A memorial tree is an eco-friendly way to remember your loved one. Seeing the tree grow will remind you of your loved one's presence. But you should plan the ceremony carefully so that it remains etched in the mind of the guests attending the ceremony.
You should carefully think about the following aspects before the ceremony.
The species of the plant
You can choose your loved one's favorite plant as the memorial tree. But take care to see that it suits your climate, soil and geographical location. It should be easy to nurture. It should be long-lasting. You may not be able to spend too much time on nurturing the tree. If the tree produces beautiful blooms then it is certain to give you a pleasant feeling. You can also select a plant on the basis of its symbolic meaning.
The location of the tree
Where are you going to plant the tree? Does your private garden have enough space for the tree? Is there a nature park or forest trail where it can be planted? You can also purchase a memorial tree in a memorial park. If you plant a tree in your own garden you can watch it grow and nurture it well.
Planning the memorial service
You can use the deceased's ashes in an urn to plant the tree. The urns are usually eco-friendly. The ashes can be scattered or buried under the tree. You may also include the deceased's memorabilia during the service. Read out a poem or letter written by the deceased at the service. You can also give out tokens to people attending the memorial. A personalized plaque can also be placed near the tree.
You can conduct the memorial service and tree planting yourself or contact professionals for the service.
Thanks for reading,
Finding the right words for headstone inscriptions in a way that commemorates your lost loved one is difficult. Even if you have a way with words, doing justice to the memory of the person and summing up their life in an inscription is a heavy burden. That is why we bring you a few ideas for headstone inscriptions that can be the right tribute for your lost loved one.
Using life references
This category involves inscriptions acknowledging the roles that person has played in their life. These can also cover personal sentiments that you want to express.
● Here lies a beloved father, husband, and son
● Here lies a policeman who served her country well
● His presence made the world a richer place
This is an informal statement that can either be a direct quote from your loved one or someone else:
● "Live to the fullest, for life is all too short."
● “Love is the greatest gift of all.”
● "I hate to leave you all behind, but we'll meet again one day."
These can be Bible or other scriptures’ verses that turn out to be great marker sayings:
● "They can no longer die; for they are like the angels." - Luke 20:36
● "Where, O death, is your victory: where, O death, is your sting?" - 1 Corinthians 15:55
● "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live." - John 11:25
It's not easy to decide the right inscription for the headstone of a loved one. If you want to protect your family and friends from the responsibility of selecting your epitaph, you can consider what you want your headstone to say and let them know beforehand. Just be sure that you choose carefully as this will be your last impression.
Thanks for reading,
KarenThe traditional burial is expensive and can be harmful to the environment. This has resulted in the popularity of green burial.
How is green burial different from traditional burial?
A green burial eliminates many of the harmful process involved in a traditional burial. The green burial uses fewer resources by skipping some steps involved in conventional burial. The green burial does not involve procedures like embalming. Skipping embalming prevents the use of chemicals and hastens the decomposition process. Green burials also avoid the use of concrete vaults and non-biodegradable burial containers.
Benefits of green burial.
Green burial is beneficial for the environment. It leaves behind a lesser carbon footprint. Skipping vaults, coffins and embalming can reduce funeral expenses considerably. In many cases, bodies are wrapped in sheets made of biodegradable materials like cotton. This reduces cost and helps in the decomposition of the body. The green burial can be carried out in a conservation park. Here families are given an option of planting various plants, shrubs and trees on the grave of their loved ones.
If there are no green cemeteries near your residence then you can take simple steps for the benefit of the environment. You can choose coffins made with harvested wood and organic liners instead of concrete vaults. Burial planning experts can help you to plan a green burial. A green burial gives you the satisfaction of returning to your maker without harming the environment.
Thanks for reading,
William Shakespeare's skull was stolen from his tomb! Who did it is still a mystery, but people believe it has something to do with the epitaph which the Bard himself wrote. The idea of the lyrics are:
"Hey, good friend,
For the sake of Jesus, don’t dig here.
Anyone who touches my bones will have a curse,
and those who don't will be blessed."
Grave robbers were a great menace during Shakespeare's times. The writer was afraid that someone will try to steal his bones. This worry prompted him to pen his epitaph, which was inscribed on his tombstone.
