly. Watching closely, I saw that she did not have any teeth. Her clothing was in good repair, but subtly stained, as if in need of being laundered. I admired a necklace with small charms from the display case. The woman was intrigued with the charm necklace and thought it would be perfect for me.

The next words she spoke caught me off guard. She asked me if I had ever been a victim of a house raid. She explained to me that everything she owned had been stolen. She had loved her porcelain doll collection that was now gone. Her brother was involved in drugs, and came into her house with his friends, and took all her possessions. She mentioned he had taken her dentures because she would not give him any money. She apologized to me for her appearance. Even though she had no teeth, and an empty house, she had a strong resolve. She was kind, grateful, and determined that her brother was not going to break her spirit. My heart went out to the small woman. I found myself watching her around the store as she moved on from her brief rest. The checkout lines were long. My daughter and I helped her get through the line so she was not struggling alone. Shortly thereafter, we headed our separate ways. I think of that sweet little woman often, especially when I wear the charm necklace I purchased that day. I have one regret however, I wish I would have asked the woman her name and contact information.

I tell this story because each of us weather various storms in our lives that affect our perspective. This can alter how we react to those experiences, and how we move forward. Our life’s encounters, as difficult and painful as they are at times help us to build resilience. We pray to find small rays of hope even in times of sadness. We may have to dig deep to find any hope, when there is little hope in front of us. Determination kicks in, and helps us keep trudging forward, so we can carry our emotional burdens.

Putting Life’s Storms into Perspective

Putting life’s storms into perspective is a conscious effort. When we are overcome with sadness or grief it can be difficult to continue the daily climb, and keep looking forward. Each of us have experienced a moment when it feels as if all hope is lost. How do we move past the grief and loss? How do we move forward again? Losing a loved one, a friend, facing a debilitating disease, divorce, or a job change, can tax the strongest hearts and minds. Even when carrying an umbrella, the storm is sometimes too strong and difficult to weather. What can be done to put the challenges into perspective?

Almost 20 years ago, I faced a storm in my own life. Being a strong person I had always believed I could handle whatever was thrown my way. I have learned to never assume. I was brought to my knees, facing a trial of loss that was numbing. A gray cloud settled over my life. I cried at the drop of a hat, and felt like I was wearing concrete shoes up a steep mountain path. Day after day, it felt like the sun would not shine again. Tackling the daily routine was a difficult feat.

The Family Tree: The Night of the Storm

I was inspired during that time to put pencil to paper and write. After months and months of writing, I wrote The Family Tree: The Night of the Storm. The story is about a wondrous tree that in a fierce storm loses a branch. The family who visited the tree, was very sad about the lost branch, so they come up with creative plan. They decide to build a swing with the broken branch, so the branch would be with the tree once more. The story’s message helped heal my heart. I was able to move forward again. My concrete shoes came off, I was not crying all the time, and it helped me by coping with loss.  It allowed me put the storm I was facing into perspective. I realized that life would not always stay exactly like I wanted it to stay. Change and loss are beyond our control. As difficult as my experience was, I had to force myself to rise above the grief. I needed to remain strong for those around me. So when life sends its storms, I now find my swing. In my swing I can sit and ponder, treasure great memories of those I love who have moved on, make future plans when my life needs direction, or just think about a sweet, elderly lady who touched my heart.

I have learned how important it is to not only put our own life’s storm’s into perspective, but to also be conscious of others who may be battling their own storm. In hind sight I always wished I would have given a copy of the book The Family Tree: The Night of the Storm to the woman in the store. Maybe it would have given her a moment of hope and inspiration. I hope each of you finds hope and promise in your future and can, in time, build your own swing.

The story The Family Tree: The Night of the Storm has won numerous awards. The message offers children and their families a sense of hope and promise for the future. In the aftermath of life’s storms the sun will continue to rise every day. Our perspective on life will in time find a ray of sunshine, that will chase gray clouds away, to give each of us hope for the future.

The Family Tree: The Night of the Storm can be purchased at www.lauriecopmann.com.  For more helpful information, use this link to learn more about the five stages of grief.

About Laurie Copmann, Author and Educator

Laurie Copmann is the principal of an elementary school. She has a Master’s degree in Administration and a Master’s degree in Counseling. She loves working with children and encouraging them to be confident individuals, excellent citizens, and to strive for high academic achievement. She writes stories for children in hopes of inspiring them to reach their potential, with the belief that anything is possible. Laurie lives in Idaho with her husband, two children and a dog named Tux the Terrible.

