How to expand your horizons after a loss but still integrate the memory of our loved one is a common theme. A normal process through our grief and loss journey is how to integrate the loss into our lives. One of the symbols of your past is yours and your spouse’s wedding rings. Changing how you display them is one way to help you transition to the future. The key is to pick something that feels “right” to you. There are many options and we suggest you be creative. We have outlined some suggestions below that might “fit” you.
Change where you wear the rings. A simple solution would be to move the rings from the hand that symbolizes marriage to the other hand. Some people have also chosen to place the rings on a necklace and wear them around his/her neck.
Transform your wedding rings. If you chose to transform your wedding rings this is where you can be especially creative. Many people have taken the stones out of the rings and placed them in new settings or made them into a new pair of earrings for example. Another option is to consider adding memorial diamonds to your current settings.
For example one woman said: “My husband died this year, and I had a nice gold chain, took the diamond that was in his Masonic ring, and suspended it in the center of his wedding ring, all held together in the suspension with small diamonds encrusted in a slide. It is lovely, and I wear it all the time. Sometimes I find myself even bringing it to my mouth, and unconsciously kissing it. But, my left hand ring finger is empty.”
Position the rings in a place of respect. If you choose not to wear the rings, you could make a place of honor for them. An idea might be to make a shadow box that you hang on the wall that will hold the rings. The shadow box then can be placed in the house somewhere that will bring comfort to you as you view your creation. This is also a nice way to pass a keepsake onto children.
Some people choose to wear their wedding ring for the rest of their lives on their left hand, especially those that are older, and have made up their mind that they will not ever want to marry again. Feel comfortable to do that, if this is your choice. There are no rules about what you “must” do.
We have been told by those that want to take off their wedding rings as a symbol of “moving on” that they have chosen to give them to their children now, rather than wait for their own passing. If you have no children, perhaps a niece or nephew might be the perfect recipient.
If you want, you can put your wedding rings in your jewelry box, and keep them there until you decide what you do want to do with them. There is no need to rush to a decision.
Give yourself permission to take your rings off, if that is what you feel like doing. Sometimes, it is a simple as listening to your intuition to know what is the thing to do that “feels” like the perfect solution for moving to a new emotional plateau.
If you have come to a place in your stages of grief where you are truly ready to move forward, keep in mind to choose something that is right for you and that also symbolizes you are moving on from your loss. Symbols, such as wedding rings, are powerful. Potential mates will respect that you are honoring the past while being ready to accept new people and new love into your life.
But above all else, be creative, and do what pleases you!
Losing a child is never easy even when the child is not your own. Children are the hope for the future and should have so much of their life ahead of them. When a child is lost so are the dreams and the hopes of the future. It seems unnatural to be taking care of any end of life arrangements of a child. Because of this, many funeral homes don’t display caskets, burial vaults, or items related to child loss. There is for many a sense of loss of innocence when a child dies. Expectations are cut short, and the deep, unexpected grief and loss of the parents of the child is an additional factor that makes taking care of the child and the family difficult.
Here are some things you might do to take care of yourself while helping a family who has lost a child:
Be Prepared: Mentally prepare yourself that eventually it will be your task to help a family who has lost a child. We tend to push things out of our minds that are extremely unpleasant. Spend some time thinking about what you need to help yourself during this time. It is easier to plan ahead when you are not emotionally involved at the moment.
Be Aware Of Triggers: If you have children be aware that a loss of a child around the age of your children might affect you more. For some it is easy to think that the deceased child could be my child lying on the table. Remind yourself that your child(ren) are healthy and alive. Stop yourself from thinking in terms of the “What If’s”, and realize that your being so affected can help others feel your compassion.
Delve Into Your Spirituality: Even though you work with death every day are you comfortable with what happens to the spirit after a person dies? Do you have a strong faith system? Does it encompass the loss of a child? The more you are secure in your belief system the less rattled you might be at the time of a death of a child. Your stability will be an asset the family of the child can draw upon during the funeral service.
Have Resources Available: The loss of a child tends to bring out the community in force. Make sure to have avenues for people to express their grief. They will rely on you less if they have other places of support. Some items to keep on hand would be:
Online Journal with a guestbook. People can write in the guestbook at your funeral home, from home or school. It is accessible 24/7.
Grief Therapists and others who can help people through the grieving process can be written out and can be placed on tables or given out at the service.
Virtual Candles can be put on your website for families to light at the wake, service or at a later date.
Finally, remember to stick to the basics. Remember to eat complete meals three times a day. Put away the sugar and the chips. Drink lots of water and skip the caffeine and alcohol. Rest as much as you possibly can. Fatigue exacerbates difficult situations so when you can take a quick nap. If a child’s death is still affecting you after a month or two consider talking to a your doctor or seek grief counseling. Even those in the funeral profession need and can consult outside professionals to help them through emotionally trying times.
Organizing a deceased parents’ house or put it up for sale is not an easy task because, as you struggle through the various stages of grief, you are filled with reminders of their life. Going through a home is like walking through a photo album. Each room and item has the potential of holding a precious memory. Some people tend to be more pack-rats while others had lived with their home being more spartan. Some people are very generous with those that they allowed in their living space while others tend to be on the paranoid side. When you are going through the house there might be a few extra places you might check to see if there are any hidden memorabilia or heirlooms.
