Funeral Planning

Funeral Planning Information 


Click on the items below for helpful information. 

Could there be anything more difficult than preparing for a funeral? Certainly, such an end-of-life event is hard to look forward to with any great enthusiasm. And it doesn't matter if you're a member of the bereaved inner circle of close family, a co-worker, neighbor or family friend; preparing for a funeral service takes time and forethought.

If you're preparing to attend a funeral, memorial service, or celebration-of-life; the following tips and suggestions can certainly help in your funeral preparations. Naturally, if you have any questions about preparing for a funeral, you should call us at (740) 335-2590. We would be pleased to serve you in any way we can.

What Does "Get Prepared" Really Mean?

There's a line in William Shakespeare's play Henry V, which cuts to the heart of preparedness: "All things are ready, if our mind be so." Readying your mind means strengthening it for what's ahead: all the people, sights, sounds and strong emotions of the day.

In other words, getting ready to attend an end-of-life service is not just a matter of picking out the right clothes to wear; it's also essential to prepare physically, mentally and emotionally for the occasion. After all, you are going to be there to support the bereaved family, as well as the others who attend; and that takes inner strength and emotional fortitude. Never underestimate the importance of your presence there—to everyone in attendance. 

To make it simple for you to find the information you need, we've grouped those details together under two headings: Dressing for the Occasion and Getting Physically, Mentally and Emotionally Prepared.

Dressing for the Occasion

What is expected of us when attending a funeral service today is far different from the expectations of those living in the Victorian era. According to Alison Petch, a researcher Oxford University, "in those years, black clothing was worn for the funeral and for a year following the death...by close relatives, gradually being replaced by other dark colors." 

As we moved into the twentieth century, the Roman and Victorian demands became less strict; "people attending a funeral wore semi-formal clothing, which for adult men would usually mean a suit and tie in dark colors".

Without a doubt, these strict special dress requirements have fallen by the wayside, at least to some degree. Although many websites proclaim that black is the right color to wear for a funeral today, wearing a color other than black isn't seen as disrespectful; but you want to avoid wearing brightly colored or wildly patterned fabrics (unless actually requested to do so by the family). And for women or girls, a modest appearance is preferred.

Certainly, if you've got additional questions about what to wear to a funeral, call us at (740) 335-2590.

Get Physically, Mentally and Emotionally Prepared

The death of a loved one is among the most stressful experiences we will ever endure. The early days of bereavement, are a time of frayed nerves, when emotions run high and hours of restful sleep are hard to find. These difficult days are then followed by the funeral service (where, even though you're grief stricken, you're expected to perform with some social grace). How can you possibly survive; or better yet thrive, during such trials as these? Here are some suggestions we believe you'll find valuable:

  • Maintain a state of "mindful awareness". The tendency when something bad happens to us, like the death of a loved one, is to detach from our physical, emotional and social selves. To "get numb, and stay that way" - but this effort to separate ourselves from what's happening isn't always in our best interest. Instead, you should seek to be "mindful": to keep your awareness on the present moment (not the past, and certainly not the future); all the while acknowledging (and accepting) your feelings, thoughts, and bodily reactions to your loss. Only then can you, in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer, accept the things that cannot be changed, have the courage to change the things which can (and should) be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Certainly, you cannot change the fact your loved one has died; but you can change (at least to some degree) the way you react to the loss–and that takes a certain sense of mindful self-awareness.
     
  • Do everything you can to stay physically healthy. The list of physical symptoms of grief is long: fatigue, body aches and pains, loss or change of appetite, shortness of breath, digestive issues, feelings of heaviness, and tightness in your throat or chest. When faced with an onslaught of physical symptoms like these, it's hard to know exactly how to deal with them. The first step is to recognize and name what your body is experiencing. Only then can you do something to change the way you're reacting to the loss. During these days before the funeral:
  1. Stay hydrated: drink eight (8 ounce) glasses of water.
  2. Eat regularly: small meals and snacks are often better-accepted than large, calorically-laden one.
  3. Rest regularly: you may find nights are long and sleepless, so don't be adverse to taking short cat-naps throughout the day.
  4. Move your body: take a walk or hike, go to the gym, or enjoy a leisurely swim.
  5. Nurture your senses: listen to music or the sounds which abound in nature.
  6. Engage in prayer or meditation: tap into, or get reacquainted with, your spiritual side.
  7. Reduce your list of necessary activities and chores: now is the time to delegate tasks to others, so you can devote your time to self-care.
  • Reach out to your support network. Neighbors, friends and family members can be your lifeline right now - and some of them may even be coming to you right now to see how they can help. Don't turn them away; instead, give them the opportunity to give the gift of service. Allow them to walk this path with you for as long as, and in whatever ways, they can. The same goes for the network of professional caregivers: don't neglect to turn to clergy, your family physician, therapist, or grief counselor if you feel your bereavement to be more than you can handle (now, or at any time in the future).
     
  • Prepare to speak less and listen more. End-of-life ceremonies (whether a "traditional" funeral, memorial service or celebration-of-life) offer those gathered the chance to share their feelings, tell stories and take comfort from one another. Don't spend too much time talking, unless it's to share something truly meaningful (about the deceased and your relationship to him or her) with others; instead, be ready to listen with a whole heart. This is a time for respectful interactions with other mourners; a time for focusing on the life of the deceased, and also a time for renewing the ties which brought you all together in the first place.

Let Us Help with Your Preparations

Who better to turn to for assistance in preparing for a funeral? We've got the experience and insights which could make this situation easier for you and those you love. If you have questions about preparing for a funeral service—either as a member of the family or as a guest—we're here to support you in any way we can. We're standing at the ready; simply call us at (740) 335-2590.

