FuneralResources.com and MemorialTechnology.com Offer COVID-19 Families New Funeral and Memorial Technology Tools
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.
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.
New Memorial Technology to Plan a Funeral
and Better Remember Loved Ones
MemorialTechnology.com is an online resource center designed to help families, Funeral Directors, and Cemetery Directors to learn more today’s new and creative ways to help cope with grief and loss and, most importantly, help celebrate the special life and memories of a loved one.
This family-friendly online resource center was specifically designed for three main purposes:
1. Raise awareness about today’s most popular, newest, and most innovative technology tools, all of which can help remember loved ones in a more meaningful way.
2. Offer valuable information and education on exactly how these new memorial technology tools work.
3. Provide access to the most qualified and credible companies offering these funeral home services.
MemorialTechnology.com features six of the most commonly sought-after and utilized memorial technology options families are choosing to add to their funeral, memorial, burial, or cremation planning. These six options include:
Unfortunately after my family lost a dear loved one, we were not aware that any these excellent memorial technology tools existed. Therefore, we did not know how they worked, nor did we know who to turn to for help.
My sincere hope and prayer is this helps families make a difficult situation a little easier.
Perhaps you have never heard of a Funeral Consultant? Well even if you have not, you probably agree that when it comes to life’s most important and challenging decisions, seeking professional guidance and support is a good idea. You probably also agree that professional planners, such as wedding planners, can be sanity savers. Let’s take a wedding for example. Many people prefer to hire a wedding planner. Why? Mainly because they want a professional consultant to assist them along the way with the large number of emotional and financial decisions in planning this important once-in-a-lifetime event.
Why Hire a Funeral Consultant?
Most weddings are usually planned within a 6-12 month time frame. However, planning a funeral is usually done within a 24 to 48-hour time frame, and involves making over 150 important decisions. Studies prove that when most families are faced with the task of planning a funeral say they are largely unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and unprepared.
So similar to a wedding planner, a Funeral Consultant’s job is to help families make an important and difficult situation easier. Funeral Consultants are professionally engaged, but have the unique advantage of being experienced while not emotionally attached to the event. Funeral Consultants are trained and educated professionals whose job is solely to educate and guide you through one of life’s most challenging experiences.
Funeral Consultants are responsible for exactly what most families are searching for, which is being educated on a large number of funeral and/or cemetery options, helping you make decisions when you get stuck, keeping you within your budget, and making sure you know what you are doing – and that you don’t forget anything.
4 Ways Family Funeral Consultants Help Families
1. When a death occurs
2. If a death is expected
3. Planning in advance
4. Grief counseling and coaching
One Example of How Funeral Consultants Can Help You Save Money
In a recent survey of just one small community’s funeral homes and cemeteries, a basic cremation started at $710 at one establishment, but cost as much as $3,820 at another. Likewise, direct burial costs ranged from $1,695 to $4,455. The same casket cost was $996 at one place, but $4,200 at another. Cemetery opening and closing fees can vary by more than $2,000, depending on the cemetery and day of the week you choose. In just this particularly local community survey, there were 15 funeral homes and 13 major cemeteries. So how would a family know how to choose from among them? The answer is simple. Consider hiring a Funeral Consultant.
Funeral Consultants research and negotiate the prices for funeral home and cemetery services in a given area. Serving as part family advocates and part event planners, a Funeral Consultant can show you side-by-side comparisons of all of the cemetery or funeral home services, your options, and your costs in your local area. They can also help connect you to other funeral planning resources, including financial aid and support.
According to AARP, the average cost of a funeral today is approximately $10,000. (Note: This does not include the cost of the cemetery plot and associated fees for the monument, and much more.) The average funeral insurance policy that most people buy to pre-pay their funeral costs in advance is approximately $5,000. Getting help from someone who knows how this entire process works, and also knows your local options, just makes sense.
It’s Not Always Just About the Money
Rather than dress up and rush into a funeral home being unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and unprepared, most people prefer discussing their all-important funeral or cemetery arrangements in the comfort of their own home, among their family, friends, and loved ones. Rather than listen to strange terminology and make expensive decisions on the fly, most people prefer a third-party and independent professional to help guide and support them through this difficult and time-sensitive process. Rather than being uncomfortable or afraid to ask certain questions, most people prefer having the option and flexibility to say or ask things like: “That seems too expensive” or “We cannot afford that” or “What other options do we have?” or “What do other funeral homes or cemeteries charge in my local area?”
In addition, many families want their Funeral Consultant to join them at the funeral home or cemetery arrangement conference, which can be an option. Funeral Consultants can also be an excellent resource when it comes to matters related to aftercare planning, such as stopping bills and utilities, work with outstanding debts, working with insurance carriers, estate and tax planning, and more.
How Much Does a Funeral Consultant Cost?
For a set fee, Funeral Consultants will take care of all the tasks, price negotiations, and coordination details, freeing family members from this obligation and helping them arrange the funeral they want within their budget. With the average Funeral Consultant fee being $500, and the average family savings over $3,500, hiring a Funeral Consultant is a good investment. But keep in mind that by minimizing or eliminating a lot of the financial and emotional stress associated with families and funeral planning, most families will tell you that value-added services of a Funeral Consultant can be priceless.
For more information, or to find a local Funeral Consultant, click here.
At some point in life, everyone will have to pick out an outfit to wear to a funeral. Every small detail counts. How a person dresses reflects their respect for the deceased. Although your presence is more important than what you look like in this situation, women should dress conservatively. Keep in mind that outfits should not be casual. Here are some tips on what to wear:
Consider the Type of Funeral
Modernmom.com says that appropriate attire varies depending on the type of funeral you attend.
