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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.

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Watch Out for These Unhealthy Coping Methods for Losing a Loved One

Losing a loved one is never easy, no matter how many times you may have experienced it before. Dealing with loss can be confusing, infuriating, and difficult. It is important that we make sure we do not cope with loss in a negative manner since we are extremely vulnerable at such times.

So, if you or anyone is grieving, make sure to watch out for these unhealthy coping methods.

  • Denial

Denial can come in many forms. The most obvious is unwilling to accept that your loved one has gone. People who are in denial may still talk about the deceased in the present tense, as if they are still alive. Another form is talking about the death as if it happened recently, even though it may have been months or years.

  • Engaging in risky behavior

A common unhealthy coping method is to engage in risky behavior such as excessive drinking, consuming drugs, becoming physically violent and aggressive, acting out sexually, etc. These types of behavior, if not treated, can damage the person in the long run.

  • Becoming depressed or anxious or both

Being sad about the loss of a loved one is normal, even if its been some time since the death. However, there is a huge difference between being sad and being depressed. If the person is continuously moody, anxious, cries excessively and is unable to go about with his/her daily life, it is definitely a sign of depression.

  • Significant changes in personality

Someone who is mourning may undergo significant changes in personality if he/she does not cope in a healthy manner. For example, they may over-eat or under-eat, become extremely moody, etc. In other words, they often become someone they werent before they lost that person.

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What Happened When Emma Couldn’t Finish Her Memorial Planning

Though I didn’t know Emma personally, recently, I learned the sad story of what happened when time prevented her from finishing her memorial planning.

Here’s her story, as told to me.

Emma’s father and two of her three brothers had been morticians. From what she knew of the family business, she had decided to take care of and pay for her own final expenses. Her sister had bequeathed her a tidy sum, and she earmarked a portion for this purpose.

Her reason was twofold: she wanted to save her children the emotional ordeal they would have to face at the time of her passing; and she knew exactly how she wanted things to be. She had even sent each of her four children a letter well in advance, outlining her final wishes and telling them that she would take care of her own preplanning. She signed the letter in her warm style, “My love to you, always.” Each of her children read the letter, deeply saddened by the foreshadowing, yet feeling deeply loved by their take-charge mother.

Emma was relieved that the letter was written, and that she and her in-town daughter would be meeting with the funeral home director the next day.

Only one thing left – choosing her memorial stone. Here again, she knew exactly what she wanted: a granite stone to match the others on the family’s cemetery plot; and both of her married names to be etched into the stone.

Emma’s first husband had passed away unexpectedly. At the time, Emma was still in the hospital, having just given birth to their son and third child. When she remarried nine years later, her children were not keen on their new stepfather.

Emma never did visit the memorial stone company — that day, or any other. Unfortunately, her daughter, a busy working mom, worked those same hours. Emma didn’t want to go by herself, so she patiently waited.

At the time Emma passed, her family was in a state of discord, which reared its ugly head one final time.

Emma’s vengeful daughter-in-law — they had not been on good terms for years — took charge of memorial stone arrangements, since Emma’s daughter had moved away, one son had had a stroke, and her other son and daughter had passed away a few years earlier.

The daughter-in-law ignored Emma’s wishes entirely. The stone she chose was not granite and she instructed the stonecutter to show only the first married name.

When Emma’s daughter visited the cemetery, she was saddened at what she saw. If only they had carved out the time, this sad scene could have been avoided.

I don’t often hear stories like Emma’s, but I know they’re not uncommon. If you would like to avoid a similar situation, why not contact us? You may not want to wait.

Pre-Planning Fit for a Queen

“London Bridge is Down” is the code phrase that will be whispered throughout the upper levels of the British government when Queen Elizabeth II eventually passes away after a reign that has lasted (so far) 65 years. Although the Queen is now 91, time when it might make sense to think about final arrangements, she has been planning for her funeral since the 1960s. In all fairness, her funeral will be a massive affair that will take place nine days after she dies. Before the funeral itself in Westminster Abbey, she will repose in the throne room of Buckingham Palace and then lie in state in Westminster Hall. There will be numerous tributes, including the Prince’s Vigil, which involves members of the royal family standing watch. For the first time, all Queen’s children and grandchildren will participate–women as well as men.