How to Cope with Grief

How to Cope with Grief and
the Barrier to Grief

What do we mean by grief?

Coping with the grief and loss of someone you love can be one of life’s biggest challenges.  In fact, the barrier to grief can be utterly overwhelming. Grieving is the natural human process by which we begin to come to terms with our grief and loss.

We all grieve in our own way

We all cope with grief and loss in different ways. Some people want to hide away quietly, others want to be busy and begin organizing. Some people surprise themselves that they appear to feel nothing at all. Others are waiting for the right time.

None of these are right or wrong.

The barrier to grief

As a counsellor in Tunbridge Wells working with grief and bereavement, one thing I have come to find is that most people who are newly bereaved are fighting a battle on two fronts. They are not only trying to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, they are also faced with their own, often life-long, processes of coping with the barrier to grief.

Their own methods for keeping safe can actually get in the way of allowing them to grieve now.   Therefore, it is very common that when we go to counseling for help with grief and loss, we are first of all faced with ourselves; “I can’t cry”, “I can’t stop crying”, “I’m having panic attacks”.

Each of us will have had a unique upbringing with different messages through which we learned different ways to think, feel, or be in order to be loved, praised, accepted; “Chin up, men don’t cry, get on with it.”, “Don’t be so selfish, think how hard this is for …!”, “Are you still upset about that?”. With messages like these, is it any surprise that so many people find it hard to process loss.

Thinking back to all those times you heard similar messages, I wonder if you can remember what you would have liked to have heard, how you would have liked to be treated. Now with those new messages in mind, is there room for a little self-nurture today? Can you say those messages or ask to be treated differently while you embrace this difficult time?

When it comes to coping with grief, and the barrier to grief, there is no right way. There is no time limit. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel.

Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes are Certain

Most of us have heard the old adage; “the two certainties in life are death and taxes“.  As a result of this statement, National Healthcare Decisions Day comes every year on April 16th, the day after taxes.  The goal is to attempt to bring these two matters together.

Jane Markley tells her clients; “Most of us dutifully complete our taxes every year.  So why not also make time to review your end of life plans and advance directives as well?”  Truth be told, completing your plans for death requires much less time and effort than completing your taxes.  Furthermore, completing your death matters only needs to be done once, whereas taxes must be completed each and every year.

It’s NEVER Too Soon

For those of you who haven’t had “the end of life conversation”, and/or documented your healthcare wishes and other final plans and preferences, please remember this all-important statement:  It’s only too soon…until it is too late.”

Knowing you love your family and loved ones, ask yourself this question;  “What is holding you up from completing key matters such as your end of life planning, funeral estate planning, last will, power of attorney, and advance directives?”

Plan NOW!  We Can Help

When it comes to death and taxes, it is very easy to find reasons to procrastinate and postpone these matters.  However, please let us help you preplan and “give the gift of love” to your family and friends.

Don’t wait for the crisis.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Don’t leave your loves ones in a difficult situation.  Don’t wait until it’s to late to learn how to prepay funeral expenses.  Let us help you make this difficult situation a little easier.  Let us help you have “the conversation” now, plan and prepare in advance today!

Your First Step is EASY

A great way to start is to click here and access our free Family Record Guide.  You won’t regret it, your loved ones will thank you, and you will leave a legacy of love!

How To Find The Best Burial Insurance Policy

Finding a Burial Insurance Policy

Sadly, the world we live in today has many seniors who are without the means to ensure their final expenses are all taken care of financially. Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult and emotionally stressful things anyone can endure. This incredibly challenging time is only further complicated when a family must scramble to come up with money they flat out don’t have. Additionally, funerals are extremely expensive, the overwhelming majority of people simply don’t have $10,000-$15,000 just laying around.

No family wants to see their loved one sit in a morgue or go without a proper service to commemorate their departed. As a result, families will often take on debt or employ other creative means to gather the necessary funds to pay for the funeral.

This situation has created high levels of demand for what are called burial insurance policies. Interestingly, burial insurance is not an official type of life insurance. It’s more of a marketing term. In fact, you will often hear burial insurance be frequently referred to as “funeral insurance” and “final expense insurance”. At the end of the day, they are simplified issue whole life insurance policies. They won’t ever expire, the price per month never increases, and the benefits never decease.

These burial insurance plans offer instant peace of mind to those who are eager to ensure they don’t leave their family with the burden of their unpaid funeral costs. If you are approved for immediate protection (most are), your policy will fully pay out even if you have only had it for one day.

