Sunday, July 31, 2016

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."

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Grief Books:Bereavement

The loss of a loved one is one of the most painful experiences that most of us will ever have to face in our lives. This book recognizes that there is no single solution to the problems of bereavement but that an understanding of grief can help the bereaved to realize that they are not alone in their experience.

• Long recognized as the most authoritative work of its kind, this new edition has been revised and extended to take into account recent research findings on both sides of the Atlantic. Parkes and Prigerson include additional information about the different circumstances of bereavement including traumatic losses, disasters, and complicated grief, as well as providing details on how social, religious, and cultural influences determine how we grieve.
• Bereavement provides guidance on preparing for the loss of a loved one, and coping after they have gone. It also discusses how to identify the minority in whom bereavement may lead to impairment of physical and/or mental health and how to ensure they get the help they need. This classic text will continue to be of value to the bereaved themselves, as well as the professionals and friends who seek to help and understand them.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Letting The Sunshine In

Seven days a week we'll send you a short message of support. That's 365 days of wise words, helpful tips, and healing activities.
    Letting the Sun Shine In Daily Emails
  • When someone you love dies, grieving that loss can take a long time. As in any emotional journey, there are rough spots to be weathered, and moments when you catch a glimpse of a sunnier horizon. We want to be your daily companion, helping you to let the sun shine back into your life. These daily emails provide encouragement and gentle reminders of the recovery process. Interested?
    View a Preview of Day 1.
    • "Your daily affirmation emails have given me hope for a better tomorrow." - Emily

    • "Your messages have helped me reflect the life my grandfather lived and have helped me heal." - Dan

  • Click HERE To Sign Up

  • Privacy Statement

    Bryan Braker Funeral Home values your privacy. We will never give, sell, rent or otherwise share your email or personal information with any other organization. Subscribing to our daily emails will not result in unwanted emails from us or third party vendors. Should you ever wish to unsubscribe, you can easily do so by clicking on a link at the bottom of any one of the affirmation messages.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Funeral Directors And The Grieving Process

Grief can be experienced after numerous events - the end of a relationship, the loss of a job or even a geographical relocation when friends and family must be left behind. Of course, the most significant cause of grief is the death of a loved one. Like many emotional reactions to major life events, grieving is an individual process that each person works through in their own way. Funeral directors can provide helpful funeral products and services during a client family's time of grief which aid in the process.
There are five stages of grief that most people tend to go through, although, as stated above, grief is a very personal experience and some people may not go through every stage. Timing spent on each stage, intensity of emotions and the depth of the relationship will all impact the grieving process.
The first stage is denial. Rejecting the truth and instead insisting to oneself of even others that the death has not occurred is a typical reaction during denial.
Anger typically follows denial in the grieving process. Survivors can feel angry at God, at physicians, at other survivors, at themselves, or even at the deceased. As anger is diffused, it yields to the next stage, bargaining. This describes the irrational action of trying to "make a deal" with God, doctors, etc. and most often entails promises to change behavior to get the deceased back, or to substitute the survivor's life for their loved one who has died.
Funeral professionals are able to help the bereaved during these first two stages simply by holding a funeral service for their client family. If a loved one has died and it is impossible for a family or friend to attend in person, a funeral director can offer funeral webcasting. A webcast enables others to attend the funeral online to see and hear family members, the service and the deceased which can provide a unique way for closure to those in mourning.
The final two stages of grief are depression and finally acceptance. The death has become a reality and that realization can be a harsh truth. During this stage it is particularly important that the bereaved surround themself with a supportive network of people who have been through something similar or who are grieving the same person.
Funeral keepsakes can also provide support to client families during these stages of the grieving process. Keepsakes can be created in forms of personalized funeral candles and holiday remembrance ornaments, DVD tribute videos, prayer cards - the list of unique keepsakes is endless. Creating a personalized keepsake for family and friends to cherish and to memorialize their loved one can be helpful in the final stages of grief. While the sadness over the loss of a person will never completely disappear, a keepsake helps them reflect, remember and celebrate their loved ones life as the death is at long last accepted.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

