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How Do You Want Your Life Honored? End-of-Life Ceremonies that Reflect How We Live

In the past, you may have been to funerals that were somber and tense, which may have created some resistance to planning one for yourself. In truth, so much has changed. These days, funerals can be customized to suit the people whose lives they commemorate, which is how it should be. Your life is unique, and it should be honored in a ceremony that reflects the life you lived.

Anyone can have an end-of-life ceremony tailored to meet their needs:

  • The Veteran: The flag-draped casket, the honor guard at attendance, the three-volley salute and the playing of taps all represent the respect we owe our veterans. A veteran’s funeral is a beautifully moving service, offering an appropriate tribute for a true hero.
  • The Music Lover: From strings and choirs to soloists, harps and bagpipes, the music at a funeral can be a meaningful representation of the person being honored. If you preplan for your end-of-life service, you can choose the music you want, incorporating your favorite hymns and other songs.
  • The Enthusiast: When people are passionate about a hobby, career or activity, it permeates their entire lives. Their reading material, photographs, décor and memorabilia can all reflect their interests and passions. When preplanning your own service, you can work these things in through displays, a video tribute or the designation of charitable donations.
  • The Family Man/Woman: Is your family the central focus of your life? Plan for your family mementos to be displayed, including photos, important religious scriptures, knick-knacks, and other representations of how much your family means to you. You can also decide ahead of time how your beloved family members can take part in the service.
  • The Environmentalist: If you’re eco-conscious in life, you may decide to follow through on your convictions, even in death. A green burial allows for the body to be reunited with nature and can be part of a very meaningful service.
  • The Free Spirit: A dove release symbolizes the soul soaring free, joining with other loved ones who have gone before. Because the dove has long symbolized love, peace and hope, this can be an extremely moving moment in a ceremony, bringing comfort to those who are mourning.
  • The Great Communicator: If you were the person who united people in life, why not plan to bring them together across the miles at your funeral? It’s easier than ever to include far-off friends and family because technology allows for a webcast of the service.

Ultimately, the sky is the limit when it comes to planning an end-of-life ceremony. The readings and music can be chosen ahead of time, you can designate the people you’d like to participate and you can decide how best to represent the story of your life. Preplanning is a wonderful way to be proactive about your final send-off, giving your family a memorable way to say goodbye.

At Mountain View, we make preplanning easy. Our experienced and compassionate staff can help you make choices that represent your life and personality in a truly beautiful service. Call (253) 218-1012 or come by to learn more or to request a preplanning guide.

How to Talk to Your Family about Preplanning

Often, people don’t think about funerals until after a loss has occurred. Then, while they’re navigating the unfamiliar terrain of grief, they’re faced with planning a service and making decisions about how their loved one should be memorialized.

Preplanning is a much more efficient way to work out the details of these decisions, but families are often reluctant to talk about death. Unfortunately, refusal to acknowledge the reality doesn’t make it easier to face a loss once it happens. That’s why it’s important to explain to your family that you want to make your passing less stressful for them through preplanning.

  • Preplanning makes it easier for families to focus on what’s really important. After you die, you don’t want your family trying to muddle through the details of your memorial. You want them to spend their time and energy comforting each other, remembering you and beginning to heal.
  • When you preplan, you can make sure your wishes are known. You can plan the kind of end-of-life celebration you want by picking the music, the readings and even the dress code. You can also add signature services such as a video tribute or a dove release, and choose to display memorabilia that reflects what’s important to you. .
  • Planning in advance protects your family financially. Preplanning is a smart financial move because it locks in today’s prices for a future need. Your death may be many years in the future, but when you pre-plan, your family won’t have to worry about inflation.

It may be difficult to engage your family in a discussion about preplanning, but it’s important because it allows you to make end-of-life decisions at a time that’s not stressful or emotionally charged.

At Mountain View Funeral Home, we’re experts at preplanning, with advisors who can help you make a plan that’s right for you. If you aren’t living near us at the time of your passing, your plan is transferable to any affiliated location in the United States. Call us today at (253) 218-1012, or visit our website to request a free preplanning guide.

Planning a Veteran's Funeral

Veterans dedicate themselves to a lifetime of service and are willing to die for the ideals our country holds dear. That’s why veterans’ funerals should be life-honoring tributes that respect and honor the sacrifices they’ve made.

