Death Away From Home: What You Need to Know

Death Away from Home


If your loved one passes away while away from home, the added stressors of getting the body home and making the necessary arrangements can feel insurmountable. What do you do? Whom do you call? What is the proper procedure to follow? As with everything in life, the more information you have ahead of time, the better prepared you will be to deal with this difficult matter efficiently.

Make Measured Decisions

If someone you love has passed away and you are out of your element, it is easy to fall into panic and do the first thing that feels “right.” However, always think through what you are about to do; consider even asking a friend or family member if your thinking is rational.

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3-D Urns Offer Customization for Remembrance

3-D Printed Urn

3-D Printed Urn from

While most people would agree that selecting an urn for your loved one’s ashes is a delicate and thoughtful process, it is also true that in the end there is not that much difference in the appearance of the chosen product. The material and make might be slightly different, as is the price tag, but in essence an urn is an urn. But what if there was more to memorializing your loved one?

It is very common for families to memorialize their deceased loved one through unique methods; some people choose to scatter ashes in meaningful locations, others plant those ashes with seeds to then have a physical reminder of the one they have lost. But what if you want to keep those ashes close to family and friends? Now it is possible to have a unique memorialization even without parting with your loved one’s ashes.

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Photographing a Funeral: Crazy Idea or a Memento for Posterity?

Funeral Photography?

While many of us may have attended a funeral, it is likely that not many of us have seen a photographer at such a service. Photographing a funeral, you may be asking, what would be the benefit of that? Why would you want to record a time of difficulty and heartbreak? Your initial reaction may be “why?” but give this some thought.

It may not be the traditional way, but maybe that is okay. Traditions evolve, just like we do. What was once taboo, is now commonplace – for better or for worse.

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Three Things to Consider When Planning a Funeral for a Child

Memorializing child

Burying a child is a nightmare that no parent should ever have to face. Unfortunately, however, parents do have to face this on a daily basis. While death is always something of a surprise, even when it is anticipated, it is never more heart-wrenching and shocking then when the deceased is an infant or a child. Most parents are simply not prepared for it; they never believed that instead of planning a celebration for their child they would be planning a funeral.

Here are three important things to remember if you are faced with this incredibly difficult and tragic task:

1. Take Your Time
In every respect, do not let anyone rush you. This might mean postponing the funeral for a few days so that you are able to spend time with your child and find some semblance of closure. It might also mean taking as long as you need to plan a memorial service that is in keeping with your child’s short but meaningful life. And of course, take the time to grieve and connect with others who share your loss.

2. Consider a Service That Celebrates Instead of Mourns
Some families have found it useful to hold non-traditional funerals and memorial services to honor their child’s life and vitality, in contrast to a standard funeral. For example, one mother describes her use of a Dr. Seuss quote as the theme for the service as well as asking everyone to dress in her child’s favorite color instead of black. Remembering your child in the bright light in which they were born and loved may be the healing balm you need on this difficult day.

3. Create Memories
Your time with your baby was cut tragically short, but you still have the opportunity to create memories. Some families have found it useful to make and keep ceramic footprints or holding on to a lock of their child’s hair. However, there is no wrong way to memorialize your child—you may also consider planting a beautiful flower in their honor, or even simply creating a memory book with photos and mementos.

Losing a child is unbearable. Our hearts bleed for the parents that have had to experience this awful pain. The most important thing to remember when planning a child’s funeral is that this is your way to say goodbye, so do it exactly the way that you want. There are no rules to follow because how do you apply any kind of rules to something that transgresses the very nature of our existence?

A Cleaner Alternative: Have You Heard of the Infinity Burial Suit?

Infinity Burial Suits made from mushrooms

Have you ever considered how your death affects the environment? In recent years the concern for a green burial has become ever-more present and ever-more possible for those interested. While several options already exist, Jae Rhim Lee has come up with perhaps the most intriguing alternative to a traditional burial: the infinity mushroom.

Over the past few years, Lee and her organization, Coeio, (which means “come together”) have been testing several strains of mushrooms in order to find spores that best aid in decomposition and the dissolution of human toxins. She has finally completed her work and the Infinity Burial Suit is ready to hit the market, with its very first adopter ready to try it out. Dennis White, a terminally ill man, has decided to try out this fascinating option and has reserved his own suit.