Here Are Some Interesting Facts About Epitaphs
In all its essence, an epitaph can be considered as a message from the dead to their visitors.
The WOW Epitaphs
Woodmen of the World was an American insurance company that used a unique branding technique. It gave a free gravestone and $100 to the nearest relative of the departed to put the company logo on the stone. The graves of the members of the company carry the word, 'WOW.'
Meaning Of Motifs Alongside Epitaphs
The symbols carved on the gravestones have hidden meanings.
Expression Of Love And Commitment
Rather than a tradition, most people like to see an epitaph as a token of love and adoration for the departed soul.
Thanks for reading,
In much of the western world, funerals are somber events attended by traditionally dressed people in black attire. Over the years, it has become an unwritten rule that anyone who attends a funeral must be dressed in black, especially in the U.S. and other western countries.
Why is black so heavily associated with death and mourning? Historians trace this tradition back to the Roman Empire when people would wear a dark-colored toga called a toga pulla when attending funerals. The dark color choice was to show that they were mourning the passing of their loved one.
This funeral tradition soon spread to England during the medieval periods. In fact, during the Victorian era, women whose husbands had passed were even expected to wear black attire for an entire year to express their grief. For a period of three years after that, they were allowed to wear gray and purple clothing – color choices to show that they were in “half-mourning”. Queen Victoria was also known to wear black when she attended funerals as a sign of mourning and respect for the deceased.
During the Industrial Revolution, this practice became more widespread when the working classes started wearing black at funerals. Soon, the color black's association with death and funerals spread to other western countries such as the U.S. and Canada.
Do other cultures wear black at funerals also?
Considering its history, wearing black at funerals is a practice that is closely associated with Christianity and Roman Catholicism. It is not a universal color that represents death and mourning, despite its popularity in the west.
Many cultures in different parts of the world, especially those of Buddhist and Hindu faith, instead wear white to funerals. For them, the color white represents innocence and purity.
Thanks for reading,
Have you ever seen coins left on a grave? Maybe you saw it on the grave of a friend or a family member and were wondering what it means. Should you take it home or leave it as it is? Here, we discuss the tradition of leaving coins on graves and what significance they hold.
Placing coins on a grave is a common practice among military members. If you see coins on the grave of a soldier, it means that someone had visited and paid their respects to them. Leaving the coin is a way of letting the family of the fallen know that somebody, usually another military member, came by to honor their memory and pay respects.
Did you also know that different coins have different meanings? Here is a breakdown that is easy to follow:
A penny simply means that someone, not necessarily a person who has any relations with the deceased, visited and simply wanted to honor their service and thank them and their family.
A nickel at the grave means that the person who left it and the deceased trained together at boot camp.
A dime signifies that the person who left it at the grave and the deceased served together in some capacity.
A quarter at a grave means that the person who left it was with the deceased when they passed away.
For years service men and women have used this tradition to pay their respects to the people with whom they trained or served. But sometimes, non-military people may also leave coins at graves as a way of showing their respect to a loved one who has passed. Besides, in olden days, the coins were said to hold good luck for the deceased in the afterlife.
Thanks for reading,
Death is inevitable. The emotional pain that comes with a loved one's death hurts more than any other kind of pain. There are several ways in which a person can honor a loved one's death, with the celebration of life service being one of them.
What is a celebration of life service? It is an opportunity for the family and friends of the deceased to pay tribute to the lost soul in simple terms. It is an opportunity to say goodbye in a unique way that the deceased would have enjoyed, and so do the guests. One of the best examples is a scene from the movie “P.S. I Love You” where Holly celebrates her husband Gerry's death, in a way that he loves.
While a funeral is a celebration wherein you follow certain etiquettes, a celebration of life service is a joyful event. The behavior that is considered inappropriate at a funeral may be considered acceptable at the celebration of life service. There are no rules here, except that it is based on the request of the loved one who passed or the deceased's personality.
A celebration of life is mostly held after the cremation or burial, or even at the first anniversary of the person’s death. It is mostly held in a church or the funeral home. But more often it is celebrated at home, or an outdoor venue, a park or a garden, or even a rented facility. The location depends on the passion or the interest of the deceased, or those remembering the deceased.
