Ok, let’s talk about the one thing that everyone needs to know about…. Funeral Etiquette.
This one is a touchy subject, I feel that my wedding planning experiences can help aid in this topic of conversation. For the next few minutes I am going to try my best to help anyone who will be attending a funeral. Let’s face it, we will all have to attend one, one day.
Rule #1 Timing…. the most important…if the funeral has a start time of let’s say, 1:00pm. It is going to start at 1:00pm. Most pastors, priests and officiants start when the service is supposed to start. My advice, do NOT show up at 12:58 that is taken as a sign of disrespect and is poor funeral etiquette. The rule is always arrive at least 20-30 minutes early. Now I know that might sound extreme however, funerals are not like most social events or weddings. The families do not know how many people will be attending. These services are planned in less than a week. You do not RSVP for this event. So, coming late might make it difficult for you to find a seat, you might disrupt the family who might be processing into the church/hall with a casket or urn. Sometimes families have way more people attend then they had thought would. So, showing up early will save you the hassle of having to stand for the entire service.
Rule # 2, This is about honouring the deceased and the deceased family, this is not the time to approach the family, as they are getting ready for the service to start. That isn’t the most appropriate time to ambush them with stories and your feelings. Wait till the reception. That is the correct time to speak with the family, share stories, memories and celebrate the life of their loved one.
Rule # 3, You do not have to wear black at a funeral service, however when choosing an outfit make sure it is conservative and respectful. Stay away from distracting patterns and loud colours.
Rule #4 This is one that gets me, the first few rows are usually reserved for close family members (immediate family) If you are the 8th cousin and haven’t spoke to the family in years you can almost guarantee you will not be sitting there, if you are the best friend of the 3rd cousin of someone who has passed…. You will need to find another seat. They are reserved for family.
Rule #5 Children at funerals. It is ok to bring your children to the funeral. However, if they are misbehaving, crying or being a bother…… please exit the service until they regain composure. There is nothing more distracting then a crying baby or a kid throwing a temper tantrum.
Rule #6 and probably the MOST IMPORTANT…..Put you phone on silent before you even enter the building!! There is no need for any more of an explanation on this rule. If you miss a call or text, people will understand you are at a Funeral Service.
Please keep in mind, these are my personal beliefs. Common sense, maybe… but still my beliefs.
I hope you enjoyed. Please feel free to leave a comment about any experiences or advice you would like to share.
Written by Brittany Tucker.
Pictured above is one of the owners of Celebrate Life Funeral Services Ltd, Brittany Tucker.
How and why i transitioned from a wedding planner to a funeral home owner.
Hi, My name is Brittany, I am not usually the one who writes our blogs but I felt compelled to write this. I had come across an article on the Funeral One Blog titled:
What Funeral Directors Can (And Should) Learn From Wedding Planners
I felt that I could relate to it completely. Having owned my own wedding and event company for over 8 years, I feel that weddings and funerals are very similar in many ways.
Lets start from the beginning.... I had a beautiful little girl in 2008, I decided to stay home with her and not return to my job in the oilfield. After about 8 months I started looking into what jobs I could do that wouldn't take me away from my daughter and something that would be flexible for me and my families schedule.
I literally googled "Side jobs for stay at home moms". Two jobs popped up right away, Personal shopper and wedding planner. As much as I love shopping, I only like to shop for myself so the answer was obvious. Wedding planner, ironically a friend of mine was getting married around that time so I decided to give her a hand to "feel it out". Turns out I LOVED it and was actually very good. I have been known to be very organized and bossy, so I thought...I am going to be a perfect wedding planner.
We had this spare room in our home, it was lime green. I hated that room, but decided to make it into my new "Wedding planning office". I looked up different wedding planning websites, blogs and books and got started. I needed to come up with a name for my business, I googled wedding planners business names and couldn't find anything that I liked. One day I came up with "I Do" Wedding Planning, I thought I was so clever... Get it "I Do". Anyways, I went with it. "I Do" Wedding Planning. Done deal, I was going to be a wedding planner.
Moving forward I remember telling friends about my new business venture, I was so excited and looking forward to doing it. I heard from many people "who would pay someone to do their wedding, that is a stupid idea" I remember feeling slightly discouraged, but if you ask me what my motivation is? Spite and fear. So I went ahead and busted my tail and spent everyday trying to prove them wrong.
