Topic: Uncategorized

Starting a New Year Following the Death of a Loved One 0

Man Looking At Sunset

The beginning of a new year often finds us making plans and resolutions for the future. Often these resolutions focus on our health, our careers, or our overall well-being. We might resolve to lose a few pounds, to exercise more, or to pursue that next promotion. If you are facing the New Year in the aftermath of the loss of a loved one, however, these types of resolutions may have lost their luster. In fact, just imagining the coming year can be a source of anxiety and grief. However, there are ways to make it easier to weather.

A New Year of Memories, A New Challenge

The holidays were likely already an enormous emotional challenge, one that may have left you feeling depleted and empty. Now you are facing the prospect of creating an entire new year of memories that don’t include the one you’ve lost. This, of course, can be a painful thing to acknowledge. It’s important to be gentle with yourself through this process, and to recognize that it also has the potential to help you heal.

While the usual resolutions may fall flat for you right now, we’ve put together a list of a few resolutions that we believe you may find helpful during this difficult time.

New Year’s Resolutions for Those Struggling with Grief

These tips aren’t just helpful for the New Year—they’re helpful any time.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others, or to who you think you “should” be—in your grief, or any other aspect of your life. Our lives are journeys through which we can sometimes walk side by side and support one another; but they are ultimately each our own, individual journey. You are who you are meant to be, where you are meant to be.
  • Recognize that your needs right now may be different than they usually are. You may need more rest, or more time alone, than you usually do. You may need the opposite—more activity, more socializing. Now is a good time to get in touch with your own needs, which will also help you navigate the grieving process.
  • Allow yourself space to process the last year. It’s a new year; that doesn’t mean you have to be “done” processing the events of the prior year. Don’t focus only on your loss, either—take the time to revisit your positive memories as well, especially those that include the person you’re grieving.

If you or a loved one are experiencing grief and all of the challenges it brings, we encourage you to explore the rest of our site. The articles we share here can be an incredible resource for finding comfort, help, and understanding. And please, feel free to reach out, if there is something we can do to help.

Different Forms of Memorialization for Cremation 0

Flowers on headstone in cemetery

Figuring out how to memorialize a loved one after cremation is no easy task. You want to find the perfect way to pay tribute to a person who was such an important part of your journey.

If you can’t decide how to best honor your loved one, here are some options to consider…

Have a Ground Burial of Their Urn

Cremation urns can be both attractive and suitable for burial. If you want a formal ceremony to say goodbye to your loved one, throw a small gathering for close friends and family.

Choose a Scattering Garden

Many cemeteries have scattering gardens—a place where you can scatter some of the ashes of your loved one. Often, cemeteries have a wall to feature the names of those who have had their ashes scattered there. That can give you a permanent place to visit over the years to pay your respects.

Beautify a Park

Parks are wonderful places for tributes to your loved one. You can put in a park bench with their name on it or plant a tree featuring their name on a nearby plaque. You may get additional comfort from seeing that bench provide a seat for weary walkers or watching children seek that tree’s shade on a hot summer day.

Plus, a park is a beautiful place for friends and family to come visit and remember a beautiful person.

Make Jewelry Out of the Ashes

If you want a piece of your loved one to be with you always, you can do that with cremation jewelry. You can put some of the ashes in a locket to keep near your heart. Or, you can have some of the ashes mixed into the raw materials used for making the jewelry. You can even have a diamond made out of your loved one’s ashes. Jewelry is a great way to keep them with you at all times.

Add Ashes to a Stained Glass Window

Ashes can be placed into stained glass windows you can view all year long at your house. It’s a beautiful tribute you can see without leaving your house.

We’re Here if You Need Us

If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact Heritage Cremation Society. Browse our blog to find some comfort or answers to any questions you might have. We’re here to help you get through this difficult time.

Funeral Etiquette 0

Flowers on headstone in cemetery

At Heritage Cremation Society, we strive to make the mourning process as smooth as possible. Etiquette is often a concern for funeral guests who just want to be respectful to the family, so we would like to offer some guidance in areas that most commonly raise questions.

Dress to Show Respect

Avoid bright colors that can distract from the occasion. Darker colors are usually the safest. We occasionally have clients that ask everyone to wear a color that was significant to the deceased. This is a nice way to honor the person that has passed as well as support their family. In addition, consider your cultural background when deciding on your wardrobe for the day. If a traditional garb is worn by guests at funerals in your culture, certainly wear what is comfortable.