A close family member: The blog notes that although you will more than likely be distraught, all eyes will be on the close family members. This is why it’s important to dress respectfully and tastefully. Wear a classic black dress with a cardigan or blazer or a pencil skirt matched with a blouse. Choose shoes that will compliment a graveside service.
Friends and extended family: Complete black isn’t necessary for this type of funeral. Wear dark colors like navy blue, violet and gray. Keep accessories and prints small.
Acquaintance funeral: Wear something practical but polished. Choose an outfit you already own that you would wear to a work function. Although the rules are looser for an acquaintance it’s still important to avoid bright and light colors. Avoid low neck and hemlines.
To Reiterate on the Color Dilemma
Note that colors express different emotions. Although you can’t go wrong with black, gray or navy blue, dark brown and violet can portray somber emotions of sadness too. It is never appropriate to wear perky flowery designs and bright, bold colors. Wrinkled, dirty or transparent clothes can come across as disrespectful.
Choose a Simple, Classic Style
You can’t go wrong with a black dress or a black skirt paired with a dark top. Regardless of how close you were to the deceased, these outfits are acceptable at any location. Many cocktail dress brands offer conservative options. Alternatively, it’s acceptable for women to wear slacks or pant suits.
Shoes for Comfort
Pick tasteful shoes that are comfortable to wear. Classic leather styles are best; steer clear of suede, sequins, embellishments or glitter. Simple black flats are probably the safest choice. Do not wear flip-flops or peep-toe shoes. A low heel is acceptable but tall heels are inappropriate. In the winter a pair of low or no-heel boots are fashionable and keep your feet warm.
All About Accessories
Someone once said that accessories are the last thing a person puts on, but the first thing other people notice. An outfit for a funeral is not worn to get attention and should be relatively subtle. Likewise, accessories should compliment a look but should be small. Wear simple, traditional jewelry like a pearl necklace, diamond-stud earrings or a tennis bracelet. Choose a relatively small clutch or handbag free of flashy decorations.
There are few things in life that are certain, but one thing that can be relied upon is that we will all die. Although death is an absolute certainty for every single one of us, society at large still seems to find it difficult to discuss funeral planning, death and dying. Death has always been something of a taboo subject, but even in these relatively enlightened times it is still a topic that causes some to react with disgust, fear or denial.
As a result, to plan a funeral for yourself or a loved one can be tricky at best. It is important that everyone gets the kind of funeral plan that respects their beliefs and wishes. However, if these are not discussed in advance, it is difficult for those left behind to know how the best ways to handle these difficult decisions after a person has died.
Fear of Death and Dying
It’s understandable that, as a species intent on survival, we are reticent about discussing our inevitable demise. Fear of death can encompass a number of things including concerns about grief and loss, worry about pain or suffering, fear of the unknown, and bereavement. There is also the sense that in death, things that an individual values such as family, friends and loved ones will be lost.
Many people have superstitious beliefs concerning death and dying that can hinder their willingness to talk about their end of life plans and preferences – and what should happen after they’re gone. The belief that talking about death is somehow “tempting fate” or will hasten death is common and will cause problems with making clear plans for what should happen after death.
Some deaths are more predictable than others, and those people who are diagnosed with a medical condition with a prognosis of shortened life may be in a better position for terminally ill planning since they have “some” idea of how much life they have left. Still, even those people for whom death is imminent may not wish to talk about it.
Death and Money – The Perfect Storm of Taboos
If there is one topic that draws an equal amount of discomfort for open discussion, it is an individual’s personal financial affairs. In working through a funeral planning checklist, the subjects of money and death are brought together in a clash of two of the strongest taboo subjects for discussion in polite conversation.
According to AARP, today’s average funeral costs can run upwards of $10,000. Clearly this is no small consideration when facing things like funeral estate planning and finding the money to pay for the essentials after a death. In addition to adding the stress of finding this money to the worry about doing the right thing, you also have the drawbacks of not discussing how to plan your funeral with loved ones when the opportunity has always been available. So these drawbacks significantly outweigh the discomfort of talking about things that are often left unsaid.
An Open Conversation About Death
Although it is hard for some people to talk about dying, it is an extremely important conversation to have. Without an understanding of what a person’s wishes are for their end of life funeral arrangements, families can be left in a difficult position of trying to second guess what their loved one would have wanted after their death. Don’t leave it too late to have the conversation.
If you preplan a funeral, it gives you the opportunity to talk about preferences, funeral costs, and the way in which you want to be remembered. This includes even the little details such what you want to say in your obituary, what kind of memorial service you would like, what to put on your monuments or head stone, or even new memorial technology for gravestones.
Getting your funeral plan, preferences, and finances in place early means that both the dying person and the family left behind have the peace of mind to knowing that the right thing was done, and the funeral plan and money are available to ensure the deceased’s wishes are fulfilled.
Death and dying is one of the final taboos for discussion in our society. However, making sure that everyone is clear about what they want in death and their wishes for their funeral can bring peace of mind to all concerned.
MemorialTechnology.com Offers Families and Funeral Industry New Ways to Memorialize Loved Ones
Vienna, VA – The beginning of a New Year is always special for those who have lost loved ones, as well as the funeral and cemetery industries. However, 2012 is going to be particularly special because families can now take advantage of some of today’s new and innovative memorial technology and memorial services options.
Christopher P. Hill, Founder of FuneralResources.com, recalls “When my family and I lost my mother on Thanksgiving Day, we never knew these new memorial options existed. I can assure you we would have used at least three of these memorial tools.”
