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.

G. Rost 0

I wanted to express sincere gratitude to the wonderful people at Heritage Cremation Society – Louisville. I will sum up the quality of their service in six words: Compassionate. Patient. Respectful. Calm. Kind. Respectful. Everyone at Heritage was polite and professional. Thank you for working with me to accommodate family circumstances and scheduling during this stressful time. I highly recommend Heritage Cremation Society.

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.

Deb Last 0

John and Samantha were so very helpful and caring as our situation was quite unexpected. They also did not try to push us into anything more than what we were looking for or could afford. It really helped that they also filed the certificate and paperwork with social security. That saved us from having to do something that we weren’t really up to doing along with everything else. Very knowledgeable team who helped answer questions for us about what else we might have to do in the near future. I would highly recommend Heritage and have already.

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.