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Why Personalizing Tomb Stones Can Offer You Healing When Dealing with Grief
Apr 27, 2021   09:29 AM
by Karen

People deal with the grief associated with death in different ways. Many funeral homes offer customized tombstones and epitaphs to friends and family of deceased individuals in an effort to lay loved ones to rest with dignity. Research has shown that personalized tombstones can be healing for loved ones left behind while coping with grief. When a tombstone portrays the personality of the individual who has passed away, reminders and memories of the individual's persona remain. This may bring back happy memories of the deceased, and a smile, even though bittersweet, to a loved one grieving.

Alleviating Grief

Personalized tombstones celebrate the deceased in more ways than one. For starters, when you add something personal to a gravestone, it tells people more about the persona of the person who has passed on. Additionally, it offers a beautiful memorial for a life led with purpose. For instance, a South African actor, Joe Mafela, was buried with a tombstone designed as a large-screen TV. This told his grievers the story of his life by viewing the tombstone. After designs are decided upon, companies like National Memorial Planning do a good job of installing customized tombstones, and ensure there is no damage. A personalized tombstone reminds grief-stricken loved ones of the legacy of the deceased.

Coping with Grief

We often try to cope with grief that arises due to the death of a relative or friend by looking at photographs from the past. When we grieve for an individual, we think about how we will survive. The grief process seems centered on the grieving, rather than concentrating on the individual who has died. A customized tombstone helps us to focus on the individual who has passed away, and his or her life and achievements. The positive aspects they may have brought into the many lives they touched will become the highlight in a griever’s mind, and grief will be a not-so-difficult experience to deal with. The technical aspects of arranging a tombstone to personalize it is done with the help of designers available for this.

We at National Memorial Planning are ready to help you with this task.


Thanks for reading,


Gentle Tips to Cope with the Loss of a Beloved to Covid-19
Apr 26, 2021   09:09 AM
by Karen

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the world to face sudden loss on a scale like no other. Coping with the death of a loved one is hard as it is, but losing someone in the era of the coronavirus is something that is startling. Many deaths occur in hospitals and places where loved ones cannot be present at the time of death. Due to restrictions that governments enforce to control the spread of the virus, the anxiety and grief felt by people are exacerbated. The sadness of those left behind is ten-fold more than normal. It may help to be close to a particularly dear person at the time of Covid-19.

Following are some tips to help you cope with death during pandemic times that may see you, or someone you care about, through the crisis.

Talking Helps

Even if you are specifically close to a friend or a relative, moving close by may not be possible. Again, due to restrictions on movement, including flight bans, you may be compelled to physically distance yourself. Experts like Dr. M. Katherine Shear at Columbia University's School of Social Work, advise that grieving people should talk. While in a state of emotional pain, being heard helps immensely. Although this may not be physically possible, video chatting is an option. While talking, connecting with another human (so important at this time) alleviates bottled-up grief.

Showing Empathy

Most people during the time of the pandemic have thought about death at some time or another. Since the virus looms large, be it on social media, or print media, there's no getting away from it. Although you may be able to be physically close to a loved one, there's no telling how life may pan out. You may find that a way to cope with grief, should you be unfortunate to experience it, is to show empathy to other loved ones needing similar support. In turn, when you speak out your feelings, they will be there to soothe you.

Valid Feelings

Feeling extreme grief is a natural response to loss, and in these unprecedented circumstances, its normal to feel tremendously overwhelmed. The response to loss differs from person to person, but feelings of grief need no excuse. Additionally, everyone understands the sensitivity of the current time. The deceased cannot be honored in appropriate ways due to restrictive rules and social distancing. This may increase the burden of grief, but reaching out to care groups and others helps.


Thanks for reading,


A Quick End-of-Life Planning Checklist for Healthcare in 2020
Dec 14, 2020   10:03 AM
by Karen

End-of-life planning can be quite a stressful time, but it’s inevitable if you wish to leave behind a legacy for your loved ones. You will have to make a few tough decisions during this time, but honestly, any effort you put in now will benefit your loved ones greatly later.

