Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How To Plan A Meaningful Memorial Service

Trends for end-of-life rituals are rapidly changing. Whereas, traditionally, in the US and most of the western world, the typical funeral was led by a funeral director or clergy, today's memorial service is much more personalized, and reflects the spirit of the loved one who has passed.

Planning a memorial service is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the unique trait of your loved one. Where did the loved one enjoy spending free time? Did he/she enjoy music? If so, what type of music really made him/her smile? Did he/ she have favorite pastimes or hobbies?

To plan a memorial service for someone who loved to spend time outdoors, and relished in nature's beauty, an outdoor celebration is a wonderful way in which to honor that affinity. The next decision to make might be the location of the celebration. There are parks, beaches, private and/or public properties. A man who loved to garden and spent his happiest days at home could be honored with a lovely gathering in his yard. A woman who had spent her last years studying landscape design might be honored at a venue with lovely gardens.

A decision will be required as to who will officiate the memorial service. Many people have an affiliation with a religious group. The leader from that community would be a likely choice. Others, as is quite common in today's society, don't accede to a religious denomination, so they might choose a secular officiant. Many people use a celebrant, who has some knowledge in many faiths, yet can customize a ceremony to respective beliefs and ideas. There may be favorite poems or other readings that can be incorporated into the service. Friends and family might also help to present some of these offerings.

Music is often an effective way to reflect the personality and spirit of your loved one. Many people have "favorite songs," or songs with lyrics that are meaningful to him or her. Friends and relatives often compile music play lists of songs that were enjoyed by the person being honored. Thanks to the convenience of modern technology, these playlists can be digitally recorded and handed out after the service, as wonderful keepsake.

Another consideration is time of day. Many memorial services are followed by a meal, or some type of fellowship. This is often catered so that the family can focus on other things. A fun way of sharing in the memorial is by asking friends and family to bring some food to share. And, of course, it's always nice to serve a dish that was favored by the person being honored.

One of the advantages to planning a memorial service is that the friends and family can decide on a date for the memorial service. Unlike traditional funerals, where the ceremony must take place within a certain time period, a memorial service can be planned for anytime following the passing. Since so many friends and family are transient today, it's nice to be able to plan a convenient time so that close friends and family have time to plan for travel.

While a memorial service can follow a planned agenda, it's also acceptable, and increasingly common, to allow for a segment of time within the program, where friends and family can share stories, thoughts and blessings. It's a great way to remember your loved one, and to appreciate all that he or she contributed to the world.

Don't forget to think about decorating the space. Did your loved one have a favorite color? A space can be personalized with flowers, fabric, mementos, and photos. Any personal touch that reminds us of our loved one adds so much to the memorial service. It is, after all, a celebration of a life, so it's great to incorporate as many unique, personal touches that reflect your loved one's spirit as possible.

A guest register book is also a great addition. It can be surprising how quickly we might forget every person who attended a memorial service. We are often overwhelmed with emotion. Alternatively, there might be people in attendance who were not expected, yet their presence is so meaningful. Looking back on a guest register book from the future will help us to appreciate that support.

Planning a memorial service in a personal way can help us process grief. It provides space to remember all that made a loved one unique. We are, after all, unique and individual. A well-planned memorial service can highlight that uniqueness.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8303429

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Years Of Experience

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are the leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

At Fairmont Memorial Park, we offer a wide variety of locations to choose from and prices to fit all budgets. To schedule a no obligation tour of the memorial park, please contact the office at (707) 425-4697. COA230. www.FairfieldCemeteries.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hand Prints Necklace

From Deborah J. Birdoes' extraordinary Inspirational Blessings™ Collection of Jewelry.

This item comes with 18" chain, a gift box and a card with poem.


Although you are not here with me, Your hand print is on my heart.

You were a precious gift to me, I loved you from the start.

You left this earth too early, And landed on heaven's shore.

I snuggle in the memory of you. Oh how I love you even more.

You are never far away from us, For your memory's a steady stream.

I will never say good bye to you, So I am wishing you sweet dreams.

Someday we'll be together again, But until that one fine day.

Your are the hand print on my heart Where forever you shall stay.

Product Dimensions:

• Sterling Silver 20.63X23.15 MM

• Weight: 5.71 DWT ( 8.88 grams)

©2010 Deborah J. Birdoes

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Cultivate A Friendship With Death

Why We Fear Death

"Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark." - Bacon

There may be a thousand reasons why we fear death, but most of all we fear death because we fear the unknown, and death is an unknown entity to most people. We fear that dying may be painful and we do not know what will happen to us at the point of death.

