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You can find our latest posts on this page. Click on the blog titles below or click on the calendar to review postings from prior periods. Remember to check back here often!

Cheap cremations

Published: September 20, 2019

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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.

Where did summer go?

Published: September 13, 2019

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The yellow school buses are hitting the roads and new shoes are flying out of the stores. It’s that time of year… Autumn.

Even if your routine will not be dramatically impacted by the change of season there is just something refreshing and rejuvenating about fall. When a person is a little sad or lonely, maybe they have recently lost someone they love and are working out living on their own. Tuning in to the world God created can help. Embrace the change of season and let it refresh a soul seeking a new season. 

First, just pay attention. Take notice of what’s happening around you. As Fall arrives the air becomes cool and crisp, the smells change, the sky is bluer! It really is. (Check it out. It’s called the Rayleigh Effect.)  Oh, and the night sky. It’s amazing in the fall. Travel away from the city lights, find a dark place and just look up. It’s free! You don’t need money. But, you do need to be a little patient. Keep looking. In a little while something almost magical will happen. Your eyes will begin to see more and more stars. You might even see a shooting star. 

Second, share the season. If you know someone who is lonely or needs lifting up, call them. Take them to pick apples or pumpkins. If you are the lonely one, call a friend. Bake a pie together or just go out and eat a piece of pie and drink a cup of coffee. We all live under the same moon. You can call a grandchild or a faraway friend and share the Harvest Moon on September 14 or the Hunter’s Moon on October 13.

Finally, tap your inner child and learn something new. Learn how to bake a pie or teach someone to how to bake a pie. Learn more about the Fall constellations - Andromeda, Aquarius, Capricornus, Pegasus and Pisces. Download one of the NASA apps like Sky View and learn to identify the constellations of the night sky. Visit a science museum or planetarium and see what you can learn there.

Every day of every season is a gift. Embrace your gift.

What do you do with cremated remains?

Published: September 6, 2019

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What happens when no one decides what to do with the six pounds of cremated remains that are left following the funeral or memorial service? You might be surprised at some of the unusual places where they show up.

For example, let’s just say you buy a swell little red two-seater sports car and drive that baby home. Of course, you are going to give her a good sprucing up. When you get around to cleaning the trunk you find a non-descript little plastic box. Close inspection reveals it’s full of a chunky greyish white substance. On the bottom of the box you notice there is a label and a name! OMG! You have what’s left of someone you never knew in your trunk! Or, you buy a house and it looks like someone left a nice vase in the attic … you get where I am going with this, right? As life moves on sometimes well-meaning people lose track of the box or urn they were looking after.

Thrift stores and Goodwill are often the recipient of cremated remains. And guess what? They don’t want your great uncle Henry.

How can this be? Well, family members are not always comfortable with the scattering plan the deceased requested. It’s hard to dispose of what remains of someone you loved. Perhaps the plan wasn’t even realistic. The sand trap on the seventh hole is really not an easy place to “scatter” six pounds of crushed bone fragments. It’s not sand. All too often, cremated remains find their way back to the funeral home years after the funeral service took place. It’s the boom-a-rang effect, leaving the funeral home with the task of tracking down a living relative.

The moral of this story is simple. When someone you love tells you they “just want to be cremated” ask this question, “And then what shall we do with your ashes?”. If you are thinking about cremation don’t leave your plan partially complete. Talk to your funeral director or advance funeral planner (both can be found at your local funeral home) about your options for after the cremation. Make sure the family members you designate to carry out your final plan are comfortable and able to take care of the final resting place for your ashes.

Finally, if you have a family member’s cremated ashes in the attic, trunk, or somewhere unusual and you need help with a final plan … call the funeral home. They can help you with choices.

Cheap funerals

Published: September 1, 2019

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Funerals, like everything from paper towels to cars, come in cheap and expensive. It’s not as easy as you might think to figure out what qualifies as cheap when it comes to funerals. This is due, in part, because we don’t all have the same idea of what a “funeral” is. For some folks, a funeral includes a gathering of friends and family the evening before, a trip to the church with the body, a graveside committal service and a luncheon for all attendees following the burial. 

When families begin to talk about the cost of a funereal, they need to include all the hardware (casket and vault) that goes with all these steps and sometimes the real estate (burial plot) as well. For sure, you know that what you choose to eat for lunch is going to make a difference in the price tag. So, the first thing a person needs to do when shopping for cheap funerals is have a talk with the decision makers in the family and decide what you are looking for in a funeral. What does your family want, need, and expect?

That done, you gotta know cheap is cheap. Think about those paper towels. You don’t have the same experience with the cheap paper towels as you do with ones that cost a bit more. If you are paying significantly less, you should expect less. Less staff with less education, less time spent with you and your family, less support. You should expect less to be included in the cost you were quoted and more to cost extra, over and above the cost you were quoted. So, in the end cheap funerals, like cheap paper towels (where you end up using twice as much), can cost MORE.

That does not mean that you can’t find a good value. Talk to your local funeral director. Instead of calling on the phone and asking, “How much does a funeral cost?”, call and ask for a meeting. Go in prepared with what you want in a funeral, share your budget. Be honest and clear about what you want and need. Also bear in mind, you aren’t really looking for cheap funerals - plural. You are looking for a one-time experience (one funeral) to honor the life of someone close to you. Look for value not cheap. If you are looking for a cheap funeral for yourself remember the funeral is for the living, the family and friends. The burial itself is the only part that is for the individual who died.

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