When Someday Is Now - Death Sent a Reminder, Pre Plan Your Own Funeral

When my wife's mother, "Grandma G," died, she left us many gifts and intangibles. She also left us something very tangible, that in the immediate hour of need, was her most thoughtful gift. She had prearranged and paid for her funeral in exacting detail. This single act, greatly lowered the magnitude of stress that her death had caused.
When the 10:16 a.m. call came in to tell us of Grandma's death, our schedule and lives changed abruptly. Immediately, hundreds of questions crowded our heads. Sadness and strong emotions disabled us for several minutes. Within an hour of the call, my wife and I were on our way from Tallahassee to St. Petersburg, Florida. We made a list as we drove. What would we need to handle when we arrived? My wife was an only child. So, all the details were now our responsibility.
We knew Grandma had prearranged her funeral prior to her death. She had given us a small laminated card that said, "Simplicity Plan, at the time of my death call..." That small card soon became a major blessing.
For most of us, thinking about death, let alone our death, isn't a high priority. Grandma's thoughtfulness and foresight changed my opinion quickly. Now, I hope to change yours. Prepaid, pre-need arrangements should be a part of everyone's estate planning. You can start yours today!
The day following Grandma's death, we met with Tom, a funeral director from the home and cemetery she had worked with. He had the original paper work signed 9 years prior. It contained all of her selections and instructions, enough for us to know precisely what Grandma wanted. In her case, she wanted cremation, with placement in a niche, using a bronze urn, and no service, all prepaid. That sounds easy. Why bother to do that in advance? Choices, paperwork and cost are three excellent reasons.
Even with all her wishes known, it still took two hours to fill out and sign the required (by law) paperwork for an only child. Imagine having several immediate family members together under duress trying to decide:
  • Burial or cremation?
  • What would she have wanted?
  • What casket or what urn to use?
  • Which plot, crypt, or niche is right?
  • What clothing, a service or no service, music or no music, which songs?
  • Should you have a viewing, or no viewing? What should you say in the obituary?
  • Will you place a picture in the obituary or not?
  • If you do include a picture, which picture will you use?
This confusion is the most common occurrence according to funeral directors. Pre-plan and prearrange with pre-need and you eliminate it.
The two hours we spent with Tom at the funeral home was only half of the ordeal. The next day, we went to the cemetery and, working with Jack, the cemetery's representative, it took four minutes short of two hours to finish all the paperwork for Grandma's niche. Again, this was with all decisions made in advance. While we sat in a private room, the weeping and cries of disbelief of another family pierced the door. They had not made prearrangements, and they found all the decisions overwhelming. Even at a calm time, with a clear head, it would still be a challenge.
Talking about money at the time of a loved one's death might first appear tasteless. However, should a family under duress incur expenses they can't easily afford? Isn't it easy to see, because of grief, guilt, or sibling pressure, how survivors could spend more money than necessary? Grandma prepaid for her arrangements 9 years before her death. The funeral home and cemetery honored the details and the pricing of the contract. There was no pressure, no questioning, no hints or insinuations about changing anything. One last point about money and prearrangements, since Grandma made and paid for her selections, the costs for the same products and services had more than doubled. So Grandma's foresight also saved a significant sum of money for her estate.
Florida law requires funeral homes and cemeteries to place the funds from prearranged services (pre-need in the vernacular) in escrow. Many other states have similar laws. The Funeral Homes or Cemeteries cannot withdraw the funds until the time of use (at need). The money gains interest for the Funeral Home/Cemetery, which helps them keep up with inflation. There are also various provisions for canceling contracts and for transferring them to other funeral homes or cemeteries. And, on Grandma's plan, had we buried her without knowing of the prepaid plan, upon discovery of it, the funeral home would have refunded what she'd paid.
There will be variations between States and Funeral Homes on the plans offered and their costs. So, investigate and ask questions. Fully understand what you want before you buy a pre-need plan. Grandma's plan was "The Simplicity Plan," offered by Stewart Enterprises Inc. There are other plans available. Simply ask your chosen local Funeral Home and they will help you devise a pre-need plan that reflects you, your wishes and your budget.
Based on our experience, there was nothing more thoughtful that Grandma could have done. In the hour of humanity's greatest stress, Grandma had already lessened the trauma of dealing with funeral arrangements. And realistically, who better to make all the choices than her?
Once you have completed the details and signed up for your pre-need services, give a copy of the plan with the contact information to your personal representative, a close family member or one of your adult children. It is a thoughtful gift for your survivors.