Some people fear death because they imagine the dying process to be very painful. Death is not painful. In fact, death is often very peaceful and silent even for those suffering from cancers or other terminal illness.

When the physical body is deteriorating day by day from a terminal illness, and pain arises from superficial wound such as bed sores, or deep pain such as bone or nerve pain, death may even be a welcome relief for the sufferer.

We need to distinguish the pain of the physical body from the process of dying. The dying process is a distinct process that is separate from the deterioration of the physical body. At the point of death, there is no pain.

What happens at death is the cessation of the breath and all other physiological functions of the physical body. The heart stops pumping and the blood circulation stops moving. The body stops generating heat, and thus progressively turns cold.

For those who believe that we are more than just a physical body, and that we are in fact spiritual beings, the dying process means much more than just physical death. Death is just a natural process that allows us to discard the physical body as we move into the spiritual realm.

Since our fear of death is due to the fact that we do not know or understand death, it makes sense to familiarise ourselves with it. The more we understand death, the less we fear it. We should therefore cultivate a friendship with death, and be totally familiar with it, just as we are familiar with our friends.

We can cultivate a friendship with death in three simple steps:

1. Establish a link with God.
2. Cultivate a habit of acceptance, instead of blame.
3. Be a blessing to others.

Establish a link with God.

By establishing a link with God, we touch base with our own spirituality. God can be whatever you perceive God to be. For Christians, Muslims and Hindus, that may mean an omnipotent God. For Buddhists, it may mean the Buddha seed within. Atheists may have to come to term with their own spirituality.

Establishing a link with God means re-gaining your spirituality. It leads you closer to the spiritual aspect of yourself. Whether we accept it or not, we are more than just this physical body. When we die, we leave this physical body behind and only our spirituality continues on.

It is therefore essential for us to be familiar with our own spirituality. It is the only part of us that continues after death. This 'fact' is in accordance with all major religions.

Cultivate a Habit of Acceptance.

It is funny how when good things come to us, we readily accept them as though we deserve them or we have worked hard for them, yet when calamities befall us we quickly look for an external source to blame.

This is especially so when misfortunes such as terminal illness befall us. We may blame God, and later blame ourselves or people around us. We should cultivate a habit of neutrality regardless of whether good or bad things come our way. Otherwise, we can become very bitter about life when negative things happened. Looking for someone or something to blame only serve to prolong our own suffering. Death is an enemy when we resist it, but the moment we accept it, it turns into an ally.

However, cultivating a habit of acceptance does not mean not doing anything to correct or improve our conditions. It does not mean, for example, that when we are diagnosed with a terminal illness we do nothing about it. It is only sensible to seek treatment, if it is available to us. On the other hand, it also means we must know and accept when curative treatment is no longer possible. We fear death only when we refuse to face it.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who would take advantage of our fear of death to sell their 'cure'. In my experience with the terminally ill, I have come across countless stories of dying people being duped into parting with their savings and properties in the hope of achieving a cure.

Be a Blessing to Others.

This is our greatest and most reliable ally at the time of death.

Knowing that we have been helpful to others and that we have tried to live a blameless life takes away the fear of death. If our life has been an honest one, free of any conscious intention to hurt any living beings, we have nothing to fear when death approaches. Our mind will be at peace, undisturbed.

On the other hand, those who lead selfish lives, and harm others to get little advantages for themselves, find themselves imprisoned in tiny, dark cells when they move to the other side.

Therefore, while we still can, we should give our best to the world and to people around us. Lend a helping hand to others and help to lighten their loads. Bring joy to the joyless and comfort to those in need of comfort. There are many who are less fortunate than us. Count our blessings and be a blessing to others.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/11399

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Why A Funeral?

Funerals fill an important role for those mourning the loss of a loved one. By providing surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to share thoughts and feelings about the death, funerals are the first step in the healing process.
The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:
  1. Providing a social support system for the bereaved.
  2. Helping the bereaved understand death is final and that death is part of life.
  3. Integrating the bereaved back into the community.
  4. Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one.
  5. Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain.
  6. Reaffirming one’s relationship with the person who died.
  7. Providing a time to say good-bye.
It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Beautiful Fairmont Memorial Park

Mausoleum crypts and niches are available for families choosing a burial or cremation with inturnment. Mausoleum entombment is considered to be the finest type of burial known to man. A mausoleum’s solid construction signifies durability, devotion and honor.