Hill’s personal loss inspired him to create www.memorialtechnology.com, a new educational website which simply makes it easier for families and Funeral Directors to raise awareness, education, and access to these new ways to better heal and remember.
MemorialTechnology.com particularly helps the funeral and cemetery industry by offering Funeral and Cemetery Directors a quick and easy way to educate every family on excellent additions to their funeral and memorial services planning.
Top Six New Funeral and Memorial Technology Options
MemorialTechnology.com contains six options that studies show most families are choosing to add to their funeral, memorial, or cremation planning:
View This Brief Video Which Explains Today’s New Memorial Technology Options:
As we approach the New Year, Hill stated; “You will see that MemorialTechnology.com provides a true win-win situation. For the Funeral and Cemetery Directors, they can now offer even more valuable services. For the families, the can learn and maybe take advantage of ways to enhance and improved a loved one’s life tribute. I hope my mother is proud to know she inspired such a wonderful opportunity.”
FuneralResources.com is the funeral industry’s leading online Resource Center for both families and Funeral Directors. This comprehensive website offers easy access to help regarding how to plan a funeral, memorial services, and end of life plan services.
Four Reasons to Offer DVD Tribute Videos to Families
DVD tribute videos are becoming a popular way to memorialize a loved one who has passed. Client families want to include a video tribute as part of the funeral or memorial services. They also wish to have these memorial tributes created so that they can watch them after the services are over as they work through their grief.
Client families are seeking out companies via the internet or are attempting to create these tribute videos themselves. Often their funeral professional has not made the service available to them. If your funeral home is not currently offering DVD tribute videos, here are four compelling reasons to rethink that choice:
1. Tribute Videos Fill a Need
Tribute videos help a client family tell the story of their loved ones life and relive cherished memories. They allow families to leave a legacy and connect generations by preserving memories and events. More and more client families are tech savvy and have seen tribute videos online or at a funeral service. While many would like to have a DVD tribute video created for their loved one, and may know how to make one themselves, during this stressful time they need someone to take the reins, relieve the burden and offer the service. Providing a world class professional tribute, one that far exceeds the quality of a homemade version, will ingrain you and your funeral home in their lives each and every time they watch the DVD tribute video.
2. Tribute Videos Are Easy to Create
Outsourcing a tribute video can be a nightmare to coordinate and to find a trustworthy company that won’t let you down. Thankfully, in-house funeral software has come a long way. Tribute video software has been developed that allows a funeral professional to create a professional, high quality tribute video in-house in just three simple steps. You simply import the photos, edit the copy, music, top funeral music, and motion effects, and burn the completed video to a DVD. The menu driven application guides you through the entire process. In minutes you’ll have created a stunning tribute video that will amaze the families you serve. Plus, the online tribute player allows you to upload your video to the web and link it to your website. Client families can direct friends and families to your website to view the tribute video.
3. Tribute Video Software Features Cutting Edge Memorial Technology
The quality of a DVD tribute video created in-house by a funeral professional utilizing today’s robust funeral software is unmatched. With the invention of high speed scanning technology, funeral professionals and funeral home services can now scan one photo every two seconds making the creation process a breeze. At the click of a button, innovative tribute video software can also bring life to each photo with motion effects, set transitions, sync funeral music, and create a stunning DVD menu. Every day, thousands of funeral home professionals rely on tribute video funeral software because of the state-of-the art memorial technology it provides and the results it delivers.
4. Tribute Videos Are a Value Added Service
Tribute video software has been designed specifically for the funeral industry. Because of this, for funeral professionals, creating an in-house tribute video is simple and affordable. Tribute video software available today has no long term contracts, no upfront costs, no equipment to buy and no support fees required. With a simple pay as you go system, you can create an unlimited number of professional quality video tributes in house quickly and easily. The quality is competitive with professional video tribute services, yet costs you and the family a fraction of the price. And, the value added service you are providing is priceless.
The Powerful Combination of Custom Crafted Funeral Music, Pictures, and Professional Video
Creating a Healing Thanksgiving Family Keepsake
With the rapid growth in the Internet and new funeral technology, families today have access to many new and innovative tools that can help significantly increase their funeral and memorial planning experience. At the top of this list are DVD Video Tributes, which most families are choosing as a common addition to their loved ones memorial service.
In addition, I am happy tell everyone there is also the ability to work with a professional singer/songwriter/producer who can help families create “custom crafted” funeral music, which is a song that is personalized for either a special loved one and/or a special event.
Listen to this Beautiful Custom Crafted Song:
“Since my family never knew this powerful funeral technology existed, I strongly encourage every family to learn more about this option as a great addition to a Memorial Service. These professionally designed Video Tributes allow you to combine the personalized music, photos, and message of your choice. Watching this together with loved ones, this provides a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate, remember, and heal…and ultimately becomes a treasured family heirloom to keep forever.”
Christopher P. Hill, Founder, FuneralResources.com
Consider Using Custom Crafted Songs to Help Heal and Remember
If you are interested in selecting funeral songs with meaningful lyrics it may be easy to use the internet to search and read lyrics of popular songs. However, I believe a much better and more personal solution is to opt for a more customized music selection and have a song written and recorded to play at the funeral service or memorial service.
This DVD Video Tribute below contains a customized song that was created for me by Anna Huckabee of Custom Crafted Songs. By taking advantage of creating a custom crafted song, this helped me to express how I truly felt about my mother, but in a very special and meaningful way.
By combining these personalized lyrics that Anna helped me create with a DVD Video Tribute, this helped me in so many ways. First, it helped me to better see what a wonderful and amazing person she really was. Second, since Anna needed to ask many questions to know as much as possible about her, this helped me to express my thoughts and discuss some things that significantly helped in my healing process. But most importantly, this custom crafted song allowed me to express some feelings and emotions that I was not able to say to her before she passed. These words are things that I regret every day not telling her before she was taken above.
