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New Trends in Cremation

As a way to memorialize the remains of the deceased, cremation is nothing new. However, there are many cremation trends that are new, and increasing in popularity every day. This field continues to open up new ways for families to preserve and cherish the physical remnants of lost loved ones, in ways that are specific to their values and preferences. This article will outline just a few of them. Among the biggest trends in cremation is the development of original keepsakes. Families commission original pieces of jewelry to be made—necklaces,... read more

Is an Outer Burial Container Required by Law?

When planning a funeral, and opting for burial in a cemetery, many individuals have obvious concerns about costs adding up and what ultimately is or is not required. A very common question that many people ask in the funeral planning process is that of whether an outer burial container is required by law. Outer burial containers, also known as burial vaults or grave liners, are most commonly used in that of a traditional funeral. Ultimately, this structure is put in the ground prior to the burial and the casket is placed within it. An outer... read more

What Happens When Someone Dies Under Hospice Care, or In the Hospital

What happens when a loved one dies? What are the logistical steps that you must take to ensure that their body is properly taken care of, and carefully moved to the site of the funeral home? There are different sets of protocols depending on whether the death occurs at home, under hospice care, or in the hospital. This article will look at the latter two scenarios. For a loved one to die under hospice care is, frankly, easier to deal with than a loved one dying in other conditions. Practically speaking, there are simply fewer steps that must... read more

New Trends in Funeral Catering

Increasingly, funerals are not mere memorial services. Rather than being strictly somber and reflective, today’s funerals are often turned into celebrations of life. Family members take advantage of the opportunity they have to come together and enjoy family fellowship. They mourn together, but also look back on the deceased’s life with fondness, and use that fondness as a springboard for joyful and life-affirming parties. For many such celebrations, the event is restricted to the grounds of the funeral home. Grieving family members would... read more

Memorials that Honor Eternal Commitments

With Valentine’s Day at the forefront this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss ways that couples can honor their commitment to each other after the end of their lives. It’s true that “till death do us part” is a theme present in wedding ceremonies past and present—however, I for one know that many couples do not see that as the end, and look for ways to celebrate their love for one another for eternity. One popular way to do this, for couples who have opted for cremation, is to co-mingle their cremains together. What happens... read more

What Happens When Someone Dies at Home

Many of us hope that, when we die, we go peacefully in our sleep. We desire this for our loved ones, as well. However, dying at home brings a set of complications for the surviving family members. Who do you call? What do you do? This article will highlight some of the basics. Contrary to popular opinion, you cannot simply call the funeral home and ask for the deceased to be transported away. Funeral homes will not come to take the deceased until after the proper authorities have been called and a full medical investigation has been made. The... read more

Understanding the Difference between Funeral and Memorial Services

As cultural norms continue to change, the way we handle the passing of loved ones also evolves. Today, there are many ways that people choose to celebrate the lives of those they care about, leading some to question the true difference between funeral services and memorial services. With the introduction of new traditions and burial practices, many professionals may use the terms “funeral” and “memorial” interchangeably. However, there are some key differences that are worth noting if you are attending or planning a funeral or memorial... read more

Items of Remembrance to Share After a Loss

Honoring the deceased can come in many forms. During a wake or other commemorative service, guests may be presented with items of remembrance to honor the deceased. These items may take many different shapes or forms, but what they all have in common is that they are reminders of the loved one who has passed. Books of Remembrance This is a book that is set in a common area, typically during a wake or vigil service. Guests who have come to pay their respects to the deceased and the grieving family may sign in and write messages, memories, or... read more

Estate Planning & Pets: Something to think about

The concept of legally transferring pet ownership – should the pet’s primary caretaker pass away or become physically incapable of caring for their animals— is relatively new. The wildly publicized story of Leona Helmsley’s “richest dog in the world” raised global awareness of the possibility of estate planning for pets. The truth is that estate planning for pets is not something people frequently consider. Although pets are legally classified as property, to their owners, they are valued and loved members of the family. Attorneys that... read more

Understanding the Idea Behind a Non-denominational Funeral Service

When a person who has passed away didn’t follow one particular religion or faith, a non-denominational funeral can prove to be the most appropriate way to honor that person’s life. Instead of focusing on religious texts during the ceremony, the family can choose to take a more humanistic approach. This makes for a poignant funeral, even without a religious element. Even if the person who passed did loosely follow a religion, it is becoming increasingly common for families to use a non-denominational service in order to honor their loved one... read more

The Grieving Process: Helping Friends Cope with the Passing of a Pet

I grew up, from kindergarten to college, with family pets. These dogs and cats were much more than merely animals – they could be described as family members. Each had a unique personality, but they all possessed some intangible quality that made me feel safe and comfortable. It never got easier to say goodbye when they passed away. The nature of humanity gives us an unparalleled perspective among all of Earth’s creatures. We have the ability to build strong relationships with the awareness that those relationships will come to an end. Our... read more

What is the Difference Between a Casket and a Coffin?

In the United States, the words “coffin” and “casket” tend to be used interchangeably. However, they are very different from each other, and there is often great misunderstanding surrounding their true meanings. The word “casket” was first used as a euphemism for “coffin,” when it became seen as a somewhat offensive term. It held a meaning of finality, which is often difficult to face. However, the original meaning of the word “casket” referred to a box that housed special belongings, such as jewelry. Using the word “casket” to mean “coffin”... read more

Honoring the Life of a Missing Pet

Honoring the Life of a Missing Pet Though the passing of a pet can be difficult, it is no less painful to cope with a pet that has gone missing. Having a lost pet can be an agonizing process, oftentimes involving months of waiting, searching and posting dozens of fliers.  However, when it is finally realized that your beloved animal is nowhere to be found, a new set of issues comes into play. Euthanizing a pet or allowing him or her to pass away peacefully at home provides the comfort of being able to lay the animal to rest—what’s more is... read more

Saying Goodbye: Helping Children Cope With A Pet’s Death

Saying Goodbye: Helping Children Cope With A Pet’s Death To a child, a pet is more than an animal. A pet is a child’s best friend and confidant. Children often consider pets their “secret-keepers” and playmates.  Thinking back, there is one commercial for Iams dog food that I feel is especially poignant. The advertisement features a seemingly big, tough dog that is graciously allowing his young friend to dress him up in frilly clothes—bearing the treatment, I might add, in a noble way. This commercial is a perfect representation of what the... read more

Q & A: Remembering a Lost Pet

Remembering a Lost Pet: A Q & A I recently held a memorial service for my 16 year old Shih Tzu, Henry, who died last month. As an individual who has spent many years working in the funeral industry as a funeral director, I have found that losing any loved one can prove quite a challenge. For some, saying goodbye to a beloved animal can be more difficult than letting go of a person we have known. However, while funerals and memorial services have become a standard part of the grieving process when we lose the people we know, some find it... read more


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