Fast forward 8 years, I was a full wedding planning, event planning and rental company. It had blown up. But I was ready for a change. I sold my company in early 2016 and decided to take time for myself and family. Being the person I am, I lasted not even 6 months and was back at it coming up with something I could do. My husband and I were talking about what I was going to do now, I joked and said I should be a Funeral Director. It is very similar to a wedding planner. With the sale of my business it stated I was no longer able to be a wedding planner in our community for competition purposes.
We were thinking of things our community needed, and a crematorium is something our community does not have. SO we did some research and seen the staggering statistics when it came to cremation and how it is on the rise. We knew it, that was it. We were opening a Funeral Home.
Fast forward again 2 years and here we are, We are now the proud owners of Celebrate Life Funeral Services Ltd. This year I will be starting my schooling to become a Licensed Funeral Director. :)
Since we have opened I have been working alongside our licensed staff and have learned so much about the funeral industry. As much as I respect the traditional funeral industry, I do see a need for some changes to be made. I have realized I alone CAN change the way people think and feel about our industry. How you ask??? Well, at our business we have an open door policy (but not all doors ;) we encourage people to stop by and see our facility. We have people that pop in for coffee after we have helped them with their loved one who has passed. I ask a client once..."Does coming back here remind you of that horrible time"? She replied "no, this place brings me comfort, I feel at peace when I come here" Boom! Mission accomplished. I know so many people who have gone through the process before we opened and they tell me they dread going back there. I remembered that when we opened up, and I vowed to myself I would change the way people feel here. It is like what Maya Angelou said... "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."
Like weddings, I focused on the "Special Touches" for peoples services. I think it is so important to celebrate ones life. I have always been a sentimental person who thinks of great ways to remember someone so I have used that gift to incorporate into our business. I think that being a wedding planner for so long taught me to remain calm, be organized and gave me the ability to incorporate those talents into helping to organize some amazing celebrations of life.
I really could go on and on about our business and how I feel about everything, but statistics show most people who started reading this have already stopped because I went on a little longer then I should have.
I apologize in advance for my horrible grammar and punctuation, the spelling should be good as spell check is my best friend. I just decide to write this last minute as I read the article about Funeral Directors and Wedding Planners and it really did inspire me.
Here is the link the the article:
Hope you all enjoyed! Leave a question or comment :)
Wills - or the lack thereof - are many times the bone of contention for families when a loved one dies.
Who is responsible for taking care of the Funeral planning? Simply stated there is a legal order of priority.
I have a will.
I have a Will and have designated a Power of Attorney and Executor. Who will call the shots?
A Power of Attorney can make pre-need arrangements for you but cannot make at-need (after death) arrangements. The reason for this is that the Power of Attorney document becomes null and void at the time of your death.
Your Executor has responsibilities such as arranging the funeral, paying bills and settling the estate. After you die, your Executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes set out in your Will.
I'm married but my executor is not my spouse.
If you have a Will and have designated someone other than your spouse as your Executor, the Executor legally is entitled to decide (or carry out your wishes) for your funeral arrangements.
The only time the spouse is legally entitled to make these decisions is if you do not have a Will - the order of priority states next-of-kin will make these decisions if a Will and designated Executor is not made. Your spouse or interdependent partner are first on the list when it comes to order of priority after your Executor.
I am not married.
Whether it be that you were never married, you and your spouse are divorced or your spouse has passed on before you - order of priority states that any adult children that you have will become your next-of-kin. If you have multiple children, then your oldest child becomes the decision maker for your funeral arrangements. Any child who is to make funeral arrangements for you must be an adult.
I do not have a spouse or adult children.
If you never married (or you are divorced or your spouse has passed before you) and you did not have any children or your children are still too young - who would take care of your funeral arrangements?
Simply stated one of your parents. They can choose to make these decisions together or have only one of them make the decisions.
Who is next on the order of priority?
There are several other people listed on the order of priority if you do not have Will with an Executor, a spouse or partner, children or living parents.
Things get a little trickier if you do not have anyone left from the lists above.
make a will and pre-plan your funeral.
On the planning side, making a Will and designating an Executor should be first on your plan. Pre-paid funeral arrangements will decrease the amount of family disputes and eliminate the financial strain on all involved.
As an Executor or family member taking care of a loved one's funeral arrangements, keep in mind how much they would have wanted to spend on their arrangements and do your best to stick to their wishes.
You have experienced the loss of a loved one and are inundated with a wide variety of feelings and emotions.
You will need a support system to help you travel through your journey with grief. Family and friends will be there to support you along the way, but unless they have experienced a close personal loss they just won't "get it". That is where a grief counselor or support group become amazing resources.
