“For Everything There is a Season…” More Questions & Answers

QUESTION:  I already own a life insurance policy.  Is it a good idea to use this to pay for my funeral when needed?

ANSWER:  What we sometimes see happen is life insurance that was intended to serve as income for the survivors, ends up covering the cost of the final arrangements.  By funding ahead, using coverage specifically for funeral arrangements, you can make sure life insurance money will be used for what it was intended, making life easier for your loved ones when you are gone.

QUESTION:  Isn’t funeral planning just for older folks?

ANSWER:  We wish that were true, but no one knows what life has in store for us and it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead no matter what your age.  Planning ahead for something inevitable isn’t going to make it happen sooner no more than having house insurance will hasten a house fire.  Most of us just want to make things easier for our families and planning ahead helps.


“For Everything There is a Season…” More Questions & Answers

QUESTION:  I would like to arrange my funeral in advance.  Shall I just do it or talk to my family before making any decisions?

ANSWER:  It is entirely up to you, but many people tell us that a family discussion helps ensure that everyone is comfortable with the arrangements being made.  Hard feelings can be avoided if the spouse and all the children are included in the discussions especially in this day and age when there are many blended families.

QUESTION:  Is planning and paying for my funeral in advance expensive?

ANSWER:  No.  It doesn’t cost more to pay for your funeral in advance.  The cost depends upon what you choose.  Many people use an irrevocable insurance vehicle to fund their funerals in advance.  The money can only be used for end of life expenses.  The advantage is that you choose what you want and how much you want to spend and save your family the worry of how to pay for your funeral.

For Everything There is a Season…” Questions and Answers

QUESTION:  Should I find out how my parents feel about their funerals?  I want to encourage them to plan ahead, but I am not sure I should approach them on the subject.

ANSWER:  Most of us feel comfortable talking with our parents about health care and retirement plans but talking about funeral planning doesn’t come easily.  It is far better to talk about funerals now, while you can plan together and while your parents still have their health.  Chances are they are thinking about it but didn’t know how to approach the subject with you.  Encourage them to share what they want included in their funerals.

If you would like, our pre-need counselor, Carolyn Elder would be glad to help you with what you need to know before you talk to your parents.  There is absolutely no obligation to make formal arrangements.  Carolyn would be glad to visit with you.

“For Everything There is a Season…” Grief Stages

People experiencing a loss often experience some of the same feelings as other survivors.  Just knowing that helps.  One of the first reactions is usually shock and denial.  There may be periods of crying and depression.  There are feelings of loneliness and isolation.  Loneliness and anxiety can create great emotional pain and sometimes even cause physical pain.  It is not unusual to encounter a feeling of panic.

Almost everyone goes through periods of feeling guilty; thinking of things they wish they had done or had done differently.  It is not unusual to look for someone to blame, someone who seemingly could have prevented the death, perhaps the doctor or even God.

It helps the survivor to know that all these feelings are normal, you are not losing it and with the help of family and friends, in time, healing begins, and life takes on a new meaning.  Have faith, with time, things will get better. 

“For Everything There is a Season…” The Crematory

Many funeral homes advertise they offer crematory service and they do.  The difference between our crematory service and theirs is that we own and operate our own crematory that is on our premises in Ottawa and they depend upon the integrity of out of town crematories.

Many of you know we installed a state-of-the-art crematory a few years ago.  Our crematory is kind to the environment and has virtually no emissions.

The families we serve like the idea that we have control of the final arrangements…from start to finish.  We don’t rely upon anyone else to do the job right.  Our funeral directors are all certified to cremate, and every aspect of the cremation process is done in a precise manner.  We have a viewing room to give families the opportunity to see the beginning of the process if they choose.  Whether you are present or not, our cremations are always done with dignity and respect.


“For Everything There is a Season…” Grief Work

Grief is an emotion most of us feel after experiencing a loss of a loved one.  It is an emotion that can be very intense.  But eventually, the bereaved come to accept the separation and readjust to life without their loved one through a process called “grief work.”

Professionals who have studied the emotion of grief have agreed that there are ten stages of grief that are common to most survivors.  They are denial, emotional release, loneliness, pain, panic, guilt, anger, depression, healing and readjustment.

Studies have shown symptoms will vary according to the individual and the nature of the death.  Some survivors will experience each of these symptoms and some may experience just a few.  They do not occur in any particular order and will vary in intensity and length.  It is important for survivors to understand these emotional reactions and to understand these emotional reactions are normal.


“For Everything There is a Season…” Managing Grief

To speed recovery from grief it is helpful to know ways to help manage the loss.  It is helpful to promote “grief work” by actively facing reality by viewing the body.  Talk about the death with friends and family.  It will help you accept the fact that the loss is real.

Accept the sympathy of others and reminisce about the life of your loved one.  Tell sad stories and funny stories and feel free to laugh and to cry.  Share your fears about the future, about how you are going to manage and how your life is going to change.

It is best not to make any hasty decisions, such as moving or making serious financial decisions.  Avoid taking medications for the purpose of avoiding grief.  “Grief work” must be done in order to make the adjustment.  It doesn’t help to delay it.  Sooner or later you will have to confront it.  Don’t give up hope.  You will never forget but the pain will diminish, little by little.


“For Everything There is a Season…” Exploring Grief

For the next few weeks we will be exploring grief.  We will be writing in generalities.  Because we are all unique, we all react in our own personal way to a loss of a loved one.  No one can really understand what a person is going through even though they may have experienced a similar loss.

Just as the severity of grief does not denote the depth of our affection, neither does the length of grief.  It simply means we all have our own unique timetable.  It will take some a long time and others just a short time.  Most will be somewhere in between.

Psychiatrists have found many survivors experience similar stages of grief.  Some worry that something is wrong with them for feeling the way they do at times.  Survivors need to know they are not losing their minds.  In the coming weeks we will be exploring the stages of grief so that survivors will know their feelings are normal and what they might expect.


“For Everything There is a Season…” Burial Traditions

We are a nation of traditions and we thought you might be interested in some of the burial traditions of this area.  In most cemeteries, the remains of the deceased are buried facing the rising sun (the foot of the grave to the east and the head to the west).  The custom stems from the religious belief that signifies we will rise again.

In cemeteries such as Highland in Ottawa, where the roads curve and run in semi-circles, traditionally the remains are buried with the head of the grave closest to the road.  You will also discover not all headstones are at the head and not all foot-stones are at the foot.  Sound confusing?  Sometimes common sense is the best solution when dealing with traditions that somehow just don’t seem to fit the situation.

Another tradition is the husband is usually buried on the right side of his wife because the bridegroom stood on the right side of his wife when they married.


“For Everything There is a Season…” Memorial Contributions

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.