Friday, June 10, 2016

New Trends In Funeral Homes

For centuries families have joined together for ceremonies and rituals to help them make meaning of their loss. Funeral professionals are all too familiar with leading these types of remembrance services, as well as the rising trend of personalization. By offering a variety of choices to families you'll find that in addition to helping them commemorate a loved one, you are inviting a variety of opportunities to connect and build a rapport. Asking open-ended questions during arrangements for instance allows a funeral director to not only get to know more about the deceased, but also to observe the ways in which families interact. More importantly this becomes the ideal setting to transform family conversations into ceremonial creations.
How is Memorializing Different than Personalization?
Although very similar concepts, personalization in the funeral home tends to focus more on how the deceased is represented. I'm sure you've found that involving family members or friends in this process creates a sense of unity and ensures that the personality of the deceased is kept alive. Memorializing goes above and beyond personalization. The act of memorializing pays tribute to a person's life and gives loved ones and friends the opportunity to recall memories. Funeral professionals who offer suggestions and facilitate such conversations can actually help family and friends capture even more memories. Recalling memories helps to build stories about the deceased, therefore the likelihood of preserving memories increases as more stories are generated.
Helping someone say goodbye to a loved one is an important service provided by funeral professionals and the cornerstone to any funeral home business. The care, compassion and empathy you exude at such a delicate time in a person's life, is not likely to be forgotten. Now-a-days, most people are familiar with photo boards, familiar music and small mementos that honor the life of someone when they enter the funeral home. Taking the leap from personalization to memorialization is not complicated, it simply involves providing tools, suggestions and handouts to show family, friends and the community-at-large that you are thinking of them and that you recognize that everyone's life is special.
Helping Families Memorialize
During a wake, why not have small pieces of cardstock just the right size for people to write down their favorite memories of the person who died? Having discussed this idea with family or friends during arrangements, you may want to walk around during calling hours with some cards and pens in a small basket encouraging others to share memories. These memories, funny stories or special recollections can be gathered at the end of the services and either given to family or friends in a special box or displayed in an album. If you don't feel comfortable walking around encouraging participation, you may want to check to see if the family would like a child or someone else to do the honors.
Of course there are many variations to this type of activity. You could have a box or basket of cards with directions displayed near the guest book on a separate table or you could have the directions with a poem or special phrase or prayer printed on the back of the cards and hand them out with a pen (imprinted with your name/logo) to people as they walk in. Encourage visitors to hand in their memories before they leave and to take the pen home with them as a gift.
This memorialization technique can be modified even further for children visiting your funeral home, however, try and buy larger cardstock pieces (found in the scrapbooking section of most arts/crafts supply stores) since children tend to need more room to write and draw pictures. Another suggestion for children: pre-cut shapes out of construction paper, such as butterflies, hearts or flowers. Children can then write, dictate or draw their favorite memories on these cut-outs to have as keepsakes, place in the casket or share with others.
Giving families the tools to help their children memorialize a loved one is truly priceless. Whether you are providing children with an all-inclusive grief-related coping kit or just a pencil and a paper, you are providing them with an opportunity to create lasting keepsakes in the memory of their loved one. This is so important especially for families with young children, since sadly, the average young child will forget precious memories as early as a few months following their loss.
Families with children of all ages may be interested in a special children's service to help memorialize a loved one. Together they can choose songs or readings that pay tribute to their loved one. Children may also want to write a story, poem or song that can be read or sung aloud. They may also want to perform a little skit or play that highlights the personality of the deceased or favorite memories. Creating a goodbye poster is also a nice way to involve children in the memorialization process. Encourage families to use poster-board or long butcher paper, words/pictures from magazines, copies of photographs and a variety of arts/crafts materials such as ribbon, paint and stickers. It is always interesting to see a tribute to the deceased through the eyes of a child. Encourage a family to bring in their poster so that you may display it for visitors entering your funeral home.
The possibilities are endless, but you don't necessarily have to stretch your imagination to help adults and children memorialize a loved one. Many funeral directors ask certain questions to illicit conversations about memories during arrangements. You may already ask these types of questions to get to know a family better or as a first step for personalization. Try encouraging family and friends to share stories with you about the person who died. By connecting some of this information, you are well on your well to helping a family memorialize a loved one.
Suppose during arrangements someone mentions to you that their loved one enjoyed cooking. Why not offer to print a favorite recipe in the memory of the deceased? If food is allowed at your funeral home, why not offer a copy of the recipe and a sample of the dish itself? There are so many variations to this memorialization technique. Explore ideas with families and friends and you may be surprised at what they come up with!
Candles are another way to help connect stories and help people memorialize. Since there are now virtually hundreds of scents to choose from, a family can most definitely find a scent that reminds them of their loved one. Whether it is the scent that reminds them of grandma's banana bread, the scent of autumn leaves that is reminiscent of dad hunting in the woods or the smell of pumpkin that reminds a family of a child's favorite holiday, Halloween, ideas are plentiful. You may even want give visitors a special votive candle with a sticker placed on the back with your name and logo and a special inscription in memory of the deceased. It goes without saying that these special give-a-ways not only provide lasting memories, but they also provide a subtle marketing opportunity as well.
Many funeral homes offer journals, albums or family tree memorabilia which become lasting memories and family heirlooms. Other funeral homes offer coping kits, pre-printed coloring pages or coloring books to children. Memorialization doesn't have to be expensive. If you can not afford to give away small gifts like the ones mentioned above you may want to consider offering photographs to the family or friends, handprints, footprints, locks of hair or video taping the ceremony. These items are especially precious for children. Remember, as they grow older, children have a limited ability to recall their involvement in wakes, funerals or memorial services. By providing special opportunities to honor their loved one, you are actually helping to decrease the likelihood of secondary losses associated with loss of memory.
Most likely you will find that a brief conversation about memorialization will spark many creative ideas from family and friends. Over time keep a list of these ideas to add to your repertoire of suggestions and to pass along to others. You may even want to add memorialization as one of the many services offered. Children and adults undoubtedly benefit from a variety of memorialization ideas and activities. It is a gentle way to begin the grief process, especially if someone was not able to say goodbye to their loved one before he/she died. I'm sure you will agree, as the needs of families become more diverse, so should our range of products and services. By supporting those left behind and encouraging conversations about memorializing you not only enhance communication amongst family and friends you also provide an avenue to help them share memories and create lasting keepsakes.
Below are some additional suggestions for memorializing you may want to pass along;
o Create a storybook, memory book or memory box about your loved one who has died. Write down important things that you would like to remember about the person who died. Interview family members and friends to find out about their favorite memories and more information.
o Write a message to the deceased. Each night light a candle and remember your loved one while placing your message in a special box.
o Create a special memorial area in your home or display items in a shadow-box frame. Include some favorite things or special mementos from the time you spent together.
o Carry a lock of hair or portion of a loved ones cremated remains in tiny container or locket.
o Provide a dedication at your loved one's favorite place with a specially engraved bench or stone or some other type of marker. Celebrate your loved one's life by visiting or having a picnic at this special place.
o Encourage children to draw pictures or write stories inspired by their memories of the deceased.
o Make a donation to a charity or create a scholarship in the name of the person who died.
o Plant a tree, shrub or flowers as a living symbol to honor the life of the deceased.
o Make a collage about the deceased using magazines, photos, stickers, etc. Frame portions of goodbye posters or photo boards used during funeral services.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/935563