My mother passed on Thanksgiving Day of 2008, which clearly means that Thanksgiving will never be the same. But since everyone who knew her would tell you she was one of the most giving people on the planet, I truly thank Anna for creating this personal song and tribute for my mother, and fittingly calling this beautiful song “Thanks For Giving“.
Thanks for your giving ways too Anna!
Top 5 Reasons Video Tributes are Common Memorial Options
1. A QualityMemorial Tribute
Each custom DVD Video Tribute is hand-crafted by professional technicians who artfully tell your loved one’s story. With expert direction, the funeral music and imagery join together in perfect harmony to create a healing experience as individual as your loved one’s life. This memorial tribute will be a treasured family heirloom for generations to come.
2. Restore Your Loved One’s Photos
Your precious photos are carefully restored, enhanced and artfully arranged by talented multimedia technicians. These experts can combine faded, tattered, torn, static snapshots into moving cinematic video, bringing your treasured photos to life forever.
3. Create a Fitting Video Memorial
From majestic mountains and oceans to the simplicity and beauty of a single rose, a Funeral Video DVD utilizes custom thematic scenery, filmed in stunning High Definition by world-renown videographers, designed to personalize and illustrate your loved ones life.
4. Healing and Uplifting Funeral Music
A professionally crafted DVD Video Tribute utilizes therapeutic, customized soundtracks. This personalized funeral music is specifically composed, arranged and/or produced to heal a broken heart as well as provide the perfect accompaniment to your family photos.
5. A Memorial as Individual As Your Loved One
These Video Tributes are professionally produced tributes which celebrate your loved ones life in magnificent cinematic quality, and are available in standard or wide-screen format.
Six Memorial Technology Options Helping to Share, Celebrate, Heal, and Remember!
Today, many new and innovative memorial technology tools that are widely-recognized in the funeral industry as common services that help make a difficult situation a little easier. New memorial technology is helping families and friends who have lost a one heal, remember, and celebrate. Below are the most common new memorial technology tools that most families are choosing:
A Memorial Website is a personalized website that is created to celebrate a person’s life. Friends and family can grieve and celebrate the memories of a loved one by sharing stories, kind thoughts, condolences, photos, and videos online. These online memorial tributes can be kept online for life so that friends and family can view the wonderful memories year after year and additional content can be added at any time.
In its simplest definition, a Video Tribute is a professionally crafted video production which consists of digital images, video, and/or photos of your loved one, which are then combined and played simultaneously with the music or your choice. They can serve as an excellent presentation to complement your special funeral memorial service, and are a great way to help in the grief and healing process. A Video Tribute helps tell the story of your loved ones life, and also creates a family heirloom that can be treasured and kept for years to come.
Created from a lock of hair or small amount of cremated ashes, memorial diamonds are an unique, heirloom memorial that will forever contain the essence of your loved one. These genuine, certified diamonds are created in a laboratory using your loved ones personal carbon and a diamond seed. By mimicking the earth’s natural high pressure, high temperatures necessary to create a diamond, in 70 days or less a personal diamond will emerge in one of the five brilliant colors you have selected. These memorial diamonds can be a stunning reminder of a loved ones life and unique spirit. Set into a beautiful piece of cremation jewelry, a memorial diamond can be worn close to the heart in a pendant, or into a memorial ring, bracelet or even earrings.
Due to advances in microchip technology, your family can now include detailed text and a photo within a headstone to create a high tech, high end memorial. RFID-enabled data tags are an addition to a loved one’s tomb stone – you can enter the person’s name and choose some representative symbols, perhaps a small epitaph via the web – then you embed the tag into a larger traditional tombstone.
This new technology will allow future generations, visitors and historians to access both a story and genealogical information about the deceased from an internet enabled cell phone while at the markers physical location.
See the Many Features and Benefits of Funeral Webcasting Here:
For a wide variety of reasons, family members and friends are often unable to travel or attend the actual funeral service of a loved one. Using this innovative memorial technology, families and loved ones can now view the actual LIVE Memorial Service from the comfort of their own home, or whatever location is most convenient. Funeral Webcasting can be viewed on a private and secure website page by using password protection. This ensures that ONLY the people you wish to join in this Memorial Service can participate LIVE.
A memorial reef is an environmentally-friendly burial option that is being used to replace the more traditional green burials and cremation ideas, such as cremation urns or ash scattering. The process includes mixing a loved ones remains into an environmentally safe concrete mixture and create a personalized memorial reef. These memorial reefs are then placed into the ocean. This combination of new memorial technology, cremation, memorial reefs, and green burials can now offer families to provide their loved ones with a living legacy at sea.
New cremation memorial reef to be located in Galveston, Texas.
The new Texas location makes the twentieth approved site for the company to offer an eco-friendly alternative to spreading the ashes of a loved one: participation in the preparation and placement of an individually-designed memorial reef ball that contributes to a new ecosystem.
An Eternal Reefs “memorial reefs” looks like a huge, hollow concrete ball with Swiss cheese holes specially designed to entice fish and other forms of sea life into the reef, building new habitats in and around the uneven structure. Eternal Reefs takes cremated remains and incorporates them into an environmentally safe cast cement mixture weighing between 600 pounds (2’ high x 4’ wide) and 4500 pounds (4’ high x 6’ wide).
Eternal Reefs encourages family members and friends to become involved in creating their loved one’s memorial reef. If they wish, family members can mix the concrete and remains and have the opportunity to personalize the Eternal Reef with handprints, written messages and other memorabilia in the damp concrete. The entire Eternal Reefs process is designed to be a positive and healing experience for the families and the sea.