Here’s a checklist to follow while going about your healthcare planning:

  1. Life support

This includes a range of medications, treatments, and healthcare equipment that help the body remain functional after an illness or injury. The use of life support is slightly controversial, but it’s the only resort when the recovery of the person is highly unlikely. Artificial nutrition, ventilator, and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) are a few life support options you need to consider.

  1. Use of hospice care centers, hospitals, and nursing homes

The use of healthcare facilities is another decision you will have to make while planning your healthcare. You need a facility that’s certified by Medicare or Medicaid. The cost of treatment, follow-up options with doctors, types of activities, meals, terms of stay, and conditions are crucial factors to consider.

  1. Organ donation

Organ and tissue donation are important treatment options for people who wish to extend their lifespan. Some people decide to donate their organs after death to someone who’s in dire need. Your healthcare directive should express these wishes so that necessary steps can be taken by your physician when the time comes.

  1. Healthcare power of attorney

Healthcare power of attorney, also called a healthcare proxy, is a legal document that authorizes someone else to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. This becomes particularly important if you are incapacitated due to an injury or an illness. Make sure you give this right to someone you trust and who knows your preferences.

The above are a few elements that you need to keep in mind while doing healthcare planning. Following these tips will surely make your end-of-life planning smooth and beneficial to your desires and needs.


Thanks for reading,


Helping Your Surviving Parent Cope With The Loss Of Their Partner
Dec 04, 2020   09:26 AM
by Karen

The item that tops any stress index is the demise of a partner. This is an inevitable life factor applicable to 50% of couples. The shock of the survivor is beyond words to describe. He or she should have the resources to master the situation in the best way possible. It is a fact that time is the best healer.

What is the best immediate soother?

The surviving partner most likely will decide to carry through life positively while cherishing the memories of the departed partner. The children can play a vital role in ensuring that their living parent moves forward in life with a pronounced purpose.

Let the parent talk

Every individual has unique ways of experiencing grief. Most people withdraw into their shells and remain silent. A knowing son or daughter will be patient to deal with their physical requirements with understanding. They can talk among themselves about the lost parent so that the survivor hears the conversation. Slowly inspire and stimulate your father or mother to talk about their partner.

Be There For The Survivor Emotionally And Physically

Nobody can replace a missing spouse, but you have the same blood. Provide physical assistance in cleaning the house, shopping, or taking out the car to the garage. Most importantly, find ways to spend quality time together. Bring the grandchildren along when you visit.

Don't let your mom or dad suppress their feelings. You, too, are going through a sea of sentiments. Face up to those emotions together.

Learn About Sorrow

To be caring for your parent, educate yourself regarding the agony of loss. This will enable you to detect reactions from your parent, which stemmed from grief easily. There are several grief reactions:

  • Finding comfort with solitude.
  • Circumventing people and situations.
  • Difficulty in making simple decisions.
  • Occasional sighing.
  • Temporary loss of memory.
  • Craving to be in the company of the departed partner.

For sure, the best thing you can do for your parent is simply to be present and available.


Thanks for reading,


Are Funerals Allowed During COVID?
Sep 17, 2020   09:51 AM
by Karen

COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down, affecting even the way we say our final goodbyes to our loved ones. Due to the highly infectious nature of the virus, social distancing has been recommended as one of the most preventive measures by health authorities, which is required to be followed during funerals as well.

This means that funerals and memorials can no longer have as many people. It is best to keep the number of attendees at a minimum, preferably not more than ten people. Especially if the gathering is located indoors, there is a higher chance of the virus spreading, which makes minimum attendees and social distancing (at least 6 feet apart from each other) among individuals from different households crucial.

It is suggested that the ceremony is held in an outdoor location or a well-ventilated indoor space that can freely accommodate all the guests. Moreover, everyone present must wear a mask and avoid touching each other even if it’s just shaking hands.

Another important precautionary measure you shouldn’t ignore is regularly sanitizing and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects. These may include tabletops, countertops, door handles, and so on.