The celebration of life service is less traditional when compared to a funeral. Based on how the celebration is planned, you may need to wear suitable attire; mostly funeral attire or casuals. You may also send flowers to the deceased person’s family as a sign of respect. There are no steadfast rules in the celebration of life services, but when you attend one, it is vital to keep in mind that a family has lost a loved one.
Thanks for reading,
From the ancient traditions of mummification to celebrations of life today, funerals have come a long way. The way we care for the dead and say our final goodbyes has definitely been subject to the evolution of socio-cultural as well as economic changes.
Funerals in the early years
Many of the most common funeral traditions in western culture today originate from the 19th century, during the Victorian era. In fact, it was Queen Victoria herself who started wearing black to mourn the passing of Prince Albert, and the color soon came to be associated with grieving and mourning.
Towards the end of the Victorian era, the Chapel of Rest was introduced as a funeral tradition. As people became more aware and less superstitious, and concerns regarding hygiene became more widespread, the body of the deceased was kept at the Chapel of Rest, rather than at home. Friends and family members who wish to view the body and say their final goodbyes to their loved one could do so in the chapel.
As the years progressed, the role of undertakers grew in importance. Initially, woodworkers and carpenters, who had the skills to make coffins, were the undertakers. With time, undertakers took on more roles, including handling and preparation of the body, transportation, as well as organizing the funeral or memorial service.
The 21st century saw a shift in the way the dead were cared for. Due to the millions of lives lost in the First World War and bodies not returned to families, communal mourning and memorials instead of traditional funeral services became very common.
Today, there is a growing trend to hold celebrations of life rather than traditional funerals. Pre-planned funerals, personalized funerals, and memorials are popular choices.
While grief is still a very important factor, people choose to put more of their focus on the life that their loved one had lived, and celebrate and honor their memory.
Thanks for reading,
A mausoleum burial is a great alternative to the usual underground burial for those who can afford the additional costs. Put simply- a mausoleum is a tomb or chamber that has been built specifically for the purpose of laying one or more people to rest.
Two main types of mausoleums
A public mausoleum is a large building that has been built to house the remains of many people. They are kept dry and clean at all times and are extremely well-maintained. Family members and friends are free to visit, and it offers a convenient and dignified way to be remembered after death.
A private mausoleum is a mausoleum that is built only for you and your family, so it houses the remains of only family members. This above-ground burial option allows easy and private access for family members and friends who may be grieving. Usually, the remains are placed inside a casket, which is then placed inside the mausoleum. It is usually the final resting place for members of your family.
Benefits of a mausoleum burial
Today, a mausoleum burial is a great option, especially in highly-populated urban areas where there is very little land for new burial plots. Apart from this, here are some other benefits of this above-ground burial option.
You are free to visit your loved ones when you miss them and wish to be closer to them. Unlike cemeteries, you are free to visit in a private and secured area where you are free to grieve as you want.
A mausoleum protects the remains of your loved ones and keeps it safe regardless of the weather or any other kind of external risks.
Thanks for reading,
Although an in-ground/below-ground burial on a single plot is the most common type of burial, there are many other burial options available today. Where and how to bury a loved one or even yourself is a very personal decision, and it is important that you are aware of all the options available to you.
Here are the different types of burial options you may have –
In-ground burial, also known as below-ground burial, is the most common choice. It is usually accompanied by a casket that is lowered and buried 6 feet into the ground. This is great if you prefer a traditional cemetery burial. You have the option of choosing between a single plot, companion plots (usually preferred by couples), or a family plot. There might also be options for cremated remains to be buried in designated plots.
If you prefer to have your remains or the remains of your loved ones entombed above ground level, you can choose above-ground burial.
A mausoleum is a public building that has been designed to house the remains of people in caskets or vaults instead of being buried underground. You have to purchase space for the casket/vault, and you can be guaranteed that the building will be secured, clean, and dry at all times. Visitations are allowed.
A private mausoleum is just like a community mausoleum, but only for a singular family. It offers privacy and utmost security, and family members can visit anytime they want.
