Because it is so difficult for many people to express their sympathy to a family who has suffered a loss, they choose to avoid direct contact with the family. People often react this way because they just don’t know what to say or they are afraid they will say the wrong thing. The problem is the family may be hurt by the perception that they don’t care.
Our advice is to do the best you can, the family will understand. It would be rare that an honest display of sympathy would be misunderstood. On the other hand, your absence or silence might be.
Expressions of sympathy and offers to help let the bereaved know that you share their grief and care about their sorrow. If you knew the deceased, recall something you remember about him, his laugh or his smile or a favorite story about him. If you didn’t know him, just a simple “I’m sorry” and an embrace would be enough to let the family know you care.
In the real estate business it is all about location, location, location. In the funeral business it is all about detail, detail, detail.
At Dengel & Son Mortuary, we are absolutely fanatical about detail. Each and every detail is important to us. Many of the same details are taken care of each time we make funeral arrangements. But many of the details are unique because each family is unique. Very often families customize a funeral service to pay tribute to their loved one. Emotions run high after a death and we recognize the importance of each and every detail. We only have one chance to get it right and we take that responsibility very seriously.
We learned a long time ago any funeral home can direct a funeral service, what set us apart is that we are pro-active and go above and beyond what families expect. It is that attention to the little things, the details that make us different.
Many times when a family feels a deep religious commitment, they request memorials be made to a particular church, usually to the church the family attends, to help with expenses. Sometimes a specific project of the church is chosen; perhaps an addition or a beautification of the church or it might be designated to the church youth program. Most churches have worthy projects from which to choose.
When the deceased has particularly enjoyed a club or organization, the family may request memorials be designated for the benefit of that club. It is a way for the family to show appreciation for the companionship and friendship the members have given the deceased.
Worthy charitable organizations are also popular choices. Many times the family chooses an organization that the deceased chose to support during his lifetime. It makes sense for the family to continue the support after his or her death.
Many people find a deep, personal satisfaction in making memorial contributions to a charitable organization, to serve the living and to pay tribute to the memory of a relative, friend or associate. Many times the family will suggest a particular charity that was close to the heart of their loved one or to an organization that they believe makes the world a better place.
Memorial contributions left in our care are turned over to the intended organization shortly after the funeral service. We compile a list of donors with the amount and give it to the family. Many times the recipient of a memorial gift will also acknowledge and send a thank you note to the donor.
We want to aid the family and the organizations that are sending thank you notes by giving them the complete address of the donor. If you would include your full address we would appreciate it and so would the family.
Why send flowers to someone after they are gone?
Just as the funeral service is for the living, so is the gift of flowers. Sometimes friends do not know how to express their feelings and sending flowers is a way for them to let the family know they care.
Flowers present at funerals celebrate man’s everlasting life, his triumph over death. The full bloom reminds us of the promise of the immortality of life. The withering blossom reminds us of how short life is and the flower bud renews our hope of the future.
When you think about it every celebration in life’s journey is made more special when flowers are included. Birthday parties, anniversaries and weddings all are celebrated with beautiful flowers. The funeral is no exception, it is a celebration of life and it feels natural and good to have flowers present. Families always seem to appreciate the thoughtfulness of friends sending flowers.
The beginning of another new year—already! I was just getting use to writing 2016 and here it is ’17. It’s true, the older you get, the faster time seems to fly. Would you believe we have been writing this column every week for thirty-eight years?
It doesn’t seem like it’s been twenty-six years since we added the new addition that greatly enlarged our facility, provided a canopy over the family entrance and made the building handicapped accessible. It’s been almost eleven years ago when we built a “state of the art” crematory.
It is hard for me to believe it will be thirty-three years this spring since I graduated from college and joined my father, Walter, in business. Many changes have occurred since Dad retired eighteen years ago when I purchased the business. He thinks his dad, Louis, the founder of Dengel & Son, would approve of the changes we’ve made to offer the benchmark in funeral service.
There is no grief comparable to a parent’s grief when their child dies. There is no greater pain. For those of us who have not experienced this tragedy, we can only imagine. It is something we don’t even want to think about. It is a parent’s worst nightmare.
Parents who have lost a child tell us they want to talk about their child and they want friends to listen. What they don’t want to hear is comparisons to other deaths. To them, there is no death comparable to their child’s death.
They want you, their friend, to be patient. There are times when emotions well up and overwhelm them, sometimes long after the death. They want you to stick with them. They know it isn’t always pleasant, but they need your friendship and understanding now, more than ever. In time they will learn to live with their loss but it is something parents never get over.