Choosing a Seat

The first few rows are for family and close friends. If you are neither, we welcome you to sit in the middle or back of the seating area. If coughing or crying overwhelms you during the ceremony, you are welcome to move to the lobby or restroom to compose yourself.

Sometimes a Simple Gesture Means More Than Words

You may not know what to say to the family and friends of the deceased and that is ok. There is really no need to say anything. A simple hug may do. You could even offer them a drink of water or tissues if you see they have been visiting with the receiving line for a long period.

If you would still like to say something but you aren’t sure what, here are some suggestions:

  • I am sorry for your loss
  • She was so loved by anyone that knew her
  • She will be missed very much
  • She had the kindest heart
  • He gave so much love to the people around him

If you would like to talk, remember to keep your voice at a soft tone.

Nice Gestures for the Family

Family members always appreciate flowers or cards sent preceding the service at their home or work or sending to the funeral home. You may also get word that the family would prefer donations for funeral costs or medical bills in lieu of flowers. This can go a long way in helping the family through the tragedy.

Avoid Being Disruptive

It is ideal to show up about 10 minutes early for services so you can find a comfortable seat with your loved ones. If you cannot avoid being late, please enter a row from the outside aisle to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Silence Your Phones

Before the ceremony begins, please have your electronic devices on silent. Please be respectful of all by keeping your phone put away at all times. It is acceptable to take photos after the ceremony, but please ensure you are away from the mourners.

Leave Small Children with a Sitter

It is probably best to leave babies with a sitter. We welcome older children (perhaps 6 and up) to mourn with their family at this time. You are the best judge of what your child can manage, but don’t underestimate their strength. Occasionally, children read, sing, or play an instrument at the ceremony. If this is something the family and the child would like, it is a very special moment for all.

If you have further questions or if we can offer further support to you or someone you know during your time of grief, please feel free to reach out to us.

Ways to Help Yourself Cope with the Loss of Your Spouse 0

Grieving woman

The passing of a spouse can be a trying time for even the strongest of people. Even if your spouse was sick for a long time, their death can trigger many emotions and be difficult to deal with.

Here are a few suggestions on how you can help yourself cope with the loss of a spouse. We hope these ideas help you develop a way of grieving that’s right for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everyone navigates difficult times in their own way.

Give Yourself Permission to Grieve

Often as the surviving spouse you must make decisions when your spouse passes. You may find yourself entertaining visitors who are seeking to comfort you during your loss. These stressors can override your ability to grieve effectively.

Sometimes you must consciously give yourself permission to grieve. Try not to give in to the temptation to keep yourself unnecessarily busy to avoid dealing with your emotions. Allowing yourself to breakdown and experience your emotions will help you begin the healing process.

Practice Effective Self-Care

The loss of your spouse can cause you to put everything else on hold, including the way you take care of yourself. Eventually this will catch up with you and your ability to get past their death.

Spending a few minutes each day on your own care can strengthen your outlook and give you the energy you need to deal with this adjustment period.

Make sure to:

  • Eat something every day.
  • Recognize that sleeping may be difficult, and you may need to rest at different times.
  • Exercise daily, even if it is just a walk around the block.
  • Engage in conversation with a trusted friend or family member.

These little things can keep you from withdrawing and neglecting your own health. The healthier and stronger you are, the easier it will be to move on in the grieving process.

Delay Big Decisions

When we lose a spouse there can be an urge to make big decisions. It is best to avoid this until you are on a firm emotional foundation. Many surviving spouses pressure themselves to make these potentially life changing decisions just to “get them over with.”

Before doing anything, talk with a friend or family member to force yourself to go through the decision making process out loud. Simply hearing yourself and your reasoning may let you know that you are not thinking as clearly as you’d like.

There will be time to make these decisions, and you do not have to decide immediately to:

  • Sell your home
  • Change jobs
  • Move to a different city
  • Decide what to do with your spouse’s belongings

Do not let yourself be pushed into making decisions you’re not comfortable with or ready for.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

You may feel more alone than you’ve ever felt before. That is to be expected. If you feel like your emotions are getting the best of you and that you’re stuck, it’s okay to ask for help.

