Bad Grief! When No Body Comes Home

Missed PersonEach year, more than 1.8 million American men, women and children are reported missing. Although the majority of these people are located, many stay missing, leaving their families to wonder for years and years if the person they love is dead or alive. Sometimes, this situation is the result of a monumental tragedy, like 9/11, that strikes an entire community or nation. Other times, it’s as simple and as devastating as a woman with dementia walking away from her caregiver, never to be seen again. Whatever the circumstances, the uncertainty, pain and isolation felt by the person’s family and friends is the same…and unimaginable to those who haven’t experienced it.

When tragedy strikes and people are presumed dead, but no body is recovered, it changes everything that traditionally surrounds the natural process of grief. Two recent news stories have included just such situations–the missing Malaysian aircraft and the big mud slide in Washington State. Families and friends of those involved in these situations are experiencing this rare types of loss. They yearn for both answers and a starting point from which to confront their loss. However, without a body, the mind still wants to believe anything but the truth. Such deaths, called “ambiguous deaths” by the psychiatric community, require unique handling and sensitivity from family and friends as well as funeral professionals called upon to oversee the final arrangements.

Death in the news

Missing  370 Missing 370 in Sand  On March 8, 2014, Malaysian flight 370 disappeared without a trace. The nightly news has focused regularly on the recovery efforts by crews from more than a dozen different nations. More than one month later, not one fragment of the plane or its occupants has been found. The latest speculation is that the plane is at the bottom of a particularly deep part of the Indian Ocean, more than 2.8 miles from the surface. If this is true, there is little likelihood of the plane and its dead will ever be recovered. The pressure at such depths makes it impossible for any manned craft to navigate the area where the plane likely lies.

The 238 passengers and crew members of MH370 came from 13 different countries, but their families share a common pain, the roller coaster ride of hope and the despair of not knowing what happened to their mother, husband, daughter, father, wife or son.

Washington_Mudslide-088c6Another situation with unrecoverable bodies occurred recently in Washington State last month when a rain-soaked hill collapsed without warning, engulfing more than three dozen homes in a massive mudslide. As I write this, 36 bodies have been found and 10 people are still missing, including two children. Recovery efforts continue more than four weeks after the disaster.

Why are such enormous resources–both in manpower and money–expended trying to recover bodies long after it is reasonable to assume that a person could have survived? After 9/11, the recovery effort continues for more than eight months and ended with a solemn ceremony at the site. Our culture associates death with a body. Not having that body of our loved one disrupts the entire grieving process.

Grieving without a body

Grief On Hold

Grief Stuck In Limbo

In our society, we associate death and grieving with a physical body. Most funeral arrangements involve a viewing, where friends and family can share memories and get a last glimpse of the body that once was their friend or loved one. We usually follow that with a service that culminates in the lowering of the casket in the ground or the handing of the ashes to the survivors. Without a body, all of those traditions are disrupted.

Denial is one of the classic stages of grief. Our mind naturally wants to assume that our dead loved one will walk through the front door any minute. When their is no body, our mind can get stuck in this stage, even when all evidence points to the fact that the person is gone. This is why enormous amounts of time and money are spent on recovery efforts in situations like the mud slide and the disappearance of the Malaysian airliner even when the likelihood of finding a live person has long since passed.

Planning funerals without a body

Deaths where there is no body present challenges for funeral professionals as well as for family and friends. Like loved ones, funeral professionals are used to dealing with a physical body as part of the funeral rites, either as a burial or a cremation. A death without a body throws this traditional system out of alignment, while at the same time offering the challenge of trying to comfort a family during the most terrible time in their lives.

When Hope and Grief CollideDeaths without a body, while rare, are not unique to current events. After 9/11, friends and family of thousands of men and women missing from the Twin Towers had to deal with their grief even though fewer than a quarter of the bodies of those in the buildings had been recovered. Some chose to use an empty casket at the funeral to give the service a sense of normalcy. Others used caskets for whatever part of their loved one had been found, even if it was just a finger.

Often funerals without a body are handled similarly to memorial services, with photos and/or videos of the deceased adorning the service, so that family and friends are able to “see” the person who died one last time. Having the family put together these images, even making a video or a few photo collages can help in the healing process. Take it a step further and have the family create a memorial table filled with items that were important to the life being mourned .

When dealing with deaths where people are presumed dead but there is no body, it is important for funeral professionals as well as friends to be especially empathetic and willing to listen. Any death of a relative or loved one is somewhat isolating, but a death without a body can make the survivors feel that they are the only ones who have ever had to go through this anguish.
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It’s Not Easy Being The Last One To Let You Down!

Good Old Bernie

Good Old Bernie

The job of a funeral director is often misunderstood. Most people in this profession are driven by passion as much as the desire to pursue a career, some are just born into it. Being a funeral director is one of the most stressful jobs there is. You have to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and you see people going through some of the toughest times of their lives. Even people who are usually easy going become sensitized and hard to please. Details are everything and unlike wedding, you have very little time to pull it all together. It’s really hard to make and keep plans and your own family often suffers from your absence.

Funeral Guy

Going Doooown

The suits and fancy cars can mask alcoholism, depression and divorce are all part of the territory for funeral directors. Most people that go into the funeral biz are out of it in three to five years. Often portrayed as as opportunists and vultures, funeral directors don’t have an easy life. No wonder they prefer to keep to a rigid day-to-day routine and seek the shelter of tradition. Today, as funerals are quickly moving away from tradition, due to internet searches and the Baby Boomers’ desire to create new traditions. Funeral professionals are faced with even more challenges as they are forced to venture out of their protective, traditional bubbles. They need to either find a way to adapt to today’s needs or face extinction. Some are adjusting well but most are not!