“While many people who participate in our programs have been vitally connected to the ocean their entire life, we get to memorialize people who just like the idea of making a meaningful contribution to the health of the planet and to benefit future generations,” George Frankel, Eternal Reefs CEO, said. “We find it provides great joy for everyone involved to know their loved one will be surrounded by marine life and to know they leave behind an environmentally-sustainable, living legacy.”
Memorial reefs have become a solution for the “shelf people” crisis across the country. An astonishing 45 percent of families that have chosen cremation still have their loved ones remains sitting on a shelf or in a closet. Thousands of individuals pass away unexpectedly and don’t leave a will, leaving the next generation to handle their remains. Eternal Reefs offers a final resting place for these individuals.
With every Memorial Reef, the executor of the estate receives two memorial certificates that identify the longitude and latitude of the memorials, which are marked with bronze plaques. Loved ones can participate in every step of the Memorial Reef process and gather for the reef casting, viewing and placement ceremonies. Throughout the year, families and friends often return to the memorial reef site to dive, fish or visit by boat.
The new reef site off Galveston, Texas will have its first memorial service and placement November 12, 2010 at Barr’s Reef, 11 miles off the water break in Galveston Bay. It is anticipated the families of about 15 people will participate in the activities.
About Eternal Reefs Inc.
Eternal Reefs, Inc is an Atlanta-based company that provides creative environmentally enhancing means to memorialize the cremated remains of a loved one. The company incorporates cremated remains into a concrete mixture used to cast artificial reef formations. The artificial reefs are dedicated as permanent memorials while also bolstering natural coastal reef formations. Since 1998, the company has placed more than 300 Memorial Reefs in 20 locations off the coasts of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia, substantially increasing the ocean’s diminishing reef systems. Memorial reefs can only go in properly permitted locations by the US Government. Contact Eternal Reefs Inc.
My name is Chris Hill, and many of you know I am the Founder of FuneralResources.com.
First of all, I must admit that is not easy for me to publicly talk about the fact that I lost my mother a few years ago, or to say how much I love her and miss her.
And quite frankly, it is even hard to admit that looking back, I wish I could have done things diffrerently.
Live Every Day Like There’s No Tomorrow:
The truth is I wish I was with her more. I wish I could have told her how much she meant to me. I wish I had told her how special and amazing she really was. I wish I told her how much I appreciated everything she did for me. I wish she knew how lucky I was that she was my mother and friend. Most of all, I wish I would have been there with her…and shared more time with her…particularly in her final stages. But as much as it haunts me, I can’t turn back the clock.
Truthfully, I will always believe she needed to hear these things from me, and I will always regret the fact that I never had the chance to tell her how much she meant to me, and how much I loved her.
However, knowing how special she was, how selfless she was, and how unconditional her love was for her family and friends, I truly believe she knows. I also believe that she forgives me for not being there as much as I think I should have, and for not letting her know the things I wished I had told her.
Today I feel very blessed to share with you this great opportunity I was recently given. I was able to create a special memorial video tribute for my mother, which is comprised of three all-important pieces:
2. Choosing the best photos of my mother thoughout her life. The ones that help me see her as I remember her, and also help me remember all of the great times and memories we shared together.
3. Creating personalized funeral music which was specially written, produced, and sung by a very special and talented singer and songwriter, Anna Huckabee. Anna creates custom crafted funeral music which is solely created to tell an individual’s story of their special and unique life. You can hear Anna’s song she created exclusively for me and my mother in this video.
Learn About the New Funeral Technology Options Available:
I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to have this professionally crafted and personalized video tribute as a memorial, since someone like her truly deserves nothing but the best. This video says so much, and helps me tell the story and message. I hope she hears every day and knows and believes it in her heart.
Best of all, creating this video helped me in coping with loss, but also provided me with something truly special that I can always remember her as that amazing and beautiful person you can see.
It is never easy to talk about someone you love who has passed, but I share this with you because I truly hope anyone who has lost a loved also considers taking advantage of this great opportunity!
Also, there are many other great new memorial technology tools that you should learn more about that, like me, might help you make these difficult times a little easier.
Since people in our culture have not had much opportunity to be socialized regarding how to act at a funeral or how to be helpful to the bereaved, it falls upon professionals to assist people in these areas. I call it giving people “tools” to put in their “toolbox”. Below is a list that can be copied and given out at services, left at churches or presented in school classrooms. In the instances of particularly harsh or draining deaths, I would suggest that information about that loss is placed first on the handout. This helps the people who are grieving so that they do not have to repeat the same story ad nauseaum.
Things That are NOT Helpful While Someone is Grieving:
Don’t Talk About God: Please don’t tell us our loved one is with God. We really would rather have our loved one still here with us on earth. Especially in the case of a deceased child the reminder he/she is not with us just hurts us more.
Don’t Bring A Ham: Right at the time of loss everyone feels like bringing us a meal. Please, if you know we have food to feed an army save your generosity for another time. I will be grieving for three to seven years. A meal will be really nice once everyone leaves after the funeral.
Don’t Forget: Please do not forget me after the funeral is over. I DO want to talk to people about my loss. Expect that I will cry and that you were not the one to cause the tears to flow. A phone call, a note in the mail or flowers would be appreciated.
Don’t Expect Me..: Do not expect me to be the same after my loss. I may be forgetful, have lower energy or just not want to socialize as much. Some events like holidays maybe very overwhelming for me. Realize it is not you. Please keep inviting me and in time I will rejoin events.