The filing cabinet: Some people are super organized. If your family members were organized type of people, check the filing cabinet first. People have told us they have a red file in the front of the cabinet that is labeled “Love Drawer” or “Family Record Guide” on it. Inside is a list of where all the important papers are to be found, where hidden treasures in the house are stashed away and a copy of their will. Simply pull the file and follow the instructions they have left. The filing cabinets are almost always the last place people may search, as they seem overwhelming. I’ve also heard people say they didn’t check the file cabinets because they felt since the person was deceased, what was in there “didn’t matter anymore.”
Bathroom/Kitchen Sinks: Check under the kitchen/bathroom sinks. Sometimes there is an extra ledge up underneath there were people can hide valuables like important papers or jewelry. It wouldn’t do to sell the house with the family jewels still located inside!
Closets: Check all the bags in the closets no matter how big or small. People like to hide things in plain view and sometimes items such as gold, jewelry, stocks, etc. can be hidden in the closet.
Money Belts: Check to see if any of the belts in the closet are money belts. You might find some extra cash you would have otherwise sent to goodwill with the belts. In addition, check the pockets of suit coats, and inside all women’s purses. Look in the sock drawer for money rolled up in socks, or stuffed between underwear. I know someone that found a thousand dollars cash in a sock drawer.
Freezer: Before you throw out frozen food wrapped in tinfoil, make sure you unwrap it and verify that it is food. People have been known to wrap up stacks of cash and place them in the freezer. The same is true for cereal boxes. Plastic toys may not be the only surprise in a box of cereal!
Cans: Check to make sure the shaving cream can and other items of that type don’t have screened-off bottoms. These could be little safes that match common household products to deter theft. What you think is shaving cream could really be filled with an heirloom item.
Books: Ditto for books. Expensive looking books in reality could be little boxes that hide valuables. Before you pack up boxes of old books, magazines and newspapers, shake out all the pages. Money and stock certificates have been known to drift to the floor when this is done!
Backyard: If you are sorting items from a very private family it might be worth your time to rent a metal detector and do a once — over in the backyard. Some families still believe the coffee can out back is the best place to keep investments safe.
Mattress: Don’t overlook the obvious — what is under the mattress, or the bed.
Knowing your parents and the type of people they were will help determine what they may have done to keep family treasures safe. Never assume anything, especially if your loved ones were suffering from a memory loss in their final stages of life. Remember to smile and think of it as a treasure hunt instead of a burden. You never know what you will find!
The topic of children and death is a hard one for many people in our society. Keeping kids sheltered is thought to protect the children so that they will not suffer as much. However, when we keep children away from a dying family member or don’t allow kids to attend a funeral we cut them off from the cycle of life. In addition, children realize they have been “left out” and because of this, some children can grow up feeling excluded in other important activities as they go through life.
One of the important ways children learn about death is through socialization. If we do not allow our children to socialize and learn the process of death, then they will not know about coping with loss when they are adults. Death is a natural part of life. In this instance, it most likely will not be as traumatic for these children to be with their mom as you might think–as long as you discuss what death is and where people go after they die. Since discussing death in our western society is a difficult subject for people, this topic is usually handled with evasiveness. Encourage the family of the children to discuss the death of their mother openly and honestly. Be sure to answer any questions the children ask honestly using correct terminology.
The kids are going to comprehend death differently depending on their ages and stages of grief. The seven year old in this case perceives death differently then his/her siblings. Children ages four to seven DO know something is wrong. They think in black and white so it is very important for the adults not to say something like “Mommy is going to heaven in an airplane.” The child will literally think this is happening. The older children can think in conceptual terms and do understand people die and go elsewhere.
I would suggest to the family that they utilize their local hospice, if there is one. The nurses through hospice are wonderful people who can explain in detail to the children the process of death and what might happen at each stage. They will know age appropriate words and concepts. They often can predict the time of death fairly closely. Sometimes dying people see loved ones that have passed away in the room with them and they might talk to them. Dying people can hear music that no one else hears and/or they may see sparkling lights. Prepare the children for end of life behaviors that have happened to others dying for similar reasons.
Having the kids present can help their healing down the road. I would make sure to have them part of a grief support group or they seek some form of professional grief support. One final thing to note is people don’t always choose to die with others present. Some people wish to die alone and will wait to pass until is someplace else, or it is the middle of the night.
Remember that the children need to honor their own feelings, as well as that of their mother. If they want to be at her bedside, then make that possible for them. If they do not want to be there, allow them to feel good about their decision to stay away. Either way, there should be no guilt involved with the choices the children make.
Death is hard regardless if you are in the room with the person or not. Assist your family to know what supports are available to them.
