Monday, December 30, 2013

Letters/Kind Notes Gift Set

If you aren't sure what to say, or how to express your sympathy and deepest condolences, these uplifting and encouraging notes will help your friend or loved one get through the days ahead.

This gift set includes:

  • Glass Jar and filling
  • Decorative ribbon with KindNotes charm
  • 31 of our most popular sympathy and inspirational messages enclosed in specialty linen cardstock envelopes.

Jar:   3 3/4 inch X 6 inches
Envelopes: 2 1/4 inch X 1 5/8 inch (closed)
Paper: 2 1/8 inch X 1 1/2 inch White 90lb. index

Sample messages include:
  • If the future seems overwhelming, remember that it comes one moment at at time. -Beth Mende Conny
  • When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. -Unknown
  • What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. -Hellen Keller
  • May the love of those around you help you through the days ahead.

Gift box is included.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

When A Death Occurs At Work Or Home

When a death occurs at home or in the workplace, a family member or co-worker should contact emergency personnel. If the death occurs at home with family or friends present, and the person is under a physician's care, the family will want to call us directly.
However, if the death occurs in a residence and no one is there at the time of death, the police will need to be notified and respond to the residence before the deceased is removed from their home.
If in any case you are not sure of who to notify or what to do, you may call Bryan-Braker, and we'll assist you in notifying the proper agencies.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Be the Gift of Comfort, Joy and Love This Holiday Season

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone. When you have lost a loved one, the holidays can be filled with mixed emotions of joy and sorrow. After the loss of my mother, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were filled with a sense of displacement. My mother always hosted the holidays at her home. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends.

After my mom passed away that all changed. The first few years were an adjustment. I was blessed to be included in my sister's family festivities and when my dad moved back to California we were able to start new family traditions.

Over the holidays my home is still filled with memories of my mother's love for the holidays. I have combined my new holiday decorations and traditions with some of my mom's favorites. Making my mom's favorite holiday recipes each year helps me connect with her spirit and makes me feel like she is right there with me.

As we move into the holiday season, remember that your friends and family members that have lost a loved one may be experiencing deep feelings of loss. Be sure to take the time to connect with them and let them know that they are loved.

Here are a few ways to be the gift they were hoping for this holiday season:
  • Invite your loved one to join you for your holiday gathering. As family members pass away, traditions change and a loved one may not be able to spend the holidays with their family. Including them in your family festivities will help ease the loneliness they may be feeling this time of year.
  • Make a special date to go to dinner, have coffee, or to go shopping to have some private one-on-one time. This special time will allow them the opportunity to talk about their feelings.
  • Help them with holiday arrangements. If they are hosting a holiday gathering, offer to help them prepare the food or offer to go shopping for them to take a little stress off of their shoulders. Ask if they would like you to prepare a favorite food that may have been a family tradition.
  • Take them out for a special day of pampering to a spa or to have a massage. Relaxation and pampering will assist both of you with the stress of the holidays.
  • Celebrate the memories of their loved one by sharing stories and going through photo albums together. This activity will give your friend or family member the opportunity to celebrate their happy memories.

Having the support of friends and family during the holidays can make all the difference. So as you are making out your To Do List for the holidays, be sure to include those friends and family members that might need a little extra love and care this time of year.
©2009 Lori Pederson

Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Angel Of Courage

This precious Angel of Courage is crafted of Sterling Silver Antiqued CZ -designed by Deborah J. Birdoes, from her "Sentimental Expressions" line of jewelry.

• Includes an 18" chain with spring ring clasp and comes packaged in a stylish magnetic gift box, to protect the jewelry that has so much to say.

• Also included is a poem card with the poem and verse printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other.

This angel is for those whose path is on the road of courage. You have carried your weight of what you are going through and still plowed forward. You have stepped out of your zone of comfort to fulfill your vision. Obstacles and challenges have not held you back. In fact you have grown stronger and more confident, making the courage you have inside grow.

VERSE: I command you- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." —Joshua 1:9

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of

the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” —Mary Anne Radmacher

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Does Pre-Planning Require Pre-Payment?

