Bereavement and Grief

Grief and Loss

Inside the Grief Space

People who are coping with grief and loss are definitely operating out of a different place then people who are not grieving. I call this the “Grief Space”. Within this space different thoughts and feelings are occurring to the grieving person than occur to those that are not grieving. If you could see this ‘space’, and experiencing the five stages of grief, it would look like a bubble that surrounds the person. If you could look into this bubble you would find:

Limited Awareness of physical events: Grieving people who are coping with loss tend not to be too aware of their physical surroundings nor do they care as much about doing so. If the house stays dirty or they forget to eat it doesn’t cross their own internal radar. People can lose awareness of national events, local happenings and family news. It just blurs together. I have even heard of people breaking bones and not being aware of the pain from the break.

Acute Awareness of Emotions: People who are grieving are in acute emotional pain. This pain, most likely, is the worse, intense emotional pain they have ever felt. They know that they are in pain and don’t know what to do with it. Grieving people are highly aware of how other people react to their (the grieving person’s) grief. They know when people are not comfortable with the concept of death and the emotional loss that follows it. They know when others are uncomfortable with intense emotions that are being displayed.

Blurring the Hands of Time: Time is a subjective concept for people who are grieving. On one hand, every minute is a painful reminder that their loved one is no longer with them. The days can drag and their mind is full of the grief and loss that they have just suffered. On the other hand people lose track of time when it comes to non-emotional aspects of their life (eating, drinking water, working out, paying bills, mowing the lawn, etc.).

How to connect with families while they are grieving

Remember that you are seeing people when their bereavement and grief are the most intense. People at this point in their grief journey are not functioning well or at all. Here are some thoughts for you to keep in mind while speaking to families during this time.

1. Be aware of your concept of death: Remember that families can tell when you are not comfortable with the thought of loss. They will be expecting pleasant platitudes because what else do people say? Your families will know when you truly are not afraid of deep emotions, yet are able to guide them through the practical aspects of taking care of business. Word will spread that you understand and care.

2. Listening to your family: When listening to the grieving person tell his or her story, allow silent spaces in the conversation. Silence is helpful but sometimes hard for the listener. It is acceptable to rephrase what you heard from those grieving. This will let the family members know you are listening to them and they will feel understood.

3. Keep checking in with your families: After the funeral, your part in helping them through their loss is completed, but for the family their grief journey has just begun. After a funeral, most people stop talking about the loss and act like it hasn’t happened. By avoiding the loss, people don’t have to deal with the hard emotional issues that surround it. Grieving people want to talk about their loss. This is their grief space. Their loss fills this space. Call the families once in a while or send a note in the mail. This is a marvelous way to provide aftercare, and maintain a relationship with your families.

A memorial website is another great way to keep in touch with families.  These new memorial technology tools do not require great time commitments from your staff. With the proper software, your website becomes the 24×7 employee who keeps in touch with your families.

© 2010 Kelasan, Inc.

Seven Ways Funeral Directors Can Help You Plan a Funeral

 Plan a Funeral

How a Funeral Director Can Help

You Plan a Funeral

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.

In addition to the common funeral home services such as funeral programs, caskets, cremation urns, funeral flowers, etc., I firmly believe that families should also be aware of some of the new and increasingly popular new memorial technology tools such as Funeral Webcasting, Video Tribute, Memorial Website, Memorial Reefs, Memorial Diamonds, and the amazing new Gravestone Technology that includes microchips which can now show pictures and tell stories.

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!

Chris Hill, Founder
FuneralResources.com

Funeral Webcasting is a Popular New Memorial Technology

Funeral Webcasting

Attending a Funeral LIVE…

Or On-Demand

Which is Best?  Can You Use Both?

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.

 

Courtesy of Curtis Funk, President, FuneralRecording.com.