If you are one such person who is searching for peace of mind, burial insurance is the product for you. With that, the question you must be asking yourself now is: How do I find the best burial insurance policy for me? Well, this article will show you just how to do that.

The Impact of an Independent Final Expense Agency

You might think this task will require dozens of phone calls, and endless amounts of research. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, you alone are not able to find all the various burial insurance companies that offer these plans, and consequently diagnose which one is best for you.

Here’s the bottom line.

You need to lean on an expert that will find you the best policy possible. With that, the only “work” you need to do is whatever it takes to find the expert needed to complete the task. Think of going to the dentist. You rely on their expertise to fix your teeth because they are experts at it. Not to mention, working on your own teeth sounds like a very bad idea that likely won’t end well. In short, here is what you need to look for:

Above all else, finding a properly equipped and highly experienced independent burial insurance agency is the single greatest action you can take to ensure you secure the best burial insurance plan.

You might be wondering, what do you mean by “properly equipped”?

That simply means the agency must have access to multiple insurance companies. Only independent life insurance agencies can freely represent lots of different insurance companies. The whole idea behind an independent broker is their ability to impartially shop and compare rates from all the various companies they represent. Every smart consumer today realizes the need to shop around to get the best deal. Well, in essence, working with an independent broker is shopping around (only they do it for you).

It gets even better.

Working with an agency like this won’t cost you any money, and the insurance will cost the same as if you went directly to the insurer. Talk about value. When it’s all said and done, it’s just like having a personal burial insurance shopper on your side. They do all the work, but you are the one who walks away with a burial insurance plan at the lowest cost possible.

Experience is Critical

At first, you may think it’s obvious to select a broker that is experienced. While experience is usually a very good thing in business, it’s especially true when it comes to burial insurance. The thing is; all these insurance companies have vastly different underwriting. They all accept and reject different health conditions. At the end of the day, which funeral insurance company looks at your particular health profile most favorably will likely be the company that will offer you the best plan on the market.

Now,

This is where the experience becomes so paramount. Only after years of helping people acquire final expense insurance, can an agency finally become fully aware of how each insurer responds to health issues. That knowledge is key. It’s what allows the agency to recommend the proper burial insurance company after learning about your health issues, if any. Without a thorough understanding of underwriting for each carrier, it would be a guessing game. That  wouldn’t end well for you.

It’s no secret that when companies compete for your business, you, the consumer, win. This is why working with an independent agency is so effective. The put the free market to work for you. We highly recommend Choice Mutual as a great burial insurance agency to work with. They are a very well respected nationwide agency that can surely help you if you need a plan. However, as long as you find an agency with attributes like we suggest, you will be in good hands.

How Much Money Do You Need For Your Funeral?

You must figure out what kind of a funeral service you would like, so you can determine how much coverage you need. Decide whether or not you want to be cremated or buried. Decide what kind of a service you want. Figuring out these things will help you determine how much burial insurance coverage is required, so you’ll know you have enough coverage to pay for everything. Remember, the goal is to ensure your loved ones don’t have to come out of their own pockets for your final expenses.

  • A traditional burial funeral today can cost anywhere from $7,000-$15,000.
  • A cremation funeral today can cost anywhere from $1,000-$8,000.

In addition to these numbers, you should also factor in inflation. Presently, the funeral industry experiences a rate of inflation of about 5%. Basically, this will mean that funeral costs will double 20 years from now. An experienced final expense agency should be able to help you factor in inflation.

In the end, you basically choose between buying enough coverage for today’s costs or buying enough for the future cost. If you can’t afford to buy enough protection that factors in inflation, just buy what you can today. You can always add more coverage in the future.

Mind Your Budget

Burial insurance is no different than any other kind of funeral insurance in that you are only protected as long as you make your premium payments. The moment you stop paying your car insurance, home insurance, or health insurance,  your protection ends. The same is true for final expense life insurance.

Before you sign up for your policy, you must ask yourself the following question:

“Can I afford this payment every single month for all 12 months of the year regardless of what happens in my life?”

If you can’t say yes to the question, you should not be enrolling in the plan you are considering. It’s critically important you choose a benefit amount that has a monthly payment that is ultra comfortable in your monthly budget.

If you your budget is such that you can’t afford as much coverage as you would like, do not let it throw you off. Don’t get caught up in the fact that you simply can’t afford the coverage you want. Many American’s would love to drive a Lamborghini. The problem is affording a Lamborghini is not realistic. As a result, most people drive Fords, Chevy’s and Honda’s because that’s what they can afford. They definitely don’t choose to go without a car simply because they can’t afford the care they really want.

