Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Significance of Releasing Funeral White Doves at Funeral and Memorial Ceremonies

Releasing funeral doves as part of the service or celebration of the life of a loved one not only pays a poignant tribute to the person who has died, but can also prove emotionally uplifting and inspirational for the mourners attending the funeral. The sense of peace and closure is almost tangible.
Specialist Funeral Dove Release Service Providers
Dove release service providers will tailor a package according to your exact wishes and will then liaise with the funeral director to organize the presentation.
The actual release of the doves usually takes place at the end of the funeral service, civil ceremony or memorial service. A poem or piece of prose may be read or a favorite piece of music played to accompany the release. Alternatively, you may choose for the doves to be released in total silence.
The doves are released from a basket decorated in the style of your choice and the presentation is carried out by experienced dove handlers who will be appropriately attired for the occasion. On a practical note, one should bear in mind that funeral doves can only be released outdoors and in full daylight. This allows sufficient time for them to return home before it gets dark, typically at least two hours before sunset.
Symbolic Meaning & Significance
The dove is the universal symbol of peace, hope and freedom and, in this context, the release of funeral doves symbolises the release of the spirit of the departed who is finally at peace. The actual number of doves released is also significant and offers nuances of symbolic meaning and representation. For example:
  • a single white dove represents the peaceful release and onward journey of the spirit of the deceased;
  • a pair of doves symbolizes the journey of the spirit of the person who has died accompanied by their spirit guide or guardian angel;
  • the release of three doves followed immediately by the release of a single dove signifies the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost guiding the spirit of the departed on their journey to heaven;
  • ten doves released simultaneously offer a symbolic celebration of the life of a loved one and say a simple, fond farewell.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mysteries of vernacular: Hearse - Jessica Oreck

Today, we recognize the word hearse as a vehicle that carries a coffin to a funeral. Jessica Oreck explains how this word has, at various times, described a wolf, a rake, and a frame, eventually landing at its meaning today.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015 - Tribute to the Military

Pictorial tribute to all branches of the military. Pictures from WWII to Iraq. Music by the Air Force Band.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Funeral Webcasting - Attend a Funeral Online

Funeral webcasting is becoming mainstream in society today. There are a growing number of funeral professionals and client families who are taking advantage of this new funeral technology in order to attend a funeral online.
There are a variety of reasons a family member or friend may not be able to attend a funeral in person - illness, financial challenges, conflicts in scheduling, military service, and other personal reasons. Yet, the desire to celebrate the end of a loved one's life doesn't go away just because the bereaved can't attend the service. Funeral webcasting is rapidly becoming a common solution to what once was a heart-wrenching problem.
Thanks to new developments in funeral software, funeral and memorial services can now be viewed live, privately, and securely online so that the bereaved can attend from their home, office, or anywhere in the world that provides access to the internet.
A funeral professional can easily set up their funeral home for funeral webcasting with a few simple pieces of equipment: a video camera, a microphone, a laptop and a tripod or ceiling mount. A funeral consultant that specializes in funeral software can recommend the proper equipment and software to ensure maximum quality and simplicity of integration.
Privacy and Security Concerns
Given the fact that a funeral is such a personal and sensitive occasion, many families are not comfortable having their loved ones funeral or memorial service open to public viewing over the internet. The most advanced funeral webcasting software manages all of the privacy and security concerns a family may have. This feature rich funeral software solution offers family and friends the ability to securely and privately connect to a funeral or memorial service live over the internet using a private website, high-tech software and encrypted password protection. These safety measures ensure that only the people who have been given access can participate in the service guaranteeing the family's privacy, safety and security.
Choosing a private or public viewing is solely at the discretion of the family. If a family wishes to have a public viewing, anyone with access to the internet can attend the broadcast. Additionally, if the bereaved are unable to view the service at that time, they can view a recorded version as well. The funeral video can be stored and watched on-demand at a time more convenient to the individual.
Death care professionals are rapidly embracing online funerals and offering this funeral technology to client families as a standard option to improve their funeral and memorial planning experience. This low cost, high quality funeral solution allows client families an excellent option in which many have been responding to positively. Enabling family and friends to attend a funeral online from anywhere in the world is a unique funeral service in which funeral professionals will see a high profit margin and high satisfaction results.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Funeral Flowers Verses Funeral Keepsakes

