Published: January 23, 2019 by Ask The DirectorFamilies mourn the passing of a loved one in many different ways. For most, it’s essential to have a quiet, intimate season of family reflection—an opportunity for the closest relatives and loved ones to join together in remembrance. Cremation is well-suited for this because it allows the family to take their loved one’s cremated remains, housed in a decorative urn, and display it in their home for a short season.
This makes it easy for family members to honor their deceased loved one in the days immediately following the memorial service—but after this short season, it’s important to memorialize those cremated remains in an urn garden or a columbarium.
There are a couple of reasons for this, and the first one is practical. Simply put, if you keep an urn full of cremated remains in your home, sooner or later something could happen to it; the urn could be accidentally knocked or tipped over, and the results may be upsetting.
Additionally, it’s good to have a more public home for your loved one’s cremated remains—a "final resting place" where friends, family members, and other well-wishers can go to mourn, to lay flowers, or to pay their respects whenever it suits them. This is not always possible when the cremated remains are kept in one’s private residence.
Your funeral director can assist you with the timing here, recommending a reasonable amount of time to keep the urn in your home before you ultimately transition it to somewhere more permanent. Moreover, of course, your funeral director can also walk you through some of the best options for long-term memorialization—whether that’s burying the urn in a cemetery, placing it in a niche, or a different kind of arrangement.
Published: January 22, 2019 by Ask The DirectorMillions of people are active on Facebook every single day. However, have you ever wondered what happens to your profile when you pass away? Does it remain frozen in time? Does it eventually disappear? As it turns out, that is up to you and your family. There are two options when it comes to handling your Facebook profile after death:
You can opt-in your setting to have your profile memorialized. Doing this means that it will be locked so that no one can log in as you, but your Facebook friends can still make posts and share memories. All of your previous posts and pictures will remain intact, and this can be an excellent way of letting others reminisce and helping to keep your memory alive.
You can also choose a legacy contact, which is a person from your friend list that you designate to manage your account. They cannot log in as you or read your messages, but they can make posts, change your profile and cover photos, and respond to friend requests.
You may decide that once you pass away, you want your Facebook account removed entirely. In this case, your entire profile and everything you have posted will permanently be deleted. Your family can also request to have the page removed after you die but must submit a special request with Facebook that must be approved. More information on how to delete your Facebook account can be found here.
You can also request to download and archive all of the information from your account, but that also must be approved by Facebook.
It can be a good idea to talk to your family ahead of time and let them know how you want your social media accounts handled and to choose the settings that align with your preferences.
Published: January 10, 2019 by Ask The Director
Typically, eulogies are given by just one or two people who are chosen by surviving family members. Most eulogies are given by close relatives, children, friends or members of a congregation. When selecting an individual to give a eulogy, it is important to select someone who is close to the deceased and can offer genuine words on the individual’s life and memories.
Those who are asked to deliver a eulogy may feel that there is a lot of pressure to deliver an exceptional speech. However, it is important to remember that this commemoration does not necessarily hold the speaker as the focus—as it is designed to honor the deceased. There are many ways to deliver a eulogy, and practice is recommended for those who are nervous about the speech.
It is recommended that in order to understand how their speech will play a part in the overall procession of the event, individuals speak with whoever is arranging the funeral service. Eulogies are typically brief, lasting only a few minutes.
Those preparing for a eulogy are encouraged to make an outline to deliver a smooth speech and to make sure to address the audience in order to connect with the entire crowd. Exploring a significant memory, even humorous or emotional, can be a great way to emphasize the personality and values of the deceased.
Wakes are more informal than funeral services and offer more time and flexibility for individuals to share their memories and well wishes with loved ones. While only one or two individuals may be asked to provide a eulogy at a funeral service, other loved ones may have a chance to deliver a speech at the wake.
Published: December 27th, 2018 by Ask The DirectorWhen a loved one dies, you’re suddenly forced to make a lot of tough decisions about cremation, burial, and memorialization. One of the biggest challenges is mastering the terminology; simply put, cremation entails a lot of "lingo" that you may be unfamiliar with. For example, what’s a columbarium?