So how does it work? Well, it’s simple. You can purchase an Infinity Suit in the latter part of 2016, when it becomes available to the public. Even if you have no need for the Suit right away, you can purchase and store it for an unlimited amount of time. The mushrooms and microbes present on the suit work quickly and efficiently to get rid of the 219 toxins present in the human body and decompose—the result is a clean reintegration back into the Earth and another step into a more sustainable future. If necessary, Infinity Suits can be used in conjunction with biodegradable caskets or as a sole container. Pricing in at $999, this is one of the most affordable options currently available.

No need to worry about invasive species either, the mushrooms used in the suit are commonly found all over the world. When faced with dead organic material, they simply go to work doing what they do best. Even more than providing a more environmentally friendly burial option, these multi-tasking mushrooms also create a catalyst for new plant growth and soil enrichment.

At a time when environmental concerns are reaching a fever pitch, it is comforting to know that there are things we can all do, even in death, to contribute to a better Earth. When we take away the emotional response that we all inevitably have to death, we can see that death is just a part of an ongoing cycle. This cycle, also known as life, must be protected for future generations.

The More You Know: PFH and VNA to Host Free Hospice and Palliative Care Info Session on April 21

Comforting during hospice

Having a plan is the first step to making a stressful situation a little easier. On Thursday, April 21 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Phaneuf Funeral Homes and the Visiting Nurse Association of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire will jointly host a Hospice and Palliative Care Info Session. The event is free, and includes light refreshments and valuable information.

When faced with the prospect of prolonged illness or imminent death, most people are understandably full of worry and fear. It’s not just the idea of being sick that makes them uneasy; it’s the thought of spending weeks or even months in and out of the hospital, surrounded by doctors and strangers, away from the comfort of their own homes. That’s the reason so many turn to hospice or palliative care.

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A Doggy Funeral to Remember

A sad or depressed teenage girl hugging a small dog

It was only a matter of time before someone thought to include a dog in a funeral. Dogs show us the best in ourselves: They are unpretentious, unaffected, and full of vivaciousness and joy. Adding a touch of happiness to an otherwise somber affair is proving to make a difference for grieving families.

Funeral homes using dogs in their services have gotten a great deal of attention lately; in fact, the media has created a new compassionate hero in Lulu, a golden-doodle who is a resident of Ballard Durand Funeral Home in White Plains, NY. And Lulu’s not alone, at least five other funeral homes have tried this unique therapy technique.  Continue reading

10 Signs That You May Need Grief Counseling

Signs you may need grief counseling

Everyone deals with grief in different ways. For some people that might be away from others, for others it may be among the comfort of friends and family. For some it may take weeks, for others it may be months before they can achieve closure. But how do you know when you need help? How do you decide that your grief has reached beyond its boundaries and crossed over into affecting your life, long-term? Consider these ten signs that might indicate that you may need to seek help.
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A Dignified Goodbye: Phaneuf Lays Unclaimed Cremains to Rest

shelf-people-1How do you want to be memorialized after you die? Would you prefer a big ceremony or a quiet wake reserved only for close family and friends? Whether or not we adhere to a religious belief, we all hope to be remembered by our loved ones after we pass; we hope to be celebrated even if we live a simple life. Unfortunately not everyone gets that privilege. And no one knows this sad truth better than those who work in funeral homes.

Here at Phaneuf, cremated remains are sometimes left behind, in some cases for several decades. Every effort is made to connect with the families of the deceased, but for various reasons, this is not always conclusive. While the law states that remains must be held for 30 days and then can be discarded as the funeral home sees fit, there is something undeniably tragic to unceremoniously disposing of someone who was once a vibrant being. Continue reading

Gamifying the End-of-Life Planning Process: Exploring “My Gift of Grace”

Seniors planning via game

We live in a time where innovation abounds. It is not uncommon to find that what you once considered a chore has now been reinvented as a fun game or competition. We have fitness trackers that make exercising exciting, recipe builders that make cooking a breeze, and now we have a game that addresses end-of-life planning in a thoughtful, meaningful, and ultimately very fun way.

If you have not yet heard of My Gift of Grace, take a minute to look into it and you will be intrigued. On the surface, the game is extremely simple—a group of people works through a stack of cards, which stimulate fascinating discussions on end-of-life care as well as values, opinions and priorities. Continue reading