Archive for the ‘After Death’ Category

Creative and DIY Memorials to Make from the Deceased Belongings

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Creative and DIY Memorials to Make from the Deceased BelongingsThrowing away personal effects can be a difficult process for those in mourning over a loved one. Whether you’re clearing a room or an entire house, discarding cherished memories or donating items to charity can feel like saying goodbye all over again.

If you aren’t quite ready to get rid of the entire closet full of clothes, or if you’d rather not sell off furniture that’s been in your family for years, here are a few creative ways to memorialize your loved one.

  • Make a Blanket or Quilt: Old clothes can make an excellent source of fabric for a commemorative quilt. Choose your favorite (and most memorable) items of clothing, and cut squares of fabric to be made into a blanket. If you sew, you can do it yourself, or there are specialty providers who can make it for you. This item can be cherished forever without taking up too much space. (more…)

Notifying Social Security about a Death

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Notifying Social Security about a DeathManaging the death of a loved one might seem like a highly private and personal affair, but there is actually a complex maze of paperwork, bureaucracy, and government involvement that has to take place before the deceased can be laid to rest. Although most of the initial paperwork will be filled out by city officials and your funeral director, it’s a good idea to know what is being filed where—and why.

Social Security Administration

Just as the Social Security Administration must be notified of a child’s birth, so must they be notified of an individual’s death. This is necessary to stop the deceased’s Social Security Number from being used (either legally or illegally), and to ensure that there is an official record of death with the U.S. Government. (more…)

Disposing of a Loved One’s Personal Effects

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Disposing of a Loved One’s Personal EffectsAfter the funeral plans have been completed and life has settled into what will be your new normal, it’s time to deal with the personal effects a death leaves behind. Although some of the deceased’s belongings might have been divided among descendants according to the will, most people leave closets (and even homes) full of stuff behind. Clothes, furniture, books, pictures, mementos of vacations long gone…all of these things eventually have to be sorted through and taken care of.

For most people, this is a bittersweet time. Painful memories are sure to arise as you sift through the remnants of a loved one’s lifetime, but you may also find that there are positive associations, as well. Although there is no right or wrong way to go about things, here are a few tips for sorting through a loved one’s personal effects after they are gone. (more…)

Using Technology to Connect with the Dead

Friday, August 29th, 2014

Social network of relatives and friendsBefore we had YouTube and home video recorders, prior to social media and voice recordings that could be stored online, there were few ways to connect on a personal level with the deceased. You might be able to look through old photos or visit the cemetery to help you in your grief. Personal belongings might also contain memories and—if it hasn’t been too long—may even retain sensory impressions, like the lingering scent of a favorite cologne.

These sorts of tenuous connections to the past are important in the (more…)

Managing Grief around the Holidays

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Holiday candlesIf you’ve done any funeral planning this past year or buried a loved one, the holidays are going to be a difficult time. No matter how well you might be handling your grief, there’s something about the holiday season that tends to throw people into a tailspin of bereavement. Memories tend to rise up in a big way, and it can be difficult amid all the hustle and bustle of good cheer to find the support you need to make it through.

Among well-wishers pushing you to “move on,” the general stress that always arises this time of year, and the spirit of a season meant to bring joy (but which often does the exact opposite), it’s important to carve out a place for your grief.

  • Expect a Change in Your Feelings: Maybe you’ve been working through your grief and have come to a kind of acceptance lately. Maybe you’re still incredibly angry and spend part of every day in tears. No matter where you are on your journey, expect there to be a change. Feelings of isolation and loneliness are common this time of year, and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the warning signs for depression. The important thing is to recognize that ALL feelings are okay, and that the increased intensity of them is only natural around the holidays. (more…)

How to Manage a Loved One’s Affairs After They are Gone

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

From time to time, those of us at iMortuary find great resources from within the industry we are delighted to share. Une Belle Vie Memorial Urns, is a company we admire for their commitment to customer service and quality to the consumers they serve online and over the phone.   They empathize with their customers’ challenges in managing estate finances and administration; to help families facing these tasks, they have developed a free downloadable guide to managing a loved one’s finances after they’re gone.

When a loved one passes, the family’s first and most pertinent task is to organize the funeral and/or memorial, which can be daunting during this time of mourning.  After the funeral, families often struggle with what to do next regarding their loved one’s possessions, property and, most importantly, their finances.

