It’s the season of twinkling lights, gift-giving, delicious food and quality family time. But for those grieving a loss, the holidays may be the most difficult time of the year. Enduring the holidays without the physical presence of a loved one who helped make this season special may be especially painful in the first year without them.
While it’s healthy to acknowledge that feelings of grief may be intensified during the holidays, there are ways to cope this season and even spark a sense of holiday joy.
Set realistic boundaries and expectations.
The holidays are often met with obligations that may be too difficult to handle while you’re mourning. Be transparent with your family and friends about how much stress you are willing to take on this year. For instance, if the weight of cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner normally falls on your shoulders, don’t be afraid to ask another family to cook the turkey this year.
While you should not feel guilty for turning down invitations to holiday events that may be especially triggering, it is important to find a healthy balance in order to ensure that you aren’t isolating yourself. Instead of automatically saying, “no” to every get-together, try planning ahead in case the event is ultimately too much for you to handle. For instance, planning to drive yourself to the event so you know that you can leave at any time may provide a sense of comfort and control.
Manage your emotions.
The holidays can bring on a variety of emotions in the wake of the loss. While the absence of a loved one may be especially magnified during the holidays, like when there’s an empty seat at the dinner table, it is important to avoid ignoring your emotions; sometimes, allowing yourself to experience grief is the best way to get through it. On the same token, it is also important to manage unfounded emotions, like guilt following a moment of excitement or joy. Remember, this season is meant for celebrating, and your loved one would want you to feel happiness during these times.
Create new traditions.
Although they may not be physically present this year, commemorating your loved one’s legacy by creating new traditions that honor them may help you feel their presence and bring a sense of comfort to the whole family. There are many creative ways to celebrate the one you’ve lost in the holidays, like playing their favorite board game, baking a dessert they loved or putting together a centerpiece with their favorite flowers. Simply devoting time to telling stories and reminiscing on the best memories of your loved one may be cathartic for everyone.
There’s no denying that the first holiday season without a beloved family member or friend may be the hardest. But by taking special care, you can find ways to make this season easier on yourself while honoring the one you have lost.
November is Have the Talk of a Lifetime Month. Created by the Funeral and Memorial Information Council (FAMIC), Have the Talk of a Lifetime is an initiative aimed at advocating for individuals to have meaningful conversations with their family members about their life stories and the ways in which they would like to be memorialized.
This month, try setting aside a time to plan for your family’s future while discussing important moments in your history. By sharing your life’s journey and struggles while reminiscing on the people and places that mattered most, your family can walk away with a deeper understanding of you.
So how do you have the talk of your life?
While it may be meaningful to plan the conversation in a place that is significant to you, like a park where you often took your children or the church where you got married, you can have the talk any place you feel comfortable.
It may be helpful to compile a list of talking points beforehand, but you should let the conversation flow naturally. This time should be devoted to talking about your favorite memories, recounting important historical events that happened in your lifetime and reminiscing about your life’s biggest moments. Try discussing your family lineage and sharing advice to be passed along to future generations.
While it may be uncomfortable to talk about death, discussing your preferred funeral arrangements with your loved ones in advance can ease the burden on them later. Dedicating part of this conversation to speaking about how you wish to be remembered is the best way to ensure your life is celebrated in a way that honors you best after you are gone. We offer a free checklist that may aid in the discussion of your final wishes.
Visit talkofalifetime.org for more conversation starters, tips and activities.
The month of July is designated for honoring those who have suffered the most inconsolable grief imaginable: the loss of a child. Although the grieving process is highly personalized, we have compiled a list of three ways you can support those who have been confronted with this inconceivable tragedy. Additionally, we have provided resources for those who have suffered the ultimate loss.
1. Say the child's name.
Sharing your favorite memories of the child, reminiscing on their unique personality traits and providing meaningful anecdotes may help validate the impact that the child left behind. It is important to ensure the bereaved that their child will never be forgotten.
2. Offer a helping hand.
Extending sympathy in the form of acts of service can help bereaved parents feel supported, especially in the days following the tragedy. Helping with basic tasks, like grocery shopping, cooking and babysitting the other children may lift added stress from the parents' shoulders.
It can be difficult to find the right words to comfort those coping with this loss. In truth, there are no words that can take the pain away. Instead, provide support to the bereaved by being present and offering a non-judgmental, listening ear.
“What works is your presence," said Dr. Gordon Livingston, psychiatrist and co-founder of National Bereaved Parents Awareness Month. "There’s no set of words that will work each time, but being there for someone in a supportive way is what provides the most consolation."
For those grieving in the wake of losing a child, we have compiled a list of helpful resources.
