If you missed Monday’s feature on Girard at Large, we’ve included a link for you. This clip is of the “Movers and Shakers” feature with our very own Buddy Phaneuf.
We are pleased to announce that we have developed an exclusive agreement with New England Burials at Sea, LLC, to have the company handle all sea scatterings and full body sea burials for our firm. Although we have been offering sea scatterings for over 10 years, historically off the Isle of Shoals, this new partnership will now provide enhanced service offerings for those looking to honor their loved one with an ocean burial, including a variety of additional location options up and down the Eastern seaboard for attended memorials. Scatterings where families are not attending will continue to take place off the Isle of Shoals. We are currently the only firm in New Hampshire certified by New England Burials at Sea, LLC to work with them.
New England Burials at Sea, LLC (NEBAS), based out of Marshfield, MA, is the most well known company in the U.S. for sea burial, with a fleet of vessels operating from Maine to Florida as well as on the west coast. The company utilizes properly insured and US Coast Guard (USCG) licensed captains and vessels who have been Sea Burial Certified by NEBAS to offer attended or unattended year round memorial cruises for traditional ash scatterings or complete full body (casket free) eco-friendly sea burials, per EPA and USCG laws and regulations. Attended memorial cruises can accommodate small groups, up to as many as several hundred people.
Our Funeral Directors underwent a certification process with NEBAS, where we learned EPA and USCG rules, laws and regulations, how to properly describe sea burial options as well as how to discuss the process and answer questions with family members.
NEBAS Founder Captain Brad White said, “Working with Phaneuf Funeral Home companies is a real pleasure. They offer the latest and most sophisticated products and services for their clients and we are proud that they have chosen us as their partner to elevate their sea burial offerings.”
If you are interested in sea burials, you have the option to have one of our Funeral Directors preside over the memorial service, or you may select to have a member of your clergy, the captain of the vessel or a representative of your choosing lead the services. Funeral Directors are required for full body burials, however are not required for ash scatterings. You will receive an official certificate marking the latitude and longitude of your loved one’s burial from NEBAS.
In today’s world, it is not uncommon to express thoughts and feelings on the Internet. Many people post to Facebook, Twitter, blogs and even in forums regarding their thoughts and their passion.
But when it comes to grief, there seems to be a division on whether or not the Internet world is a place for grief. Facebook has adopted a “memorial” status as a way for friends and family of the deceased to express their grief online. This seems to be well accepted across the Facebook community.
Before this “memorial” status was developed, it was not uncommon to come across a post from someone sharing their memories and messages of their loss. Posts such as “Today, we commemorate my mother’s life. She was an amazing woman. May she rest in peace” would be generally accepted by Facebook users (“friends”).
Twitter, on the other hand, has become a common place for quick, to-the-point expressions of thoughts, ideas, statements, and news. There is an art to condensing a thought into a 140-character blurb.
So, is there room for sharing grief in such a brief way?
It’s often easier to express our feelings online rather than face-to-face. Some may not be ready to deal with their grief in the real world quite yet, and may even be feeling the pressure of having to “move on”. Twitter, as with Facebook, gives users the ability to express their feelings, even if the user is not quite ready to grieve in the real world.
The support received from those sending comforting tweets in response to your grief post, is also something that should not be under-valued. Compassionate messages can be constructed with 140-characters. For example, this impactful tweet is only 138 characters: I’m very sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I’ll call you tonight.
Twitter not only allows us a forum to share our feelings of grief, it also provides an avenue to spread the word about a death quickly, and makes it easier for others to reach out and share their words of comfort with you.
For some, Twitter is an acceptable place to express grief and emotions. For others, the personal connection and face-to-face interactions are their preferred choice in coping with grief.
And we return to our original questions: Is Twitter the place to share grief? Our answer, the choice is yours.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Please comment below.
Coping with grief is emotional and sometimes confusing. Just when you think you may have it all figured out, the holidays come around. This time of year can be a very difficult time to deal with the loss of a loved one. You may be feeling many conflicting emotions surrounding how to celebrate without that special person.
The best we can do is try to prepare ourselves. When one holiday is over there is sure to be another one to follow. You may feel you are constantly anticipating how to adjust for the next event. Share your feelings with loved ones ahead of time to prepare them for any changes. Obligations and expectations are easier to satisfy when everyone understands your actions. Each person had a different relationship and memories with the deceased and may expect something other than what you have planned.