Funeral Directors: a Final Friend

Funeral directors sometimes get a bad  press. However, the truth is that the vast majority of the more than 23,000 such professionals working in the United States are dedicated, compassionate and committed to facilitating the last wishes of the deceased and making it easier for their families. The best funeral directors are the best listeners and ensure that the funeral and burial rites go smoothly without imposing themselves into the proceedings. There is a fine balance between explaining the many new options while not coming off as a salesman of opportunity. That’s not as easy as it sounds.

What a funeral director does

A funeral director plays a number of roles. He or She is usually the first person that a family meets with when they visit the funeral home to begin planning a funeral. They are event planners that have one chance to get it right.  In that function, he or she is both marketing director and customer service representative, not to mention grief counselor.  They are also small business owners, who must order and maintain inventory (caskets, vaults, etc.), market their services and manage the bookkeeping. Funeral directors also act as human resource directors for their own staff, handling the hiring and firing, coordinating benefit programs and assigning work schedules. Funeral directors are also involved in transporting the dead (at all hours) preparing the deceased for viewings and burial, an art and science in itself.

The future of funeral homes

funeralhome1The way the American public looks at funerals and burial rites is changing quickly and dramatically. In an experienced based society funeral pros better step up to new challenges or go the way of the neighborhood butcher, baker and travel agent! Independent funeral homes, once fixtures in every town, have now mostly been absorbed by large, national corporations. As an industry, funeral professionals can do a better job, but to do so, they must be willing to come out of their comfort zones.

Just a few of the ways funeral professionals can embrace and adapt to changing views about the end of life include:

1. Your best form of advertising is to do good funerals!
Good FuneralsEach funeral / memorial is a custom created event that draws from all involved and weaves it into a special event that allows social healing and an open environment that provides a safe haven for people to share in their support for each other.
On the surface, if using the latest bells and whistles available to us such s video tributes, custom blankets, programs, funeral favors, memorial websites ect. will help support the goal of creating a healing experience, then why not use them to the best of our ability. If a specially trained MC that knows just how to draw on all aspects of a life lived and craft all that information into a well balanced and touching ceremony would help, then you should be hiring the best Certified Life Celebrant you can find. If you cannot find a good Celebrant in your area, you should find a person that you think would be good and pay for their training.

2. Using social media. A funeral home on Facebook? Why not? Increasingly, Americans are making plans for their funerals before they die and are shopping online for a funeral home just as they shop for someone to fix their furnace or landscape their front yard. However, less than half of funeral homes are using social media in their marketing plans.

By using social media platforms, like Facebook, funeral directors can take some of the “scary” out of the funeral profession, put a face on the business and become a more human part of the community. Show them how proud you are of your grand kids, while at the same time establishing themselves as experts in the industry.

3. Content marketing. Content marketing, the art and science of boosting your website’s–and your company’s–visibility by adding regular new, valuable and interesting content to your site is a natural for funeral homes. If someone searches on Google or other search engine for funeral home in (insert your geographic area), you what them to find your business, not the competition. Since most people plan very few funerals in their lifetime, you want to be the first business they encounter online. Content marketing, done well, can help you head the list in search engine results. Write about whats going on in your community and become a source for local news.

While more than 80 percent of funeral homes have a website, many use it primarily for information about funerals currently being planned by the business and/or for message books for friends and family of the deceased. While these functions are both important, funeral homes that don’t use their websites to marketing their services are missing a huge opportunity.

3. Blogging. Funeral Home SEOWhereas more than 65 percent of funeral homes use traditional newspaper advertising, less than 10 percent include blogging in their marketing mix. Adding regular blog posts to your marketing plan has several advantage. First of all, such posts will help your SEO efforts and make you more visible to families looking for someone to help plan their loved one’s funeral. In addition, the cost of blogging is negligible, especially when compared to the cost of print advertising.

The way the American public views and shops for funeral services is changing, and funeral directors need to be changing with it. There will always be a place for a competent, compassionate, efficient funeral director. The trick is getting the word to those who need such services in this increasingly digital marketplace.It’s Not Easy Being The Last One To Let You Down!
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Cremation Solutions on TV to Help Joan Rivers with her Dog’s Funeral

Dog Funeral

Joan and Her Beloved Max

Sometimes life–and death–surprises you. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear from the producers of the “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” reality TV show when they called me. It turns out that comedian, Joan Rivers is aware of our pet funerals and the urns, cremation jewelry and keepsakes we offer for people who have lost a beloved pet. Joan’s 12-year-old rescue Pekingese, Max had died and she wanted to do a show about a funeral for the dog. Of course, I said we would help, although I had no idea what to expect.

Planning a dog’s funeral

We started the funeral for Max by finding a location that worked well for Joan as well as hiring a New York celebrant to write and officiate at the service, Chris Shelly rose to the occasion. My friend Nancy Burban help us search for a location in New York City. One of the things Joan was most concerned about, and one of the reasons she called us, was the many options we have for displaying Max’s ashes. One of the scenes in the show takes place in Joan’s New York City apartment, where I’ve brought several of our urns, cremation jewelry and pet keepsakes to show her. Of course, with Joan, even funerals can be funny and she makes jokes about the different options. It was perfect blend of fun and serious.