Don’t Set Me Up On Dates: If I have lost my mate please do not ask me when I am going to date again. This type of conversation causes me pain. It is normal for people to choose their own time when they are ready to look for a new mate. Remember some of us may never date again and that is okay too.
Things that Can be Helpful to the Grieving:
Do Call Me: The phone is a great way to see how I am doing. If I choose not to answer I will let voice mail pick it up. After the funeral it gets really lonely and people seem to disappear.
Do Speak Their Name: The person I lost lived a wonderful life. Please share your memories with me and speak their name. Just because he/she has died doesn’t mean they are gone. Please let their life mean something to someone. This is important to me. Do Remember The Special Days: When everyone else is celebrating holidays and religious events keep in mind that I am remembering my loss. This holiday or spiritual event will never be the same for me again. Phone calls, cards, flowers all would be a nice touch.
Do Give Me Gifts: Did you know there are services out there to help me while I am grieving? Memory gifts are now appearing that can help me during my time of grief. Even simple things like funeral flowers, chocolates, scented soaps, bath soaks and a gift certificate to a massage would be fantastic.
Today a green funeral is a new trend that is emerging in the death care industry. Green funerals, or environmentally-friendly burials, do without the use of artificial preservation methods and materials that may be harmful to the environment. By using minimalist caskets and grave markers, and natural habitats, this types of burial cost is a fraction of their traditional counterparts. Green burials promote harmony with nature and protect mother earth.
New Memorial Tributes and Funeral Technology Options for Fathers
For those special Dad’s and Grandfathers who have passed and are dearly missed, creating a personalized and specialized memorial can provide an excellent opportunity to heal and remember.
Below is a list of some of the most popular memorial options that many families are choosing for a personalized and special memorial, tribute, keepsake, or family heirloom:
About New Funeral and Memorial Technology:
“Technology is changing the face of the funeral industry and baby boomers, those ages 43 to 62 are at the root of it“, says John Reed, president of the National Funeral Directors Association based in Brookfield, Wis.
Today many new and innovative technologies are widely recognized in the funeral industry as common services that help make a difficult situation a little easier. Boomers are memorializing their parents and loved ones in nontraditional ways and using new funeral technology to do it.
Technology is opening the doors to unique memorial ideas and expanding funeral planning and memorial service options. With these tech-savvy Baby Boomers wanting to take the negativity out of funerals and find ways to celebrate a person’s life, using new funeral technology such as some of these listed below are among the most popular, common, and rapidly growing.
Keep in mind that these gifts can serve as an excellent family tribute, keepsake, or family heirloom. The main benefit from these gifts is that, although in different way, each of them offers a wonderful opportunity to honor and celebrate your Dad, as well as share many of the great stories and memories you shared together.
The original Rosetta Stone helped translate the pictorial language of the ancient Egyptians, providing definitions of the imagery and bringing to life a long-gone culture. Now one company is offering personal versions of the stones to tell stories about an individual long after we’re gone.
Objecs LLC’s RosettaStone is an oblong — think full-sized iPod – piece of granite or travertine stone inscribed with pictorial images that stand for different aspects of an individual’s life. Seemlessly incorporated into tombstones and monuments, the stones invite cemetery visitors to plug into a website – or in some cases simply wave your phone in front of the stone – and see the meaning of each symbol.
“Walk around a cemetery today and gravestones doesn’t tell you anything. Date of birth. Date of death. They’re cold and impersonal,” said Chris Hill, a financial advisor in northern Virginia and also Founder of FuneralResources.com, who personally owns two RosettaStones. “This will tell my story for thousands of years.”
Purchasers can choose up to six tablet symbols, reminiscent of hieroglyphics, from more than 300 options, including a striped pole for a barber, a caliper for an engineer, and a man behind bars for ne’er-do-wells who want to be remembered as such.
When selecting the symbols for his stone, Hill thought of his wife and two children, his passions for music and writing, his belief that life doesn’t end with death.
For his six symbols, he chose an “I” for general information, a U.S. map, stick figures representing a family, a music note, a hand holding a pen, and a telescope looking into space.
“It’s just as important to document your life as it is to remember it”, Hill said.
John Bottorff, founder of Objecs LLC, said the tablet symbols spur interest and conversation.
“When I see someone using a symbol I can relate to, I can’t help but be curious as to their life experience around it. We are seeing mini-meaning of life stuff here from common people, not a Dalai Lama,” Bottorff said. “I will never look at a barber pole symbol the same – I’m still awestruck at how a barber has learned the deepest values of life from his profession. Not all of the messages are positive, but I think they are all gifts to future generations from today’s cooks, barbers, lawyers, fishermen and all kinds of people and professions.”
But it’s the memorial technology element that makes the RosettaStone special, Bottorff said. If the cell phone is NFC-enabled — something still rare in North America but common overseas – simply touching the phone to the tablet allows direct access to the story behind each symbol. The internal microchip uses the phone’s own magnetic field to work and transfer the data, then returns to a dormant state.
For a regular cell phone with Internet access, users can type in the web information on the tablet and have the same information appear. Each symbol can be accompanied by about 200 words of text.
So how is this better than including a memorial website’s address on a tombstone? The answer is permanence, Bottorff said.
“Compare us to them and we look a bit primitive, he said. “The traditional memorial website is a much richer multimedia experience, but not necessarily pursuing the long-term data survival model we are. If you’re interested in a long genealogical surviving record, ours is a pretty good approach.”
RosettaStone boasts that the tablets’ information will remain accessible for the next 3,000 years. Even if the company folds, the tablets’ associated information will remain. In part, that’s because information is both hard-coded to the stones’ internal microchip and archived externally on the web. (Of course, without a time machine, it’s impossible to verify the 3,000-year claim, but the concept seems to sell nonetheless.)