Perhaps the #1 rule about following traditions after the death of a loved one is, “if it hurts, change it, if not, keep it”. You can always go back and change things again in at a later time. Holidays are an excellent time to practice rituals that acknowledge, remember and even commemorate your loved one’s life. A simple memorial action may be lighting a candle in remembrance.
There are many support groups in our area to help you with your personal grief. We’ve listed a few below:
Bereavement Services from Home, Health & Hospice Care are available to anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one. If you have questions please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-887-5973.
You can also find support through The Concord VNA Hospice House at www.Crvna.org or by calling 800-924-8620 ext. 2828. They offer free holiday grief support sessions Wednesday nights in December on the 5th and the 19th from 6:30-8:00.
You may also contact Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire at (888) 300-8853 or contact Sue Church at (802) 591-3539 or email email@example.com for free grief support sessions offered.
Remember, grief takes time. Celebrate your small victories in the process whether it be as simple as getting up out of bed in the morning to accomplishing something you didn’t think you could manage. We understand that as time goes by, there are challenges to endure as well as opportunities to reflect and grow. We would like to express our best wishes for you and your family throughout the holiday season and into the new year.
The holiday season brings about feelings of appreciation and gratitude more than any other time of year. Thanksgiving seems like the perfect time to express these feelings. Today we are sharing a bit of history on the traditions of Thanksgiving.
The first Thanksgiving started in 1621 when the pilgrims came to America, settled to live here, and made their homes. The celebration was created to give thanks and appreciation for making it through the long journey. To many, Thanksgiving originated with the Pilgrims and Indians sharing a feast. But Thanksgiving dates back to a time when it also meant “prayer”. In the 17th century many early American families observed solemn, prayer-filled days for Thanksgiving; the same traditions were observed by the early Spaniards who landed in Florida in 1598. They prayed and feasted with the local Indians giving thanks for their arrival. Turkeys specifically, were not part of the tradition.
In 1863, after Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be a “national day of Thanksgiving”. This is when most of the traditions we know of today were born. The feast, with turkey, came about during this time period.
Although we use the Thanksgiving holiday as a time to express our reasons to be thankful, we encourage you to take it a step further and express your gratitude every day throughout the year. The simple act of saying “thank you”, no matter how you express it, can really make a difference in someone’s life.
A great time to show your appreciation for others is during your holiday meals. Why not start a new tradition of going around the table and sharing your thanks with one another?
In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, we would like to thank all of the families that have touched our lives this year. We are grateful for your trust in us to serve you in the most difficult of times. We hope you have a Thanksgiving surrounded by warmth, love and family. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
We understand that dealing with grief during the holidays can be stressful and emotionally confusing. You may feel that family traditions can never be the same since your loss and the holidays may feel a bit awkward. Even shopping, baking, and making other preparations may make you feel indifferent, confused or sad. There are a number of ways to deal with the grief, saddness, and confusion that you may be feeling at this time of year.
First, remind yourself that is it okay to feel sad. Don’t feel guilty about the feelings you are having. Coping with these feelings may be easier if you share them with family and friends. More than likey they are feeling the same way. Tell them specific things you may not be able to handle. Most importantly, think about new holiday traditions you may want to start.
There is no one right or wrong way to handle a holiday when someone is missing that was always there. Try to honor them in a new way. Your loved one can still be part of your holidays through small symbolic acts such as lighting a candle and putting it in a special place, hanging their stocking or even writing a personal message to them expressing how you are feeling.
Most importantly, take care of yourself. Find activities that help you to relax such as taking a walk, watching an uplifting movie, or reading an inspirational book. There are many books on finding inner piece in times of loss. Find time to rest and remember you do not have to take care of everything, even if that was your role before.
Stay hopeful and think about things you would like to do in the upcoming year. Experiencing joy and laughter does not mean you have forgotten your loved one. The best thing you can do this holiday season is be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is your feeling. We would like to wish you and your family the very best during this difficult holiday season.
If you haven’t already seen the article, “Funerals: From Green to Bling”, be sure to take a look in this month’s BusinessNH Magazine.