What is a Bereavement counsellor or mentor?
When we lose something that we love, due to various reasons such as death, divorce, job loss, we lose a part of ourselves, of our identity. These losses can completely crumble our vision of the world and our place in it.
A Grief Mentor helps you navigate through these losses and find meaning again. Sometimes it can be difficult to work on your own "stuff" and having someone who's been there and understands the full process can really help you make sense of your new world.
A Grief counsellor or mentor works with you on a one-on-one basis which allows you to be fully open with your thoughts and feelings. Grief mentors help facilitate ways to learn how to cope with the stressors associated with the loss and manage symptoms with different tools and techniques.
What is a bereavement support group?
It is a group that meets regularly that consists of other people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Bereavement support groups offer companionship and understanding from others who have gone through similar experiences.
In a culture that often discourages us from talking about our feelings, these support groups offer an opportunity to do so openly and guilt-free.
You will also hear other peoples stories, experiences and journeys through grief. Learning from others as to what worked for them for coping and hearing about different stages of their grief journey.
local support groups.
The Zenful Goddess saw a need for a Bereavement Support Group in the area and decided she would be the person to facilitate it. Kirsten - the Zenful Goddess - approached all local Funeral Homes about the group and it was well received as something that was very much needed in the area.
Kirsten wanted to provide a safe space where people could come together in their grief. A place where there is no such thing as age, gender, race, sexuality, or specific faith. A place where all those attending can feel connected to others through experiences and where everyone knows they are not alone in the journey through grief. These meetings are a place that surrounds all those who attend with love, compassion and empathy. These meetings are meant to be a place of hope.
The meetings will have different topics in each session, but remain flexible in case someone attending is really struggling and looking for guidance. The group will consist of people who are wanting or NEEDing to express the hurt in their hearts. By helping others through their grief, they will also begin to heal.
Everyone is free to attend one meeting or all of them. Each person will intuitively know what they need. This is why Kirsten did not want to make this a "program" - the group will be focused on talking, sharing and exploring different tools and strategies to help all involved move forward in life.
Ultimately Kirsten would like the Bereavement Support Group to be a beacon of light in the otherwise dark world of grief and mourning.
These groups will take place weekly on Thursday evenings starting at 7pm and will be hosted at the Celebrate Life Funeral Services office. You can contact us or Kirsten with any questions.
Check out the Zenful Goddess Facebook Page or Website for more information.
The most important thing is taking care of yourself. Whether you chose to seek the help of a support group or an individual one-on-one counsellor or mentor. Grief is a life long journey. Remember to continue to take the necessary steps to live a healthy, happy life.
What is grief in relation to love?
Quite often when people think of love they think of hearts, warmth and good things, but love is far more complicated than just that.
When you open yourself up to love, you also open yourself up to a wide range of emotions. One of those is grief. Grief can only exist where loved lived first.
You must have loved someone deeply to grieve their loss so intensely. When someone we love dies, grief takes over but the love for them continues on.
When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.
Grief is really just love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.
Underneath the stress, frustration, anger, disappointment, despair, loneliness, guilt and sorrow - there is love. It may take a while to find it, but it is there.
You thought that things were progressing well for you, in dealing with your own personal grief, until a friend experiences a loss. Then, suddenly, you find yourself once again deeply reminded of your own emotional pain.
Sights, sounds and smells are also high on the trigger list. It's almost as if our senses are out there doing the searching for us.
The trick is to let these triggers become opportunities for you to continue to do your grief work, without making you miserable.
don't let someone else's grief become your own - and vise versa.
It’s very common that you hear someone else at a funeral sharing their own similar experience with a new griever, when, ideally, they should be focused on their friend’s need to share their story and feelings. Do not launch into your own grief story unless you sense that told gently and sensitively, it will offer something worth hearing. You may have to wait months or years for it to be useful to your friend. Remember, this is about your friend's needs and story, not yours.
Be there to help your friend, but remember to be a good caretaker you must also take care of yourself. Allow yourself to be happy and do not feel guilty for taking time away from your friends grief. Allow yourself time to deal with your own grief - whether it be for the same person your friend lost or grief that is coming back up due to the loss of someone else in your past.
how to deal with "triggers".
Do not run from your triggers. Instead learn to use them as a tool to work through your grief. Triggers will help you stay focused on your grief and will carry you into a deeper place of your grief journey than you could have ever done on your own. This is a good thing.