Article Source:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Funeral Casket - Choosing The Right Casket

Choosing a casket can be overwhelming at times due to the large selection of funeral caskets to choose from these days. Start with the basics, would you prefer a wood or metal casket. After this look at your budget and see what price range will better suite your financial situation, and then you can pick accordingly. After that it is just a matter of personal preference. Think of the colors that your lost loved one enjoyed, and what kind of personality did they have. Were they reserved or exotic in taste, this will help you in choosing the right funeral casket for there personality. Also, there are special caskets for veterans, which show that pride of the armed forces in the artwork on the casket.

When it comes down to it the only thing you need to remember is to pick the casket that you think is best for your family, never let a funeral director or anyone else try to make you purchase a casket you are not happy with. Once you find the perfect casket to honor you loved, you can rest knowing that you have done what in your heart was best, and that is what is most important. What ever casket you choice you can add corner options to add a personal touch to the casket selection. A funeral is a difficult time and choosing the correct burial casket can be stressful, but remember it comes down to what you the family like and want for you lost loved one.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Do You Understand Your Grief?

To gain new essential understanding about your grief is strategic to moving through your sorrow. Before you can begin a healing journey you must understand your Grief. Clarity about your personal circumstance is absolutely necessary for you to be able to embrace the best solutions for your happiness. Grieving is complex and confusing. Your personal sorrow is unique to you and you alone. Understanding your private sorrow is important to you because you grieve differently. Your unique grieving and healing process is distinctive to you. Do you understand your grief?

Grief is real:

Grief is a powerful force that settles in your heart and mind like a dark heavy fog. Your vision is clouded, your confidence in self is uncertain. Your heartbreak is difficult to describe; sorrow is unexplainable. Grieving is personal and unique to each individual. Some struggle mightily with sorrow-more than once. Others seemingly never have horrific sadness. Nonetheless, the grief you experience is real.

Your sorrow may feel like fear:

You fear what you understand. You fear what you don't understand. You fear the unknown. Your cause for your grief is only one of thousands of reasons why bereavement is experienced throughout the world. Perhaps, your grief is awkward, often painful and complex. Your grief is seldom, if ever, planned for and certainly not invited. Usually your grief is never one emotion. Your sorrow may be mixed up with many other feelings. Your grief may actually feel so much like fear.

Your Grief may make you feel powerless and vulnerable:

Typically, grief is accompanied by an avalanche of partners-sorrow, fear, hopelessness, and uncertainty. Grief is like 15,000 puzzle parts scattered on the table, peculiar in every way to circumstance and personal to you. You feel like you are sitting at the table trying helplessly to put the sorrow puzzle together blind folded. There you sit feeling washed up, powerless and vulnerable.

You should feel no shame admitting your grief:

Grief is always a matter of relativity. Your sorrow is measured by its proportion to you. A laceration is as painful as an amputation to another. It is a wasted effort for you to compare the extent or severity of your sorrow with others. Your grieving is real it is personal and exclusive to you. Your grief clock keeps its own time. Your clock tells the correct time. Grief for one is often not understood by another. Personal grief is complicated, complex, and confusing. You should feel no shame admitting your grief than if you were affirming acknowledgment of a broken leg. Far more important is recognition of your grief as you struggle for peace and understanding.

It is important for you to understand the forces of grief:

Your extreme sorrow is more than discouragement, more than a bad day at the office. Grief is like a merry-go-round it goes round and round as you ride the grief horse you go up and down. Grief is cyclical; enduring it as you move through it is best accomplished as you understand the forces of horrific grieving. Don't be ashamed of the foregoing mentioned emotions. They are tangible.

