Posts Tagged ‘memorial’

How to Create a Memorial Space in Your Home

Monday, January 11th, 2016

How to Create a Memorial Space in Your HomeA funeral or memorial service is just the start of your bereavement process. Losing a loved one isn’t something you just “get over” or “recover from.” It’s a lifelong journey of finding ways to cope and enjoying the positive things that remain.

Funerals are a great way to kick start this grieving process, but they often leave a sense of emptiness behind. Once the funeral planning is done and the guests have departed, it’s time to begin finding your new path through life—often with only yourself to rely on.

For many, creating a memorial space at home is an ideal way to begin this journey of healing. In addition to allowing you a physical space to mourn (that’s not as far away as a cemetery), you may find comfort from having memories of the deceased so close by.

  1. Dedicate a space for the memorial. A mantelpiece is the most common location, but any niche or corner (or even a shelf on the bookcase) will do. A coffee table, a desk, or even an entire room you don’t use may also apply.
  2. Place an urn or photo in the space. If you had the deceased cremated, you can keep an urn of the ashes in the memorial space. If not, you can place a photograph or beloved item (shoes, a stuffed animal, a favorite hat, a trophy, an award medal, a wedding ring) in the center location. Anything that reminds you of the deceased and brings you joy will work.
  3. Consider flowers, decorations, and other commemorative items. There’s no rule about how many things you need to put in a memorial space, so feel free to include anything you feel is relevant to your relationship with your loved one. Some people also like to put up seasonal items (in much the same way you might place seasonal decorations at a grave site).
  4. Burn candles or make offerings. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may want to light special candles or burn incense. Aromatherapy candles can provide a double benefit if you choose soothing, healing scents that bring you personal comfort or remind you of the deceased. (Make sure you never leave anything on fire unattended.)
  5. Keep it up as long as you need. The great thing about a memorial space in your home is that you can keep it up year-round, and with the exception of an occasional dusting, you don’t need to do anything to maintain it.

The need for having a safe, physical space to mourn is why we have cemeteries and memorials in the first place. So much about death is intangible, and making a physical connection with those we have lost is difficult. A personal shrine or memorial space not only gives you more flexibility in your grief, but it allows you to personalize the process so that you can always feel connected.

Funeral Keepsakes

Friday, May 29th, 2015
funeral keepsakes

Funeral keepsakes often involve jewelry.

It can often be difficult to come to terms with the death of a loved one, especially if the deceased was particularly young or their death was unexpected. Although things like viewing the body or having an open casket can help with the process of saying goodbye, it can sometimes take more than that one final goodbye in order to truly let go.

Funeral keepsakes—ones that provide a physical reminder of the deceased—offer a way to link the past and the present, and to start moving through grief. This type of memento may not be for everyone, but if you’d like to have a more tangible memory, talk with your funeral director to learn more about the following options.

  • Thumbprints, Handprints, Footprints: For infants and very small children, a keepsake handprint or footprint can be turned into artwork for the home. Because it’s a fairly (more…)

Cemetery Etiquette and You

Saturday, May 16th, 2015
Cemetery Etiquette

Peaceful cemeteries help loved ones heal.

Most people know how to behave at a funeral or a memorial service, when respect and reverence are called for in equal proportions, but cemeteries provide a trickier funeral etiquette question. After all, cemeteries are public places open to the entire community—not only as a place to mourn, but to visit relatives, research local history, enjoy the ambiance, and even go for a jog.

Most cemeteries have their formal rules posted near the gates, and you should always take a moment to read them for specific information about where you can go and when. It’s also a good idea to follow these general cemetery guidelines. (more…)

Non-Denominational Sympathy Card Messages

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

condolences sympathy card Sending a sympathy card to a family who has just experienced a loss is a kind and low-cost way to show your support. Because too many funeral flowers can be overwhelming—and because many people would rather not receive financial support or gift baskets—sympathy cards allow you to share your regrets without overwhelming the family.