A lawn crypt is very similar to a private mausoleum, in that it is a private above-ground burial space, usually in your own property. However, instead of being built for an entire family, it is usually for one person or a couple who wish to be buried together.
This is a structure like a mausoleum but designed for cremated remains. Some religious organizations and churches might have one available for members’ remains to be securely interred on the property.
Thanks for reading
Headstones are used to mark graves. Since time immemorial, people have used their gravestones to say their last words to the world they leave behind in the form of inscriptions. These gravestone inscriptions are called epitaphs. Epitaphs may be self-written when the deceased pens words they’d like their graves to bear and their friends and family to remember them by before their death. Similarly, they may also be written by the deceased’s close family or friends.
History has been a testament to many interesting and spirited epitaphs. Artists and writers have famously left behind clever epitaphs to help with their remembrance. We present a handful of these below –
Thanks for reading,
It can be difficult to say the right words at a funeral when you know someone is mourning the loss of a loved one. You may wish to convey sympathy and support, but your words could come out and be perceived as the complete opposite.
Below, we discuss some common phrases that may seem like great things to say at a funeral, but should be avoided.
I know exactly how you feel
You may have lost a loved one before, but you should avoid saying “I know exactly how you feel” to someone who is grieving. This is because even though you may be familiar with loss and grief, no two experiences are exactly the same. You may understand the grief, but you really don’t know “exactly how they feel.” Instead, simply say something like “I am sorry for your loss.”
They are in a better place now
When someone has lost a loved one, don’t ever say “They are in a better place now.” This is because the person who is mourning believes the best place for their loved one is next to them, healthy, happy and alive.
You will feel better in time
It is often said that time heals all wounds, but when you're mourning the death of a loved one, this is not a very comforting thought. Loss can be overwhelming, and often, people don’t want to let go while they are still in the grieving stage. So instead of saying “you will feel better in time,” say something like “take your own time to heal and be gentle with yourself.”
You need to stay strong
At a funeral, the family and close friends of the deceased do not need to hear that they “have to be strong.” They need time and space to process the loss, to let all their emotions out, and grieve in a healthy manner instead of repressing their emotions just to put on a brave face.
Thanks for reading,
Many funeral ceremonies end with family members, relatives and close friends of the deceased throwing a handful of dirt or soil on the coffin. This is a common practice that can be found across cultures, but what does this signify?
Before leaving the cemetery, the deceased’s loved ones may toss a handful of dirt or soil on the coffin. Put simply, this is to symbolize that the deceased has returned to where he came from – man comes from the earth, and so must he return to earth. Usually, a spouse or a close family member will be the first to throw dirt on the coffin, followed by others who were close to them.
While it may be easy to believe the significance of this practice is religious, that is not always the case. It is a great way of showing solidarity during times of mourning. Engaging in a common ritual such as this allows people to come together and lean on each other for support during tough times. Throwing dirt on the coffin also allows those present for the funeral to fully commit themselves to the service and understand the depth and meaning that such rituals hold.
Throwing dirt on coffin in Christian culture
During a Christian burial, while dirt is being thrown on the coffin, the priest or whoever is officiating the funeral service often says the phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” This means that at death, the soul is released from the body, leaving the body to turn to dust.
Moreover, throwing soil on the coffin also symbolizes that the deceased has gone to their final resting place – the earth. It is widely believed that this ritual is inspired by the early Egyptian’s practice of placing sand on the body of the deceased before they were buried.
Thanks for reading,
One question that many people have had is whether attending the funeral of their ex-spouse or ex-partner is the right call. This depends on a number of factors. Although making this decision can be quite tricky, there are certain considerations you should make before you decide to attend or not attend.
For starters, if you and your ex-spouse or partner parted ways on good terms and you still kept in touch with them and/or their family after the split, there isn’t any reason why it should be inappropriate for you to go. They were once among the most important people in your life who helped you shape who you are now, and you deserve the chance to say goodbye. On the other hand, if you had a contentious split or divorce, you should probably expect a different experience.