This is a structure, typically found in a cemetery or church setting, with different compartments or niches in it for placing urns. These structures serve as mausoleums and provide a way for you to give your loved one’s cremated remains a final resting place.
Another term you might come across is cremains—and this one you can probably guess all on your own! It’s simply a portmanteau of cremated remains, that is, the "ashes" produced in the cremation process.
Disposition is the act of placing cremains in their final resting place—whether that’s in a cemetery, a memorial garden, or elsewhere. Entombment specifically refers to burial in a mausoleum. Finally, internment refers to a burial of cremated remains in the ground or in a mausoleum. This is not to be confused with inurnment, which refers to the placement of cremated remains in an urn.
An urn, of course, is simply the container in which you place cremated remains. You might memorialize this urn in your home for a season, but most of the time the urn finds its final destination in a cemetery. One final term to know is niche, which refers to the place in a columbarium where you might place your loved one’s urn.
Knowing some of these terms can help you feel more confident as you seek to make the best decisions for your loved one, or even when pre-planning your own cremation and funeral. Contact a local funeral provider for additional assistance and guidance
Published: December 13th, 2018 by Ask The DirectorWhen a loved one dies, surviving family members are faced with many responsibilities—including the responsibility to alert other friends and family members as to what has happened. In the age of social media, making a death announcement is more complicated than ever before, and it is important to approach this task with the appropriate etiquette.
An important step is to enlist the help of a funeral home director. Make sure you get planning underway before making any sort of formal announcement about the location of the funeral or memorial service. Only publish the obituary once confirmation is received about the availability of a church, funeral home, or other locations. In the obituary, you will want to specify the time and location of the memorial service, but before doing so it is critical to confirm the availability of the venue in question along with any necessary vendors, such as an officiant or caterer. This is something a funeral home director can assist in.
In addition, funeral home directors are skilled in regards to sensitivity, compassionately discussing matters related to death. During a season of grief, you may have a hard time articulating the passage of your loved one, but a funeral home director can be invaluable in helping you craft a message.
As for social media etiquette, the most important thing is to abstain from posting online until you have had a chance to speak directly with family members and other important people. Ensure that you make specific, one-on-one announcements before you make any kind of a more general update.
Telling others about the death of a loved one is never easy, but even so: Following the right protocol is important. Speak with your funeral director about any questions.
Published: December 5th, 2018 by Ask The DirectorNobody likes dwelling on mortality, and conversations about death tend to be "downers"—not least during the otherwise-joyful holiday season. And yet, talking candidly with your family members about end-of-life issues is imperative. And for many families, the holiday season is the best time to do it, simply because the whole family is actually together.
Consider: Should your parents pass away unexpectedly, do you know their wishes for a funeral or memorial service? Do you have a clear understanding of their desires for their estate? And should something unthinkable happen to you, will you be leaving your own kids with a clear plan—or simply with burdens?
For many families, end-of-life preparations go neglected and ignored—but simply having a conversation can be clarifying and even encouraging.
Over this holiday season, we encourage you to have "The Talk" with your family members. That doesn’t necessarily mean hammering out all the issues on the spot, but it does mean getting the conversation going—encouraging everyone to think sensitively yet strategically about end-of-life issues.
Included here is an insert that might be helpful to you—some quick tips and guidelines for starting this conversation, and for keeping it positive and productive.
Some brief bullet points to consider, even as you dip into the insert:
Don’t delay in having The Talk. And don’t put it off just because of the holidays. In truth, this may be the ideal time to engage your loved ones in a conversation.
Published: December 1st, 2018 by Ask The DirectorWhen someone dies, there is almost always some sort of an estate left behind—typically an estate that encompasses a few priceless treasures. In some cases, these items may hold immense monetary value. In other instances, they may hold little financial value but immense sentimental import—think of family heirlooms and other handed-down treasures.
The question that always arises is, who gets to keep these items? To which surviving family member do they go? Hopefully, a will is left behind that specifies these matters. This is seldom the case, however. Specific items are usually not addressed in a will whatsoever.