Buy what you can afford because your family will greatly appreciate what contribution you have made. Not to mention, you can always add more coverage in the future too if you budget changes.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best burial insurance plan isn’t rocket science. As you can see, it’s actually quite simple. If you follow this advice, you put yourself in position to get a really good policy that has a very competitive price. In addition, you will very likely receive an immediate benefit.

There are many providers of final expense out there, but they are not all created equal. Make sure you qualify the agency up front before you decide to do business with them. You can check the BBB, or your state department of insurance to verify they are licensed and appointed with multiple carriers. Once you have found a qualified agency, put your plan in place as soon as possible, and make sure it’s completely comfortable with your budget.

Your family will one day appreciate what you are doing right now. When they receive that check which will pay for the funeral, a massive weight will be lifted off their shoulders. They will be able to peacefully mourn your parting without any added stress.

By |October 7th, 2016|Categories: Blog, burial insurance, Burial Insurance Policy, funeral insurance|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on How To Find The Best Burial Insurance Policy

Digital Time Capsule and SafeBeyond

Digital Legacy Planning

FuneralResources.com Recommends SafeBeyond

What is a Digital Time Capsule?

Throughout our lives most of us enjoy significant life events such as birthdays, graduations, weddings, and more.  Given the advent of the internet, explosive growth in technology, and new memorial technology tools and resources, individuals and families now have an amazing new option:  capture and store your all-important life events with a digital time capsule.

Who is SafeBeyond?

SafeBeyond recognizes that everyone’s life story is unique and constantly affected by change.  SafeBeyond is a user-friendly service for online digital legacy planning.  They offer a state-of-the-art digital time capsule that allows people to stay connected with their families and loved ones for generations to come.

What Makes SafeBeyond Different?

SafeBeyond.com has created the world’s most advanced digital legacy planning and asset management service.  This new and innovative technology allows you to remain a part of your loved ones lives forever.

Some of SafeBeyond’s key features and benefits:

  • An innovative online and mobile app solution
  • Easy and secure management of your life story and your meaningful digital content
  • Enhanced distribution capabilities for the future delivery of personalized messages and digital assets
  • Ability to choose when, where and with whom your messages and other digital assets will be shared
  • Capture and share life’s most meaningful moments in the form of video, audio, and/or text messages
  • Organize and securely store important digital asset management
  • Offer quick and easy access to key account and password information

Sign up for FREE through FuneralResources.com

SafeBeyond’s free service guarantees individuals and families the peace of mind they need and deserve.  By using their digital legacy planning, this ensures your words of wisdom, encouragement, and love are always accessible  – and when they are needed the most.

Click Here to learn more about SafeBeyond’s
FREE Digital Time Capsule and Digital Legacy Planning

 

Orbital Memorials Offers Memorial Spaceflights

Memorial Technology

New Memorial Spaceflight
Offered by Orbital Memorials

One of the most innovative and cutting-edge memorial technology tools is a memorial spaceflight.  Memorial spaceflights provide the opportunity for your loved one to experience space and be forever immortalized above earth, on the moon, or in deep space.

In the case of an orbital memorial package, your loved one’s cremated remains will orbit the earth from 3 weeks to 2 months, before its orbit naturally begins to reenter the atmosphere. This occurs at very high speeds and temperatures causing the satellite and its contents to become a trail of ionized gas, also known as a shooting star.

Benefits of Spaceflight

  1. Visit the final frontier: your loved one can visit a realm visited by few, and dreamed of by many.
  2. Shooting star: your loved one will be immortalized upon reentry into earth’s atmosphere in a shooting-star like blaze of glory.
  3. As cremations are becoming more popular, there are a growing number of ways to memorialize your loved one. Spaceflight allows sending only a portion of ashes, leaving the remainder for you to keep.
  4. Spaceflight is possible whether your loved one has recently passed, or if their remains have been preserved.

Our Preferred Provider:
Orbital Memorials

Orbital Memorials provides a low-cost entry point into spaceflight memorial services. In addition to hosting an online store for all services, making purchasing services easy, they include launch updates and a memorial package after the flight.

This memorial package includes a permanent keepsake replica of the pod sent to space, space flight tickets with the launch date, and a space flight patch.