It is important to remember that your presence should be welcomed by the family members of the deceased. If you did not split on the best terms, there is a possibility that seeing you will only bring more pain and grief to the family members of the deceased. Moreover, even if you do attend the funeral, remember that you can’t sit with the family members because you are no longer family.
Another possible scenario is where you and your ex-spouse have children together. In such cases, it is critical that you are extremely mature about your emotions and put the needs of your kids first. Since you have a family with your ex-spouse, the dynamic has changed and there is more to consider. For instance, if you do decide to attend the funeral, it may not be the best idea to sit in the family section with your kids, because, technically, you are no longer family.
There is no direct answer as to whether you should or shouldn’t attend the funeral of your ex-spouse. It is all very contextual. What matters most is considering how the family will feel.
Thanks for reading,
Often people use the words “casket” and “coffin” interchangeably. The general population thinks that these two words mean the same thing. However, they are not. Those in the funeral industry know that even though these two are both burial boxes, they are not one and the same.
The number one difference between the two is their appearance. Caskets and coffins have different shapes. While a casket is rectangular in shape and usually has hinged bars on either side for carrying it, a coffin has six sides. A coffin is shaped in such a way that the top part is wider than the bottom.
Usually in the U.S, most families use caskets for funerals. Burial boxes specifically designed to contain a person’s deceased body, caskets are used for viewing the body during a funeral. After the funeral service, the casket is lowered into the ground for burial.
However, if the family of the deceased chooses cremation over burial, caskets are only used solely for the purpose of viewing the body or visitation during the funeral service.
Coffins are also used for viewing, visitations and burial. But, as mentioned before, their shapes are distinctively different from caskets. Coffins were most commonly used during the 19th and 20th centuries in funeral services.
Another important difference between the two is that they have different pricing. In most cases, coffins tend to be cheaper than caskets. This is because they require less wood (or any other material) when they are made. Coffins are shaped wider at the top and narrower at the bottom so they can match the human body shape without having to waste any material. Understandably, they are often more cost-effective than caskets, which use up more material.
Both caskets and coffins are appropriate for funeral services and there are no restrictions on the use of either one.
Thanks for reading,
Matters of death and the afterlife have always been considered topics to be avoided. However, these are part of life and should be spoken about openly. What makes these topics even more interesting is that different religions across the world have different beliefs about them. Let us take a look at some of these beliefs:
While beliefs about the afterlife can vary slightly depending on which denomination of Christianity you belong to, most believe that your life on Earth and whether you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord determine whether you end up in heaven or hell. However, in Catholicism, people believe in the presence of a Purgatory, where people who are destined to go to heaven are purified from their sins.
Buddhists believe that after someone dies, they get reincarnated, completing the cycle of life, death and rebirth. In other words, Buddhists believe that after death, they take on another body in the next life. The ultimate goal is to achieve Nirvana or enlightenment so that they can escape reincarnation.
Hinduism preaches that the soul gets reincarnated into a new life form, depending on your actions in your previous life. Hindus believe that you can even get reincarnated in your next life as animals, plants and insects, and not necessarily humans. Similar to Buddhism, the ultimate goal is to escape the cycle of reincarnation and achieve Moksha.
In Islam, people believe that the after death, the journey of our physical bodies on Earth stop. However, the soul continues to live on, as it goes to the Angel of Death, where it waits for Judgement Day. They believe that when the world ends, Allah will resurrect everyone to judge them for their life on Earth and determine if they should go to heaven or hell.
Thanks for reading,
Putting flowers on the grave of a loved one is a common practice that many people follow. Especially during the holidays you may wish to honor your lost loved one, the person they were and the relationship you shared with them. Placing flowers on their grave is the perfect way to do this.
Flowers carry a lot of meaning and symbolism. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes, and each flower represents something different. While there is no set rule you have to follow when choosing which colors to place on the grave of a loved one it definitely helps to know what the different flowers symbolize.
Below, I discuss different types of flowers, what they represent and what makes them a great choice for remembering your loved one and decorating their final resting place:
Thanks for reading!