Compassionate Friends is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing comfort and support to grieving families.
National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children provides valuable resources for therapists and bereaved loved ones.
Still Standing Magazine is an online publication written by and for those who have lost children.
Breakthrough.com provides online mental health therapy.
Cremation has been performed throughout human history, and the practice’s popularity has waxed and waned over time. Within the past century, cremation has become more widely accepted, and decorative urns are now regarded as beautiful, timeless keepsakes.
The earliest archaeological evidence suggests that cremation was practiced in the Stone Age (circa 3000 BC) in Europe and Japan, where simple pottery cremation urns have been discovered. Because these urns were fashioned using primitive tools, they weren’t very ornate.
Cremation practices became widespread in North America, Britain, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Portugal between 2500 - 1000 BC. During this time, cemeteries specifically devoted to housing cremated remains were established.
Between 27 AD and 395 AD, the practice of cremation became customary among Romans, particularly those in the upper class. Cremated remains were stored in highly decorated urns and housed in large, communal vaults.
Age of Constantine the Great
Early Christians considered cremation to be a pagan tradition, so by 400 AD, the practice was discouraged and earth burial became customary. For the next century and a half, this sentiment was upheld by a majority of the population.
By the early 1900s, modern cremation came to rise, specifically in North America. The Cremation Association of North America was established in 1915, and by the turn of the century, nearly 25% of all deaths resulted in cremation. Today, 50.2% of individuals opt for cremation for themselves or their loved ones.
Cremation has evolved so much so that there are currently a plethora of options to store cremated remains, including our "Blooming Bio-Urns," which are designed to grow into twelve different types of wildflowers.
Additionally, we offer a wide selection of decorative urns that make beautiful keepsakes. Visit our online catalog to learn about our reasonably priced urn options or call us anytime at (850) 466-5440.
"It's counterintuitive, perhaps, but obituaries have next to nothing do with death and absolutely everything to do with life," said Margalit Fox, the New York Times' obituary writer for upwards of 15 years.
While obituaries serve a variety of purposes, like spreading a notice of death to loved ones, they should focus on the impact of a life above all else. Because most of us don't have a memoir or a biography, our obituaries paint the most vivid pictures of our professional accomplishments, relational ties, significant life events and essence of our personality.
Whether you are preparing your own obituary in advance, or you are writing an obituary for a deceased family member, it is important to acknowledge the positive, lasting impact of the life lost.
Where to begin
Most obituaries start with the basics, like the individual's name, age and place of residence at the time of their death.
Instead of simply stating that the individual died, there are several ways to soften the impact. These phrases include:
• passed away
• crossed over
• went to be with his/her Lord
• passed peacefully
• departed this earthly life
• entered into eternal rest
• earned his/her way into heaven
• left this world
• was called home
Include significant events and important accomplishments
Often listed chronologically, obituaries mention individuals' birthday and place of birth, details about spouse and date of marriage, as well as significant educational and professional accomplishments.
Paint a picture of a life well-lived
In addition, acknowledge the specific contributions and designations the person made in life. It is also important to capture the essence of their personality. According to Catherine Garcia, a seasoned obituary writer, "When done right, obituaries have a way of making even the most ordinary person seem interesting."
Along with naming the family members who preceded the individual in death, as well as their survivors, the obituary should express the impact of their life and the pain of their loss. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to convey their character through the tone of your writing. For instance, if the deceased was popular for being funny, it would not be inappropriate to write the obituary in a lighthearted tone. Additionally, including a a sentence that illustrates a person's passions, like a cook's favorite recipe, can succinctly embody important aspects of their personality.
Announce memorial information
The best place to mention visitation, burial, funeral and memorial service details is through one or two sentences toward the end of the obituary. Additionally, many individuals list whether the deceased should be honored with flowers or charitable donations.
Finally, include a heartfelt message
If desired, you can include a special message from a loved one, a statement thanking medical staff, or a short prayer or quote as the last line in the obituary.
For a simple, complementary obituary template, click here.
For information on other ways to pre-plan, click this link or call us anytime at (850) 466-5440.
"Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it." -Unknown
Those who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty deserve prestigious honor. At Family-Funeral & Cremation, we pledge to dignify veterans while respecting the wishes of their loved ones.
By providing discounted pricing and special touches for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and their family members, we are dedicated to ensuring members of the armed forces receive the honorable funeral ceremony they earned by serving this country. We have fostered an extraordinary relationship with the Department of Veteran Affairs and offer many benefits and honors fit for service members' funerals.
These benefits include:
Additionally, service members are entitled to a burial at a national veteran's cemetery or a monetary benefit towards burial at a private cemetery.
