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Everything You Need to Know About Funeral Food

Many people like to serve food at funeral services or memorial services. Even though this is not necessarily an obligation, it has become some sort of a tradition. If you and your family are unable to provide food to your guests for any reason at all, you dont have to. People understand that you are grieving and busy, that you have a lot on your plate, and they dont expect anything from you.

However, if you do decide to serve some food for guests at a funeral service or a memorial service, its going to take some planning. To help you out, here are some things that you must keep in mind:

  • How many people do you expect to attend?

If you only expect close friends and relatives to attend and the crowd is small, you have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to funeral food. However, if you expect a huge number of people to show up, its better to go for food items that can be prepared in bulk.

  • What kind of food will you serve?

The kind of food that you serve completely depends on your personal choice and/or your culture. However, to give you some ideas, here are some common funeral foods Mac and Cheese, fruit and vegetable tray, salad with dressing on the side, cookies and brownies, dinner rolls, lemonade, coffee, etc.

  • Who will be preparing the food?

Often times, it is up to you and your family to prepare the foods. Do not hesitate to ask for help from friends, and they will be more than willing to help you out. Your community can even take care of the food if you are really close. Some well-wishers may even bring sympathy dishes for you. If your budget allows, consider catering.

Thanks for reading!

Karen

Which Flower Should You Keep on Your Loved Ones Grave?

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, we discuss different types of flowers, what they represent and what makes them a great choice for remembering your loved one and decorate the final resting place:

  • Red rose: Red rose commonly symbolizes a romantic, passionate love, which makes it ideal for a spouse or someone you were in a relationship with.
  • White rose: White rose represents purity. It shows that the person you have lost was a gentle and pure soul who was kind and loving.
  • Pink rose: Pink rose represents friendship, which makes it the perfect flower if you have lost a close friend.
  • Lily: Usually, lily is ideal for the grave of a husband or wife as the flower represents marriage.
  • Daisy: A daisy stands for innocence. This means that the flower can be placed on the grave of a child, or anyone who you believe was kind-hearted and innocent.
  • Peony: Peonies symbolize healing, making them perfect if you are moving on while still remembering your loved one and what they meant to you.
  • Sunflower: Sunflowers represent adoration. This means its a great choice for almost every occasion and for anyone at all.
  • Pink carnation: This flower symbolizes gratitude. If you are grateful for the time you spent with a loved one and the life lessons they taught you, this is a great choice.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Tips on Planning a Graveside Service

When a loved one dies, you can choose to have a graveside service, which is simply a funeral service held at the grave, the site of burial. You can either have a graveside service as a stand-alone ceremony, or it can be conducted after a traditional funeral service held at home, church or a funeral home.

If you are planning a graveside service, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you let people know if its a private ceremony

If you are having a graveside ceremony, make sure you let people know clearly whether it is open to all, or only meant for close friends and family members to attend. Especially if you are having a graveside service after a traditional service, people will assume that its open to all if you dont make your announcement. People will understand if you prefer to keep the graveside service a private event.

  • Know how a graveside service differs from a traditional funeral service

Planning a graveside service isnt the same as planning a normal funeral ceremony. For instance, you wont require pallbearers, and by the time attendees have arrived, the casket is usually already in place. In most cases, viewings are not allowed, or if allowed, it is only for a brief period. Only one eulogy is delivered in most graveside services, and live music isnt necessary. Flower arrangements are also minimal or not present at all.

  • Graveside funeral services are highly cost-effective

If budget is an issue, then you can benefit greatly from having just a graveside funeral alone without having a traditional funeral service. For instance, you can cut costs by not having to rent a funeral home or hire catering. You also dont have to pay money for renting limousines, musicians, etc. as these wont be necessary.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

What You Should Know About Pallbearers

Pallbearers are those people who carry or escort the casket at the funeral of a loved one. Usually, pallbearers are close friends or family members of the deceased, and they can be either men or women.