When you lose a wife or husband it is the first of many end of life losses. As you are finding out there is more than one person/thing missing in your life. Everything about your life is now different. The empty space will seem smaller as you go through the various stages of grief and as you change and grow from within. To help you with this change so that the empty space seem less empty you can:
Make a Plan:
You are changing even if you do not realize you are changing. The loss you experienced has created a vacuum in your daily life. In general, nature abhors a vacuum. Personally we do not like a hole or space so we rearrange things to make us feel complete. This change occurs whether you want it to or not. What you can control however, is how you want that change to look, feel and act. Make a list of goals of where you want to be in six months, a year or even eighteen months from now. What do you have to do to obtain these goals? For example do you need to downsize your home and move to a smaller abode? The more in control you feel the quicker you can manage your grief and loss.
Start Something New:
When change occurs in your life it is a good time to try something new. What have you wanted to do for some time but haven’t given it a go– like taking pottery classes? Perhaps there is a trip you have always wanted to take? Make a life list of things you still want to do before you die and start checking them off!
Rearrange Your Space:
It is important to change your personal surroundings to reflect the internal changes occurring in your life. Take stock of your material possessions and remove the ones from your living space that no longer suit you or that you no longer need/use. Go through your wife or husband’s belongings and keep a few treasured items and then remove the rest form your space. This cleansing process might be difficult but it will help you grieve and eventually help to fill that empty space.
Decide Who You Are:
No matter what our age we can always ask the question, “Who do I want to be now?” You are moving from a time in your life where decisions were decided as a “we” and not as an “I”. How do “I” want to live? Where do “I” want to live? Who do “I” want as friends? How do “I” want people to see me now? What decisions do “I” need to learn to do that we used to make as a “we”?
I had a perfect example in my grandmother. My grandfather died in 1985 at the age of 82. Throughout their marriage he refused to eat pizza or have it delivered. My grandmother decided in her next phase of life that she was going to have pizza. It helped defined what she wanted be. Small things can be as important as the big things.
Remember that you will be changing over the coming years. You do not have to be a passive observer to your own life. You do not need to feel like a victim because your husband (or wife) died but instead you can take the control seat. With each change you make the empty space will start to fade and it will, in some ways, seem smaller.
To plan a funeral is widely recognized as an extremely difficult task, mainly because you are trying to cope with a combination of difficult decisions that usually involve your emotions, finances, religion, conflicting opinions, grief and loss, and time constraints. Therefore, when it comes to end of life planning for something so important, we strongly encourage you to seek the help of one of our Funeral Professionals:
What to Look for in a Funeral Professional:
Work through arrangements with the next of kin or responsible party
Clearly explain all the services they can provide, as well as those services they cannot help you with
Provide informative, educational, and compassionate advice and support
Assist in all forms of counseling with the family including planning, budget analysis, grief support, as well as legal services and connections
Review all of your financial options, work within your budget, as well as review their General Price List (which is required to be disclosed and readily available by state regulations as well as the Federal Trade Commission)
Funeral Directors and Families Benefit From
New Memorial Technology
The following is a true story;
“Not too long ago, a friend of mine approached me whose aunt had just recently passed away. He was unable to travel to the funeral service due to a serious prior work commitment, but was comforted to hear that the technology existed to broadcast the funeral service LIVE on the internet. At his request, we contacted the funeral home that was caring for his aunt and informed them of the family’s desire to broadcast their memorial service LIVE on the Internet. Unfortunately, this particular Funeral Home was not willing to expand their services for his family’s request and take advantage of today’s new technologies. I regret to say that my friend was unable to participate in his aunt’s life celebration, and his family was extremely upset when they heard about the incident.” Curtis Funk, President, FuneralRecording.com.
The moral of the story…
If you really think about this story, not only can I can assure you that this person’s family will be taking their future business elsewhere, but I can also assure you that there are many other people who will be hearing about this story.
Now, maybe this story is an extremely uncommon situation, but what I believe is most important here is the underlying message. Funeral Webcasting, despite all of the recent hype in the funeral industry, is by no means a new technology. In fact, over the last few years it has been quickly gaining traction to the point where most family members are beginning to request it, or at the very least, expect this to be a regular part of a Funeral Director’s recommendations and services. So I cannot emphasize enough how important it that Funeral Directors embrace the many new technologies that are being so widely embraced today.
To further prove this point, in the March 2009 edition of the National Funeral Directors Association Magazine, called “Director“, John D. Reed, NFDA’s President, had the following to say;
“There is no doubt that with today’s technology, even the smallest Funeral Homes can be more competitive and cost-effective and offer the families they serve a wider range of products and services.”
New Memorial Technology – or Not?
The reality is Funeral Webcasting is just one of today’s 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. In fact:
4. FOX News featured an excellent story about Memorial Reefs, which is a cremation option also referred to as a “Green Burial at Sea”
It is a proven fact that there are many other new funeral and memorial technologies that can significantly benefit most families. In fact, our surveys indicate that a Video Tribute and Memorial Website are also among the most popular technology tools families are searching for today. Therefore, it only makes sense that these should be viewed as standard funeral home services that today’s Funeral Directors recommend and provide.
The reality is that these new funeral technologies can help every Funeral Director in multiple ways too, such as helping strengthen the relationship with their families and communities, keeping pace with the competition, increasing website traffic, receiving more family referrals, increasing their credibility, and opening up many more opportunities for new services and growth.