Saying the Right Things When You Offer Sympathies

How to Offer Sympathy

Saying the Right Things
When You Offer Sympathies

What do you say to your best friend after the death of his father? How do you comfort your cousin who has lost a spouse? And what words can comfort a parent who has lost their child? These are common thoughts for anyone when trying to decide how to offer sympathies to a family member or friend who is suffering from grief and loss.

Don’t Avoid the Issue

Instead of trying to talk around the subject, acknowledge the situation. It is appropriate to say that you heard that a person died even if it occurred some time ago. This lets the other person know that you are willing to talk about it and allows them to say what they want.

You should always be honest and sincere even if that means admitting that you don’t know what to say. Sometimes just saying that you are sorry about the situation is enough. You can say it in a variety of ways.

  • “I’m sorry to hear about your loss.”
  • “I’m sorry that you are going through this.”
  • “I want you to know how sorry I am that this has happened to you.”

Showing your concern lets the other person know that he or she is not alone.

Be Supportive

You may feel like you should be doing something for the grieving person. It feels awkward to just stand or sit and talk about the situation. If you are the type of person who wants to “fix” things, you should use that attitude in this situation. While you can’t fix it, you can do things to make the burden easier.

Some examples of support include helping out with tasks around the house or caring for children so that the person can deal with other jobs. You may be able to take on some projects that the deceased handled, especially important when the people are older. Maybe he mowed the lawn or she cooked dinner. Now that they are gone, this task is left up to the family member. They may feel overwhelmed at all of the work to do and appreciate you taking on the responsibility for a few days or weeks.

One of the best ways to offer ongoing support is by asking how the person feels. This allows them to deal with their feelings and express any concerns they are having. This is a good question to ask even months later because grief doesn’t go away in a few days. Only the support seems to lessen as time goes by. When you receive an answer to your question, don’t assume that means you have to respond or “make them feel better.” Just the act of telling you that today is a bad day or they spent the morning crying can be enough.

The most important thing to remember about how to offer sympathy to people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one is that the words don’t matter as much as you think. It is the meaning and the intention behind the words.

 

Contributing editor is Suzie Kolber from http://obituarieshelp.org

By |April 23rd, 2016|Categories: Death, Grief and Loss, How to Offer Sympathy, Sympathy|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Saying the Right Things When You Offer Sympathies

Funeral Etiquette for the Bereaved

Funeral Etiquette for
Sympathizing with the Bereaved

The death of a close friend or family member is almost certainly the most difficult event that a person will experience. Observing appropriate funeral etiquette in terms of our words and actions is very important, although it can be hard for us to know exactly what to say and how to act when someone close to us has lost a loved one.

What to Do

Upon hearing of the death:

  • Acknowledge it in whatever way feels most appropriate. Even a short, simple phone call is preferable to taking no action at all to try and comfort the deceased person’s family.
  • If you are a very close friend of the family, it is a good idea to visit them. If you are a little more distant, sending funeral flowers or a sympathy card may be more suitable.
  • Offer to help in a practical manner, such as volunteering to cook meals for the family or helping to dig the grave.

At the funeral:

  • Only visit the funeral home during the times specified in online obituaries.
  • If attending the funeral service, arrive in plenty of time. Walking in late to the service is very disrespectful.
  • Put your mobile phone on silent or, better still, switch it off completely until you have left the funeral home or place of worship.
  • Do not bring small children to the funeral if you think they will be unable to remain quiet for the full duration.
  • Respect the family’s wishes if they prefer to mourn privately.
  • It is fine to cry, but if you begin crying uncontrollably, step outside.
  • Do not take any photos or videos of the funeral.

After the funeral:

  • If you are unable to attend the funeral, sympathize with the deceased person’s family the next time you see them, regardless of how much time has passed.
  • Don’t forget about the family as soon as the funeral has finished. They will continue to grieve and continue to need support in the weeks and months afterwards.
  • Remember that the family may take time readjusting to everyday life. Do not try to rush the process of grief and loss.
    Offer support to the family on occasions such as the deceased person’s birthday or anniversary, as such times can be emotionally tough on the family.

What to Say (and Not to Say)

Do’s:

  • Listen to those who are grieving and respond accordingly.
  • Refer to the deceased by name.
  • Speak genuinely and selflessly.
  • If you can’t think of what to say, keep it simple and appropriate.
  • Share memories of the deceased person, particularly in the weeks and months after the funeral.