It is more likely that post-it notes or handwritten memos will be found, specifying who gets which items. The problems here are twofold. For one, such notes are not legally binding. And two, they can sometimes add to the confusion, as they are not always clear and may sometimes be contradictory.
As such, it may be mandatory to get the family together to have an open dialogue about these items—to discuss who wants what and to try to reach a consensus about the fate of each family treasure.When disputes arise, it can be helpful to consider the financial worth of each item, and to try to ensure that each family member gets roughly the same value. This may seem cold, but often this level of objectivity is helpful in sorting out complicated family matters.
Finally, remember that there doesn’t need to be a rush to distribute these items—and often, the best thing to do is to wait a little while until emotions begin to cool and more rational decisions can be made.
Published: November 20, 2018 by Ask The DirectorPaying tribute to your loved one may take on many different forms. Catholic families may choose to hold a rosary service, while other Christian denominations may opt for a wake. Depending on the background and preference of the deceased, as well as that of their bereaving loved ones, there may be a rosary service or wake planned to accompany the funeral.
In Catholic tradition, praying the rosary is a multiple-step process, including praying many well-known prayers. They include the Apostles’ Creed, the Hail Mary, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Glory Be to the Father. In some cases, it may also include the Fatima Prayer.
The rosary service is traditionally a Catholic funeral rite that is held on the evening prior to the burial of a loved one. This service is open to anyone wishing to commemorate the deceased. The family will use this time to pray the rosary and receive visitors. The ritual may be held during a vigil service or wake.
Vigil Service or Wake
These events are typically held the evening prior to a burial. They are used to offer condolences to the grieving family and share memories of the person who has passed. Such services are frequently held at a funeral home, as they often include a viewing of the deceased. However, they were traditionally held at the home of the person who has passed.
The term "wake" originally referred to a nighttime prayer vigil. But modernly, it is used to refer to the social interactions and gathering that accompany a funeral. A wake or vigil is considered a social right, which recognizes that the loss of a person greatly impacts the group as a whole.
When preparing to honor a loved one who has passed, it is important to know what to expect of services. Consider the religious or faith background of the person who has passed, as well as that of the remaining family. Be respectful of their preferences, and consider these differences when commemorating and remembering the deceased.
Published: November 12, 2018 by Ask The DirectorA military funeral service is an important way to honor a person who has bravely defended and served his or her county. Military funeral traditions can actually be traced back to ancient Greece and Rome. While today’s ceremonies still incorporate some of these ideas and principles, current military funerals also have a decidedly American feel. They are full of respect and honor, and can also be a source of comfort for surviving family members and friends.
United States law now mandates the rendering of military funeral honors for an eligible veteran at the request of the family. This funeral comes at no cost to that family, courtesy of the Department of Defense. This allows the brave men and women to receive the gratitude and honor that they deserve, and is an important way of allowing the family to mourn the loss of a loved one.
At the service, you will see a flag draped over the coffin. If you are having a chapel service, the flag will be pulled away from the head of the coffin and the coffin can be open for viewing (should you so request). There should not be a spray of flowers on top of the flag. If you wish to adorn the casket with flowers, request a crescent-shaped arrangement from the florist. This is to be placed upon the open lid of the coffin at the upper left corner.
At the gravesite, a military detail (if available) will carry the coffin to the grave and prepare for honors. The honors will include details about the individual’s service (usually given by family clergy or a family friend), military rifle salute (if available), folding of the flag, presentation of the flag, and the playing of Taps. Military honors are provided to the family at no cost.
The following people are eligible to receive a military funeral:
Published: November 5, 2018 by Ask The DirectorAs cultural norms continue to change, the way we handle the passing of loved ones also evolves. Today, there are many ways that people choose to celebrate the lives of those they care about, leading some to question the true difference between funeral services and memorial services. With the introduction of new traditions and burial practices, many professionals may use the terms "funeral" and "memorial" interchangeably. However, there are some key differences that are worth noting if you are attending or planning a funeral or memorial service.
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