Managing Finances After They Are GoneUne Belle Vie Memorial Urns, a company that offers unique and custom cremation urns, offers a free downloadable step-by-step guide to managing a loved one’s finances after they are gone. The guide includes how to contact the appropriate government and financial agencies, how to close or transfer accounts, and how to claim death benefits.

Especially during a time of mourning, everyone can use some guidance and direction.

The free guide is available for download at



Writing a Condolence Letter

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Writing a Condolence LetterMost people are familiar with sending sympathy cards upon the passing of a friend or relative, or even with sending funeral flowers or some type of gift basket to show their concern. These types of funeral gifts have become mainstream, allowing individuals from all over the country to participate in the funeral even if they can’t be there in person.

One way in which to take this type of sentiment to the next level is to write a condolence letter. So much more than a sympathy card, a heartfelt condolence letter provides a way to reach out to those in need through your words and deepest sentiments. And because this type of letter is meant to be sent on paper through the mail, it tends to mean much more than an email or other online message.

Differences between a Sympathy Card and a Condolence Letter

Sympathy cards are typically short notes that you either purchase or make to let a family know that you are thinking of them. Much like a birthday card or other commemorative item, the sentiment is short and sweet (although these particular ones express sympathy rather than joy).


Bereavement Programs for Kids

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Bereavement Programs for KidsIn the death care industry, we tend to look only at the first few weeks following the death of a loved one. From figuring out funeral plans to coordinating long-distance relatives flying in for the memorial service, you’ll find plenty of information about the details of putting a loved one to rest.
However, for many families, the real challenge of coping with death occurs in the weeks, months, and even years following. This is especially true for children, who may not have the coping skills necessary to process the death of a close friend, sibling, or parent.

Childhood bereavement programs exist to help children, adolescents, and their families to understand and move forward from death, terminal illnesses, or even long-term separations. Drawing from clinical specialists, psychologists, counselors, and even religious leaders, these programs can provide some much-needed support during a difficult time.

Kids’ Bereavement Program Options

Every bereavement program for kids will vary depending on where it is located and who is funding it. Because this is such a pivotal time in a child’s life, it’s important that you know exactly what the program entails and who will be running it. Most funeral directors can provide you information on hospital- or clinic-based programs in your area, and this is generally considered a good place to start.


Cemetery Etiquette: How to Be Respectful when Touring a Cemetery

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Cemetery Etiquette: How to be Respectful when Touring a CemeteryVisiting a cemetery is something that almost everyone does at some point in their life. Whether it’s a trip to a local cemetery to say goodbye to a loved one, a stop at a famous cemetery as part of a grief tour, or simply because you want to enjoy the quaint setting and serenity to be found in a cemetery, there are plenty of reasons to stop by.

And while most cemeteries have regular visiting hours and encourage people to come in, it’s important to remember that these facilities are considered safe, sacred spaces for those who are mourning. In addition to following each cemetery’s individual guidelines, it’s also a good idea to follow a few general cemetery etiquette suggestions.

  • Don’t visit at night without permission. Most cemeteries have set hours of operation, which are listed on their gates or at the main facilities. Those without set hours are typically open from dawn until dusk, and don’t encourage nighttime visitors. If you do want to visit after hours, be sure and contact someone in charge to get permission first.
  • Don’t sit on, lean on, or make rubbings of the erected memorials. Headstones, vaults, crypts, and memorial benches are meant to stand for hundreds years. (And in historic cemeteries, many of them already have!) Do your best not to interact with the stone materials, especially if you don’t have permission first. Many cemeteries forbid headstone rubbings because of the additional wear and tear they cause. (more…)

Grief Tourism

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Grief TourismMost of us are already aware of the appeal of walking through an old cemetery. Rich with history and age, beautiful in terms of scenery, and filled with a sense of serenity that’s hard to capture in our modern world, older cemeteries have a park-like atmosphere that appeals to many different types of people.

This recent resurgence of interest in visiting cemeteries has led to a phenomenon known as grief tourism. Much less depressing than it actually sounds, grief tourism (also known as dark tourism) is considered any vacation or trip in which visiting cemeteries is the primary objective.

Where Grief Tourism Takes Place

The Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, which first opened in 1804, receives more than a million and a half visitors a year. (Many of them come to see the grave of Jim Morrison, although there are plenty other celebrities here to catch the eye.) Other popular Paris destinations include Montparnasse Cemetery and Saint-Denis, where many of France’s monarchs have been laid to rest.


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