Phrases that are likely to be appreciated:

  • “This must be very painful for you.”
  • “You must have been very close to him/her.”
  • “I can only imagine how hard this is on you.”
  • “I’ll really miss him/her. He/she was a very special person.”
  • “We’re thinking of you and wish we could do something to comfort you.”
  • “We care about you and we love you.”
  • “He/she was an inspiration to us and to so many others.”
  • Even a simple “I’m sorry for your loss. How are you doing?” shows genuine sorrow and sympathy.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t try to trivialize the death or say anything which implies it may have been for the best.
  • Never tell a grieving person that they need to get over their loss.
  • Do not put a time frame on a bereaved person’s grief.
  • Don’t talk about your own experiences of death, particularly at the time of a funeral.

Phrases that you should avoid:

  • “I know how you feel.”
  • “He/she is in a better place now.”
  • “It was his/her time to go.”
  • “He/she is no longer suffering.”
  • “Time is a good healer.”
  • “I know someone who had it much worse.”
  • “Try to move on from this.”
  • Anything beginning with “At least…

“We’re afraid we’ll say the wrong thing, but unfortunately what we all do out of our fear of saying the wrong thing, we say nothing and it leaves bereaved people feeling unsupported – and they do notice when you hop into a shop door to avoid them, or cross the street. Those are the hurtful things that people in bereavement talk about.”
Dr. Susan Delaney, bereavement services manager with the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Etiquette for the Bereaved

Planning the funeral:

  • Make the arrangements that you deem to be appropriate.
  • Decide if it is appropriate for young children to attend.
  • Tell children what to expect and how to behave if attending their first funeral.
  • Supply a guestbook for people wishing to sympathize by signing one.

At the funeral:

  • Wear black, or an alternatively subdued color (men should wear a suit and tie), unless the funeral arrangements include a themed dress code as per the deceased person’s wishes.
  • Thank anyone who comes to the funeral or takes time to sympathize.
  • Do not react angrily or rudely to someone who makes an inconsiderate but well-intended comment.
  • Feel free to cry.
  • Help family members who may find it difficult to move around, e.g. anyone in a wheelchair or with an injury or frailty.

After the funeral:

  • Take the time to send thank-you notes to all who participated in the funeral service, including clergy, undertakers, readers and musicians.
  • Never feel that it is too late to send a thank-you card, but try to acknowledge any delay in sending if it is left until 1-2 months after the funeral.

 

Courtesy of:  www.rhcfunerals.co.uk

How to Dress for a Funeral

Funeral Etiquette

How to Dress for a Funeral

Do’s

  • Wear something black, or an alternatively subdued color.
  • Dress formally. A suit and tie isn’t required for mourners who aren’t related to the deceased, but their attire should be relatively formal.
  • Dress as appropriate for the religion/faith of the funeral service.

Don’ts

  • Do not dress in bright, garish colors.
  • Don’t wear something revealing or dressed-down, e.g. shorts, sandals, novelty T-shirts/hoodies.
  • Do not wear anything that looks dirty or tacky, such as ripped jeans or an old jacket.

 

Courtesy of https://www.rhcfunerals.co.uk/

Children and Funerals

How To Prepare a Child For A Funeral

The death of a close friend or family member is never easy on children and the funeral represents the most difficult period. This is where children need to interact with others – it represents a need for them to both understand what is going on and behave well, despite whatever strong emotions they may be feeling. As such, here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing a child for such an occasion.

Explaining Death

Explaining the concept of death to a child is a difficult topic in and of itself, and that’s probably why many people think it’s actually inappropriate to take kids to a funeral. How can a child understand seeing someone they knew if they aren’t aware of their death? In the youngest of people, this can lead to a lot of confusion. Even a basic understanding of death will help children understand the funeral. It will also give the event purpose and help kids realize its significance, but the talking needs to happen before the funeral.

Explain The Process

Similarly, you should always explain the process of events to a child before they attend. While they might not understand or appreciate every detail, you need to ensure they understand the vital parts, such as lowering caskets or cremating the body (depending on the nature of the funeral in question). This way, they won’t be surprised when such things occur, allowing the procedure to carry on without children interrupting or asking too many questions. The same can also be said for the funeral etiquette and dress code – let children know in advance, so you don’t upset or surprise them with formal clothing on the day itself.

How To Dress A Child

A funeral is one of those occasions where, despite protests, you need to ensure they wear a certain level of formal attire. A young child will likely not understand the need to look smart, so it’s important you take charge of this aspect. The smaller the child is, the less you arguably need to do, as nobody will expect a 2 or 3 year old to arrive in a suit. Still, they should dress in a similar style to adults: formally and with dark colors. For most boys, a white shirt will suffice, although pre-teens and teenagers can also wear a tie or suit. As for girls, a blouse will do, as will black dresses, giving you plenty of options.