Farewell to Max

Love Urns

Max’s Round Simplicity Urn

Joan decided on an urn during the segment and also wanted to get some jewelry to hold a few of Max’s ashes. She choose one of our Pandora-style cremation beads that matches the colors of Max’s coat, a charcoal, almost black hue.

She also decided to use our new “Loved One Launcher” to blast Max’s ashes all over his favorite stomping grounds. This piece of equipment can blast your loved one’s ashes up to 70 feet. The ashes can be mixed with confetti to give the launch a festive, party-like atmosphere. It’s a perfect salute to a being, like Max, who loved life.

We ended the show with Max’s funeral.

Admittedly, the funeral was a little bizarre, but the grief was real. As the owner of a rescue dog myself, I can relate.

You never know what you’re going to encounter in this business. I had fun doing the show. I think Joan and I had a little chemistry and the spontaneous jokes were streaming. This really was reality TV; nothing was rehearsed.

About “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best”

Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best” is a reality

Scattering Ashes

Joan Holds The Loved One Launcher Ash scattering  Cannon

series on WEtv, featuring comedian, Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa as they try to keep the peace while living under one roof. The 30-minute show debuted in 2011 when Rivers moved from Los Angeles to New York City and moved in with her grown daughter, Melissa. The show is just beginning its fourth season.

About Cremation Solutions

Although all of the attention and excitement of doing a TV show is nice (and kind of rare in our business), Cremation Solutions doesn’t just cater to celebrity dogs. We

Dod Funerals

Jeff Staab, Joan, Melissa and Padfoot

have a whole range of affordable pet funeral services as well as cremation urns, jewelry, keepsakes and art to help you remember all of your loved ones and keep them close to you even when they have passed. Check out the beautiful tapestry behind Joan and Melissa. It was a gift from Funeral Home Gifts.

Our episode on the “Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best” show airs on WEtv on April 12, 10 PM EST on the WE TV network. We hope you’ll tune in.
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Life Matters! What Will Your Monument Look Like

Why Do Humans Have Monuments?

Scary Man Monument

Are You Big And Scary!

Headstones and monuments  serve as an important piece of history that marks the life and memory of a loved one that has passed. The main purpose of these monuments is to mark where the soul has gone to rest, while bearing the name and lifetime for the deceased so that all can remember. Messages are important, but the material has to remain for a message to remain present. A monument provides you with a place to go and see your loved ones name and remember all of the things they did in their life.

Originally, humans would mark the place of rest with nothing more than a simple field stone. Natural stones such as sandstone, granite, marble, slate and limestone were all used at some point in history. Today, the most popular of all stones is that of granite.

History of Monuments

Natural Stone MarkersBack in times where cemeteries weren’t around, people would often have the burial plot near their family home. Most of the time, the grave was marked with rocks, rough stones or wood as a means of preventing the dead from rising. They mostly contained the name of the deceased, their age and what year they passed. Over the course of time, churchyard burials came into play and large, square-shaped monuments were prepared out of a slate material (1650 – 1900) or sandstone material (1650 – 1890). Inscriptions that were carved into the slate tended to be a little shallow, albeit readable.

During the 19th century, the public cemeteries evolved. Eventually, people started to note the importance of headstones as a means of memorializing those who passed on. They began engraving the headstones with a few words about the one who had passed. Often, those words were either written by the person who had passed or someone who was still alive. One of the biggest advantages to this is that when you read the information contained on the monument, it provides you with information about the deceased. It makes it easier to trace the family history for future generations.

Angel MemorialsIn the Victorian era (1837 – 1901), a strong emphasis was placed on practices and customs that were associated with death. It was during this period that the path was paved for elaborate monuments. When you went to the cemetery, it looked more like a park because of how lavish and elegantly decorated all of the monuments were.

Most of the tombstone symbols that arose from the Colonial period were more of a reflection of being fearful of the afterlife. They believed that very few people were going to be allowed into Heaven upon their passing. Their thoughts were that the majority of people were going to be deemed sinners and there was nothing that could be done about it.

Monuments 101: Everything You Need to Know

Many people opt to purchase a monument in advance. They do not want to wait until they are gone and leave the burden on those who are left behind. After all, who is the best person to decide what they want their marker to have on it than the person who passed away. Also, losing a loved one is stressful enough. The grief can be more than some can handle, so having made this difficult choice beforehand makes it easier on those you love.

Geek Monuments

Game Over!

Today, the majority of monuments and markers are composed of either marble, granite or bronze. Granite is one of the most sought after materials because of how durable the material is. Beyond lasting for years, it also looks beautiful on the site. Granite has been shown to withstand the elements quite well, so it won’t wear out quickly or break down before its time. Marble tends to be more of a sedimentary stone, so it is going to break down far quicker when exposed to the weather. Centuries can pass with no change in a granite stone. You can also choose to purchase a monument in a number of different colors and styles, so the stone can be crafted and designed to reflect the personality of the one who has passed.

Even though you don’t have to get a marker for someone who has been cremated, you might want to think twice about not getting one. The marker provides you with a place where you can go to reflect and find comfort in their passing. Some monuments actually hold the ashes inside. It is also an excellent means for marking the genealogical information of loved ones for any future generations to come.

The cost of the monument is going to vary depending on material, size, carving and etchings and the time spent to create and any extras that you add on to the piece like ceramic photos or a vase. Remember, you are going to get what you pay for. Make sure you are purchasing something that is going to last for years.