Just as they have done for centuries, most Funeral Directors are quickly adapting to these new industry changes. One of the key ways a Funeral Director can measure success is through ensuring their families make the most out of this difficult situation. Since these new memorial technologies can only benefit their valued public service, most Funeral Directors are becoming more proactive. Instead of sitting back and waiting for their families to request these new helpful tools, today’s industry leaders are being proactive by taking advantage of these new opportunities in the marketplace…and adding them as a standard part of the services they provide.
Our experience with both families and Funeral Directors is that regardless of the family’s situation, or the size of your city or town, families of all kinds and sizes will warmly embrace and accept these types of services when they are correctly presented to them.
Two things we know for certain…
Here are two things we know for certain. First, given the advent of the Internet and the constant evolution of new and improved technology, we know that the funeral industry needs to keep pace with today’s constantly changing environment. Second, we know that Funeral Directors will do what they have done for centuries, which is find new ways to adapt the these changes. Our goal at FuneralResources.com is to help facilitate this process sooner versus later.
I would like to ask you to please spend some time reading this personal story of mine. I am FULLY confident that you will find something in this story, some special message, that will make your life better, and end up being worth a few minutes of your time.
When it comes to financial planning, I will spare you the boring details about the importance of having a plan in place for the unexpected, using products and strategies like Umbrealla Policies, Life Insurance, Wills, Trusts, Estate Planning, Disability Insurance, Long-Term Care Insurance. etc.
In the past I might have boasted about how well-versed and experienced I was with helping my clients design and create strategies to protect my clients, and my own family, against the unexpected. But the truth is, my life has been forever changed since I lost my mother on Thanksgiving Day of 2008.
Since nobody in my family had ever really dealt with losing a “close” family member before, we had no idea what to expect. In fact, we didn’t know and we didn’t plan for this outcome in any way, simply because we never once thought about – or talked about = being in that situation.
Once my mother became sick, the thought never crossed our minds to talk about what would happen “afterwards”. Truthfully, in those situations, talking about someone’s death is an unspoken, unlikely, and unacceptable outcome that never crossed your mind. All you can think about, and all you can talk about, is how they are going to be ok. They will make it. Stay strong. You have loving family, friends, and medical support – all of which will help you get through this.
After she passed, I can vividly remember that feeling of being so confused, uncertain, and disappointed. Why? Because I didn’t know what to do next, or who to turn to. I also remember realizing that I didn’t know the any of the details regarding what my mother would have really wanted with regards to her end of life plans and preferences. Why? Because I did not have the courage to ask while she was still alive and healthy. Once she back sick, it was simply never the right time to discuss death or dying.
Even after almost 5 years now, I still don’t feel comfortable talking about it. But what I do feel comfortable talking about is what happened after.
What Happens After a Loved One Passes?
My next memory is, right about the time the enormity of the situation was just starting to sink in, we were sitting in a local Funeral Home, surrounded by various types of caskets and cremation urns, reviewing a two-sided legal page (General Price List) which is filled with countless options on how to plan a funeral – all of which probably add up to well over $200,000.
Now please keep in mind that, at that time, the last thing in the world any of us wanted to talk about or think about was planning a funeral and memorial service, much less having to make decisions regarding any of the financial aspects.
Things I Bet You Never Thought About…
Here is a list of some other funeral planning challenges we faced that. Keep in mind that, like our family, all of these decisions are usually made within a period of a few days, and with little or no education or professional guidance:
How do we determine which Funeral Home, Cemetery, or Funeral Director?
How do we arrange and notify family members and/or loved ones who live out of town? Who contacts who?
How do we determine exactly what type of memorial service is most appropriate? Do you celebrate a life? Do you mourn?
Knowing whether there was a preference to be cremated or buried?
Choosing among many different types of caskets or urns?
Where should the final resting place be for the cremated remains?
How should our plans and preferences work with regards to your religion? Which Church? Which Priest?
Who should be invited, and how do you locate all their names and numbers?
Who will pay for these funeral expenses, and how will this be paid for?
Who will give a eulogy at the memorial service? Who will do a reading?
What is funeral etiquette with regards to dress, time, date, day?
Will there be a gathering after the memorial service? If so, who should be invited?
How do you place an obituary? What should it say? Who should handle this?
Choosing among pictures, funeral music, videos, and much, much more…
It is Time For Change…
They say “everything happens for a reason“. Well, even though I believe there is never a valid “reason” to lose a loved one, I can say that this experience has opened my eyes to a lot of things that have previously gone unnoticed. And as time passes, the one thing in particular that is becoming crystal clear is the fact people and families need to prepare their end of life plans and preferences in advance.
In all my years of financial education and training, I have never once heard someone so much as talk about how to help the families we serve by encouraging them to create an end of life plan.
Well my friends, it is time for change. Maybe losing my mother is the “reason” and inspiration behind my serious movement to help families make a difficult situation easier.
So from this day forward, I will be seeking the help the finest associations, organizations, and people in the funeral and financial planning industries. Along with their help, I am going to be speaking loudly, boldly, and clearly, about the need for change when it comes to financial, retirement, and estate planning. There is a missing piece to the financial puzzle that needs to be fixed, which is helping families Create an End of Life Celebration Plan.