Footwear

The same can also be said for shoes. Children should wear shoes of a decent formality – think along the lines of school shoes as an ideal minimal baseline. Trainers or sports shoes, for instance, will not only look wrong, but plant the wrong idea in a child’s mind. Formal shoes will remind them of school and other periods where they’ve had to behave, enforcing the importance of the events to come. It will also look more respectful, as the child can blend in with the crowd of predominantly adult attendants.

Seating and Placement

Once you’ve explained procedures and dressed the child, where do you sit at the location itself? Unless you’re of the immediate family, it’s better to sit someone near the back or sides, preferably close to the exit. This ensures children aren’t in the way – in case something goes wrong – and you can always take them outside if they become distressed. Depending on their relation to the deceased in question, children may be very upset, or even just curious, so it helps to be near an escape route so as not to disturb proceedings.

As you can see, there are a number of key differences between how children and adults experience how to plan a funeral, so it’s important for parents and other caretakers to step in and take care of children. Funerals can be a tough time but children have a right to understand what’s going on. With these tips, you should be able to prepare any child for a respectful and peaceful funeral.

About The Author:   Robert Bruce has a passion for lending his voice towards multiple issues involving the funeral and memorial industry. When he’s not working with Great Lakes Caskets, he enjoys his hobby as a writer.

Advance Directive

Your Advance Directive Always Seems Too Early…
Until It’s Too Late!

This is the theme for  the 2016 National Healthcare Decisions Day’s (NHDD), and will be the “catch phrase” for all the NHDD activities on and around April 16th. It was developed and suggested by one of our newsletter readers, Kathy Saldana of MidMichigan Health. It is an extremely appropriate statement.

Not Now?

I hear it all the time. I’m too young, not sick enough, not old enough or I hear that people will get to it when they really need it, e.g. not now. And what happens is that their advance directive is not in place when the need arises. If a person can no longer speak for themselves or communicate their wishes, you have missed the window of opportunity. I am always hopeful that they have at least had “the conversation” with loved ones but frequently that is not the case.

Afraid of Death?

Why do we continually deal with this issue like ostriches with our heads in the sand? Most often, it is because we are afraid: afraid of death, afraid that if we put it in writing it will happen, afraid that death will happen too soon and we won’t be ready.

I do appreciate that reluctance. My husband and I went through the drill of updating our legal trust this past year. Like you and advance care planning, I knew it needed to be done as we had put it off far too long and I knew how important it was to complete. But, the process dragged on because it was easier to deal with the activities of the day than to deal with the potentiality of the future. Yet, what a mess it would have been if something had happened to us and we did not have it inked and in place.

Why Hurt Those You Love Most?

It would have been problematic for those people whom we love most: our executor and our heirs. We had to continually remind ourselves that we weren’t doing this for us but for them. That is what needs to be done with advance care planning. Remember the positive impact having a plan in place will have for both you but particularly for those you love who will be left behind.

It’s NEVER Too Early

It is never too early once you have reached majority at 18. Everyone should take the time to speak with their loved ones and share their beliefs, preferences, and values. Everyone should explain what they mean by “heroic measures” or “futile treatments”. Being specific is much more helpful than using platitudes for which there are many definitions.

Don’t Wait…Act Now

Don’t wait for the crisis. Go to the NHDD web page and download their materials so you can help yourself and others.

Contributing author:  mjmarkley.com

By |March 12th, 2016|Categories: Advance Care Planning, Advance Directive, Advance Directives, Death, NHDD|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Advance Directive

How to Create and Deliver a Eulogy

How to Create and Deliver a Great Eulogy

The purpose of a eulogy is to honor and pay tribute to a person who has passed away. Taking on the task of giving the eulogy for your loved one can seem a bit difficult or daunting at first, but it’s sure to be quite a moving and emotional experience that you certainly will not regret. You don’t have to be an excellent writer to give a great eulogy, as the best eulogies are simply very thoughtful, have a little touch of humor, and come straight from the heart.

1. Gather Memories

The majority of your speech will be based on memories of your loved one. Write down all your favorite memories of them, and ask their friends, family members and co-workers if they have stories and favorite memories they can share with you. It also helps to pull out pictures to reminisce and find inspiration in things that rekindle old memories and feelings about your loved one.  One of the most helpful tools to help coordinate and assist with this process is to also create a video tribute.