Grief counseling is something that helps many people. It is not a sign of weakness to seek help. There are therapists who specialize in grief counseling. Sometimes a few visits are all it takes to help people move on to the next step in the grieving process.

If you’re not sure where to turn for help, you can ask a hospice worker for support, they are trained in this area and can be a tremendous resource. Also, many people find comfort in talking to their minister, pastor, or church leader.

At Heritage Cremation, we are always available to answer any questions you may have and support you in any way we can. Do not hesitate to reach out.

How to Spend the Anniversary Day of Your Loved One’s Death 0

The anniversary of the passing of a loved one is a challenging day for many. Whether your loved one passed several years ago or you are approaching the first anniversary it can be a tough time. There are a few actions you can take to make this day easier on you.

Accept That This Day Is Different

The first thing to ease the process is to accept that this will be a day that brings up emotions. Trying to push down feelings and deny yourself permission to have these feelings can make the day much harder to get through.

Avoid the temptation to tell yourself that you should be “over things by now.” We all process grief in our own way and taking a day to remember your loved one and experience these feelings is part of a normal healthy grieving process.

Create Your Own Ritual That’s Right for You

Many find themselves struggling to honor the anniversary of a loved one’s passing the “right way.” The only right way is the way that brings comfort to you. An important way to do this can be to create your own ritual or event to help you mark this date each year.

Many feel obligated to visit a gravesite with flowers, but there are many other ways to honor your loved one on this day. Many now choose cremation and there may not be a gravesite to visit or a final resting place may be too far away to visit.

Here are a few ideas to help you create a ritual that is right for you:

    • Release butterflies: For many, butterflies symbolize hope, renewal and remembrance.
    • Write them a letter: This can help you communicate any complicated feelings and unresolved issues.
    • Play a favorite song or movie: You may have a memory associated with a song or a movie that you experienced together. Replaying this can bring up fond memories and help you find positive emotions on a trying day.
    • Create a memorial in their name: If your loved one was active in a cause or club, see if there are opportunities to dedicate a bench or even a brick to honor their memory.
    • Create an online tribute: If you or your loved one was active on social media, you can post on the date and ask friends and family to post their favorite memories of your loved one.

Experience the Anniversary of Your Loved One’s Passing In Your Own Way

Remember that this day is a challenging day. There is not one way to deal with whatever emotions you feel. Allow yourself permission to feel and experience whatever emotions this day brings. We all work through the passing of a loved one in our own way.

Can You Still Have a Funeral When Your Loved One is Cremated? 0

Person taking flowers to a loved one's grave

With the rise in popularity of cremation, many folks have questions. One of the most common questions people ask us is, “Can you still have a funeral when your loved one is cremated?” The simple answer is yes.

Most funeral and memorial customs are easily adaptable to the inclusion of cremation. You or your loved one’s final wishes can still be honored and respected. Additionally, most religious traditions now accommodate cremation as well. Cremation does not eliminate:

    • Viewing, either public or private
    • Traditional graveside ceremonies, especially for our veterans
    • Performance of religious ceremonies

In addition, traditional funeral homes are not the only choice. Many people choose to have funerals and/or memorial services in the comfort of their home.

Respect for Tradition

Many fear that cremation means that their survivors will not have an opportunity to pay their respects and say their final goodbyes. Here are some of the elements that many funeral homes offer to help honor your loved one and give the family opportunities to pay their respects:

      • Private or Public Viewing, using our private chapel
      • Casket rental
      • Graveside services, especially comforting for our veterans
      • Hand delivery of remains to a cemetery or other location
      • Personalized registry books and memorial cards

Including traditional funeral elements with your cremation plan can offer closure to you and your loved ones. Cremation does not eliminate most religious ceremonies. Veterans can still receive a full graveside service with full military honors.

Practical Concerns

You should never feel alone in your time of loss. At Heritage Cremation, we’re here to help get you through this difficult time. Cremation services such as ours include and handle the following at no added expense:

        • Confirmation of identity
        • Preparation and delivery of the death certificate to your physician of record for signing
        • Hand delivery and filing of death certificate with Health Department
        • Acquisition of certified copies of death certificate (only additional cost is for the number of copies you require)
        • Official notification to the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs
        • Obituary listing online

Many families find that these adaptations work very well because they provide the comfort and closure they need. Only you can decide what is right for you or your loved one. Our staff is pleased to work with you to ensure that what happens reflects your loved one’s final wishes.