While funeral flowers are a traditional memorial gift, funeral keepsakes are a more enduring memento.
Funeral flowers were first used as offerings to gain the favor of the spirit of the deceased. Today, funeral flowers are often given in memory of the loved one and sent to the funeral home during the visitation.
Local flower shops usually have specialized bouquets for use as funeral supplies. These flowers are typically placed at either end of the casket. Another way that funeral flowers are used is in the form of a casket blanket which is placed over the casket during the service. This blanket is typically made out of roses, although other types of flowers can be used. Sometimes particular flowers are chosen because the deceased had a particular favorite. To honor their loved one, family and friends select these funeral flowers to pay tribute to the deceased.
The problem with funeral flowers is that in time, they die. This can be very upsetting for the bereaved. Watching the flowers wilt and die back is sometimes too symbolic of what they endured, standing by as their loved one passed away. Because of this, and other reasons, some people will send a live plant or small shrub instead of sending flowers. The family of the deceased can then care for the plant in the years to come in their home or garden. These types of gifts instill a sense of feeling that life goes on.
More enduring than plants and funeral flowers, other keepsakes like funeral candles, remembrance ornaments, and funeral stationery will never wilt away and die. They provide a tangible reminder, potentially forever, of a loved one who has passed away.
To see a friend or family member struggle with the pain of bereavement is a heart wrenching experience. Giving the bereaved a keepsake conveys that their pain is understood and that you are always there for them no matter what. Funeral keepsakes offer a gentle non-intrusive reminder to the bereaved, which remains with them long after the funeral has passed.
These types of keepsakes can also be personalized by a funeral professional. The family can have their funeral director customize each piece with photographs, names, dates and/or other special sentiments. Having a custom funeral keepsake on the mantel or other place of prominence in their home can bring peace to a family in mourning.
Funeral keepsakes are the best way to show the bereaved that we will always be there for them and that we will never forget those who we have lost. Unlike funeral flowers, funeral keepsakes are a more fitting memorial gift due to their sustainability and personalization options

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Funeral Plans: Your Questions Answered

It makes sense to plan your funeral in advance. Here are some of the areas you may be concerned about.
1. What happens if the funeral plan provider goes out of business?
While this is considered unlikely, monies paid by you for your funeral plan will be received in accordance with the code of conduct of the UK's National Association of Pre-paid Funeral Plans (NAPFP) and will be fully protected. The money for your funeral is held in a a trust - a separate legal entity - which is regularly audited by independent actuaries and accountants. So your funeral would still be carried out according to your guaranteed funeral plan and the funeral director would be paid from the trust fund.
2. What if I move home?
Your guarantee is simply relocated to another funeral director convenient to your new home. If you decide to live abroad, you may apply for a refund. If you move home, please notify your funeral plan provider as soon as possible so we can ensure all records are up to date.
3. What are the advantages of paying for my funeral now? Why not put the money into a savings account?
Once you have paid for a pre-paid funeral plan, you will never have to pay any more for the funeral director's costs no matter how much these costs may rise in the future. No savings account can provide such a guarantee. In recent years funeral expenses have increased in excess of inflation. So why not secure your funeral requirements at today's price and then use the remainder of your savings just how you want!
4. What happens if the designated funeral director ceases to trade?
Your funeral plan provider will make the same arrangements with another local funeral director.
5. Are there any age or health limitations on who can purchase a funeral plan?
No. And no. Simple as that.
6. What if I want to take out a plan for someone else?
No problem, as long as the plan is suitable and required by that person.
7. What about insurance based funeral plans?
They have several disadvantages. Principally they don't guarantee to cover funeral costs or allow you to specify the arrangements. Even if you are in reasonable health, you may well end up paying much more in premiums than the insurance company will ever pay out and the funeral would need to be paid for, often well before the insurance paid out.
8. What if I die away from home?
Each plan includes collection from within a specified distance. If you are travelling away from your local area additional costs may be incurred. If you travel abroad you should obtain travel insurance to cover all eventualities.
9. Do funeral plans include burial?
Nowadays, most people are cremated. Accordingly the cost of a burial plot is usually not included. However, should you wish to be buried your funeral plan provider will be pleased to discuss this with you, with a view to you purchasing a plot at a cemetery of your choice. The cost and availability of a plot varies considerably throughout the country. If you already have a burial plot please provide the funeral plan provider with the information.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I'll Remember You