How to Create Your End of Life Celebration Plan…
Below is a link to four guides I have put together that will help you learn more about how to create your End of Life Celebration Plan:
In the financial planning industry, it is very rare that a financial advisor can use the word “guarantee“. And usually the word “guarantee” needs to be accompanied by a prospectus and/or extensive legal disclaimers, documents, and details.
However, when you look at this from a real-life experience like I now can, financial advisors actually have something that we can guarantee every client – which is the fact that some day you will die. Regrettably, this may happen much sooner than anyone could ever imagine or plan. But regardless of the timing, some day your life will end. So begins the two all-important questions…
We All Have Two Choices…
1. Continue to Do Nothing
Do not plan for this guaranteed outcome in any way. After reading this article, you are well aware of the fact that you will be leaving your family behind to unnecessarily suffer through a tremendous amount of difficult emotional and financial decisions, during an extremely difficult time, in addition to coping with their grief and loss over your death.
2. Pre-arrange and/or Pre-Pay Today…
Set aside the time, put in the effort, and create your End of Life Celebration plan that you would want – and that your family deserves. If you are ready to take this step, here are some easy options:
My passion is to take this personal experience, learn from it, and turn it into a positive experience through helping other families make a difficult situation easier. Helping families become more educated, empowered, and most importantly, more prepared. My hope and prayer is that I can make my mother very proud one day. I pray that some day she looks down and sees that her never-ending selfless love and legacy will live forever, and that her death has become an inspiration to help others.
Preplanning is Not Fun or Easy…
Like many of the best things in life, nothing good comes easy. So as you would expect, talking about. thinking about, and planning about death and dying is not fun. However, a legendary football coach Vince Lombardi once said;
“The difference between failure and success is largely determined by the
amount of time and preparation put into planning for the future.”
A Gift You Give – and Receive…
After all, what better gift can you leave your family than showing them that you selflessly made time, took that extra step, and sacrificed a small part of your life to show how much you love them. Imagine knowing that one of the last memories you leave behind is that your family knew that you did everything possible to make their lives better. What memory could be better?
After sharing my own personal experience, I hope you can see that this kind of unselfish love actually provides you a huge gift too, and that gift is called peace of mind.
Today Funeral Homes and families can now take advantage of new memorial technology tools. One of these new tools, Funeral Webcasting, offers families the ability to “attend a funeral” and watch a loved one’s Memorial Services on the Internet, the number of families who are searching for, and choosing, this Internet webcast option are growing rapidly.
Differences Between LIVE and On-Demand
LIVE funeral webcasting connects families all over the world, at the time of the funeral service, and is the next-best thing to being there. It brings comfort to the family members who are unable to attend the funeral in person.
On-Demand funeral webcasting is viewed after the funeral service, and usually the actual video footage is made available within hours after the funeral services has ended. Therefore, since they are already in a form of a “stored version”, they can be watched at any later date and as many times as the family member or loved one would like.
Most Funeral Homes Are Choosing On-Demand Webcasts
It is important to point out that, whether a family chooses a LIVE or On-Demand webcast, both are available On-Demand for up to 90 days. However, what we have found in the large majority of our experience in working with Funeral Homes is they are choosing to only broadcast this video footage of the service using On-Demand.
The main reason why most Funeral Directors are choosing On-Demand versus LIVE Webcasts is because it is just plain easier and more efficient for everyone involved. When faced with this educated decision, just about every Funeral Director would not prefer to deal with things like setting up a computer, ensuring connection to the Internet, making sure the camera is working properly, ensuring the camera is pointed optimally for viewing, worrying about the need for Wi-Fi or an air card in remote locations, power outages, dealing with family member who cannot get determine how to get this to play. So if you really think about it, by choosing to use On-Demand, the only requirements are setting up the camera, pushing the “record” button, walking away, and coming back to end this after the service.
So it should be easy to understand based on what was mentioned above, given all of the LIVE broadcast possible challenges, the extensive work involved, as well as the increased probability that there can be many complications, we are seeing many more Funeral Directors choose On-Demand webcasts versus LIVE.
Focus on Offering This Service – Not the Type of Service
Although we simply wanted to point out the fact that we do see a growing trend here, the key thing to note here is that some of our Funeral Homes are more than willing to utilize this LIVE technology service anyway. We also currently have many funeral homes working with us today who absolutely love to broadcast their services LIVE, and have been providing us with some wonderful feedback from their families and their practice.
Whether a Funeral Director chooses either LIVE and On-Demand funeral webcasting, what we have concluded over the years is that each Funeral Home and family is usually unique, and each have a different set of needs. Therefore, our job is not just to aggressively promote the service, but rather promoting and facilitating the “right” kind of webcast technology for each individual situation.
Whether you choose LIVE or On-Demand Funeral Webcasting (or both) is purely a personal choice, and I strongly encourage each Funeral Director to look review all of the advantages and disadvantages with a funeral webcasting professional before making any decisions.
Last, but certainly not least, it is my strong opinion that if there are still any Funeral Directors today who have not yet embraced this popular funeral planning tool as a part of their practice, it is my strong belief that they will soon be saying something like: “I cannot afford NOT offering this helpful technology as a routine service that every family can take advantage of”. The good news is, both the Funeral Directors and the families benefit from having this option.