Most of us don’t need decades to plan a funeral but it would be a good idea to follow Her Majesty’s example and get some things taken care of in advance. The Queen undoubtedly has selected a casket and has made plans for an appropriate monument to be erected at Windsor Castle, where she will be buried. While she has hundreds of advisers to guide her through the process, National Memorial Planning is ready to give its customers the royal treatment when making decisions regarding casket choices or granite monument designs. Any funeral, whether for queen or commoner, will be more meaningful if everyone knows what to expect and is not distracted by last-minute glitches. The key is having all the products you need selected well in advance.

Donating an Urn to a Needy Family

If someone loses a loved one and can’t properly lay them to rest, the overwhelming sorrow can escalate and become unbearable. However, families can’t always afford to bury a member who has passed away. If you know of such a family, consider donating a cremation urn to them. If you can’t afford the cost, ask others you know to chip in to help buy one for the person in need.

Stories About Donations

— At the end of 2016, according to WKBN First News, several community churches secured a donation for a mother who couldn’t afford an urn for her two murdered sons. The boys died in 2015 within six months of each other. Their mother kept her sons’ ashes in a cardboard box after the tragedy. The donation acquired through the churches allowed the boys to rest in peace in a companion urn.

— In 2016, according to Cleveland 19 News, a mother lost her 21-year-old daughter to addiction. She told the reporter that parents don’t think to save up money to pay for a child’s death. In her grief, she turned to an online support group for help. Afterward, she decided to give back by helping another family, with a young child, pay for an urn when the child’s father unexpectedly passed away.

Giving to those who are in need, especially in times of grief, is one of the most generous and compassionate things that you can do. For information on memorial urns, please contact us today. We’ll help you select an appropriate brass or marble urn to donate.

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A Loving Gift: Donating a Memorial Headstone

We all need closure when a loved one passes. Sometimes families aren’t in a financial position to afford a proper memorial, and it can devastate everyone involved. If you’re aware of a family that needs help, consider combining your money with that of your friends and relatives to procure a memorial headstone for them. It’s one of most loving gestures that you can undertake.

Headstone Donations

* In early 2015, a family living in Indiana received the gift of a memorial headstone for their son. According to 14 News, the parents commented in an interview on what they would do if they won a lot of money. They stated that they just wanted a headstone for their boy’s grave. Others saw the story and gathered together to raise the necessary funds. The child’s mother said, “It’s better than what I even dreamed of.” When later asked what he would do with a lottery win now that his son had a headstone, the father said he’d lend a hand to others who couldn’t afford a headstone for their lost children.

* Toward the end of 2016, in Wagoner County OK, locals gathered together and raised funds to donate a headstone for a child’s dog killed by a bow hunter. When it happened, they heard the dog crying and saw that he had been shot. He passed away almost immediately, breaking the hearts of the entire family. According to News On 6, the 12-year-old child is a cancer patient, and Tank was her therapy dog. Whether human or animal, the loss hurts, especially when a child feels that loss. The girl’s grandfather said of the donation, “There are a lot of loving and compassionate people.” Instead of reporting the hunter to the police, the grandfather felt that seeing his granddaughter’s tears punished the man enough.

Please help a family in their time of need with the gift of a memorial headstone. For more information about memorial headstones, contact us today. We will assist you in choosing a headstone that lovingly honors a dear one.

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Gone But Not Forgotten

When a loved one passes, it sometimes feels like the world should stop, even if just for a moment, in remembrance. Doing something that will memorialize that family member or friend can often help to soothe our sorrow. A beautiful bench is one such memorial.

In 2015, in Tehachapi CA, two memorials were generously donated in honor of a beloved nurse who had worked for the school district there. Both of the benches display a plaque with a heartfelt dedication. Her husband said, “She’s sitting right here,” as he patted an empty spot on one of the benches where he and his daughter sat. The memory of their loved one will live on for all who sit on those benches for years to come.

In 2016, at Winters Mill High School in Westminster Maryland, “The Best Buddies Club” presented a memorial bench to the school in memory of two students who had been friends there years ago. The organization promotes friendships between students with disabilities with students without disabilities. The former president of the club stated, “Hopefully, people will see the bench and be reminded how we all need each other.”

In 2017, in Panama City FL, a bench was lovingly placed near a beautiful fountain to honor the memory of a family’s young son. The boy recently passed away due to a heart defect. The bench displays the boy’s favorite Bible verse and his engraved picture. His mother told a reporter, “It’s a great place to go to remember.”

All of these special memorials have brought joy and comfort to the family and friends of loved ones who have passed. For information on memorial benches, please contact us today.