This beautiful video is intended to be a gift to families who are dealing with the loss of a loved one. We know that death is difficult, stressful and confusing. We believe, however, that remembrance is good. And this touching video is a reminder of all the ways we can remember and cherish family members forever. The video is a poem and a song on film, that we hope you can watch many times—helping you begin the process of moving from grieving to remembrance.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Selecting a Funeral Poem

When it comes to funeral poems it can seem like it is a huge task trying to choose the right one. This is because a well chosen poem can make a big impact on a funeral. Poems are great ways of expressing how you are feeling. They are also a great way for you to start healing your emotions, both for the people listening to the poem and to the person who are reading it out.
Most funeral poems as you would expect talk of loss and the sadness that comes with this. However the poems you use at the funeral do not have to be sad they can instead be uplifting. They can talk about valuing the amazing things about a person and their life. The poems can be a celebration; they can talk of love for that person. poems can have any tone which you want at a funeral.
Sometimes it can be quite fitting for the poem to having nothing at all to do with funerals or death. If the deceased enjoyed certain activities, for example, sailing, you could read a poem about the sea. In the same way, if the deceased had a favorite poet then the poem could be one by this poet. This will work especially if you tell everyone that it was their favorite poet before reading the poem out.
What will generally work well for a funeral poem is choosing something that will speak to the audience the most. A funeral poem should have a wide appeal. For example, if the deceased liked Shakespeare, depending on who else will be at the funeral, some might not be able to relate to it. This is why a lot of consideration needs to go into choosing a poem for a funeral. A funeral poem can be read during a funeral on its own or you could incorporate it into a part of any eulogy.
If you choose you can also read your poem away from the funeral service. You can read the poem together as a family or on your own. This all depends on personal choice and how you feel about the funeral poem. The choice is totally up to you do not feel pressured by what most people may expect. You may even wish to pass a funeral poem round before, during or after the funeral for everyone to read to themselves. Funeral poems help a great deal in comforting people, no matter which way you decide to incorporate a poem into the funeral service it will still have a big impact on many.
Remember if a funeral poem you like has a line or word that is inappropriate then you can always change it or remove it altogether. No one will notice or care, they will just listen to the poem and reflect upon it. If you feel you are able to write your own poem then that is also a great idea. It is a very personal method when having a poem. Seven of the most popular funeral poems are listed here:
  • Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep
  • If I Should Go Before the Rest of You
  • Funeral Blues
  • Remember
  • Life Unbroken
  • On Death (From the Prophet)
  • Footprints

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to Arrange a Funeral - Many People Plan While They Are Alive