It’s not always easy to know what to say or do at a time of loss. Just being there for a friend or family member can be a comfort. However, there is funeral etiquette to be followed when someone passes away. Customs for expressing sympathy vary according to religious and ethnic background. The following information is a suggested guideline for what is generally accepted during a funeral. It is best to be aware of expectations to avoid acting in an inappropriate manner.
When to Notify?
The immediate family should receive notification first, preferably in-person or by telephone, followed by the closest relatives and friends. Be sure to provide the name and address of the funeral home for the delivery of funeral flowers. The service details can be relayed later when available
Though it is no longer necessary to dress in black, do show respect when picking out your funeral attire. Conservative suits or dress-clothes, in dark, respectful colors are most appropriate. It is advisable to avoid floral or busy patterns.
What are Typical Visitation Rights?
Upon learning of a death, it is customary for intimate friends of the family to visit the family either at their residence or funeral home. It would probably be more comfortable for all concerned to meet and learn more about their funeral home services since they are fully prepared for visitors. Each family should decide the number of family members needed during calling hours.
It is also not necessary for family members to engage in long conversations; a simple “Thank you, it means so much to have friends like you at this time,” is adequate. If the casket is open during calling hours, some visitors may want to bid farewell to the deceased. Although sometimes a visitor will request that a family member accompany them to view the body, it is not a requirement.
Funeral Service Duration?
Modern funeral or memorial services are usually brief and last approximately 30 minutes.
Cemetery Service Duration?
The graveside service tends to be brief. Customarily, once the commitment ritual is complete and the casket has been lowered to ground level, the family typically departs. The casket is then placed in a vault, interred, and funeral flowers placed on the grave.
What Typically Happens Immediately After the Memorial Service ?
Immediately after the funeral service, the family sometimes invites the attendees to join them for food or a reception at their home or designated place. This gives everyone a chance to talk and provides some time to relax and refresh. Sometimes friends or church members will take it upon themselves to prepare food ahead of time and relieve the family of this task.
How Should You Respond After the Funeral?
For several days after the service, the family should be permitted to rest and have time to handle the myriad details that accompany such an occasion. While some families enjoy the diversion of visits and calls from friends and family, others prefer complete privacy. It is not inconsiderate to cut short calls at this time.
What About Sending Thank You Notes?
Most Funeral Directors can supply you with generalized thank you cards or the family may choose to send a more personal thank you note. The thank you notes should be a concise, personal, and specific. Also, yielding to modern tradition, a simple thank you card with a signature is accepted, with or without a personal note
Who Should Get a Thank You Note?
1. Anyone who sent a gift or card to the family deserves a thank you note. This would include anyone who sent funeral flowers, brought food, sent a memorial contribution, or in some other substantial way acknowledged the deceased. The notes should be sent within two weeks of the death
2. A personal note is suggested for thanking the clergy person. If an offering or donation is sent, send it in a separate envelope. Never include it in the thank you note
3. Pallbearers should also be sent a personal message of thanks
5. For groups or organizations that sent flowers, send a note to the head of the group and remember to include all the members of the group in your note. If individual member names appear on the floral card, a separate note should be sent to each one but a personal message is not necessary.
6. Friends who have volunteered their time and effort helping in any way deserve a separate written thank you. If the volunteers are close to the family, you may prefer to thank them in person.
Upon Receiving the News ? When learning that a relative or friend has died, you should express your condolences and offer assistance as soon as possible. Only very close friends of the deceased and the immediate family are expected to visit the family before the funeral. Let the family know if you will be attending the funeral. It is important to keep the conversation brief taking in account their emotional state of grief and loss, and that they will be receiving numerous similar calls.
Funeral Flowers Etiquette?
Unless the family asks that donations should be made in lieu of flowers, you should honor their request. Many people consider it obligatory to send flowers unless there is a prohibitive note in the newspaper notice.
Thoughtful Memorial Gifts:
1. Food for the Family? Food is always a welcome gift as there are always visitors around that need to be fed. Make sure to prepare dishes that require little preparation.
2. E-mail? E-mail is only appropriate from those who are not intimate with the family such as a business associate.
3. Phone Calls? All calls should be as brief as possible.
4. Mass Cards? If the deceased was a Catholic, some people will send a mass card instead of or in addition to flowers. Catholics and non-Catholics can arrange for a mass to be said for the deceased
5. Donation to Suggested Charity? Usually the family will designate a specific organization or charity. Remember to provide the family’s name and address to the charity so they can send proper notification. Often the funeral home will offer a direct link to the charity requested by the family
Though it is no longer necessary to dress in black, do show respect when picking out your funeral attire. Conservative suits or dress-clothes, in dark, respectful colors are most appropriate. It is advisable to avoid floral or busy patterns
When Paying Respects ?
It is traditional for friends to visit the funeral home prior to the day of the funeral or memorial service. The obituary in the newspaper will have the details as to the day and time for visitations
Etiquette for Casket Viewing?