Introduced a little over a month ago, Objecs has sold fewer than 100 of the products, which cost about $200. Among the buyers, Bottorff said, are a well-known American musician and a BBC Television personality.
Although Objecs initially offer for the product was a way to honor the dead, the living have quickly wanted it for themselves too. (In fact, the living are the product’s primarily buyers thus far.) On its website, Objecs notes that RosettaStones are also intended for “mature adults who have reached a stage in life with identifiable milestones and associations. Such milestones may include a profession, discipline, paternal capacity, love of music or skill….”
“When people started buying it for themselves, it was an awakening that it was something people wanted to hold onto as a family heirloom, so we adjusted our message,” Bottorff said.
Hill has been updating and frequently rewriting the text he wants to accompany his RosettaStone entries frequently.
“If a truck hits me tomorrow, I’ve got some words that will last forever and that’s real,” he said. “It’s hard to write at first. You’re thinking, ‘Wow. These are my last words.’”
Death can make us aware of the importance of life. When a person is a funeral director, he or she is surrounded by death. Many believe that blessings can arise out of grief and loss. As a society, we most often focus on the negative aspects of death. At FuneralResources.com, we choose to focus on the positive aspects of death. Here are some things I have learned that might help you and your families:
Everyday Life: Grief often brings into focus our daily life that we assume will “always” be the same. What we might take for granted now can come into full bloom when contrasted with death. Our families, our loved ones and our health start taking on far more importance and they are treasured far more. Material concerns have a chance during a loss to take a second seat. We get back to basics and realize what we have is good. What a blessing.
Hidden Angels: People can be a blessing. As we walk through the five stages of grief, people come into our lives to help ease our pain. A member of Beyond Indigo wrote:
“One of the things I remember most about my horrible summer in hell were three people I met who were walking angels. Each of them, in their own way, made that summer bearable and is remembered now, after it has passed, as huge blessings. I’m actually glad I met them even though I met them only because of the situation, which was causing such grief.”
Look On The Bright Side: Things could be worse. As trite as it sounds, it is true. Life can always be worse. Looking at what occurred as a positive can bring new thoughts to the surface.
Another Beyond Indigo member wrote to us about her pregnancy. She was 21 weeks pregnant when her doctors told her that the baby would not survive the cyst that had become part of its little body. She wrote, “Obviously, the RIGHT ending would have been for me to have a good, wonderful pregnancy that ended with a healthy baby. Wasn’t going to happen. Options like having a kid with horrible life-affecting illnesses and handicaps, or having a stillbirth, or worst – not knowing and having to make a choice. I ended up knowing what I had to do. I was able to end the pregnancy without wondering if I was making the right choice. That was a huge blessing.”
Opportunities: Death is permanent. Once a death occurs, it is hard to say,” I am sorry”, or, “I love you”. It reminds us that we have the opportunity to tell others that we love them or that we are sorry or how important they are in our lives. Take this blessing of time to let others in your life know how important they are to you. Do it now, and don’t wait.
Search: Search out others that have recently lost a loved one or acquaintance. Share your story, you thoughts, your feelings and your concerns and insights with them. Sharing, or volunteering to help someone else feel better will help you both.
Celebrate: Celebrate any occasion, any holiday or special event with a friend and share all the joys of the person lost. Remember well, and then go ahead and enjoy the day, the hour and the moment. NOW is what we all have.
When you are dying it is hard to come to terms with the end of your life much less help others to cope with their grief and loss of losing you soon. The concept of death in our western culture is avoided by most people because they do not know how to talk about it. Terminally ill planning is rarely discussed and often misunderstood. But always remember you are not alone in this!
Before you sit down to discuss your condition with your family and friends take the time to create a handout. This handout would include why you are sick, how you found out about your condition, the nature of your illness and information on where to learn more about your disease. When people first hear the news they will be in shock and only remember one or two pieces of information. With hard printed information your family and friends can take a moment to digest the news and then when they want they can revert back to the information you gave them. This will cut down on the number of questions they might ask you and the difficulty you might have to talk about your demise and the cause.
Before you approach your family and friends think to yourself, “How do I feel about my situation?” Make sure you can verbalize how you feel clearly. It will be important to convey to your loved ones how you feel when you do talk to them. They will want to know, “Is he/she okay”? “Does he/she hurt?” “Will he/she be sick or just weak?” etc.
Some options to tell your loved ones
In a Letter: If you are the type of person who expresses yourself better in writing than verbally you might want to consider a letter. It could include how you feel, your concerns about how your family would feel, how you would like them to treat you or help you in the coming months. You could also include the information sheet discussed above. Write it in a manner that gives the impression you are sitting down with them for a nice, intimate chat. Over a Family Dinner/Conference: Invite your family over and make your favorite meal. If you don’t have enough energy to make a meal ask each person to bring one part of the meal. Tell them you invited them over because you have some important news to share. You could pass around a letter if you wrote one and your information sheet. Start off with what they mean to you and how hard a time it is for you right now and that you need their support. Once you start the conversation the rest will happen.
With A Therapist/Pastor/Minister/Rabbi: Sometimes having a third person in the room helps. The third person can help monitor people’s reactions, keep everyone calm and be the voice of reason when questions are being asked. This third person can start off the conversation and explain why everyone is being gathered. This means that you will have already had the opportunity to discuss your feelings, condition, and fears with someone. It acts as a type of dress rehearsal for the meeting with your loved one(s).