It's a challenge that most of us will have to address one day. Even if we never have to arrange a funeral for someone else there's always our own send off to think about - particularly with the sensible trend for planning funerals while we are still alive.
Are funeral arrangements in place?
Assuming you're faced with the challenge of arranging a funeral for someone else, one of the first tasks is discovering whether they've left any funeral plans. The deceased's will is a good starting point. Other possible sources of information include the following:
  • A letter of wishes (perhaps stored with the will)
  • An online funeral planning resource such as The Well Planned Funeral
  • Recalled conversations with the deceased
If the deceased has stored funeral wishes online, you may even be notified of their wishes by the website. The information might be as simple as a choice between burial or cremation. On the other hand, you could find yourself managing an unusual funeral arrangement request such as a burial at sea.
Understand the deceased's wishes
As the person responsible for organising a funeral, you and other loved ones are responsible for fulfilling their wishes as closely as possible. Obviously, financial means and logistical practicalities must be considered when planning a funeral - not everyone will be able to have their ashes made into fireworks and blasted into the sky as writer Hunter S. Thompson's were. At this stage, you might also discover that the deceased had already made their own arrangements by subscribing to a prepaid funeral plan.
How to arrange a funeral - contact an undertaker
Once you understand the deceased's funeral wishes, you'll usually contact an undertaker. A reputable undertaker is an experienced funeral planner who'll guide you through the required procedures. Whether it's a sophisticated funeral or a simple cremation, the undertaker and their team are powerful allies at an emotionally challenging time. They've been through the process many times so draw on their expertise to help with the administrative and practical burdens that you're facing. And of course, friends and family are another valuable source of funeral help.
Practical funeral actions
A major part of the funeral will be the ceremony itself. How to arrange a funeral will depend on the deceased's beliefs; these may dictate an elaborate religious ceremony or a simple alternative funeral. Whatever its form the funeral ceremony represents the culmination of mourning and the opportunity for everyone to say goodbye to the deceased. Start making a funeral checklist as soon as you can; it's a sensible way to make sure everything is remembered. Important parts of the funeral service usually include the following:
  • Decoration of the venue with flowers and/or other meaningful items
  • Funeral music
  • Poems or readings
  • Religious rituals (if appropriate)
  • Tributes and appreciations
  • Committal of the deceased for burial or cremation
When the funeral's over, the mourners will typically move to a cemetery or a crematorium for the committal of the body. After this, it's usual for mourners to join the friends and family for refreshments - a wonderful opportunity to reminisce and celebrate the life of the deceased in more informally.
How to arrange a funeral - many people plan while they're alive
Increasingly, enlightened people take responsibility for their final send-off while they're still alive. From burial instructions to details of funeral flowers arrangements or a poem to be read at a funeral, it's a great way to make sure your wishes are fulfilled. Whether you do this by leaving instructions in your will, investing in a prepaid funeral plan or learn how to arrange a funeral through an online funeral planning resource will depend on your personal preferences.

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Sunday, May 3, 2015

How to Write an Obituary

Losing a loved one is very painful, and though writing about their life can be an arduous task, it can also be a therapeutic and wonderful way to honor your loved one.

Step 1: Read other obituaries
Read other obituaries to get a feel for how obituaries are commonly formatted and what information is used. Use your local newspaper, for example.

Step 2: Determine the specifics
Determine your price range and deadline times by talking with your funeral director or with the local newspaper where it will run. Newspapers have strict deadlines and charge by column width, length, or word count. Once you've obtained that information, you can begin the creative process.

Step 3: Make a list
Make a list of the basic information about the deceased you'd like to include. Most obituaries include the full name, age, birth date, place of residence, partner's name, and where and when the memorial service will take place.

Avoid identity theft by withholding sensitive information in the obituary. Thieves can use gaps in reporting the death to steal birth certificates, social security numbers, and financial information.

Step 4: Make a second list
Create a second list of additional information. Some obituaries include the deceased's educational background, employment, birth place, parents, children and grandchildren, pets, hobbies, accomplishments, organization affiliations, military service, and where people can send contributions or flowers.

Mention in the obituary if your family is having donations sent to an organization important to the deceased in lieu of flowers.

Step 5: Begin writing
Write the obituary by following the examples in your local paper and putting the pieces together one-by-one. Focus on the deceased's full and wonderful life, not their death.

Step 6: Revise
Revise your original draft once it's completed. Make any necessary changes and try to tighten up your writing.

Step 7: Proofread
Proofread your obituary thoroughly. You've put a lot of work into honoring your loved one, and you wouldn't want to ruin that work by misspelling one of their children's names. Now you can relax knowing that you've honored your loved one's life.