All over the world, different cultures have different ways of remembering their loved ones who have passed. While letting go and living your life after losing a loved one is crucial, it is also equally important to remember them and honor their every once in a while. Here are some festivals around the world that honor the dead:
Halloween - Perhaps the most popular holiday for the dead that is celebrated in different parts of the world, Halloween is actually part of a three day-holiday called Allhallowtide. It is a time meant for remembering the people who have left us, including the saints and martyrs. It is considered to be a Christian holiday even though it is highly commercialized today.
Dia de los Muertos - Celebrated in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos means day of the dead in English. Initially, the festival was celebrated at the start of summer, but after the Spanish colonized Mexico, it was shifted on the same day as Halloween. The Mexicans celebrate this day in a joyful manner, cleaning and decorating their loved ones' graves and gathering with family and friends.
Chuseok - Chuseok, which is celebrated in Korea, is a festival when Koreans honor their ancestors. It is also a three-day long harvest festival. Those who celebrate the festival travel to the hometown of their ancestors and pay homage by cleaning their tombs, offering them food and praying.
Zhongyuan Festival - The Chinese have a whole month dedicated to remember and honor the memory of their loved ones and ancestors who have passed. This month is known as Ghost Month and the festival is called Zhongyuan in China. People perform rituals to help spirits transition and they hold elaborate feasts to celebrate.
Obon - Celebrated in Japan, Obon is a Buddhist holiday when people visit and clean the graves of their loved ones who have passed. Then, to help guide their spirits, lanterns are released and a traditional dance is performed.
Thanks for reading,
Hymns are perhaps the most popular choice of music in funeral ceremonies. After all, it is easy to find peace and comfort in singing a beautiful, melodious religious song while you say your last goodbyes to your departed loved one. Below, we list out the most popular hymns often sung at funeral services:
In the Sweet By and By
This hymn conjures up images of peace and serenity, reminding us though we may say our goodbyes now, we will meet our loved ones again in heaven. A song that is so strong in faith and hopeful is always a good choice when we need to hear these words the most.
Even though the lyrics of this hymn may have nothing to do with losing a loved one, it is a timeless Christian song that is ideal in any religious event. The song lets us know that we have all been saved by God and helps us give thanks to His “amazing grace.”
Great is Thy Faithfulness
This hymn provides a sense of comfort to those who have suffered a great loss. It reminds them that even though things may change and we may lose our loved ones, Gods love and compassion for us will always remain the same.
It is Well with My Soul
This hymn reminds us that whatever happens, no matter what tragedy strikes us, if we have God, we learn to accept these experiences and instead of letting them tear us down, we learn from them and become wiser and stronger.
Old Rugged Cross
The lyrics of this song are very powerful, yet soothing to those who have lost a friend or a family member. It reminds us that even if our loved one has left this earth, they are now in a better place with God, just like how Jesus died on the “old rugged cross” and went to be with His Father.
Thanks for reading!
It is a tough - yet, one of the most important - tasks for a family member to plan their end of life. After the demise of a loved one, they can still be immortal through end-of-life planning. It may be sharing stories and life experiences, discussing things previously unspoken, and spending their last days in comfort and dignity. Also, proper planning for the end-of-life may include preparing wills, funerals, advance care directives, and even just helping them consider their legacy.
Applications allow easy and authorized access to your data after death. Here are some reliable end-of-life applications:
Cake allows you to share your end-of-life wishes. Based on the answers to the questionnaire each user profile may be categorized as legacy, legal/financial, health, and funeral. Each category is accompanied by action steps to carry out those wishes.
You can digitize your voice and thoughts in a legal advance care plan, including your health information and end-of-life plans. The information is secure in the cloud and accessible 24/7 anytime anywhere. This allows the doctors to access the patient’s vital information right from his iPhone lock screen.
It is a digital vault for your loved ones, an archive of everything they will need after your death. You can securely store wills, passwords, funeral wishes and more in the sharable vault. Share what you have done, complete your personalized to-do list, upload everything to the vault, and share your plan with your deputies.
This app is a legacy management service. You can store your life stories in the form of meaningful digital content and deliver it in the form of personalized messages accessible by your loved ones in the future.
Applications and websites like these may be great complements to the end-of-life hospice care resources that can be found. Plan your end-of-life with these apps and live forever with your loved ones.
Thanks for reading,