What Do You Want People to Remember You For?

Like Your Blackberry Much!

Like Your Blackberry Much!

You move through life from one day to the next like a well-oiled machine. Day in and day out you are doing one thing after another. Some of those things are quite valuable and exciting, while other tasks are mundane. Regardless of who you are, there are always things that you strive for. You want to do good and please all of those around you. Leaving your mark on the world is just one of those things that you want to do during your time on Earth. Heck, maybe we just want to make ourselves happy and do all of those things that we enjoy in life.

Many people don’t consider the aftermath of their actions. They only think about themselves and what they are going to gain out of it in the here and now. In reality, our actions could have a significant effect on all of those around us and how they might perceive themselves for the future. Truthfully, our existence will live on long after we are gone. In the days, nights, months and years once we have passed, our actions will continue to affect those who we cared about the most.

Monumental Fail!

Monumental Fail!

You are only a baby once. You only have one chance to be a toddler, child, teenager, adult and elder. You don’t get multiple times to go back in and make things right. It’s a one shot deal, so you want to make sure you do it right the first time to prevent any undue repercussions. With your one chance, you want to do everything you can to do things right. When you hit that fork in the road, you only get one chance to make a crucial decision. Regardless of what decision lies before you, there are no do-overs. It’s a one-shot deal, so you want to make sure you make the best decision possible. Don’t worry about the pressure being placed on you.

Headstone

Just Passing Through

Take the time to make a decision that is going to be in the best interest of yourself and those you love. No matter how much you pine for the past and regret the decisions you made, you cannot change them. They are what they are. You can only dream, wish and hope for a better future. As time progresses, you quickly learn that all of those things you did are an infinite reminder of who you were and what you became.

As humans, we are social beings. We thrive on being around others and communicating with them. In our everyday lives, we are surrounded by people from all walks of life, regardless of whether we like those people or not. You have to think about the fact that you only have a certain amount of days with those individuals, so don’t you want to make the best of it while you can?

Statue

Almost Glad I Didn’t Know Her!

Once you pass on, you are never forgotten. Those who knew who you were and had the chance to interact with you are going to have sentiments and thoughts about you and how you lived your life and acted toward others. Since you only have one chance for every moment, you want to make that chance count. People are going to think about the time they spent with you. The conversations they once had with you are unforgettable. For some, they will mourn your passing and lament on how your life was. On the other hand, there will be those who are happy to see you go.

It doesn’t matter what the case may be, you are in control of whether people are going to have positive thoughts about you or ones that are filled with resentment and hate. Don’t let it be the latter. Have a positive influence on everyone you come in contact with. Life isn’t all about what people believe and say once you are gone. It is really about how you lived your life while you were here. Did you make the most of your life? Did you do everything you could to enjoy it? You are the only one who can determine what journey you are going to take, so make it a good one.
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Suicide is Fatal

 L'Wren Scott

L’Wren Scott

Last week, fashion designer and stylist, L’Wren Scott took her own life at her Chelsea apartment in New York City. She hung herself. Ms. Scott’s death made newspapers and website headlines around the globe because she was the long-time girlfriend of veteran rocker, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones. However, Scott is just one of more than 38,000 people who die of self-inflicted injuries in the United States each year. In fact, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America, according to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. Although such persons may have felt alone at the end, on average, a person who commits suicide has six survivors.

Why suicides are particularly difficult for survivors

 

Grief Talk

What Would You Want To Hear?

Suicide deaths are particularly difficult to handle for both survivors and funeral directors. Often the person is young. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the third most common cause of death in Americans aged 15 to 24. Almost always the death is unexpected. Unlike deaths from illness or those who die at the end of a long and happy life, those who die from suicides are healthy one day and gone the next. Rarely do family and friends have an opportunity to say goodbye. Too often survivors are plagued with guilt, wondering if they had missed the signs and/or if there had been anything they could have done to prevent the suicide.

The truth is that 95 percent of people who take their own lives suffer from a mental illness–either diagnosed or un-diagnosed, according to grief speaks.com. Such people generally aren’t thinking about the pain and the anguish their death will cause their friends and family. At that moment, they can only see their own pain.

Suicide is also often a spur-on-the-moment decision. According to a Harvard University study, more than 70 percent of those who survived a suicide attempt said that they tried to end their life within 30 minutes of making the decision. That short window of time, obviously, doesn’t give the person a change to fully examine all of the ramifications and consequences of their action.

Why Suicide funerals are the hardest funerals to swallow

Funerals for those who have committed suicide can be some of the most difficult funerals for funeral directors to plan as well as for families and friends. For one thing, most suicides are unexpected and family and friends haven’t had time to think about what sort of arrangements the deceased may have wanted. That is especially true when a young person dies.  In addition, family may still be in shock and denial about their loved one’s death. This can hamper decisions like choosing a casket, a service and a burial site.

 

Funeral ProfessionalFuneral planning suicide: how funeral directors can help

Handling the funeral arrangements for a person who has committed suicide can be a challenge for funeral directors, but it can also be an opportunity for your funeral home to help start the healing process for family and friends.

 

Helping survivors cope

Funeral directors are in a unique position to help survivors of suicide fatalities to cope with their loved one being gone. According to the Harvard University study, there are several things that funeral directors (and others) can do to help suicide survivors cope.