Family-Funeral & Cremation is proud to orchestrate many burial ceremonies at the Barrancas National Cemetery, which encompasses 94.9 beautiful acres within the Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Burial at Barrancas National Cemetery is open to:
Our funeral staff is trained with a deep understanding of proper methods to create a dignified memorial service for members of the armed forces, and honor veterans based on traditions ingrained by their unique military branches.
For more information on how we can assist you and your family, please call us anytime at (850) 466-5440.
When preparing for the funeral of a loved one and a friend, it is important to keep manners and decorum top of mind. While the occasion is meant to help you process your grief, behaving offensively may interrupt the process for others.
To avoid stepping on any toes, it may be helpful to adhere to the following guidelines.
It's not the appropriate time to make a fashion statement, and it's certainly inappropriate to dress casually (i.e. baseball cap, tennis shoes). Your attire should reflect your feelings of sympathy, dignity and respect for the deceased and the bereaved.
When in doubt? Go the traditional route and wear a simple black dress or suit.
What to say when you're at a loss for words.
When speaking to close loved ones to the bereaved, you may feel pressure to say the exact right thing. Take this pressure off and focus on being sincere. When you overexert condolences, you may appear ingenuine and more insensitive than if you had not said a word.
Instead, share a fond memory of the deceased and make it short and sweet. The more you say, the more room you make for mistakes, inadverdantly saying something that comes off as insensitive.
Keep it simple! Stating something like, “My thoughts are with you,” or “I’m sorry for your loss,” shows your support without overdoing it.
This may be an ideal opportunity to teach your child about the cycle of life. If you're worried about your child's behavior, pick a seat near an exit for a quick escape to the nearest foyer.
For information on funeral planning, click here or call us anytime at (850) 466-5440.
Family-Funeral & Cremation is proud to be Pensacola's premier affordable cremation service. Today, nearly 40% of individuals opt for cremation for themselves or their loved ones. We have compiled a list of three benefits for choosing cremation over traditional burial.
1) Cremation is cost-effective
With today's average funeral costing upward of $10,000, it's no wonder cremations have risen in popularity. Because cremation eliminates the need for a casket or vault, a burial plot and embalming services, the total cost for funeral services is decreased.
At Family-Funeral & Cremation, we offer transparent, up-front pricing for our cremation services at a fraction of the average cost.
2) Cremation offers endless possibilities for memorializing
In recent years, there has been an influx of unique options meant to memorialize those who have been cremated. Along with having cremated remains buried, scattered in a meaningful location or displayed at home in an heirloom urn, individuals can also opt to have their ashes planted as a memorial tree, grown into a coral reef, locked into an hourglass, displayed as a firework show, mixed with paint to create a beautiful portrait, or even launched into space!
3) Cremation is more environmentally-friendly
Including saving land space, electing to be cremated can reduce your ecological footprint in other ways. First, there are less harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde, emitted into the environment from the embalming process. Cremation also saves trees by eliminating the need for wood used in caskets.
To learn more about cremation options, contact Family-Funeral & Cremation at (850) 466-5440.
In the wake of a death, it can be challenging to adequately encapsulate deep feelings of sympathy and sorrow in words. Sending flowers to the bereaved is a tried-and-true method of expressing love and support, but it is important to be aware of the messages that specific flowers symbolize.
We’ve compiled a list of the five most popular funeral flowers and their meanings, so you can express the emotions that are hard to put into words.
In this day and age, planning a funeral has become quite costly. In fact, since 1986, the price of an average funeral has jumped a whopping 225%. With funeral prices rising exponentially each year, families can expect to spend nearly $10,000 to celebrate the life of their loved one.
At Family-Funeral & Cremation, we work hard to ensure our funeral services are cost-effective, competitive and transparent.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the funeral services offered by Family-Funeral & Cremation cost only a fraction of the 2017 national average.
See our breakdown of the cost comparison below.
Unfortunately, many families overspend hundreds to thousands of dollars while funeral planning.
After a loved one passes, many funeral details must be tended to within 24 hours. In the midst of grieving, families are forced to make emotionally charged, costly arrangements.
At Family-Funeral & Cremation, we encourage individuals to pre-arrange their own funerals, locking in today’s prices tomorrow.
By pre-arranging your funeral, you can eliminate the risk of your family making unnecessary purchases based in grief and ease the stress that comes with making on-the-spot decisions.
Our pre-planning services can realistically reduce future out-of-pocket funeral expenses by at least 50-70%, with no interest payments as low as $25.00 per month.
For more information on our pricing call us anytime at 850-466-5440. Read more about our pre-planning services here.