Use these triggers to remember your loved one and not the loss of them. Seeing a photograph or old piece of clothing can remind you that they are no longer here but can also bring you to a memory of good times together. Hearing their favorite song can remind you they are no longer able to enjoy the melody but can remind you to stop and enjoy the little things. Having someone walk by wearing their signature scent can bring tears to your eyes but those can be happy tears when you remember that they also used to wear WAY too much of it.
Learning to use your triggers to bring positivity to your journey through grief will no doubt put you on the right path.
grief has no end and is simply a path you must walk on.
You decide what that path will look like. Will you choose to pave the path with good memories or will you go down the dark path of grief that only leads you back to the past.
Hang in there. You are not alone in this journey through grief. You will not always feel this way. The overall message is that grief does not need to be a crippling destructive force in our lives - you will learn to use the triggers for good.
IT IS THE CAPACITY TO FEEL CONSUMING GRIEF AND PAIN AND DESPAIR, THAT ALSO ALLOWS ME TO EMBRACE LOVE AND JOY AND BEAUTY WITH MY WHOLE HEART. I MUST LET IT ALL IN.
the heroine author talks about her battle with grief
For those of you who may not know Cheryl Hunter - she is a super talented lady from Bonnyville. Cheryl is an Author and Motivational Speaker who has most recently published her first book "Heroine".
Here is her Bio:
We've been continuing on our journey through grief and hoped she would have something to contribute.
Here is her story:
Feeling is Dealing
Slow punishing rhythms of sorrow
Please someone's fertility can I borrow
One moment I'm brave and strong
The next I swear life is all wrong
So grateful and yet so torn
I need to allow myself to mourn
How does that look
Waves of emotion cutting me like a jagged hook
I am exposed. Open for the world to see
Please God allow my pain to set me free
Send a wave of love and constant peace to rescue me
We often talk about how to deal with grief. Follow these set steps to find your way through the dark…
Grief is universal. It affects everyone – Every age, race, gender, and group. It doesn't discriminate. We all at some point face it and either we surrender to it or it will it swallow us like a continuous wave.
How to deal with grief? That question is so complex. Though grief is universal, everyone deals with it in their own unique way.
So, is there a right way to grieve and move on? Instead of providing a few steps on how one could cope and deal to move past their grief, I am going to offer a different perspective - How to feel grief.
I'm a person who was always taught to move on. To have a cry and then rise above. Look to the bright side. See the glass half full and don't focus on the pain. I do think that's good at a certain point in the process, but we are missing the key part of the whole healing journey if we don't teach people how to feel.
As a teenager, I lost my home to a fire. My dad faked his death in my twenties and later I survived three horrific miscarriages. I know grief intimately. It's been my biggest nemesis and my greatest teacher.
I spent years "trying" to deal with my grief. And to no avail I was still drowning in the waves of agony. I had to come to the realization that in order to truly heal, I had to feel the deep-rooted despair.
I'm learning to sense the pain and let it consume me. Let it take hold and honour whatever emotion arises to the surface. It's ok to feel it. It's safe to fully grieve. It’s what your mind, body, and soul need to heal from that pain.
From my own experience, if you keep pushing those emotions down deeper and deeper - You become your own prison. The worst prisons are the ones you don't even know you are in. That is grief. It's a silent killer and it will rot you from the inside out if you don't allow yourself to feel it and heal from it.
Cry. Yell. Scream. Be still-Feel it. Let it out so it doesn't take root.
I never truly felt the misery and the loss from watching my home burn to the ground. My home was no longer safe. After that, I was face to face with depression in my family and the sadness that slowly strangled my household pushed me deeper into grief. I thought I was dealing with my pain by simply moving forward each day but in fact I just pushed it further down. Then miscarriage after miscarriage happened and I couldn’t shove it any further. It started to overflow. Grief seeped out of my pores. I spent 20 years in that prison and I was shackled to the sorrow. I needed to break free. One day I had an epiphany. “I need to feel it to truly heal and to let it go.”
My story isn’t to tell you how to grieve and how to move on but rather how to touch it and let it devour you. Let yourself feel it with all your being and all your senses. Let it flow through you. Let the sorrow be introduced to your soul. It’s so needed for the healing process. Yet we try to deny that step. Is it torture? Yes. But I promise you it’s freedom. On the other side of the pain is healing. It’s from that pain you progress. You just need to feel it for a moment in time and then allow yourself to move through it. By feeling and dealing you will arise through the ashes and emerge stronger because you allowed the pain to increase your depth and grit.
Because once you realize if you stop fighting the waves, you will float to the top and breathe again.
You have led a prison break.