  • Normalize the situation. People who have had a family or friend die from a suicide tend to feel isolated and even ostracized from the rest of society. This may come, in part, from traditional church views condemning suicide and the stigma that still remains about suicide. Treating the funeral arrangements and planning as if it were any other funeral can help the family and other survivors cope with the situation. Avoid making the arrangements seem anything but a “typical” funeral.
  • Allow them to talk. Suicide survivors may have no one else with  whom to share their feelings. Allow a little extra time for such consultations so that you have time to listen if necessary.
  • Provide information about support groups. Suicide survivors may not be comfortable talking to their friends and co-workers about the cause of death. In fact, according to the Harvard University study, nearly half of the survivors surveyed explained the death as an accident or other mishap rather than a suicide. Having information on support groups available can help such persons find others who have been through such a situation and help them to realize that they aren’t the only ones.

Planning a funeral for someone who has committed suicide can be a challenging–and a rewarding–experience. Keeping in mind that family and friends of such persons have special needs in the grieving process and doing what you can to keep the funeral planning as “normal” as possible can go a long way to helping start the healing process for those left behind.

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New Collection of Funeral Poems

Funeral Poem#1
We walk through the valley in the shadow of death
Shedding light to the families in grief
We make their loved ones look beautiful one last time
So their goodbye to life is tolerable for those left behind
We hold up those closest to the ones that have passed on
Giving them silent strength to face the sadness ahead
We care for Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister one last time
As if we knew each one of them personally
We offer them the one thing they can’t give to themselves
A dignified goodbye.

#2
I remember grandmother differently.
We would stay up late when I spent the night, much later than mom or dad would let me
We would drink hot cocoa and talk about Santa Claus.
We would bathe her cockatrice parrot together and laugh as he tried to escape the sink.
This is the essence of my grandmother.
Her laugh will follow me down hallways and through deep dreams, it is unforgettable, unexplainable.
They call it her final “resting” place, but I cannot find any rest here.

Then the funeral director came.
He sat and listened when no one else wanted to listen to a 9 year old.
He wanted to know my memories of grandmother, he shared with me his own memories of his “nana”.
When he spoke about grandmother he included my stories, he told everyone she will live on in us.
He let me say goodbye to grandmother alone.

Even now that I am a man, I remember the affect his simple gesture of a warm smile had on my life.
How much laughing together about memories can ease the pain, how humanity can resonate with you.
I want to thank him but there is no adequate way to do so.
He would always tell me “I am just like you, we all go through this, I am happy I can help.”
I will never forget grandmother, and I will never forget the man who helped us truly honor her memory.
Thank you, to everyone who has helped a stranger,
and to the special people who devote their lives to it.

Selecting Funeral Music

#3
Now that I have gone, imagine instead that I have only returned
Before I entered this world, I was the same as I am now
I truly came from pieces of the universe
I was the universe experiencing itself
Now I have taken a new form
My essence returns to the planet which provided me with so much
My memories, my words, my actions, my loves.
They live on in those that come after me.
If you look for me, look behind your eyelids.
If you weep for me let they be tears that slide out during slumber
If you whisper to me let it be in the ears of my children
If you visit me may it be when you return with me to the next journey

#4
You are not a ghost, we loved you too much to leave anything unfinished.
Yet I hear the house moan for you in the sleeping hours.
I smell your perfume as I let the shower warm my joints, stiff from sleep.
In the corner of my eye the shadows bend as you try to take shape.
When you favorite song comes on, the singer now sings it differently.

If I am haunted by anything, it is the strength of your love.
If there is a ghost it is me, constantly reliving the past.
I am a residual haunting, I am a residual haunting.
If there are skeletons they are within me and closets.

Death cannot touch us, it can only halt us.
Nothing is lost in the end, the time we borrowed goes on.
I do not sleep alone, you are part of every dream.
These creaking boards, these slamming doors.The music of our lives.

#5
The light never begs forgiveness, a beacon of time and being.
A testament of our earthliness, a blindness to our seeing.
The cruelty of the unknown, a callous trait of pace.
The beauty of a garden grown, mirrored by your grace.
Such temporary bliss we share, fleeting until the end.
Great complexity seems unfair, though cast into the wind.
Remember not the tears and woe, remember not the pain.
Reflect the light of years ago, a glow that still remains.
Memories of love and bliss, a legacy to behold.
The light we will always miss, is ours to now unfold.
Infinitely your reflection travels, immortalized and compelling.
Continuing as the future unravels, within us forever dwelling.

#6
Who Broke God’s heart?
When did the world start?
Will she ever get married?
Is she even worried?

Seattle looks great from the looks of things
But I cannot afford your metal wings
I can see from this worn out part of time
It is our last shot so stop and taste the wine

Sandwich shop in downtown New York
Great place to start not so great to stop
A young man gets his plate and sits on down to talk
He asks her how she could and the courtesy of turning calls

His voice is getting louder reverberating off the walls
It is here where it all began you and me Arkansas

Who broke God’s heart?
Her name is lost to memory
but look around and I think you will see
He is trying to capture her in mountains and in trash
The sick that bridge the painted wall, and those hard up for cash
This woman she has plagued him for a billion years or so
He is painting her something, to ease his jealous soul
So many worlds he made none quite suited for
A place where he could recreate that day outside her door he says:

“Why is nothing else like her
All those people down there they are happier
I made them out of searching for a soul like she had
I made a lot of good things and I have seen a lot of bad
But nothing in this universe like her it drives me mad

Suddenly I can taste that evening at the opera house
You and me and death and his former spouse
We used to be friends you know, we used to jam some songs
But now he works against me, I shoulda seen it comin’ all along

You can see the school I went to deep under the sea
The kids I used to play ball with, fire, earth, and seed
The place where we first met, today they call it electricity
The sky can’t begin to hold….girl you are beyond pretty”

He is listening he just expects accountability
He has been through it all can’t you see the writing on the wall
His canvas is your face and his pillow is the sun
But just remember this whole place started with just one

Opened my eyes I hadn’t prayed in so long.
And on my bed God had left this song
at the end it said make it sound like her
Put her grace in each and every verb

I asked with a whisper “God why do you keep this earth”
He said “boy I tell ya, you guys don’t know your own worth.”

