Welcome to our blog. Here we will share useful information with you on topics ranging from funeral planning and cremation to positive living and grief support.
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Yesterday, Jane was on duty as a tour guide at a lovely little pre-revolutionary war church in rural Virginia. It was late in the afternoon when a youngish woman wearing shorts and a Cubs ball hat stepped into the visitor’s center looking lost. Thinking that she might need directions, Jane quietly approached to offer her assistance. The seemingly lost young lady said she just wanted to go in the church.
Since visitors were not allowed in the church without a docent, Jane began to accompany her guest to her destination. Striking up a conversation, Jane quickly discovered there was a story behind the sad eyes of her visitor. She revealed her name was Stella and she was here from Chicago. The pair talked a bit and Jane started to tell her about the church. As they walked and talked, Jane casually asked, “What brings you to this part of Virginia?” Stella spoke in a soft tone revealing she was here for a “sort of” memorial service for her mother. The pain was obvious on her face with her lips quivering and eyes glistening with small pools of tears.
They walked into the church and sat in one of the high back pews carved from pine when George Washington was just three years old. The sun was shining through the wavy glass windows. Jane took Stella’s hands and asked her, “Would you like to tell me a little bit about your mother?” The floodgates opened. She talked for an hour. She told the story that was her Mom.
Stella was the single daughter. She had been the caregiver for her mother who died ten months ago. Her brother lived abroad and her sister and her family traveled frequently. Because it was hard to get them together, they all decided to forgo a funeral service and ship Mom’s cremated remains to Virginia for burial. It seemed, at the time, to make more sense to get together later.
They agreed on June for the get together since that’s when their family typically came to visit mom and dad in this part of Virginia. They all stayed at a local inn and had dinner at their parent’s favorite restaurant. It was nice, but something was missing. There was no service. No words were spoken for Stella’s mother. It wasn’t enough for her. It was too little and too late.
It was obvious to Jane that Stella was distraught. There had been no closure. Jane’s heart broke for her. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder why. Why was there no service? Even something small, private and simple would have been better than nothing.
Jane knew some people had a fear of planning a service. They don’t know how to or what to plan. They are at a loss. They should have they called the local funeral home for help. The funeral director could have helped them find someone to pull together a brief ceremony at the graveside or in the chapel. There could have even been a service in the lovely little church where Stella sat and cried with a stranger.
How cheap is cheap cremation? How do they do it so cheap? How is cheap cremation different from the cremation services provided by your local funeral home?
The least expensive form of cremation is direct cremation. Direct cremation means that the body is picked up from the place of death and taken directly to the cremation facility. Cremated remains are returned to the family in a simple container.
Direct cremation takes care of the body but does nothing for the family left behind.
All funeral homes offer the option of a direct cremation. So, what is missing? Service. There is no help with a memorial service, gathering or celebration of the life. Most families need more assistance. They need and want to come together and remember. However, in most circumstances, families need help putting together a memorial service after losing a beloved family member. Family members are stunned after a sudden loss and exhausted when death follows a long illness. They appreciate help.
Cremation societies may advertise very low-cost cremations. Very low cost usually means low staff levels, unskilled labor, people who have not been trained to serve families and no service. When you sign up ask who will pick up the deceased. Ask if more than one body is transported to the cremation facility at a time. Ask how you can be sure the cremated remains you will pick up will be those of your family member. Compare the cost of the cremation society cremation to the direct cremation cost at your funeral home.
Finally, consider your family situation. Do all your family members live in town? Do you have children away at college? Won’t that child want to have a final good-bye with her grandmother before nana is cremated? The funeral home usually can make that good-bye happen.
Your local funeral home offers more options and more service than a cremation society. Saving money may be important but cheap just might not be what your family needs.
Cost is important, but it’s not the whole story. Take a look at the premium, the amount you will pay each month, how long will you pay that amount? It is not uncommon to pay until you are 100 or even older. Will you be able to pay that amount each month as you age? What if you live to be 100? Will the benefit stay in place? How much will you have paid in by that time? It’s not unheard of for people to end up paying more than they will receive in death benefits.
Look at the coverage. How much will be paid on your death? Most policies are for a fixed amount your family will receive when you die. This is the death benefit. How soon will you be covered for the full amount? Sometimes you will need to make payments for as long as two years before you would be eligible for the full death benefit. Often the death benefit stays the same over the course of your lifetime. So, as you age and the price of funerals increases, your policy is at risk of falling short and not providing your family with enough to cover the cost of your funeral.
Before you sign anything, call your local funeral home. Ask for an appointment with the funeral professional who takes care of advance funeral planning. When you meet with this individual be straight forward. Share your financial situation. See what the funeral home has to offer.
Most of the time the funeral home’s funding program is a little more per month but you make payments for a much shorter period of time. So, you pay much less in the long run. If you are in good health you will most likely be covered as soon as the policy is issued. Some funeral homes even offer a cost guarantee which means you have no worries about the rising cost of funerals.
It’s always worth the extra time to be sure you are getting the best final expense coverage you can afford. The one that will really be there for your family when it’s needed.
Wow, it’s hard to believe we are twenty years into the new millennium. Twenty years ago, as we moved from 1999 to 2000 people were stock piling all manner of survival goods. There was widespread panic over what would happen as the clock ticked down to the new year. It was called the Y2k glitch. We worried. Would computers fail to read the 00 correctly? Would the entire power grid shut down?
As midnight approached, we all wondered and watched. Thankfully the lights stayed on and life continued to move forward. Leading up to the year 2000, books were written that predicted we would be obsessed with home security, we would have watches that provided health information, and we would watch movies at home instead of going to the theatre. It all seemed far-fetched then, but now in 2020 it’s our reality.
So, what about this year? This gift of a new year. What will it bring? For sure there will be challenges and triumphs, sadness and happiness, and opportunities. We will take some of those opportunities and act on them and let others go. It’s all about choice.
Will you sit in the chair and watch TV or will you go for a walk and smell the roses? Will you eat the carrot or the chips? Will you speak to the person at the grocery checkout or ignore them? Will you vote or stay home and complain? Will you help or hinder? Will you smile or frown? Will you be kind or be a bully? So many choices.
Every choice we make has the power to change our lives. We make our year.
“Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent, and committed decision.” —Tony Robbins
September 12, 2018 | 0 Comments | Category: Veterans
September 10, 2018 | 0 Comments | Category: Honoring
15 POEMS AND QUOTES TO HONOR GRANDPARENTS THIS GRANDPARENTS DAY
Compiled by Jenny Goldade