2. Set the Tone

Decide what the tone of your funeral eulogy will be before you write it. Will it be a little lighthearted and humorous, sad and serious, or a bit of both? A combination of both seriousness and humor is generally the most popular to celebrate the deceased’s life.

3. Create an Outline

Write a brief outline of several key events that occurred in the person’s life that you would like to share, such as when they were married, had children, got a new job or reached a milestone. Be sure to also write out the things that were important to the deceased, what their favorite hobbies were, and any basic facts about their everyday life. Jot down anything and everything you can think of that will tell a story about their life, the person they were and fond memories you may have had together. Every little piece will help in putting your eulogy together. An outline will also help you stay organized and make writing your speech much easier.

4. Stay Organized When Writing

The best way to stay organized when writing your eulogy is to summarize it in three main points by giving it a beginning, middle and end. Start by writing a brief introduction about who you so the audience will have an understanding of your relationship to the deceased. Then go back to your outline and expand on important details you have already written down, such as the basic info about their life and significant moments that occurred, and of course, share some of your own personal stories and memories too.

5. Practice

Practicing your speech out loud several times will give you a good idea of how it will sound when you are delivering it to an actual audience at the memorial service. Ask several people to listen to you give the eulogy so they can provide feedback, and make adjustments as needed to what you’ve written. Plus, the more you practice, the higher your confidence level will be when speaking to a crowd and the more likely you’ll be to memorize your speech—or at least most of it.

6. Delivering the Eulogy

When it’s time to deliver the eulogy you may feel nervous and emotional, but there’s no need to be afraid—you have the support of everyone in attendance and no one will be judging you or critiquing your speaking skills. Bring a copy of your speech with you if you’re unable to recite it from memory, and go over it a few times before you deliver the eulogy—this will help your speech stay fresh in your mind. Just remember, it’s truly an honor to be assigned the task of giving the eulogy for someone who was important to you, and it’s sure to be a sincere and heartfelt moment that you’ll never forget.

If you or someone you know has recently lost a loved one and is need of assistance with memorial and funeral expenses, you can create a free fundraiser in minutes and start raising money today.

Courtesy of YouCaring.com

How to Write an Obituary

How to Write a Compelling Obituary

The purpose of an obituary is to announce a person’s death with a brief summary of their life and to inform people about any planned funeral services. In a local newspaper, both in print and online, obituaries can be published for any local resident upon their death. Rather than just being a sad announcement, obituaries are now being used as a way to celebrate the life of the person who has passed away with a short story to help keep their memory alive.

1. Check Local Newspaper in Print and Online

Before you start writing your obituary, check out the requirements for having it published in your local paper. Many news publications have specific guidelines on the style and length of the obituary, and it’s possible that they may only accept an obituary if it’s written by one of their editorial staff or submitted directly from a funeral home. Most funeral homes can provide obituary templates that you can use as a guideline, and they may even cover the cost of publishing the obituary, online obituary, and obituary search as part of the funeral services.

2. Announcement of Death/Biographical Information

Announcing the death of your loved one is the very first step in writing the obituary. Include their name, age, the city where they resided and the day and date of their death. You may also want to include the cause of death at the end of the announcement. Providing biographical information is an important part of the obituary and a great way to make it a compelling tribute to their life. Try to be as interesting and colorful as possible when crafting your story about your loved one, and be sure to incorporate some personality into your writing. Cover details such as their place of birth, marital life (if applicable), education and employment background, as well as their passions, hobbies and lifetime achievements.

3. Mention Surviving Family Members

It’s important to mention the deceased’s surviving family members along with any close family members who have preceded them in death. List the names and residences of their children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and any other important family members that should be included, and be sure to list the name of their spouse if they had one. Many people are extremely attached to their pets, so you may consider adding their names to the list of surviving family members.

4. Memorial Services

If there are memorial services planned, be sure to include this information in the last part of the obituary. Provide the date, time and location where the services will be held, and be sure to indicate if the services happen to be private. If you would like memorial contributions to be made toward your family or to a specific charity that the deceased supported, rather than sending flowers, be sure to include these necessary details as well.

5. Proofread and Submit

Once you have finished writing your obituary, read it over a few times to make sure you like the tone and writing style, and check for any grammatical errors. It would also help to have another set of eyes proofread it as well for additional feedback or suggestions. Once you are satisfied with your obituary, the last step is to submit it to the funeral home or directly to the news publication.

Courtesy of YouCaring.com