Sources:
Shakespeare, William, "Henry V"
Petch, Alison, "Funeral and Mourning Clothing", England, the Other Within, accessed March, 2015

How to Plan a Cremation Service

Before the Cremation Decision is Made

1. Learn about your cremation options. Review the cremation information found on our website. 

2. Engage your family in a discussion. We urge you to bring your family into the conversation to get a better idea about how they feel about cremation and what they would prefer.

3. Speak with a funeral professional. If there are any questions or concerns, please turn to us for the insights you may need at this point.

4. Document your cremation intentions in writing. There are a number of forms we can provide to take this step. Call us at (740) 335-2590 to learn more.

5. Arrange for the transportation of your loved one's physical remains. We can escort them to our facility or directly to the crematory.

After Deciding on Cremation

6. Consider what kind of ceremony you would like to have. You can plan for a traditional funeral followed by the cremation or delay the ceremony until you have the time to plan a memorial service, celebration-of-life, or scattering ceremony.

7. Ask for assistance from your family and friends. When making plans for a meaningful event, encourage everyone to get involved. Ask them to gather family photos, write down the stories they'd like to share, and talk to them about the best location for the event. If you would like a eulogy, this is the time to ask someone special to take on that task.

8. Select the music, prayers, or other readings. You don't have to have any of these things but you should decide exactly what you and your guests will do at this event. There are endless possibilities.

9. Contact guests well ahead of time. This is especially important if they will need to travel or request time off from work.

10. Decide what will be done with the cremated remains. Commonly the urn is a visual focal point of a celebration-of-life. Will you then take it home? Will the scattering of ashes be a part of the event? You may want to purchase keepsake urns for family members.

Call on Us

We've had years of experience helping other families make cremation service arrangements. Never hesitate to pick up the phone to call us. We would be privileged to serve you and your family. Simply call (740) 335-2590 to speak with one of our funeral professionals.
 


How to Plan a Celebration-of-Life

It's really a process of asking–and answering–questions. Sit down with other family members, at least once, but maybe even more than once; to explore the celebration-of-life ideas which arise from answering these questions:

1. Who will be invited? The number of guests define the where, when, and how of your celebration-of-life. Write down the names of everyone you think would want to be there and then set it aside. You can add new names to the list as you go along.

2. Where, and when, should the event take place? Here's where your imagination is tempered by any scheduling or travel-related issues facing those who will be invited. Be sure to check in with out-of-town relatives and friends about their situation before settling on these critical details.

3. Who will orchestrate or conduct the event? If your loved one was religious, you may opt to have their pastor or church minister perform these tasks. However, many families today hire a non-denominational celebrant to oversee the celebration-of-life.

4. Who wishes to speak at the event? Many times family members or friends will be very direct about their desire to make a short presentation at the celebration-of-life; other times you need to come out and ask folks if they would be willing to publicly share their thoughts and feelings. Either way, you'll want to select those people who have shared a close relationship with the deceased and have something meaningful to contribute.

5. What group activities would be appropriate? We've heard some exciting celebration-of-life ideas over the years. This question involves thinking about what your loved one liked most about their life and gives everyone a remarkable space to share memories, laugh, and even cry together.

6. What food or beverages should be served?  What you serve may depend on the theme of your celebration-of-life, or may be based on your loved one's favorite dishes. It's entirely up to you; we've even seen "pot luck" celebrations-of-life where guests actually sign up to bring select foods and beverages.

7. What readings and music should you include?  Music is an integral part of life for many people, and a celebration-of-life is the perfect event in which to showcase the meaningful music of your loved one's life. But, if your loved one didn't appreciate music (and lots of folks don’t), it may be more appropriate to read chosen spiritual selections, or excerpts from literature.

8. What details of your loved one's life do you want to share with guests? Not every biographical detail needs to be highlighted; rather you're trying to capture their essence by telling revealing anecdotes or stories. Sometimes you can reveal their character by detailing one short moment in their life experience.

9. What decorations will you have? Many families create a tribute video and use it as the centerpiece of the event. Others choose to use a memory table of photographs and other memorabilia instead.

Let Us Help with the Celebration of Life

We know that's a lot to think about. But we urge you to take your time; be thoughtful, and don't hesitate to explore all the celebrations-of-life ideas which arise as part of this experience.

As we've said, we've got the experience which could make planning a celebration-of-life easier for you and your family. Don't hesitate to pick up the phone; call us at (740) 335-2590. Let's talk about your loved one's life; share some stories with us. We're confident that, together, we can come up with the perfect celebration-of-life event to suit your needs and expectations.

Funeral Service Trends

The needs and expectations of our families are changing and we've responded with funeral service optionstailored to these new expectations.

Two generations ago, traditional funerals (visitation, funeral service, and service at the cemetery) were common. It was what everyone expected.

But, as the demand for cremation services increased, there has been a shift in the types of services available. Many more families are choosing cremation and holding a memorial service afterwards. Family members and friends still came together to pay their respects to the deceased and find emotional support but they did so in less formal ways.

Today, another funeral service option, the celebration-of-life service, has become quite popular because there are no limits to the how, where, and when the life of a loved one can be celebrated. 

Thinking about Your Funeral Service Options

The arrangements you make will be influenced by the lifestyle of your deceased family member; the time of year, your budget, and the number of people in attendance. But you don't have to think about it all on your own; we're here to help. That's what we do; it's our passion to help families celebrate the life of their loved one. Just reach out to us; let us know what you'd like, and we'll tell you how we can assist you. 

Let's Talk

We invite you to learn how helpful we can be – just pick up the phone and call us at (740) 335-2590.

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