#6
The funeral was beautiful, it was like you were there.
These were your guests, not your mourners.
The table was set exactly as you would have it.
All your music was playing throughout, we smiled knowing you picked it.

The funeral home was truly that, a home. Our family filled it with your life.
We celebrated your accomplishments, we spoke of the ferocity with which you loved.
We truly felt the empty space beside us, you had gone on, we would be along ourselves some day.
The time you gave us with you on earth could never be long enough.

The greatest gift you gave us, was also the most temporal, it only made it more beautiful.

#7
Losing you felt like losing myself
I would give up everything to have you back, even my own health.
But life is not that simple and it never will be
The hardest part of all will be setting you free.
This task I fear and I feel too weak to stand
But this task I do not have to do alone, for there is another man.
This man he has cared for not only me but for our family,
This man has created your final resting place and I wish you could see
The calm he has brought and the strength he resonates
Makes me feel that I may be ready to face our fates.
I step to the podium to say my goodbyes
And as I step to that podium I can feel everyone’s eyes.
There is a knot in my throat and tears on my face
How I wish I could go back just to simply erase.
This terror I feel and the pain in my heart
Fades away when I look at that man, and I begin to start.
“Though you are gone you will always be with us,
we are like Dove’s, one is not complete without the other.
But this Dove that remains here is not alone or afraid
for she knows you have sheltered her under your wing.
And though she may not see or hold you again
She knows you are there, watching, loving, and waiting to be together again.”
With my final words I become overwhelmed with emotions sadness
I suddenly begin to feel like I myself may slip into this madness.
But this man, that man, is there in an instant and speaks to keep the order.
To my lover, I have said my goodbyes until time decides that we are ready to fly again.

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Remembering Our Pets when They’re Gone

 

If you’ve ever lost a beloved pet, you know that empty feeling you get when you open the front door and there’s no longer a wagging, happy tail waiting on the other side. And, although you may eventually open your home to another furry companion, there will always be a special place in your heart and your memory for the one that came before.

Although pictures and videos are nice ways to remember your pet, Cremation Solutions offers tangible remembrances of your dog or cat. We understand how hard it is to lose a pet. We’re pet owners too. That’s why we offer a wide selection of pet memorials, pet urns and pet cremation jewelry. Just a few of the products we offer to help you honor and remember your pet include:

  • Pet urns. Pet Ashes UrnsCremation urns are not just for human remains. At Cremation Solutions, we offer a complete line of pet urns, both simple in design and elaborate, in a variety of sizes. You can choose from urns shaped like a cat or a dog or even a horse’s head. There are small brass or pewter urns in traditional shapes and wooden urns that hold a picture of your pet. We even have an urn that holds a memorial candle.
  • Pet cremation jewelry.
    Jewelry for dog ashes

    Has an Inner Chamber to Hold Ashes

    Wearing pet cremation jewelry is another way to keep your pet close to you after he or she is gone. These tasteful lockets and pendants have a hollow space in the center where you can add a little of your pet’s fur, ashes or whiskers.

  • Crystal cremation jewelry. Crystal cremation jewelry uses a tiny bit of your pet’s ashes to create a beautiful and long-lasting crystal that can be crafted into a pendant or set into a ring. It’s a unique and lovely tribute to your pet that you can wear for years to come.
  • Garden stone memorials. Maybe you want a small stone memorial, plaque or statue to help honor your pet. At CremationPet Markers Solutions, we offer stylish markers for your garden that will remind you of your cat or dog every time you work in the flower beds, rake leaves or mow the grass. It’s like having a part of him or her in the garden with you. Garden stone memorials are particurlarly apt for those pets who enjoyed “helping” in the garden when they were alive.
  • Natural Garden pet memorials. Natural garden pet are the “green” and environmentally-friendly way to honor your pet. Each year, you can see how your pet’s ashes have helped the memorial tree to grow strong and tall. You simply bury your pet’s ashes in the ground when you plant a tree in your garden. Many people also add a small plaque at the base of the tree to quietly honor their furry friend. Planting a natural garden pet memorial is encouraging nature to recycle the energy that was your pet into a long-lasting, beautiful tribute.
  • Pet paw portraits. Pet Paw PicturesWould you like a reminder of your pet that you can hang on your living room or bedroom wall? Our pet paw portraits use an image of your cat or dog’s actual paw print to create a tasteful and attractive piece of wall art. You can choose from 19 background colors and 19 contrasting colors. Pet paw portraits are available in small, medium and large sizes. You can even add text, such as your pet’s name, to the piece.

Remembering your dog, cat or even horse who has reached the end of his or her natural life doesn’t have to be a sad occasion.  Of course, you’ll also ways miss them. But with a pet memorial, pet urn or piece of pet jewelry, their memory will be with you for years and years to come. Visit Cremation Solutions to browse the wide variety of ways we offer to help you honor and remember your pet.