The simple answer is just two letters: No. You can set plan to paper by simply recording your wishes, and leave it for your family to pay for your desired services at the time of your passing.
Or, you can protect you and your family from inflation, by pre-funding your plan. This ensures your expenses will be covered when you need them to be.
When you choose to pre-fund your final arrangements, your money is put in a state-approved trust account or top-rated insurance company until required. After your pre-plan is paid for in full, our price is guaranteed. You will never have to pay more for the services you have already paid for.
Another point we’d like to stress: When you pre-plan with Bryan-Braker Funeral Home, your plan will go where you go. No matter where you reside at the time of your passing, no matter what funeral home you choose to work with, your plan will be transferable to any funeral home in the United States.

Why Pre-Plan with Bryan-Braker Funeral Home?
By pre-planning with us, you’re assured that your final wishes are known. This relieves your family of the burden of making difficult decisions, under emotional duress. Through pre-funding your plan, expenses will be covered when you need them to be. That's guaranteed.
Our plans offer a variety of payment options to fit your needs. Choose the payment option that's right for you.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The 4 stories we tell ourselves about death

Philosopher Stephen Cave begins with a dark but compelling question: When did you first realize you were going to die? And even more interestingly: Why do we humans so often resist the inevitability of death? In a fascinating talk Cave explores four narratives -- common across civilizations -- that we tell ourselves "in order to help us manage the terror of death."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

5 Things You Can Do to Personalize a Funeral Service

Traditional funerals following a typical pattern are more frequently being replace by personalized funeral services. As a funeral professional, you have the opportunity to help your client families create a service that truly reflects the unique character of the life being commemorated. There are many options available to do this, and here we will cover five of the most impactful that will establish your funeral home as a progressive business, while gratifying your client families in their desire to celebrate the life and individualism of their loved one.
1. Tribute Videos
Thorough representation of the departed is imperative to a successful personalized service. One of the most meaningful ways to do this is to honor the departed with a video tribute. Including photographs that showcase the life story and major milestones and set to music selected by the family, video tributes may be played during visitation or memorial services. Simple software can help you create touching, expert presentations that will set the tone of the service.
2. Personalized Keepsakes
Unique keepsakes, such as candles customized with photographs and themes befitting the deceased can be made available to the family or all attendees. With the ability to keep memories alive, they are perfect for providing comfort during anniversaries or holidays. Other distinctive mementos are personalized holiday remembrance ornaments, bookmarks, pendants and jewelry. Touchstones that can be tangibly accessed deliver solace and continue remembrance.
3. Personal Objects
Use decorations during visitation or memorial services to focus on the favorite hobbies and passions of the deceased. Treasured books of an avid reader may be displayed, golf clubs for a golfer, a quilt made by a quilter, even cookies for a baker. Create an atmosphere that faithfully characterized the departed; mourners will find comfort in these objects that recall their loved ones' interests during life.
4. Memorial Websites
Memorial websites allow friends and family to leave memories, photos and videos. Entirely representative of the personality of the deceased and virtually everlasting, they can be shared with everyone or restricted to a few. An online tribute like this can be visited at any time and updated whenever desired. The family may want to post the tribute video to this type of website, or even the recorded funeral webcast - with password encryption for privacy.
5. Funeral Stationery
Memorial folders and other pieces of personalized funeral stationery provide an exceptional vehicle to illustrate life milestones, photos, jokes, favorite song lyrics and prayers of the departed. Applying a theme that symbolizes him or her further customizes the celebration of that precious life. Again, given to attendees to bring home reinforces the personal nature of the funeral service.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Five Tips For Offering a Helping Hand After The Funeral

The funeral was lovely. It was packed with friends paying their respects. But once everyone else has gone back to normal routines, close family and dear friends still grieve for the lost loved one. They may feel that the world has passed them by and feel very alone.
Now is a perfect moment to make a difference to a grieving friend. If you can, reach out and show you care.
  • Spend time together. Take grieving friends out for a cup of coffee or lunch. Or, attend a game or go for a walk together. Set up a regular time, perhaps weekly, that can be counted on. Looking forward to a regular walk and talk just might take some of the sting out of the grief.

  • Offer a listening ear. Be there for them to share a memory, to cry, to vent, and to ask some of the hard questions. "Why me?" "How can I go on?" You don't have to have the answers, just listen. Your caring might be a lifeline to them and add a sense of normalcy to their sadness.