The depth of your sadness may seem everlasting:

Grief affects many throughout the world in innumerable ways. Compassion and empathy is needed for those who lost loved ones through death, cancer patients, amputees, the wounded warriors, the bed-ridden, those with serious medically diagnosed conditions, and those whose hearts ache because of a multiplicity of other causes. Your great struggle with the depth of the sorrow you experience may seem everlasting. Nevertheless, your peculiar grief is absolutely real. Heart ache to one is often not understood by another; however your sadness and anguish are present.

Healing is possible when you understand your grief:

It is likely that you reflected upon the foregoing expressions as grief bullet points to ponder. Only when you understand what grief is, and how powerful it can imprison your thoughts, emotions, and even your whole persona, can you begin to work through your grief. Understanding your grief and what you can do about healing helps you begin your healing journey to a healthier happy place in your life. Remember in the world of grief and sorrow, healing begins with you.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The 5 Stages Of Grief Explained

Grief is a complicated and very powerful emotion. Unfortunately, it is very likely that at some point of your life you will go through it. In any case, the stages are nearly exactly the same for each person.

Some people go from one stage to another quickly, or skip some of them. Others get stuck and need help to go on.

Knowing the stages of grief, knowing what to expect, can help you to deal with your emotions.

Once you are faced with your own personal loss and grief, it helps enormously to know what is going on. It does not matter if what you experience is slightly different than the theory. It will also give you a sense that you are not alone with your pain. Others have gone through it and survived it. So will you.

Knowing the stages of grief also helps when you are trying to help a person you care for to deal with his or her grief.

Each stage of grief has a meaning. When going through them, your goal is to process each stage with all its issues and move on to the next. Until you are able to accept your loss and can move on with your life.

These are the 5 classic stages that affect everyone who encounters a loss of some kind. They are just guidelines, not strict rules. I hope that they will help you to go through the pain of your loss. I also hope that what you learn and what you experience will make you stronger. One day you will need that knowledge and that strength to help with someone else's grief.

1. Shock and Denial

The first reaction of most people when hearing the news of a devastating loss is shock. Frozen disbelief and denial follow. If someone brings the news to you that someone very close to you has passed, it is very likely that you will react with shaken "no, no, no." Your mind is simply not able to process such horror and is protecting you by completely denying the reality. You might decide to believe that someone is making a practical joke. Or you might even laugh when hearing the news, the way children laugh in the dark to dispel fear.

The numbness follows. It is the nature's way of letting you deal only with emotions you are capable of handling.

Denial is a very helpful stage of grief. But, at some point, you will be ready to face the reality. Reality means a range of very painful emotions that will follow.

There is no rule how long should you be in denial. There is no rule that everyone has to go through the denial stage. You might be able to jump straight into highly emotional stages such as anger or guilt.

If you persist in denying the reality of your loss, you need help. It can be a close friend or a relative who knows you. Sometimes the help of a trained therapist or a grief counselor might be necessary. You need to accept that the loss is part of life and that the pain that comes with loss will slowly pass. The love you feel will remain. You will always have the memories. You need to let yourself continue to grieve, in order to reach the acceptance. Only then the life can go on.

2. Pain and Guilt

Once you get out of the denial and face the reality, the pain will hit you will full blast. It might feel overwhelming at times. It is very tempting during this stage to try to dull the pain with drugs or alcohol.

But, the pain can be healing. Like the pain of birth, it results in the new reality, the reality of your new life.

The feeling of guilt is very common during this stage. It may come from unresolved issues. It can be the guilt of surviving, especially if the loss you experienced is the loss of someone younger. You might feel guilty for not showing your love while you could, or showing proper appreciation.

The excruciating pain experienced during this stage may lead to anxiety, especially with more emotional people.

While the feeling of guilt will pass once you are able to think rationally, the pain will remain. It will be part of your life throughout the grieving process, and beyond.

But, slowly, you will be able to function and live with your pain and the reality of your loss, and move on.