When you do meet with your friends and family you might want to stress to them that the time you have left on this earth is short but that you are still living. You have not died yet. This time would be a good opportunity to settle old differences, to clear the air of hurts and anger, and to have conversations about how much people have meant to you. Don’t forgot to talk about finances, your final ceremony and what you would like to happen with your possessions, and your memories (photos and etc.). You might even want to designate someone to go with you to discuss your end of life arrangements at your local funeral home or cremation society.
Conversations to have with a dying friend: 1. Ask your friend what she believes will happen when she dies. This is can be a hard subject to broach since we have not been socialized to talk about death. In fact, we have been trained that this topic should be avoided whenever possible. Just take the first step and ask, “What do you think happens when you die?” Feel free to start the conversation with your own beliefs on death and dying. Let it be known you are open to discussing life and death issues but, remember, people do not like to be pushed. 2. Share books with each other on the subject. Start a small book club that reads about death and dying issues. There are many excellent grief books today on this subject which range from spiritual beliefs to after death communications. Talk about what you have read and share your personal views on the subject. 3. Celebrate the lives you have lived. Talk about life as you and your friend have lived it. What have been the greatest experiences? What have been the hardest ones? Share the joys and the loves that have come into your lives. Assess your current blessings.
4. Discuss options about care for terminally ill planning. People who are dying have said some of the best days of their lives had been the ones leading up to their deaths because they really felt alive. With this in mind it is particularly important to choose what type of medical care you want if you become sick or debilitated. As a friend, you can be the sounding board for your friend. If there is illness talk about the disease openly and discuss the various options. Will a certain treatment improve the quality of life? Many treatments make a person sicker then the actual illness. 5. Laugh together but be serious and honest as well. Death does not have to be the serious, fear-based subject that we think it is. Laughter is good for the soul as well as to soothe one’s grief and loss. Remember to laugh at the things you and your friends fear. Talk about seeing each other on the ‘other side’ and perhaps saving you a seat in a garden or on the beach or at a favorite sports event. Above all, remember to love and cherish your friend. If you can approach from a place of grace your friend will feel your kindness and open heart. When you are sure of yourself and not fearful your friends will feel calmer and be in a better place to explore this issue with you.
After losing a close loved one back in 2008, I am constantly trying to find ways I can help both families and Funeral Directors find new ways to make the funeral planning process easier. After working closely and researching extensively, I have learned a lot about how to plan a funeral and end of life planning industries.
However, since I am not a licensed Funeral Director, I have also focused on learning how challenging and meaningful of a role a Funeral Directors can play in a families life, and therefore, I have gained a tremendous amount of well-deserved respect and appreciation for a Funeral Director’s selfless contribution to this valued public service.
So given the importance and sensitivity of this matter, I am not only constantly trying to learn more each day, but also searching for any possible new and innovative ways to help add value to this industry.
When I look back on my personal experience, below are some of the key things I truly believe would have helped my family as we worked through the many funeral planning challenges:
1. I believe it would be helpful if the Funeral Director could give a brief history about their Funeral Home, Cemetery, as well as their personal background and experience.
This would help families learn more about choosing a funeral home or cemetery, funeral director, and feel more comfortable about the qualifications, experience, and credibility of who they are dealing with.
2. I think it could be helpful if a Funeral Directors would ask if anyone involved has any history or experience with planning a funeral.
This would help the Funeral Director and the family, since this lets the Funeral Director know if they need to begin slowly, starting with the basics, or whether things could be a little easier and streamlined based on any past experience.
3. Before the Funeral Director begins to review the basic outline of the funeral planning process, it would be helpful if they ask the family if they have any important questions on their mind that they feel like they need to find answers.
This allows the family members to ask about things that might be of concern, time-sensitive, or important to know regardless of the planning process.
4. The Funeral Director could explain the general outline of what the funeral planning process involves and what they will review and work on together. Ideally, this overall outline would be great to have in writing, so they can see it, read it, plan ahead, and follow along step-by-step.
This helps the families to get an idea of what to expect, and also begin thinking about the many funeral planning challenges.
5. The Funeral Director could tell the family members to feel free to interrupt him/her at any time, and ask any questions that come to mind, no matter how basic or uncomfortable they might feel.
This helps families feel like it is OK to ask questions, since from my personal experience, I was very reluctant to ask things that I now wish I had.
6. After the funeral planning process, the Funeral Director could find a way to help families learn about some of the new and popular memorial technology tools, resources, services, and funeral home services. In fact, I would even recommend offering families a printed list of these options so you can talk about them with the families, or simply let them research these things on their own to find out more.
Why not let every family know about all of these options? If families don’t choose to add these to their funeral or memorial planning, they are still better off from knowing these options were available. And if families do find these options to helpful tools that can allow them to better heal, remember, and pay a special tribute to a loved one, everyone wins!
7. Last, I would suggest Funeral Directors consider providing every family with helpful details, such as these below, at the end of their funeral planning discussion:
– Key things to consider when planning a memorial service
– Several phone numbers to contact for any questions or concerns, 24/7
– Grief support information, grief books, and local grief support
– Information on how to give a eulogy, funeral etiquette, how to write an obituary, and other common families needs
– Contact information on Charitable Organizations, and ways to help families donate funds “in lieu of funeral flowers”
– Key reasons and benefits to consider an End of Life Plan, and where they can go to learn more
– Names and contact information for people who you recommend that would be willing to help offer free advice for any financial planning matters, such as funeral estate planning, tax planning, wealth management, etc.
Again, these are just some thoughts I had after looking back on my personal experience, as well as some of the details I have found that most families are searching for – and today this is being done largely on the Internet.
I truly hope this helps both families and Funeral Directors, as I continue my quest to make this difficult process easier!