Whether the death was related to service or happened years later, there are certain honors to which veterans are entitled.

  • Flag-draped casket: It’s traditional for the casket of a veteran to be draped in the American flag. After the service, this flag is folded in accordance with tradition and presented to the veteran’s family. It’s a moving tribute, honoring the veteran with an important symbol of our nation.
  • Honor guard: Members of the armed forces play a ceremonial role in the service, acting as pallbearers for the fallen veteran. It’s very meaningful to a veteran’s family to see these men and women in uniform paying their respects.
  • Three-volley salute: A rifle party of 3-7 service members will typically fire a three-volley salute. The number can vary, depending on the rank of the veteran. High-ranking officers might have an 11-, 14- or even 17-gun salute.
  • Taps: At the end of a graveside service, a final salute is given, and Taps is performed by a lone bugler or an audio recording, 30-50 yards from the grave site. In some cases, a muffled drum roll accompanies the bugler.
  • Some veterans are entitled to additional honors. A funeral director will be able to help you determine exactly what is appropriate for your veteran.

At Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory, we’re proud of our nation’s veterans. That’s why we honor and respect all veterans for their service, providing honorable and dignified arrangements. Honorably discharged veterans and their immediate family members may also be entitled to discounted or complimentary burial space in selected areas. We can help you plan a service for your veteran with all the appropriate honors and benefits. Call us at (253) 218-1012 or visit our website to learn more.

Celebrating a Life Well Lived

Until recent years, funerals were very somber affairs. People typically wore black. The music was often sad. Long speeches were delivered in solemn tones. If you haven’t been to a funeral in recent years, you might be surprised to learn how much has changed. Today, many funerals focus on celebrating a life well lived.

If you’re planning a funeral for a loved one, it’s possible to create a memorable and even uplifting event.

  • It’s easy to incorporate your loved one’s personality into the service. Choose music, readings and even a setting that honors the way your loved one lived, spotlighting hobbies, passions and what was truly important to that person.
  • Photos and memorabilia can spark happy memories. By displaying family photos and things your loved one prized, you’ll be reminding others of what they knew and loved about the person. You might even hear some stories you didn’t know.
  • Music that your loved one enjoyed can make the mood lighter. The music at a funeral or memorial can be uplifting. Incorporate your loved one’s favorite song, perhaps even making it part of a video tribute to help people remember and smile.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell funny stories and laugh. The most memorable funerals are often those at which there is laughter. Your loved one’s life was a gift, and sharing memories of that gift can help in the healing process.

Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been serving families in this community since 1942, helping plan countless funeral and memorial services. We can help you plan the perfect life-honoring tribute to your loved one. Call (253) 218-1012 to learn more.

Grieving When the Relationship was Difficult

The loss of a family member is always difficult, but when the relationship was troubled, it can be more complicated. You may have complex feelings about the loss. You might be uncomfortable with how the relationship was when the person died. You may feel things were left unsaid and wish you’d had a more time to work through some of the challenges.

You’re not alone. Here are some strategies for navigating your grief when your relationship was less than ideal:

  • Find someone to talk to. This may be a friend or family member who understands the situation and can help you work through your feelings. It might also be helpful to seek professional counseling. A grief counselor has the experience to help you navigate this difficult time and direct you to a support group where you can find additional help if necessary.
  • Consider rituals or activities to help you work through “unfinished business.” You might find it helpful to write a letter to the person who has died, expressing things you were never able to say in person. Journaling can also be helpful as a way to put your emotions onto paper. Sometimes writing things down can help you gain a new perspective.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Make sure to practice good self-care, get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet. Don’t worry about expectations about what you “should” be feeling, and remember that grief is unique to each individual. Instead of berating yourself about how you could have handled situations differently, treat yourself as gently as you’d treat another person experiencing this kind of conflicted grief.

At Mountain View, we’re more than just a funeral home. Since 1989, we’ve reached out to members of our community with grief support services that help people in a safe, supportive environment. We also provide aftercare to the bereaved at no cost. Visit our website to learn more and find resources to help you through this difficult time. You can also call us at (253) 218-1012 to learn about our facilities, preplanning and all the ways in which we serve the community.

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