3. Anger and Bargaining

Your overwhelming pain takes many forms. It is very common that people feel powerful feeling of anger. Anger against doctors who could not do more, against relatives who did not give more time, against God or destiny. Why me? How could this happen to such a nice person?

Anger is healthy after the destructive feeling of guilt in the previous stage of grieving. Pain leaves you without anchor. You feel totally out of control of your life. Anger puts you back in control - we are trained to control anger from very early age. Anger gives practical outlet to your devastating pain.

It is very important not to vent your anger to those closest to you. They are also grieving. You need them. You do not want to lose them. You have lost enough already.

The stages of grief do not follow each other in the same order for each person. Anger can easily combine with guilt and turn on yourself. Even when you lash at others, deep down you might feel that you failed your loved one in some way.

If someone you love is terminally ill, you might try bargaining. You might try to bargain with God, or with destiny. You might promise to be a better person, or to stop smoking or to be more generous, if only...

Bargaining is particularly powerful stage of grieving for people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Bargaining for your own life can offer hope, or a channel for pain that gives more control.

As with other stages of grief, anger and bargaining can last a short time, weeks, months, or you might skip them altogether. It is important to look for signs of uncontrolled anger which can irreparably damage your relationships with those closest and dearest to you.

4. Depression and Loneliness

All the powerful emotions that follow denial are exhausting, but they represent hope. Strong emotions are one way your pain shows its ugly face. But, at some point, the hope fades and you face the reality. The reality is devastating. The loved one is really gone.

There is no way to change that fact. The life will never be the same. You are left alone. You might feel that the life makes no sense any more. The depression sets in.

Feeling depressed is normal reaction to a devastating loss. In a way, if you do not get depressed, you are not really facing your loss.

Those around you might have difficult time seeing you so low. "Snap out of it' you will hear a lot. You will be offered anti-depressants and phone numbers of therapists.

Your priest will offer counseling. Your friends will offer numerous casseroles. Everyone wants you out of the blues.

At some point, you will start noticing that life goes on. The depression will slowly start to lift. The pain will remain, but with less intensity and with less hopelessness.

Sometimes the depression continues to deepen and you might refuse to fight the hopelessness. Thoughts of suicide start intruding. That is the time when help is necessary. People who suffer from deep clinical depression they cannot shake are not able to look for help. The help has to come to them. Family members and friends need to be on the lookout for the depression that keeps getting worse instead of better and look for professional help.

There is no rule how long should you allow depression to wash over your soul. Days, weeks, it depends on your personality, the enormity of your loss and the support you have from those that love you. Alone or together, you need to rejoin the life with all its pain and memories. Don't forget, it will get better in time.

5. Acceptance

Accepting your loss does not come in a moment of epiphany. It is a slow and painful process. It is the result of all the stages your grief went through. It is the new form your pain takes, the form that will be part of your new life.

Accepting your loss does not mean that you are through with it. It just means that you accept that death is part of life. You accept that you are starting with the new life. One enriched by the person who was part of your previous life. The life that you will build on the ashes on the previous one. The life that will celebrate the loved one you lost and not mourn.

There will be times months and even years after your loss when you will revert to one of the stages of grief, for a moment or two, or even longer. There will be painful reminders which will drag you back into the depths of your despair. But, they will be rare and you will be strong enough to deal with them.

Holidays will be for ever painful for you, because they will remind you how they looked like when you celebrated them with the person you lost. You can prepare for them and deal with them in your own way.

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Monday, July 4, 2016

Paths Toward Peace Of Mind As We Mourn

The pain, frustration, and suffering we go through after the death of a loved one is extremely difficult to cope with and grow through. However, great losses, particularly the changes that go with them, are constant and have to be addressed. Grief by nature is a transformational process: we learn new ways to adapt to a different life or continue to resist the inevitable changes that have to be made. Since there are numerous healing paths to follow, perhaps you will find one or more of the paths below to be one of your choices and provide achievable inner peace in the process.