Before or after the service, friends will often go up to the casket for a final farewell. It is not obligatory and is totally left to your discretion
Attending the Service ?
It is suggested that one arrive at the funeral home at least ten minutes before the service begins. Funeral services usually start on time and it is considered rude to be late. Enter quietly and be seated. Do not conduct an animated discussion in the chapel; the mood should be somber. Do not try to talk with family members you feel are suffering from bereavement if you arrive early. The first few rows are reserved for family members. At the conclusion of the service, you will want to leave promptly and wait in your car if you plan to follow the procession to the cemetery. Remember to turn your headlights on so you can be identified as being a part of the procession. The headlights are to be turned off once you arrive at the cemetery. Attending the graveside service is optional and is usually determined by the relationship between the individual and the bereaved family.
Many People Cannot Attend a Funeral But… Now They Can View it LIVE on the Internet
Since there are many valid reasons people cannot attend a funeral, such as health, finances, age, work, or timing, there is new memorial technology that exists today called Funeral Webcasting. This is one of the many new funeral home services that is capable of broadcasting any funeral service LIVE on the Internet. That’s right, LIVE! All you need is to be somewhere that has an Internet connection, and you can now share in this special moment in real time.
But wait, there’s more…
It gets even better, because if you cannot attend the funeral in person, nor can you watch it LIVE on the Internet, the video footage of the memorial service can be stored for up to 90 days. What a wonderful option this has become for so many people, especially given today’s economy and the financial challenges many people are facing. Over the last few years Funeral Webcasting has been quickly gaining popularity among funeral homes and is now to the point where family members are beginning to request these types of services. So this is making this an extremely important for Funeral Directors to not only embrace these new memorial technology tools, but also proactively promote them to those who are unaware these amazing new tools are readily available.
Key Benefits of Using Funeral Webcasting:
• Gives families and funeral directors a wider range of options which leads to a better overall funeral plan experience • Helps families appreciate the funeral director more, knowing he or she is keeping up with such innovative and helpful technology • Helps the families to join together in a much larger way for this special event • Gives families the ability to offer this privately, to only those who they wish to invite, by using a password-protected website • Families also have the ability to open up these memorial services for their loved ones to anyone who may wish to pay their respects by choosing not to elect a password • Allows families to include those you know really want to attend, but simply can’t make for whatever reason • Offers family members in other countries, from all around the world, to join in their loved ones celebration of life • Provide everyone the option to view this video again, or for the first time, after the memorial service for up to 90 days Given the many funeral planning challenges many families face today, funeral webcasting is just one of the technologies being used to BOTH help improve the families funeral planning experience, as well as strengthen their relationships with their funeral directors. For more detailed information about this new tool – and many of the other cutting edge memorial technology tools available today, you can simply CLICK HERE
Although nobody likes to talk about death or dying, the reality is there are thousands of people every day who are faced with one of the most difficult decisions they can make throughout their lifetime. For most families faced with the need to plan a funeral, they almost always begin by searching for the answer to the following question: “What do we do now?”
To get answers regarding funeral planning information, more and more families are turning to the Internet, especially given today’s new funeral and memorial technology tools available today.
Here are some eye-opening statistics that should make Funeral Directors, Funeral Homes, and Cemeteries adjust their business plans to make sure they include an Internet presence:
• 83% of families today are turning to the Internet to plan a funeral
• There are nearly 300 million funeral–related keyword searches each month on Google
• 87% of people will research a company online before doing business
• 84% of online reviews influence buying decisions
• Last year those ages 50+ accessing the Internet grew by over 100%
At FuneralResources.com, we believe that a quality funeral planning resource should provide families the answers they are searching for, as well as easy access the credible funeral home services, people, and products they need and deserve.
How can funeral resources online accomplish this? First, they must contain valuable and real-life articles, information, as well as funeral planning and end of life planning resources that help families who are planning a funeral or memorial service. This information and resources should be specifically designed to help families learn, prepare, and become more educated and empowered.
Second, if a Funeral Professional chooses to become associated with an online funeral services provider, they should find one with a “Pre-Screened and Qualified™” process. This exclusive process is designed to ensure that their Members meet specific criteria which will likely increase the confidence families have in determining the credibility as funeral professionals.
And third, they must have different funeral services directories for all of the various funeral services families are searching for to plan a funeral. Member listings should be equipped with innovative funeral and memorial technology that includes important details such as their full contact information, website, services provided, driving directions, sending funeral flowers, obituary search, and more. This offers families the ability to quickly and easily find these the most credible funeral services providers, as well as make sure these providers can set themselves apart from the other 20,000+ Funeral Homes, Cemeteries, and Crematories listed online.
This is a sensible model where both families and funeral professionals can benefit. The families can receive help searching for the funeral planning information and qualified funeral professionals they need. The funeral professionals can be “found” by more families who are searching for the all-important family services they provide. However, this quality funeral planning online resource center has not existed – until now.
FuneralResources.com has filled the void and created a truly family-focused online resource center. In addition, we have also created a “sister” resource center, www.memorialtechnology.com. This new resource center is specifically designed to assist families who are searching for today’s new and innovative memorial technology options. They new memorial technology tools can not only significantly help in the grief and loss process, but also enhance a families ability to heal and remember a loved one in a much more meaningful way.