Because of the nature of death and dying, most sympathy cards and the messages for sympathy cards are religious in nature. However, not every family appreciates spiritual sentiments at this time, or you yourself may be agnostic/atheist and don’t wish to send a religious card. (more…)

How Celebrity Deaths Affect Us

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

How Celebrity Deaths Affect UsNothing arouses curiosity quite like a death—and a celebrity’s death is cause for even more speculation. In addition to questions about how and why a beloved media icon passed on, we often find ourselves questioning our own emotional responses. (more…)

What Will the Funeral of the Future Look Like?

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

Growing city skylineAlthough the funeral industry is typically slower to change than many other fields, there have been great advances lately regarding burial options, memorial services, and funeral technology. More and more people are turning to online platforms to share their grief and make their advance funeral plans, and the traditions of the past—heavy on the more ornate process of burial in a cemetery—are being set aside for more streamlined funeral options. (more…)

Benefits of an Outdoor Funeral

Sunday, May 18th, 2014

Outside funeral service in natureMost funeral plans revolve around a fairly traditional ceremony. Whether at the funeral home or at a local place of worship, family and friends gather to say prayers, sing hymns, share stories about the deceased, and pay their parting respects. While the details surrounding this ceremony vary (in addition to location, you can make decisions regarding funeral music, funeral attire, food and beverage options, audio-visual components, and the officiant), most of us have a fairly good idea of how the process works.

So too do we envision the graveside service. When the deceased chooses to be buried, it’s common to hold a second service at the cemetery, to say prayers and watch as the deceased is lowered into the ground.

(more…)

What to Send instead of Funeral Flowers

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Old Family ArtefactsThere’s no denying that it has become commonplace to send sympathy flowers and funeral bouquets to show your regard for the dearly departed. Adding a touch of color to the memorial service and bringing hope to the family, funeral flowers are a great way to demonstrate support and love.

However, funeral flowers aren’t for everyone. Whether the family asks you to skip the blooms in lieu of a charitable contribution, or if the deceased was concerned for the environment and is asking for a green funeral, you may be asked to send an alternative sympathy gift. Here are few ideas.

  • “In Lieu of” Donations: The most common non-floral gift is one of money. Many families will select a charity that meant something special to the deceased and ask for contributions to be made in his or her name. You can also find a charity of your own to support. Whether you formally make the donation in the deceased’s name, or if you give the money and leave things there, these kinds of gifts are lasting and meaningful. (more…)

How to Write Your Own Obituary

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Composing an obituary When it comes to funeral planning, some people prefer to have everything taken care of ahead of time. In addition to setting aside money for a funeral, this includes choosing things like caskets and headstones ahead of time. And if you really don’t want to leave anything to chance, you can also write your own obituary.

After all, no one can sum up your life quite as well as you can. Awards and achievements—those things that look good on paper—might make for a nice newspaper article, but they rarely capture who you are as a person and what kind of message you want to leave behind. If writing your own obituary and placing it with your estate plans is something that appeals to you, here’s how you can best go about it. (more…)

10 Ways to Dispose of a Loved One’s Ashes

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Loved one's ashes in a delicate urnCremation is gaining traction as the funeral planning method of choice, with over a third of Americans opting to be cremated over being buried. These numbers are only expected to continue rising, and estimates suggest that over half of all deaths will end in cremation by the year 2020.

Of course, just because cremation is becoming more popular doesn’t mean everyone will have to dispose of the ashes in the same way. One of the best things about cremation is how creative you can get with the remains. Here are ten unique and not-so-unique ways to say goodbye to your loved one.

  1. Display the Urn: Although some people find it macabre to keep a loved one’s ashes displayed on the mantle, this is a traditional option for anyone who wants to stay near their dear and departed. A decorative urn can be placed in the home or in a columbarium for regular visitations.
  1. Ash Scattering Ceremony: Most people opt to scatter the cremated remains of a loved one. Whether you go out back in the garden or stand on the bow of a boat and send the ashes off to sea, scattering the ashes is a great way to say goodbye (just make sure you have the right permits first) (more…)