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Introducing Free Online Death Certificate Tool

For most people, trying to handle the various tasks associated with the death of a family member or friend can be extremely difficult. Therefore, they appreciate any help that can be provided concerning the collection of the information needed to process and complete the various paperwork, certificates, and permits needed by the funeral home regarding the funeral.

With the increasing use of technology in the funeral business, many tasks that use to be done exclusively on paper can now be done with computers either on the Internet or directly at the funeral home.

Scattering ServicesThis use of technology has many benefits for funeral home directors and their staff. In addition, the use of technology helps the grieving families in a variety of ways such as reducing stress, making the collection of information more efficient, and allowing the needed information to be processed quicker.

 

 

Recently a new tool was released that will make it easier for families to provide the information needed regarding a death certificate for the deceased. The new tool is a free online death certificate form that allows families to go online to enter the information required to process and file a death certificate. Once the informationOnline Death Certifiacte Information is completed online by family members using the online death certificate form, an email is sent to the designated funeral home staff who use the information to obtain a death certificate for the deceased. Moreover, the free online death certificate tool is helpful to funeral homes because it allows the staff at funeral homes several helpful options for acquiring the information needed to process a death certificate.

Funeral Arrangments

Conveniently Give Death Certificate Information Online

The free online death certificate tool is available at Cremation Solutions.com. The link to gain access to the tool is: http://blog.cremationsolutions.com/death-certificate-information/

The death of a love one is a very emotional time. During this time, many things need to be done. One of the most important is providing the funeral home with the information needed for the deceased’s death certificate. Without the needed information, a death certificate cannot be processed and filed, and a death certificate is needed before a burial or cremation permit can be issued. Therefore, the death certificate is very important. As a result, the utilization of the free online death certificate tool serves three vital roles that are:

  1. Allow the family members the opportunity to complete the required information online for the death certificate whenever it is difficult to arrange a time for the family members to meet at the funeral home to provide the information.
  2. Allow the family members the opportunity to complete the required death certificate information online before they come to the funeral home so they can speed-up the death certificate process.
  3. Allow the family members to avoid a situation where they meet at the funeral home to provide the death certificate information but cannot provide all the information needed during the meeting, which will slow down the death certificate process.

All funeral professionals, funeral home directors, and funeral home staff are encouraged to visit Cremation Solutions.com to utilize the free online death certificate tool. This tool helps to make the collection of information for a death certificate quicker and more efficient.

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Funerals and Weddings What’s The Difference

Funeral Planning

The differences are be subtle but they are there nonetheless. The biggest is probably that people do not usually do the “chicken dance” at a funeral, and even if someone does, it rarely catches on.Chicken Dance

At a funeral, depressed people cry and scream in pain, this does not happen until months after a wedding.

At a funeral, teary eyed mourners step up to the podium to eulogize the departed. At a wedding reception a drunken idiot stands at the podium and makes an inappropriate toast about the time he bagged the bride.

After a funeral the guest of honor leaves in a long black limousine,

Funerals and Memorials

Exceptions Are Rare!

while the guests of honor at a wedding leave in a puke green Honda Civic with a crumpled fender and tin cans dragging behind them. No one writes cute little sayings in soap on the rear window of the hearse either.

If the groom is not up for the wedding night there’s always Viagra! and it works for while, but with embalming the whole body is stiff and theirs no need to call your doctor after four hours.

You will only have one funeral.

When funeral services end, people go home and reflect on the life of a lost friend or relative. When weddings end, people end up in all sort of places, some vomit uncontrollably in a holding cell.

The gifts are usually better at weddings. Re- gifting for funerals is just not cool.

It’s considered tacky to do the “hokey pokey” at a funeral but at a wedding …. well, never mind.

Funeral Dancing

One More Dance With Grandma….Anyone?

Bands have a hard time booking gigs at funerals but no problem turning a wedding into a wake.

The music is better at funerals, and no one is jealous of the attention the guest of honor receives.

Funerals end at the graveside; weddings in the lawyer’s office.

Weddings require months of planning and cost a small fortune to pull off. Funeral Planning takes a few days and is usually more entertaining.

Funerals don’t have after parties, just after lives.

At a woman’s funeral, her friends are not forced to wear hideous dresses so they don’t upstage the corpse.

Weddings are blessed affairs in which two lovers are united forever in the eyes of God, and their families become one, sharing holidays, breaking bread, loaning money, and opening their homes to each other. A funeral finally puts an end to all that bullshit.

Elvira at a funeral

It’s Not Cool to Bring a Date to Funerals, Elvira is The Exception!

At a wedding single women scramble to catch the bride’s garter, signaling that they will be next. The tradition isn’t nearly as popular at funerals. Again Elvira is the exception!

If you shove a piece of cake in a corpse’s face, no one cheers.

Cremation May be Appropriate

Funeral Crashers Are Rare!

After a funeral people fight over who gets what, but after a wedding the bride knows just what shell get! …OK, that might be a bad example.

Falling in love and getting married makes the couple feel like they were struck by lightning, a corpse just feels like it was struck by a bus.

The deceased goes straight to heaven while a marriage goes straight to hell.

People attending a funeral come to show their respect to a dearly departed loved one. People only go to weddings for the open bar.

Paulbearer

Paulbearer

Weddings have an adorable ring bearer. Funerals just have pallbearers, and they aren’t usually that adorable either.