When I recently lost my mother, the terrible loss was compounded by the need for funeral planning help. Like most families, we had never discussed and quite honestly, we avoided answering the question of; “What do we do next?” Also, similar to most families, we had no idea who to turn to, nor did we have a clue where to begin making our funeral planning arrangements.
Through extensive study, family surveys, and my own personal experience, I now understand what most families are searching for on the Internet, and the questions they need answers to.
Three main reasons families seek funeral planning help:
1. A recent death has occurred
2. A death is expected
3. There is an interest or desire to pre-plan their funeral or cemetery arrangements
Three questions most families need answers to:
1. What should I know?
2. Who can I turn to?
3. Where do I get started?
In such a difficult situation, most families feel vulnerable, uncertain, and quite frankly, uneducated on what to know or ask. It is during times like this where families need the comfort and confidence to know they are working with someone who is looking out for their best interests; someone who is credible and qualified.
With more than 25,000 Funeral Homes, the Internet is loaded with Funeral Home Directories. But most families don’t really want just a name in a Directory. With the advent of the Internet and new funeral and memorial technology, families want quick and easy access to the most qualified funeral professionals, combined with the right tools to help them research all the important surrounding details.
Three reasons funeral planning is overwhelming:
1. They are in a state of shock, disbelief, grief and loss, and more
2. This is usually a process that is unfamiliar and uncomfortable
3. There are many difficult funeral planning and financial decisions to make
Most common questions families need answers to:
Here are just a few of the common questions that arise; What are the burial wishes of the deceased? A traditional burial, cremation, graveside burial, or memorial service? Where do they want their final resting place to be? How, when, and where are these services performed? And by whom? What other funeral home services should we consider? What is the right amount to pay for the funeral costs? And much more.
Another detail families need to consider is the religious preference of the deceased. Planning a Jewish Funeral is completely different than, let’s say, Catholic funeral planning. In Jewish Funerals there is typically no embalming, the funeral service is performed quickly after death, and wooden caskets are preferred. Preparing for a Jewish Funeral can be quite confusing for those trying to adhere to the end of life plan set up deceased.
The list of details goes on and on but, as you can see, there is a tremendous need for families to have access to high-quality information regarding every detail of funeral planning. This includes information about how to locate a Funeral Home or Cemetery, how to preplan a funeral, making emergency funeral arrangements, or even preparing their end of life arrangements in advance.
Families want a centralized place for high-quality and family focused funeral planning help. It is my own personal experience and other families needs that have inspired me to offer a place where families can get all the answers they are searching for. Families can become more confident, educated, and empowered. In doing so, it is my passion and dream to become the most credible and trusted online funeral resource center families are turning to.
Sending funeral flowers has never been easier since FuneralResources.com has endorsed FTD as a preferred Funeral Flower Provider.
A lot has changed with funeral flower arrangements, and there are many tasteful options to extend sympathy to loved ones. FTD has funeral flowers to send to the home, office or as a part of funeral home services. Also, you will be pleasantly surprised at how lovely and comforting these modern arrangements can be.
Sometimes it can be hard to find the words to express our bereavement and grief, as well as our sympathy for the bereaved. Sending sympathy flowers, plants and memorial gifts can help those who are grieving to know you are thinking of them in their time of need.
Traditionally, funeral flowers are sent to the funeral or memorial services as a way to provide beauty and comfort in a very solemn setting. But, funeral plants sent to the bereaved can provide long lasting comfort to someone in mourning in a very life-affirming way. Keep in mind that in many cases families will be inundated with floral arrangements, so sending a tasteful plant to the home may be an appreciated sympathy gift.
As mentioned above, a lot has changed over the years regarding funeral flower arrangements. Gone are the days of completely somber tributes. Therefore, below are the meanings of certain types of funeral flowers, which can hopefully help play a part in your memorial tribute:
Carnations – a red carnation implies admiration, pink carnations symbolize remembrance, and white carnations have the dual meaning of purity of love and innocence.
Lilies – an extremely common sympathy flower, which symbolize the restoration to innocence of the soul of the departed. Any type of white lily will also express purity and majesty.
Gladioli – a very traditional funeral arrangement which stand for strength of character, integrity, and sincerity.
Chrysanthemums – or “mums” are sent mainly to the funeral or memorial service, mainly because a white chrysanthemum symbolizes death in many Eastern and European countries. Our understanding of “mums” are as a symbol of truth.
Roses – are popular in funeral tributes because a white rose means reverence, humility and innocence – whereas a red rose conveys courage, respect and love. Pink also symbolizes love, grace and gentility.
As one of the most recognizable flowers, roses can be a beautiful part of funeral flower arrangements. A white rose evokes reverence, humility, innocence, and youthfulness. Red roses convey respect, love, and courage. And love, grace, and gentility are the message of a pink rose.
These aforementioned flowers, or any other flower, can be arranged in any custom fashion to convey a special message to the bereaved. There is a lot of professional guidance available at FTD Flowers, and FuneralResources.com is proud to endorse their high-quality funeral flower arrangements.