1. Find your purpose/mission in life. Think long and hard on why you are here. Do you have a personal goal? Purpose gives us meaning and a boost in self-esteem. Examine your skills, abilities, and interests, very closely. Carefully ask yourself what moves you deep within. Then decide on a plan to follow in creating a purpose to lead you to a higher level of consciousness. The sense of accomplishment will transform your life and in the process pull you out of the shadows. The cost of not seeking your niche, your contribution, is overwhelming.

2. Focus more on what you can give and less on what you can receive. We all certainly need support in dealing with our losses. However, it is equally true, that at some point in our grieving seeking to help others even though we are hurting is a historically proven way to cope well. Start by paying the kindness you receive forward. Decide what has helped you up to this point in you grief; analyze it for the needs that it met, and try to meet similar needs in others. Think of these four basic needs we all hope to be fulfilled in our interpersonal relationships: attention, acceptance, affection, and appreciation. Decide on the many behaviors you can generate to meet these needs in others. You can build more peace within as you bring peace to them.

3. Choose to develop your ability to become more loving. Love is a great unused power in dealing with all sorts of difficult situations. Grieving and adapting to great losses are situations in which working to love deeper and more completely brings new perceptions in seeing the world and our places in it. Great love strengthens the quality of our inner lives.

Look for uplifting and inspiring readings or poetry which suggests loving kindness as the motivating force behind it; read a short paragraph daily and then commit to those loving actions as you go through your day. Ask yourself. "What actions can I take to give unconditional positive regard to someone today?" Developing this daily routine will add structure to your life and help stabilize the sense of disorganization that accompanies grief work.

4. Develop and nurture a belief in something greater than the self. For most, grief is a heart-filled spiritual journey which fills mourners with a different perception of life and death. It may be appropriate to join a spiritual community to be with others who share similar values. Just being in their company to listen can be a soothing experience and you may find spiritual exercises that bring great insight and peace.

The awareness of spiritual knowledge and the impact it can have on every facet of life is a resource of inestimable value in coping with the death of a loved one. If you don't have one, find a spiritual path. Don't allow the culture we live in to deemphasize the importance of faith and spirituality in living a full life and coping with the massive changes we all eventually face.

5. Be open to new ideas and ways to adapt to change. There are so many ways to cope with great losses, many we never think about. So read all you can about how others cope with their losses. Ask others how they were able to adapt to their great loss and find peace. For example, consider deciding to search for ways to deal with your pain and not run from it. Uncover new responses that help ease pain. There are some that will fit your belief system and you can implement them to your own individual situation.

Be sure to include ways to deal with stress which commonly builds as we think too much about what we do not have. Daily stress management will not only help your mind, it will be a great gift to your body as well. Start by learning about mindfulness techniques and belly breathing.

6. Learn what you can and cannot control. One goal that all of the various grief theories agree on is that the ultimate goal of grieving is acceptance of what has occurred. Of course, not easy to do. This acceptance translates into coming to grips with what you can control, like in the present moment, and what you cannot change or affect from the past. No one can reverse what has occurred. Knowing the difference is a choice requiring wisdom and sometimes guidance from others. It can also require prayer and/or deep meditation. Making the choice of acceptance, which means to live with the fact, not necessarily like it, would be a great start to inner peace.

7. Set a goal to reach in honor of your loved one. Peace comes through doing as well as thinking. Allow yourself to be touched and motivated by the invisible presence of the beloved. Unwavering determination is of essential importance in completing your mission. So once you have chosen how you will pay tribute, create a schedule of when and how you will work on it. Develop the habit of eliminating self-sabotaging thoughts of what you don't have by switching to a focus on your progress of paying tribute to your loved one.

Continually work to create a conscious lifestyle that has peace of mind as a top priority. Make this is a daily duty.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

More To Dying Than Meets The Eye: Martha Atkins

Those who work with the dying are familiar with patients seeing long deceased loved ones, angelic beings, even hearing music and comforting voices as the patient nears death. Deathbed phenomena have been documented in the days, weeks, and months before death since the 1500s. Often confused with hallucinations, deathbed phenomena can bring comfort to patients and caregivers if those involved know what they are experiencing. This talk will explain deathbed phenomena and present on-going research about the topic. Accounts from the dying and bedside witnesses will be shared.