Also, everyone present should be either washing their hands thoroughly with soap or handwash once they reach the funeral location, or using a hand sanitizer. If elders, who have a higher risk of contracting the virus, are present, it is even more crucial that these measures are followed.

Grieving the death of a loved one is already hard enough as it is, but when you have to go through this during a pandemic where a deadly, infectious virus is ravaging the entire world, it can be extremely overwhelming. Making sure that you follow all the safety protocols for a funeral that will keep anyone present from being at risk is an important step you can take to lessen the stress.


Thanks for reading,


What to Know About Delayed Grief
May 05, 2020   11:18 AM
by Karen

When you are faced with an intense trauma such as the death of someone you love, you may not be ready to completely feel all the emotions that loss brings. Or maybe, you are someone who has gone through life repressing most emotional pains that you have experienced because you are afraid to process your emotions.

Repressing these overwhelming emotions and keeping yourself numb instead of grieving and mourning is a common response to losing a loved one, but definitely not the healthiest. This is what delayed grief is – repression of emotional pain that results from a traumatic experience. In other words, you don’t fully experience your grief until later on.

These repressed emotions will likely surface later on, which can lead to mental and emotional breakdowns. Even if they don’t surface and you don’t deal with them directly, they have a significant psychological impact on you and influence your thought patterns and behavior, even when you don’t realize it.

What does delayed grief feel and look like?

If you are experiencing delayed grief, you may show several emotional, mental, as well as physical symptoms later than expected. You may feel completely numb and detached, and you may feel more moody or anxious than usual. This will obviously affect your day-to-day life. Your personal relationships and work may suffer.

People experiencing delayed grief also tend to have headaches, body aches and pains, disrupted sleeping patterns, and loss in appetite.

What to do if you are experiencing delayed grief?

It is important to know that people react to loss in different ways, and there is no normal or accepted way to grieve. If you suspect that you are dealing with delayed grief, make sure that you are putting in extra effort to look after your health. It can be easy to slip into unhealthy coping mechanisms that can affect both your mental and physical health, so focus on self-care.

Also, make a conscious effort to stay connected to the people you love like your friends and family, and know that you don’t have to be isolated. There is no shame in reaching out for help.  


Thanks for reading,


Coping with Grief During a Pandemic
Apr 23, 2020   10:14 AM
by Karen

The coronavirus may have brought the entire world to a halt, but nothing can hit pause on loss and grieving. If you have lost a dear one during this global pandemic, wrapping your head around it and coming to terms with your loss may be difficult. Here are some important things to remember while you are grieving:

  • Connecting with others is important

Losing a loved one is painful as it is, but when it happens during a pandemic while almost the whole world is in lockdown, it can be an even heavier weight. Grieving when you have to practice social distancing is difficult for anyone, which is why reaching out to others via phone calls, text messages, video calls, etc. is so important. Make use of the communication tools available to remind yourself that you are not alone.

  • Don’t let guilt weigh you down

With social restrictions in place, you may not be able to attend the funeral of your loved one, or the funeral may have been postponed. Don’t let these restrictions, which are completely out of your control, result in guilty feelings. Believe that you are doing as best as you can during this difficult time. You don’t need the additional weight of guilt on top of the grief that you are experiencing.

  • Be kind and patient with yourself

Maybe you are not grieving the way you thought you would. Maybe you are experiencing disbelief and shock, or maybe you are extremely sad. Perhaps, you are angry, or you feel numb. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, especially at a time like this, when our mental health is not at its best. You might not grieve the same way you would have under normal circumstances, so be patient with yourself.


Thanks for reading,


How to Safely Conduct Death Rituals During Covid-19
Apr 21, 2020   12:10 PM
by Karen

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty about funerals and events commemorating the passing away of a loved one. While funerals have always been a chance for your immediate community to gather in unison and pay their respects to the deceased, such gatherings are no longer permissible or desirable during a pandemic. Yet, the dead need to be seen off ritualistically, and families will hold funerals for their dead either way, even if these events must be held privately, even for those who have died due to the virus.