Self-care during grief can help you recover mentally, physically and emotionally. Just doing one of these things can make a large impact, so don't feel like you need to work through the list and get them all done. The list below is in no particular order, so read through and see what feels right.
1. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself some grace.
When someone we love is taken from us, we are immediately flooded with emotion. What we must first learn is that we should allow ourselves some grace. Acknowledge your feelings and sense that what feelings you are having are valid. There are no right and wrong feelings with grief and mourning. Some days all we can do is breathe and know that just breathing is enough.
Self-compassion is great for healing. Give yourself the space to feel the pain of grief, and give yourself permission to take a break when needed.
Allow grace for other people too. Most times they do not know how to react or what to say. Consider that they are trying to do the best they can and remember that when dealing with others.
- The above is an excerpt from "3 Life Lessons From Death" from the Zenful Goddess.
Self-care tip - Place one hand on your heart. Say to yourself "I care about you. You are enough Whatever you are feeling is ok."
2. get a check-up.
When you are grieving, your chances for illness increase due to stress. While grief is a natural process and not an illness, it is a good time to check in with a healthcare professional to address any health issues that may come up due to stress.
If you are sleeping more than you did before your loss, know that this may just be what your body needs. But if excessive amounts of sleep is affecting you negatively, then take the take to get in more sunlight and address any irregularities in your sleep patterns.
Make sure you are not only getting enough sleep but proper restful sleep.
Self-care tip - Try meditating before going to bed. This will contribute to a more restful nights sleep.
4. Eat healthy and drink lots of water.
It is very important to eat healthy when under the stress of grief. The more you take care of your physical body the more likely you are to be able to cope with the stress. Drink lots of water, it will help energize your physical and mental state.
Avoid alcohol, as it will negatively impact your sleep and mood.
5. Breathe mindfully.
Breathing mindfully can help in two ways. First, it can help with stress. Second, it helps you stay in the moment and contributes to your mental well-being.
Self-care tip - Take several breaks throughout the day to breathe mindfully. Close your eyes. Take 3 deep breaths - focusing on the inhale and exhale. Finish it off by focusing on your natural breath.
6. move your body.
Any kind of physical activity will help relieve the tension of stress from grief. Exercise will contribute to better sleep, mental stability and an overall sense of well-being.
Self-care tip - Practice Yoga with meditation before going to sleep.
7. connect with others.
One of the most important things you can do is to surround yourself with people who care about you. If you do not want to feel like a burden to those around you, find a support group or mentor to talk to. These people are there to listen and talk specifically about your grief.
8. Express and create.
If you are already a crafty person, get back into a medium that you love. If you are not, find something that you can immerse yourself into. Creating can help you focus and help promote a mental state of well-being.
Self-care tip - Find or create a grief journal.
It was a good day to connect and heal together.
Our Grief Open House brought together three businesses dedicated to grief support and self-care.
Nourish the soul wellness centre
"With the loss of a loved one, comes grief. Grief is a natural process that we all must face at one time or another in our lives. As individuals we do not experience loss and grief in the same way.
At Nourish the Soul, our team of Certified Holistic Practitioners can support you through all phases of life's experiences, honoring the Mind, Body & Soul wherever you may be."
Nourish the Soul Wellness Centre has five individuals trained in different areas of Natural Health Services. Each one offering a special approach to self-care and grief management.
Their shop is located at 5013 50th Avenue in Cold Lake. You can reach them by stopping by, calling 780-661-3331 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflexology by mecell inc.
Zenful Goddess - certified life coach and grief mentor
"What exactly does a Grief Mentor do?"
Her certificate is as a Grief Coach but she prefers the term Grief Mentor.
Grief and mourning are such complex processes that it is imperative that the feelings surrounding those are not only acknowledged, but are eventually transformed into healing.
When we lose something that we love, due to various reasons such as death, divorce, job loss and the like, we lose a part of ourselves, of our identity. These losses can completely crumble our vision of the world and our place in it.
A Grief Mentor helps you navigate through these losses and find meaning again. Sometimes it can be difficult to work on your own "stuff" and having someone who's been there and understands the full process can really help you make sense of your new world.
Kirsten Gaucher can be contacted by emailing email@example.com.
Whether it be the loss of a loved one or the loss of a significant portion of your life through divorce, loss of job or illness - one thing is sure - that you will need to manage your grief. Some people want to speak and be heard, while others would like to be coached and told what to do.
Grief is not the same for everyone and therefore grief management needs to come in different forms also. Find what works best for you and remember that the best road to recovery is self-care.