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Anonymous Donor Pays for Memorial Bench in Memory of Abused Child

For the community of Rowan County, North Carolina, she was the little girl whose picture was on the missing poster. She signified both the worst fear of most parents as well as the brightest hope. They wanted her found. They wanted her found alive.

According to a September, 2016 report from Fox8 news, Erica Lynn Parsons was last seen in November, 2011. She was, at the time, 13 years old. She was not reported missing by her family until July, 2013. At one point, her parents — Sandy and Casey Parsons, who adopted Erica at birth — claimed that she went to live with a woman whom they believed was her biological mother. That woman was never located, however.

The story went from bad to worse. According to a January 12 news story from WBTV, the Parsons were charged with fraud related to money that was raised from the community to help locate the missing little girl. Both are currently serving time in federal prison due to those charges. And last year, Erica’s father, Sandy, told authorities where to find her remains. Those remains have been at the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s office ever since and, to date, no one has been charged with her murder.

The details were grim. Erica’s few years on earth were marked by severe abuse. But the community where she had lived didn’t want the end of her story to be a shallow grave on a relative’s property. They wanted to show that she mattered, that her life mattered.

A local cemetery donated a plot where Erica could be buried when the medical examiner releases them. It is a quiet spot beneath a tree, WBTV reported. A local company is donating her vault, and an area funeral home has provided their services for free. In October, an anonymous donor from Charlotte gave $5,000 for a memorial bench to be placed at her gravesite and, last week, that bench — depicting an angel and Erica’s name — was, in fact, placed. More money was donated to child abuse prevention within the county.

It wasn’t how anyone wanted Erica Lynn Parsons to come home to Rowan County. But one day soon, she will be home. And she will be remembered. She mattered to her community. She made a difference in life and in death.

Memorial benches are a wonderful way to honor and remember those who have impacted your life. For more information, contact us.

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Three-Year Long Veterans Memorial Project Nears Completion

In 2013, three veterans approached the city council in Medford, MN. They wanted to build a memorial to honor past, present, and future service men and women. According to a recent article in the Owatonna People’s Press, the project is now nearly complete.

The council approved the project, and a committee made up of veterans and other residents set out to raise money. Working with area organizations, they were able to bring in $70,000. The memorial consists of a concrete walk, a monument featuring the names of area veterans, three flags in an archway, and a 10,000 pound five-sided granite stone honoring each branch of the U.S. military, the article stated. Two additional stones are provided for the names of future veterans.

This past spring, fifty people gathered to celebrate the memorial’s progress. The last part of the work to be done is the placement of the stones bearing the veterans’ names. It may have to wait until springtime, however, the article noted, “unless we get nice weather in January.” The memorial committee is still seeking donations to help defray the costs of the engraving of the names and maintenance of the memorial.

Memorials are a great way to not only honor the dead, but also to honor the living, as well. The Medford Memorial Committee has worked hard to produce a living and evolving memorial that will honor the city’s veterans for generations to come. Are you considering a memorial project? Talk to us about our memorial products. All of our granite memorials come with our granite guarantee, financing is available, and we do have products especially for veterans.

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Boy purchases tombstone for the father he never met

11-year-old Brandon Bakke, of Fargo, ND, never met his biological father. But he cared about him anyway. According to a report from Inside Edition, Brandon — who was adopted — always expressed a desire to know his biological family. In 2015, he received more information about them and attempted to make contact. His sister, Tiffany, age 31, reached out to him and assured the boy that his family always knew about him and they wanted to meet him.

Unfortunately, though, it was too late for his biological father, who passed away the year before. And though Brandon was welcome to visit his grave in Chicago, Tiffany warned him that the family had no money to purchase a tombstone for his grave. It took Brandon only a few days to begin looking for a solution. He had managed to save up $175 from mowing lawns. He wanted to use that money to buy a grave marker for his dad.

The money wasn’t enough for a marker. So he worked more. The boy mowed lawns all summer long. Once he’d saved nearly $400, the store allowed him to choose the stone he wanted. It featured a design he chose: a pair of hands holding a bowl of soup. You see, Brandon’s biological father was known for his generous spirit. And his love of cooking.

It was a spirit that must have been passed down to Brandon, himself. For the boy, having worked to purchase the tombstone for his biological father, has recently been inspired to expand his lawn mowing service to include snow blowing as well. The business, “Mowing and Blowing for a Purpose,” is now raising funds to help other families who cannot afford to purchase a headstone for their loved ones.

If you’re looking for a quality and affordable headstone, we can help. Contact us today for more information.

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