Guidelines recently announced by healthcare advisories have instructed that only a limited number of individuals may have access to the dead body of a person who has died from the novel Coronavirus. It is because, like all surface areas, even those who died of COVID-19 can carry the virus. Those in contact with such a corpse remain at risk of contracting the virus through exposure.

Since the dead body of the infected person carries with it the virus for hours, it is recommended that this dead body be disposed of as quickly as possible. The family members of the deceased can choose whether they’d like to have it cremated or buried. Either way, they are recommended to take care of these death rituals as soon as they are able. Storage in extremely cold conditions such as under 50 degrees F might be able to stave off decomposition.

However, if the body is allowed to decompose, exposure from the virus contained will maximize. Individuals tasked with handling the dead body need to be extremely careful. If funerals are to be held publicly, they should, at no point, defy the rules laid out for social distancing. Also, these individuals should keep themselves safe from the risk of infection by wearing PPE or personal protective equipment like face masks and gloves.

The funeral handlers should also wear long-sleeved water-resistant gowns that they can later dispose, to keep themselves protected against contamination via contact with the dead person’s bodily fluids.

These times require abnormal procedures.


Thanks for reading,


4 Life Lessons Death Teaches Us About Life
Feb 13, 2020   09:15 AM
by Karen

Death is one of the most effective and eye-opening teachers of life and what is important to us as human beings. The death of a loved one can be heartbreaking, but it also teaches you so many lessons in life you would have never have learned otherwise.

Let’s take a look at some of these lessons:

  • Time heals all wounds

The truth that lies in this old saying shines brightest when a loved one is lost. It can be difficult, and often times, you will feel like the world doesn't make sense anymore. But after you have grieved, you start to realize that day by day, the pain of losing someone you love and care about hurts a little less. Even if the most painful of experiences can be healed by time, it must be true that all other wounds can be healed too.

  • Now it is all that we have 

We were not meant to be on this earth forever. As humans, our time here is limited, and none of us know when we will leave, so now is all that we have. It's easy to lose sight of this amidst all the daily worries we have, but death puts things into perspective.

  • Every day is a new day to give yourself another chance

Another important lesson death teaches us is that every day that you wake up feeling healthy and alive is a new day to give yourself another chance. You might not have tomorrow, so why not forgive yourself and try again today at something you may have failed to achieve?

  • The power of love and support

Losing a loved one may be one of our darkest times, but it is also when all the love and support we have from our friends and family shine the brightest. This is a reminder that we are not alone in our struggles.


Thanks for reading,


Signs You Are Healing from Grief
Jan 16, 2020   09:16 AM
by Karen

Grieving the loss of a loved one is a difficult experience, and sometimes, it feels like you probably won’t stop grieving. The pain and sadness seem like it’s not going to end anytime soon, and sometimes, it feels like no one understands you.

The process of grieving can be slow and agonizing, but be assured it gets better over time. You may have lost a loved one recently, and if you are wondering whether you are taking steps forward in your grieving process, here are some signs that you are healing from your grief:

  • You have accepted the death of the person

When you have lost someone you care about, it can be difficult to accept their death. You hold on to their memories and the times you spent with them, and have no desire to move on. But once you accept the finality of their death and truly know that they are not returning, it means that you have taken one of the first steps towards healing.

  • You are comfortable being alone

While grieving, it can be difficult to spend time by yourself or be alone with your thoughts. Often, this makes people sadder as it gives them more opportunities to wallow in their sorrows. If you notice that you are comfortable being alone and you don’t show signs of intense grieving when alone, such as breaking down and crying, it’s a great sign that you are slowly, but surely, moving forward.

  • You are in a position to reach out to others

Sometimes, when you grieve, you may find it difficult to reach out to others for help or form any sort of connection. However, if you are healing, you may find it easier to connect with people again, ask for help when you need it, and maybe even offer help to those who are going through a similar experience.

  • You enjoy old activities and/or find new interests

When you are healing, you often learn to enjoy hobbies or other activities that you used to enjoy but gave up because of your experience. You may even find new interests.


Thanks for reading,