  • Share your own loss experience. If you have a loss in common, such as a child, parent, or friend, you might be able to gently share how you coped and got through a hurdle. It's nice to be able to talk to a trusted friend who "has been there." Perhaps you could share how you got through your first holidays or significant anniversaries. One very helpful suggestion for me, for example, was to plan ahead and decide what I wanted to do during those first holidays.

  • Work on a project together. Every day tasks can seem impossible to do alone, but the help of a friend can bring smiles and the satisfaction of a job well done. So, volunteer to help them make holiday cookies, clean out a closet, organize photos, fix the car, or whatever is on their list.

  • Give a small gesture of kindness. Even on the worst day, knowing that someone is thinking about you can really lift your spirits. Send a little card, share a flower from your garden, or bring over a yummy cupcake. It doesn't have to be much.
Grief can be a very long journey. You have the golden opportunity to lighten someone's load while they travel that tough long haul when most everyone else has left. Now is a time to reach out and be there.

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

We Are Here With Emotional Support And Compassionate Guidance

Widening the Circle

Our staff members are experienced professionals who can provide much of the information you need, emotional support and compassionate guidance.
While you may ask the director any questions at this time, you will be able to discuss the arrangements in detail later when you meet in person. During this initial call, the funeral director will gather information to be able to transport your loved one to the funeral home.
The funeral director may ask you several questions, including whether your loved one made any pre-arrangements. The director will also schedule a date and time for you to meet at the funeral home and will let you know what you should bring with you. Others you will need to call are:
  • Family members and friends
  • Clergy or other spiritual advisors

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sympathy Words - A Few Ideas For Comforting Others

Nearly everybody has, at some time or another, experienced the loss of a loved one. Many have also been in the position to comfort a friend at the loss of someone dear to them. In either case, sympathy words are exchanged. The perennial problem is, of course, that in times of grief, it may be difficult to find the right words. It may in fact be difficult to physically say them at all. However, it's important to express your sympathy to your friend or loved one.
What Words of Sympathy to Say
Here is something to think about: If you had just lost one of your parents or a sibling, what would you find comforting? How well you know someone is a good litmus test of what you should say and how you should say it. When finding sympathy words, always remember to whom you are speaking. If that person is a very private individual, he or she may prefer to be left alone for the most part. In that case, knowing when the appropriate time to approach is essential to successfully providing comforting sympathy words to the grieving person.
Choosing your words when you are called on to comfort someone in grief is more complicated than just trying to make them feel better. You want them to know that you can empathize with their pain. The difficult part in all of that is knowing that they will have heard sympathy words from perhaps a hundred other people as well, so what can you say that will truly give them peace and closure? Look to samples of sympathy words online for inspiration. Obituaries, has words of sympathy samples in cards, letters, sayings and quotes. Read some examples before you sit down to write your own words of sympathy.
A Short List of Sympathy Words
The following is a short list of sympathy words you can say to someone to bring him or her comfort. 
  • You are always in my prayers
  • He/She would be very happy to know that you loved him/her so much
  • Always remember that you have friends and we are here for you, so if there is anything you need, please don't hesitate to ask.
  • You can find peace in the good memories that you have
  • I know this is hard, but you can make it through
These are just a few things that people have found to be helpful over the years. They are effective mainly because the speaker empathizes with the bereaved. That is the main thing, and it cannot be overstated. Your sympathy words should show that you empathize with the kind of pain they are experiencing, and that you can help them through it.
Sympathy Phrases to Avoid
Saying "I know how you feel" to someone who has lost a loved one is not the best way to show your sympathy. Words like that can sometimes hurt more than they help because no one can truly know what another person is feeling about anything, especially the death of someone dear. also has lists of Phrases to Avoid for sympathy sayings or words of sympathy.
Also, avoid being at all insincere. Again, remember that this person will most likely have heard sympathy words from many other people over a few days, so the last thing they want to hear is condolences that are not heartfelt. Don't offer your help if you can't or won't actually help.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Sometimes, offering sympathy words can involve no words at all. Making a meal for someone when you know they don't feel like cooking for themselves can be a great help. Simply offering a hug is often a very comforting gesture. Day to day tasks may be hard for the bereaved to complete. Doing their dishes, mowing the lawn, taking the kids to school or other activities are all ways to show you care and are simple sympathy gestures that mean so much.
The grieving process is different for everybody, but the one immutable truth behind everybody's experience is that the right words or gestures can go a long way towards easing the pain of this difficult transition in their lives.

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