Being a pallbearer is a great honor and signifies that the pallbearer had a very special relationship with the deceased. Usually, there are about six to eight pallbearers in a funeral as there are eight handles three on each side, and one each at the front and back in a casket. Depending on the design of the casket, sometimes, there may only be the handles on the sides.

The responsibility of a pallbearer is to carry the casket from the venue of the funeral to the hearse or funeral coach. Then, if there is a cemetery burial after the funeral service, the pallbearers must carry the casket from the hearse to the site of burial. Moreover, if the funeral service is closed casket, the pallbearers usually bring in the casket at the start of the ceremony. However, for an open casket funeral, the casket will already be placed at the venue by the staff of the funeral home you have hired.

How to choose a pallbearer

While choosing a pallbearer, it is important to keep in mind that this is a very special and honorable responsibility which should be filled in only by the people who were extremely close to the deceased. Whether it is a father, mother, son, daughter, uncle, aunt, cousin, husband, wife, or best friend, it is crucial that a pallbearer is emotionally, mentally and physical capable of carrying out the task.

If any person is unfit mentally, emotionally or physically, then they can serve as an honorary pallbearer. This means that they can walk alongside the actual pallbearers without having to carry the casket.

Thanks for reading,
Karen

Different Festivals Around The World That Honor The Dead

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 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,

Karen

Benefits of Grief Support Groups

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can have. It takes time to accept that they are gone from this world, it takes time and courage to learn to adapt to life in their absence.

You cannot expect everyone around you to understand what you are going through when you are mourning, but it is possible to surround yourself with people who can relate to your experience. This is exactly what a grief support group does. As the name suggests, it provides support to the bereaved, hears what they have to say, and offer a safe space to pour open their hearts. Here are the different ways a grief support group can help anyone who has lost a loved one:

  • Support from people who have similar experiences

The greatest benefit is that grief support groups provide a safe and non-judgmental space for the bereaved, because every single person there has lost someone close to them and understands what you may be going through. Even though no two losses are the same, it definitely helps to surround yourself with people who have had similar experiences.

  • A sense of belonging to a group that understands

It can be easy to feel isolated from everyone you know, whether friends or family, when you have lost a loved one, especially when the deceased is someone you share a special connection or relationship with. Not everyone may understand the depth of your grief, making you feel alone. But with a support group, you have a sense of belonging to a group that understands.

  • A place to open your mind to new perspectives

When you attend grief support groups, you meet people from different walks of life, each with a unique story of love and loss. Maybe these people have learned healthy and effective coping skills and relaxation techniques, which you can also benefit from. Or maybe hearing their story alone can give you a different perspective on life.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

5 Tips on Writing a Condolence Message

Loss is a profound, personal experience that is never easy no matter the circumstances, which is why writing a heartfelt and genuine condolence message can be so difficult. You are afraid that you will say the wrong words and make the loss even worse, instead of offering them consolation. You may be afraid that your message might not sound genuine.

We understand how daunting such a simple task can be, so here are a few tips to help you write a condolence message.

  • Address them by their names

First, start the message by addressing the bereaved with their names. For instance, Dear, so and so. If youre writing to a family, make sure to include each members name.

  • Start by offering your condolence

The body of the message should begin with you offering your condolences. You must acknowledge their loss and let them know that you are truly sorry for their loss. For instance, Im sorry to hear about your loss is a simple yet effective choice of words.

  • Share positive, personal experiences with the person

It always helps if you can include positive, personal experiences with the person. For example, if the deceased ever helped you or you both had a good laugh, then include that. Families love to hear uplifting stories about their loved ones. You can also include qualities the deceased had that you admire.

  • Let them know you are ready to help

The next step is to let the family know that you are ready and willing to help them out in any way that you can. Let them know you are there for them in any way that you can. The important thing is that they receive support from those who matter.

  • Sign off with care

Finally, end the message with an appropriate sign off like With my love or Our sympathies, and so on.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Who Can Conduct Funeral Ceremonies?

Most people believe that funeral ceremonies can be officiated only by religious leaders such as priests. However, the truth is that there are no rules that say that only religious leaders can conduct a funeral service. In fact, unlike many ceremonies such as a wedding, the person officiating a funeral does not need to have power vested in them by a higher authority.