Helping Your Children Deal with the Loss of a Loved One 0

Sad little girl with teddy bear

The death of a loved one is never easy. It can be especially difficult when a child deals with a loss of this nature. We all experience grief in our own way. However, children process the death of a loved one differently than adults.

Key Things to Remember When Comforting a Child

Patience and understanding go a long way when trying to sort things out during this challenging time. This is often the first time a child deals with death and a loved one dying first hand. Helping children deal with loss is an issue that leaves most parents confused. They don’t know what to do or say. This is compounded when the parent is also grieving and at a vulnerable point. Keeping a few things in mind can help both you and your child in the process.


Children will ask lots of questions, sometimes the same one, over and over. Taking the time to listen can be hard when you are grieving as well. Giving a child a chance to voice their thoughts will allow them to get their feelings out. Children aren’t as mature as adults and often verbalize their feelings out loud, rather than process them internally.


Respond to a child’s questions with direct answers. Avoid using phrases that can be confusing to a young child. Telling them that a loved one passed away or went to sleep can cause insecurities and fear. Depending on the age of the child, they may not have fully formed the idea that death is permanent. Answer directly to help your child understand what death means.


No matter what a child does in response to the sad news, let them know that it is going to be okay and that you are there for them. Children may swing from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other, crying inconsolably and resuming play with friends or toys a few minutes later. Understand that children are different from adults and are incapable of realizing that some emotions may seem inappropriate at this time.


Above all things, comfort your child. Reassure him or her that you are available for them no matter what they say. The death of a close family member can cause children to feel insecure. It is important to help them overcome these fears and insecurities.

Also, they may demand more of your attention than usual. This can cause stress and frustration while you process your own emotions. It’s okay to let your child know that you are sad too.

Should Children Attend Viewings, Funerals, or Memorials?

Many families are unsure of whether it is appropriate to bring a child to these types of events and ceremonies. While it’s never a good idea to force a child to attend, many children find that it helps them understand the finality and eases them along in the grieving process.

There is not a specific age that children are ready for such things. Every child is different and matures at different rates. You are the best judge of what is right for your children, and you should not feel pressured into anything that feels uncomfortable to you as a parent.

We’ve been here, through this emotional time for many families, and welcome any questions or concerns you may have.

Scattering Your Loved One’s Ashes 0

Scattering ashes of a loved one

Scattering your loved one’s ashes could be just what you need set them free and memorialize them in a special way. Perhaps your loved one left you instructions on how they wanted to be remembered, like having their ashes spread on the beach or in the mountains. Or maybe you’re planning your own way to honor your loved one and making it a special trip with the family. Before spreading the ashes, there are a couple things you need to keep in mind, and we’ve collected those here to help make your experience a smooth one.


When it comes to where to scatter your loved one’s ashes, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Whether you want to stay within your state or the U.S., or you want to take a special trip to somewhere exotic, that’s up to you. Some people find it comforting to spread small amounts of the ashes in multiple places around the country or globe, especially if their loved one enjoyed traveling. Others prefer to spread all of the ashes at one time in one location. Whatever you choose is entirely up to you. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about where you’d like to spread your loved one’s ashes:

  • At your loved one’s home
  • At your loved one’s favorite beach
  • In a nearby lake, river or ocean
  • In your loved one’s favorite vacation spot
  • From cliffside or mountaintop
  • In a national park (with permission)


When you think of scattering ashes, you’re likely thinking about casting, the act of releasing ashes into the wind. But there are a few other methods to spreading ashes that you could consider.

  • Trenching – This is the act of digging a small trench in which you place the ashes and then sand or dirt is placed on top of them. Often times people will stand in a circle around the trench as a special ceremony.
  • Ringing – This is the act of scattering the ashes around an object, oftentimes a tree or statue.
  • Green Burial – Some people choose to place the ashes in a biodegradable urn that will eventually dissolve into the soil. Sometimes people even include a plant or seeds along with the urn so that something grows in the place of the burial as a nice way to keep their loved one’s memory alive.

Legal Concerns

In many cases it is perfectly legal to scatter ashes, but laws differ for every state, so it’s important to read up on regulations for your particular city and/or state in the planning stages.

Heritage Cremation Society is here for you in your time of need. Contact us today and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.