An Elvis impersonator can perform a wedding at a drive through chapel. Try the same thing at a funeral and everyone acts like you are some kind of jerk.

A funeral marks the end of a person’s life. A wedding marks the end of two lives.

At a funeral, the mother-in-law stops being such a bitch.

When a funeral ends guests leave the church and move to the cemetery, after a wedding guests move to the banquet room of the Motel 6.

Nobody buys the deceased a toaster, and if you do everyone gets really pissed off.

The deceased’s make-up is usually better than the bride’s.

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Wild Animal Funerals

Humans Connect

Remember Where You Came From and Hold On...

As humans, we like to think of ourselves as evolved, after all we are at the top of the food chain, but somewhere along the way we’ve lost our inner sense of value and compassion for a human life. When a loved one was lost, having a funeral was automatic, followed by a period of deep mourning that would last for weeks, months, or even years.

Somewhere along the way we’ve become a disposable society that has lost our ability to value life. In the past, when a loved one passed away, we used to hold three-day wakes prior to the funeral. However, in recent times people moved on to more a memorial service at the convenience of the family. That is the sad reality of how humans have evolved in the grieving process in the age of technology. As technology has progressed and lifestyles have become more hurried the grieving process has gotten to the point where it’s become almost forgotten. We as humans need to remember what’s really important and start setting aside time to honor our dead loved ones and pay our respects.

It might surprise you to find out that humans are not the only animals that grieve the loss of their loved ones or hold vigils. Many members of the wild animal kingdom celebrate the lives of their loved ones in ways that would put us as a society to shame. We should all take a lesson from the way they lovingly hold vigils over the bodies of their loved ones and protect them, about the value of life and our presence here on earth.

Elephants

Elephants are the most compassionate of all wild animals when it comes to mourning death and loss. They have even been known to extend this compassion to elephants that aren’t related to them as well as other animals and even humans. They have a true respect for all life forms that we should take a lesson from.

When elephants encounter the body of a deceased animal they always stop and try to lift it to its feet several times using their trunks. If they are unsuccessful in their attempts, they will sniff and poke it before burying it with leaves, branches, grass, dirt, or whatever is available.

After burying the body, they usually leave. However, if the deceased animal was a relative they will remain by the body for several days or weeks mourning the loss of their loved one, leaving only to get food or water. Sometimes elephants will even become depressed and even starve themselves in reaction to their loss.

Dolphins

When a member of a dolphin pod dies, the other members will stay with the body and rally together to keep any potential harm from coming to the body. If something tries to move towards the body the other dolphins will become agitated and loom around to prevent it from getting too close.

The other members of the dolphin pod usually lift the body close to the surface and stay with it for several days while they try to come to terms with the loss of their loved one. They only leave the body when absolutely necessary to get air.

Chimpanzees

Chimp FuneralWhen chimpanzees lose a loved one they become very depressed and saddened much like we do. They mourn together as a group and comfort each other. However, they have a deeper grieving process than ours. Often, they will get so upset and depressed that they will refuse food.

Chimpanzees have a very interesting grieving process. The grieving and separation process takes them a little bit more time. We have often heard people say that they aren’t ready to let go yet, or that they aren’t ready to say goodbye yet. The chimpanzee doesn’t let go or say goodbye until they are ready.

They will maintain their routines and interrelate with their loved one for weeks or months until their loved one’s body has decayed so badly that they are unable to continue to do so. Only then will they leave their loved one to rest. This routine gives them more time to accept the loss of their loved one, so that they can feel closure in their hearts.

Gorillas

When a Gorilla loses a loved one, they mourn the loss quite deeply. They will pound on their chests and howl loudly. They will also hold informal wakes and funerals, at which other members of their gorilla family will come in, view the body, smell and touch it. If it’s a close family member, some gorillas have been known to become very depressed and stop eating.

Wolves

Funeral for a WolfWhen a member of a wolf pack dies all of the other members of the pack become extremely depressed and it takes them weeks to recover from their loss. With drooping ears and tails, they resist playing to pay homage to their lost friend.

Magpies

Magpies also mourn the loss of their fellow feathered friends and hold funerals of sorts. When they encounter a deceased bird they will first try to revive it with their beaks. If that doesn’t work, they will cry loudly. Ultimately, they will cover it with grass, straw or whatever they can find, pay their respects, and then fly off.

What We as Humans Should Learn From This

Life is busy, but it’s not so busy that we can’t take the time to grieve and acknowledge the loss when a loved one dies. Attending a funeral service for your loved one isn’t just about you or how busy you are. It’s about them, and supporting their family members and other friends.

We as a society should take a lesson from our friends in the animal kingdom and learn to value our lives and the lives of our loves ones. Although the extremes to which wild animals grieve such as starving would not be appropriate for human life, we should take heed to their caring and gentle way of holding vigil over their friends who have passed away and put ore thought into funeral planning.

The way these animals painstakingly hold vigils in much the same way as we used to hold wakes should remind us how important that time is to help us cope with the loss of our loved ones, and to help us get through the grieving process. Not only does it allow us the opportunity to honor our deceased loved ones, but it gives us a chance to say goodbye.

Grieving and supporting each other is crucial when it comes to accepting the loss of a loved one. A wake and a funeral gives friends and family the opportunity to see their loved one for a final time, and a chance to say goodbye. That little bit of closure, and that opportunity to stand vigil and be close to their loved one, one final time is important to the coping and grieving process.

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