What this means is that basically anyone can conduct a funeral ceremony. What matters is that the service is in tune with the deceaseds beliefs or what the family sees as most fitting. With that in mind, here are your options when it comes to conducting a funeral service:

  • Religious leaders

Religious leaders are the most common conductors of funeral services as most funerals are conducted following a set of religious orders. For instance, a prayer or reading may be a part of the step, which is usually carried out by a priest or a vicar. This is most suitable if your loved one was religious or spiritual. You can ask the religious leader to conduct the funeral in a place of worship, and he/she may ask questions regarding your loved one or if there are any specific requirements.

  • Celebrants

Very few are aware of celebrants. You probably know them and what they do, but dont know what they are called. Celebrants are simply people who conduct a funeral ceremony. They are not associated with any religion or belief system. They are professionals who know the right way to officiate funeral ceremonies as per the wishes of the deceased or the family, and this includes religious and non-religious ceremonies.

  • Family members and close friends

As mentioned before, anyone can conduct a funeral service since one does not need to have a certain power or authority to do so. This means that even friends and family members can conduct a funeral service if they wish to do so.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Tips on Going Back to Work After the Loss of a Loved One

Going back to work after having lost a loved one may seem like the most daunting task. You are probably still grieving, and it is likely that you find it difficult to focus on anything at all. Besides, not everyone at work will understand what you are going through, and this can only make the transition more difficult.

Its true that returning to work after losing a loved one is no easy task, but there are some ways that can help you out.

  • Think of returning to work as something positive

Going back to work may be the last thing you want to do while grieving, but you can look at it in a much more positive way. When you return to work, you are surrounded by other people, you get back into a routine, and your mind has other things to focus on. This keeps you distracted from focusing only on your loss.

  • Dont take on more than you can handle

While focusing on your work can be a good distraction, you must make sure not to take on too much work. You may think that overloading your responsibilities will keep you distracted even more, but it can only make things harder for you. It will be easier to get stressed and burnout.

  • Stay in touch with your manager or HR

For a few weeks after your return to work, make sure you communicate with HR or your manager. Let them know how you are coping, and dont be ashamed to ask for help if you need anything. Even if they do not regularly check up with you, dont hesitate to reach out first.

These are some of the best ways you can make sure returning to work after losing a loved one is not too much for you to take. If these dont help, then you should consider giving yourself more time to grieve.

Thanks for reading!

Karen

What Is Embalming And Why Is It Done?

Many funeral homes offer a service performed on the body of a loved one who has passed away, known as embalming. Embalming is the process of preserving a body after death so as to delay decomposition. It also involves disinfecting the body and making it visually appealing for visitation by applying make-up.

For many years, humans have been practicing embalming in various forms. Thousands of years ago, the Egyptians practiced it, and we still continue this today in different cultures and religion, although the forms may vary.

There are two main types of embalming, both differing in process. The first is called arterial embalming, where the blood in the body is replaced with certain embalming fluids or solutions. Blood will be removed through the veins, while the embalming solutions enter the body through the arteries. These solutions are usually a mixture of formaldehyde, ethanol, glutaraldehyde, phenol, ethanol, and water.

The other type of embalming is known as cavity embalming. Here, a small incision is made through which the natural fluids found in the abdomen and chest are drained. The embalming solution replaces the natural fluids, thus preventing early decomposition of the body.

Before the embalming process starts in both cavity and arterial embalming, the body is thoroughly washed with a disinfectant solution. To prevent any stiffness of muscles and joints, the body is also massaged.

Why is embalming done?

There are three main reasons why embalming is done:

  • Preservation

The first reason for embalming is to preserve the body of the deceased so that it can be displayed longer for visitation, or if the burial is several days away.

  • Restoration

Embalming restores the body of the deceased, making it more visually appealing.

  • General hygiene

Embalming is done so as to protect anyone coming in contact with the body, as well as to prevent any odor before burial.

Thanks for reading,

Karen