As Buddy stated in the interview with BusinessNH Magazine, although green funerals are not a new tradition, they are a growing trend that many are now opting for.
A much bigger trend in the funeral industry is personalization. We are seeing more and more families opting to add special personalized touches to their loved one’s funeral. For example, many will select untraditional urns, such as a motorcycle tank urn for the motorcycle enthusiast, or a local sports team themed urn for the sports lover.
We’ve included the article here, if you are interested in reading more.
Recently, music played at funerals has been shifting from traditional hymns to more modern day music, including even pop music. These songs have become the soundtracks of peoples’ lives, and now are part of their funeral services.
In a recent study, it was determined that the top ten contemporary songs played at a service are:
- My Way – Frank Sinatra
- Time To Say Goodbye – Sarah Brightman/Andrea Bocelli
- Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler
- Over the Rainbow – Eva Cassidy
- Angels – Robbie Williams
- You Raise Me Up – Westlife
- You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & the Pacemakers
- We’ll Meet Again – Vera Lynn
- My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
- Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton have dropped out of the top ten since 2009, replaced by We’ll Meet Again.
Although contemporary music has been selected twice as often as hymns, the most popular hymns include: Abide with Me, The Lord is my Shepherd, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and Amazing Grace.
In this study, it was also determined that some funeral homes (about 25%), had a blacklist of songs that they refuse to play at a service. These songs included songs such as “Imagine there’s no heaven” by John Lennon. Our funeral home will never ban or restrict your song choices.
Music can often express the words we feel or think. It can define parts of who we are, and are often relatable to our own lives. Which song do you feel is a reflection of you or your life?
Prior to the Civil War, most of the beliefs and customs surrounding death were based on the Victorian culture. They believed that talking about death helped you live well and die well. A “good death” was defined by four factors: dying at home, surrounded by loved ones, welcoming death, and the last words spoken by the person dying.
During the times of the Civil War, beliefs and customs transformed, many of which still remain in tact today. The reason for the shift…over 2.5% of the population died in the war (over 750,000 people), which is the equivalent of 7 million people dying in the US today. This mass amount of death transformed the views, beliefs, customs and traditions surrounding death.
Embalming and Transportation of Bodies:
Embalming and transporting of bodies was not common practice up until the Civil War. When the Civil War took place, there were no veteran cemeteries, or veteran benefits. There also were no federal provisions regarding death during war. Bodies were dumped down wells, left on the ground, or worse. Additionally, bodies were difficult to identify, because there were no dog tags or records to verify which soldiers survived and which were left at the battle site. Since the papers were so inaccurate with those who had died at battle, many started wanting the body of his/her loved one sent home so that they could see for themselves. This would require transportation of the dead body, which was something that had not been done very often.
Embalming would begin to become essential in “keeping” the body for the duration of the trip. Coffins and other containers would also need to be purchased for the journey back home. This defined how we transport and preserve bodies to this very day.
Shift in Honoring Death:
During the Civil War, there was a shift in beliefs. The Gettysburg address helped define our national identity, and what an honorary death is. The country would now honor the soldiers and those who died fighting for our freedoms, and for making the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
National Cemeteries Created:
During the war, a national legislation was created to establish, protect and authorize funds to support national cemeteries. This held the government responsible for those who lost their lives at war. The cemeteries would be created to bury the union soldiers, and future soldiers who died serving our country.
Decorating the Grave and Memorial Day traditions:
This initiative of accounting for the soldiers that had died in battle, interring and reburying them in a national cemetery, took place in the spring; therefore, the flowers naturally started growing around the grave sites. This would start a tradition of decorating graves. In 1968, “Decoration day” was established, which is known today as Memorial Day.
The first celebrations and known tradition that still stands today took place in Charleston. At a racecourse that was used as a Union prison during the war had soldiers that were reburied in a cemetery within the arena. To honor them, they created a cemetery, decorated it with flowers, had a parade, and then had a picnic in the center of the fields. This would become a more common practice and celebration on Decoration Day, which seems to have made it through to today with Memorial Day traditions often including those events.
We are blogging about this topic after viewing a PBS film entitled “Death and the Civil War”. If you’d like to learn more on this topic, or to watch this interesting video, please view it on the PBS website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/death/.