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Designing Your Funeral

There are two facets of the design process. First, we ask you to consider how you wish to honor and celebrate the life. When those important decisions are made, we’ll turn to the issue of how you wish to care for the physical remains.

How to Honor a Life

It’s about bringing those you love together, at a time of loss. It’s a natural thing to do, and over time, has become a socially-expected practice. More importantly, a funeral or memorial service, whether traditional, or contemporary, is the first step in healing.
You can have your service anywhere, and any way, you want. Your choices include the place of celebration, day of the week, and time of day; the musical selection, what prayers will be said or songs you’d like sung. We can arrange to have doves, butterflies, or balloons released at the close of the service. Keepsake gifts of wildflower seeds or a tree seedling can be given. We’re here to help you create the most memorable and meaningful service to honor your loved one.

Burial or Cremation?

Your next consideration focuses on choosing between burial and cremation. Usually, people are clear on this point. In fact, your loved one may have told you, or someone else, exactly how they wish to be cared for. But it can be a hard decision for some families, especially when the wishes of the deceased were never clearly stated. If that's the case, please know we're able to help you come to the perfect decision for your loved one, and for you.
Once you decide, the finer details come into focus. If you've chosen burial, then selection of the casket, vault, and desired cemetery follows. Naturally, we’re here to help you.
If cremation is your choice, then you'll need to make the next decision: whether the cremated remains will be placed in a mausoleum niche, or buried on the cemetery grounds.
In some communities, there's the option for a 'green burial.' If that's what your loved one would prefer, we'll help you select an environmentally-friendly choice.

What's Next?

Now that we've given you the basics, it's time to reflect more on exactly what is appropriate for you and your family. If possible, gather everyone together to speak of their feelings and desires.
Still looking for inspiration? Speaking with a professional funeral planner will help to clarify your thinking. Reach us at (707) 425-4697.