Tag Archives: A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die

Importance of a Funeral and Memorial Service-YourFuneralGuy

19 Aug

It is very important no matter how you lower your funeral cost to still have a funeral or memorial service. Today we have a another guest post from Gail Rubin.

Why Have a Funeral or Memorial Service?

Why should anyone pre-plan their own funeral? Perhaps you’re telling your family that you don’t care what’s done with your body or how you are remembered. After all, after you die, you won’t be around to enjoy the party. But the people who love you care deeply.

My friend Gary, a confirmed bachelor in his 60s with no immediate family in the area, says that he doesn’t want a funeral when he dies. To his way of thinking, he’s not religious, doesn’t like ceremonies or rituals, and doesn’t want people to make a fuss. But so many of his friends will miss him and his warm wit, his deep intellect, his incredible guitar playing, and his appreciation of fine wine. Those who know him and call him a friend will want to honor his life, even though Gary pooh-poohs the idea.

My brother Mitch had a life partner named Wes who died from liver cancer in 2007. Within days, my brother and I, along with family and friends, planned a very moving memorial service that reflected the many unique aspects of Wes’s life and character. “Wes explicitly said he didn’t want a memorial service,” said Mitch. “But we didn’t do it for him; we did it for us.”

Funerals, or memorial services if the body isn’t present at the event, are not really for the person who has passed on and may or may not be observing the proceedings. These rituals provide the opportunity for family and friends to come together in support, remember and share stories about the dearly departed, and celebrate his or her character and contributions. Dispatching ceremonies provide an appropriate closing chapter in the book of that person’s life.

“We need rituals, not just for the dead but for those of us who aren’t yet dead, as well. I am weary of sweeping up the pieces for those family members who would not recognize a loss with a ritual,” said Dr. William G. Hoy, a grief counselor and death educator.

He explained, “Very often – with those who don’t stop and ritualize the death – six months later, these families are in my office, having a harder time with grieving and healing. My clinical experience matches fairly closely the experience I hear from colleagues. We need rituals to celebrate the life, to be sure, but also to socially acknowledge the death.”

The bereavement process starts with the recognition and realization that someone has died. The funeral or memorial service provides an opportunity to remember and tell stories about the person, to come to terms with the reality of death, to reaffirm beliefs, and to release the spirit of the deceased. Remembering and reaffirming generate stories and laughter, realizing and releasing prompt healing tears and goodbyes.

Psychologists note a number of reasons why these rituals matter. They make the dead “safely dead,” dispatched with proper ceremony to rest in peace. They confirm that the deceased and their survivors matter, and that the community will continue. They provide structure in the midst of chaos and disorder, and assure communal support for survivors during a stressful time.

As night follows day, death follows life. Come explore ways to plan meaningful end-of-life send-offs for our loved ones, while saving money and reducing stress at a time of grief. Visit http://www.AGoodGoodbye.com and http://TheFamilyPlot.wordpress.com. And remember, every day on this side of the sod is a good day!

Post by Gail Rubin
author of
The Family Plot Blog and A Good Goodbye:
Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die  (www.AGoodGoodbye.com)
Funeral industry|Funeral News|Funeral Blog by R. Brian Burkhardt YourFuneralGuy

Friday the 13th-Unexpected Death|Your Funeral Guy

13 Aug
Grim reaper crossed out with red X
While alive we should do everything we can to stop the Grim Reaper Image via Wikipedia

It is Friday The 13th so we are going to  cover unexpected death. Sometimes the Grim Reaper comes out of Nowhere and surprises us with unexpected death. Most of us have experienced this horrific surprise.

This was the exact scenario in the recent death of  Alaska Senator Ted Stevens

A day above ground is better than a day below.

The person doing the post today is Gail Rubin She has a new book coming out in September: “A Good Goodbye:
Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die”
I have previewed the book and it is one you should read.

Americans’ idea of “expected” death versus “unexpected” death is a lot like the classic Monty Python skit about the Spanish Inquisition. “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

“Expected” deaths, which happen in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes or hospice settings, still manage to seem “unexpected.” Whether a death is a complete surprise or not, here are a few things that happen on the way to a funeral.

The first call in an “expected” death goes to the primary doctor or hospice provider for the deceased, to facilitate pronouncement. Emergency room doctors can also record pronouncement. After the time of death is officially recorded, the body can be moved and preparations made for final disposition of the body. The second call would be to a funeral director, if previous arrangements have been made. If arrangements aren’t already in place, a boatload of decisions will need to be made under duress.

Chances are, you’d be in the same boat with an “unexpected” death, such as an auto accident, suicide, homicide, when a person under the age of 18 dies or a body is discovered under mysterious circumstances. A police officer, coroner or medical investigator will make the pronouncement to the best of their ability given the circumstances.

By health code, a body has to be processed within 24 hours – before decomposition begins – in one of four ways: refrigerate, embalm, cremate, or bury. Embalming and refrigeration give the family a few more days with the body before cremation or burial, allowing distant relatives to travel for a funeral. Both Jews and Muslims are prohibited from embalming and those religions dictate burial within 24 to 72 hours.

The funeral director or the Office of the Medical Investigator/Examiner (or coroner) prepares death certificates, with information completed by a medical certifier. You might be surprised at the information you need to supply about the deceased. In addition to their legal name, you need any AKAs (also known as), Social Security number, birth date and place, marital status at death, mother’s name prior to first marriage, military service discharge information, and more. If you’d like a full listing of information usually requested for a death certificate, drop me a line!

Gail Rubin, author of
The Family Plot Blog and A Good Goodbye:
Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die
http://TheFamilyPlot.wordpress.com
http://www.AGoodGoodbye.com

Funeral industry|Funeral News| Funeral Blog by your Funeral Guy

The information in this Post Came From Gail Rubin, thanks Gail for the practical advice