“For Everything There is a Season: Helping a Child Deal with Death…”

Everyone reacts differently in his or her ability to understand and accept the fact of death and children are certainly no exception.

Experts think it wise to include children in the activities and preparations for a funeral when the death is a member of the immediate family and if you think the child is old enough to understand.  As with adults, children benefit by being involved in the planning.

Let the child know it is all right and normal to cry and feel sad and even be angry.  Gently encourage the child to talk about what has happened.  Questions should be answered with honesty and loving concern.  Be an “unconditional listener”.  Listen to questions and thoughts without shock, anger, disapproval or criticism.  Let him know he can confide in you without risk.  Let the child know there isn’t any question that is off limits or silly or stupid and you will answer all questions as best you can.

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“For Everything There is a Season: Jon’s New Chapter…”

Jon Wiggins, our long-time employee and friend, has begun a new chapter in his life.  He and his wife, Theresa, have moved to Moundridge, Kansas where they have purchased the Moundridge Funeral Home and the accompanying satellite funeral homes in Hesston, Buhler, Goessel, Canton and Haven.

Shortly after Jon graduated from Ottawa High School in 1985 he began working for us.  In 1987, he earned a degree in Mortuary Science and became a very valued member of our staff.  He is proficient in every facet of funeral service.  He took great pride in his work, especially when it came to the restoration of the human body.  No one is better.  Jon certainly played a big part in the success of Dengel & Son Mortuary.

We will miss Jon, but we also want the best for Jon and Theresa.  We have no doubt that he will do well as the owner-operator of his own funeral homes.  He trained for it all of his adult life.

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“For Everything There is a Season: The Death of a Parent…”

When you lose a parent, you lose a source of unconditional love and it is difficult to accept even if you are 40 or 50 or older.  You lose an important part of your support system and a source of family history.  You may also be dealing with a sense of your own mortality.

When a parent dies after a terminal illness and when you loved that parent very much, your feelings can be mixed.  On one hand, you wanted them to live forever and on the other hand you were praying for them to die so the suffering would be over.  Don’t beat yourself up over feelings like that.  It is so normal.  Many, many people can relate to that feeling.

Many people do not understand the grief an adult child feels for a parent, especially if that parent had lived a long and fulfilling life.  But, it is hard to lose a parent, no matter what age.  The grief is real, and time is needed to work through the grieving process.

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“For Everything There is a Season: Grieving Friends…”

Friends of the deceased seldom receive cards or flowers as an expression of sympathy.  You can find a card for every occasion, even the death of a pet, but it’s hard to find a card specifically expressing sympathy for the death of a friend.

We recognize a family’s grief but sometimes we overlook a friend’s grief.  Families have each other to lean upon, their friends rally around them and support them but very often we forget about a friend’s grief and he or she is left to deal with the loss alone.

Many times, a loss of a friend is just as devastating to the friend as it is to the family.  When two people know each other intimately and interact with each other as a part of their daily routine it leaves a terrible void when one of them dies.  Please don’t forget to extend your sympathy to the close friend.  It would be a nice gesture to spend some time with him or her and reminisce about the friendship.

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“For Everything There is a Season: Labor Day…”

Next Monday is Labor Day.  To most of us it means the start of football, school, club meetings and no more white shoes.  It is time to shift gears and get back to a normal routine.

Labor Day is a federal holiday set aside to honor the men and women who work hard every day.  There is nothing more satisfying than having a job that you love and to get paid for doing it.  Not everyone is lucky enough to have their dream job but there is satisfaction in every job, the satisfaction of knowing you have given your all and you have done your job well.

This country was literally built by “hard workers”.  People want to work, they need to work.  Our economy has been doing better and unemployment is lower than it has been for years.  Lowering taxes and getting rid of burdensome regulations seem to be helping.  We hope the economy does even better and everyone has the opportunity to feel the pride of a job “well done”.

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“For Everything There is a Season: Grief in the Workplace…”

If you have a job where you work with other people, chances are, sooner or later, you or a co-worker will lose someone close.  It creates a sensitive situation that calls for understanding.

When a person experiences a loss and goes back to work, occasionally co-workers fail to express their sympathy.  It doesn’t mean they are uncaring, it usually means they just didn’t know what to say.  Not acknowledging the death can cause hurt feelings.  So, if a co-worker experiences a loss, a simple statement like, “I’m sorry for the death of your father” would be appreciated.  A sympathy card or flowers would always be appreciated.

Co-workers and bosses need to understand grief can’t be turned on and off and it can take some time to return to full function on the job.  So, cut them a little slack and try to put yourself in their place and assist them when you can.  Who knows?  It could be you in their shoes someday.

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“For Everything There is a Season: Widowers Need Help Too…”

Just as widows need comforting, widowers also need special attention.  In our society, boys are taught to be tough at an early age and are discouraged from showing their emotions.  It just isn’t natural for most men to talk about their feelings.  It makes them uncomfortable.  This kind of attitude can be detrimental when handling grief.

As a friend of someone who has lost his wife, one of the best things you can do for him is to encourage him to let it all out, to laugh out loud and to shed some tears when reminiscing about his wife.  Expressing his feelings will help him work through his grief.

On the practical side, a widower may need help learning household skills such as cooking and laundering.  If he has kids at home, he would probably appreciate all the help he can get, carpooling and such.  Occasionally ask him to share a meal with your family.  He will enjoy the company and the food.

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