You may already know that preplanning for your funeral is a good idea. When you preplan, you’re able to make final arrangements that are exactly as you’d want them and you save your family from having to answer difficult questions at an already stressful time.
If you’ve decided to put a plan in place, you might also want to know: Should you pre-pay as well?
According to the AARP, there are two million deaths in the United States annually, and funeral costs are growing at a higher rate than inflation. Financial experts advise having a plan for funeral and burial expenses so that your family and friends don’t have the stress of trying to make these arrangements when they’re coping with their grief over your loss.
An estimated 70 percent of Americans have no estate plan in place, but recently there has been an increase in the number of people preplanning and pre-paying for their funerals.
Says Richard T. Saunders, Jr., president of Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals in New Bedford and Mattapoisett: “Most people who do prepay are glad to spare their families from having to make all of the final decisions and from having to pay for the arrangements at the time of the death.”
Pre-paying through a funeral home is easy and convenient. You can shop around, visiting different funeral homes until you find one that offers the services you want and has a staff with whom you feel comfortable. If you preplan and pre-pay through the funeral home, it’s easy to create a funeral plan that represents your spirit and personality, and you’ll have the peace of mind that your plans are in good hands.
You can also choose to preplan through the funeral home but set up a trust as an alternative to pre-paying. This is called a Totten trust, and it pays out upon your death to a beneficiary of your choosing, whether that’s a family member, a friend or even the funeral home itself.
Whether or not you choose to pre-pay, preplanning is always a good idea. Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been serving this community since 1915, and we’re happy to help you plan for your final arrangements. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information, or request your free preplanning guide on our Plan Ahead webpage.
Grief is a natural response to the loss of a loved one. It’s also unique to each person. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve, and no one can tell you how you’re going to feel, but joining with others who have experienced a similar loss can be beneficial.
Even if you have a strong support system of family and friends, a support group might be helpful. It offers:
- Emotional and physical support and understanding in a place with no judgment. A grief support group can give you a sense of belonging in a place where people understand and don’t judge or criticize. It can provide a safe space for you to share what you’re going through.
- Sharing stories to promote hope and healing. Even though no two people experience grief in exactly the same way, the feeling of loss is a shared experience. Meeting others who have lived through loss can help reassure you that you will find your way through.
- Coping skills gained from others’ experiences, with new ideas for how to remember and recover. People who are further along in their grief journey may have valuable suggestions and advice or just a new outlook to share. Listening to others can give you the perspective you need to find your own path to healing.
- The companionship of people who understand first-hand. It’s important to know you’re not alone. Grieving can isolate you from friends and family members, especially when they seem to be getting on with their lives while you’re feeling stuck. Being in a group of people whose struggles are similar to your own can be very comforting.
- Permission to grieve and permission to move on. It’s important to take the time to work through your grief, allow yourself to feel how you feel and acknowledge your loss. Ultimately, being a part of a group gives you permission and opportunity to do this.
At Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory, we offer an ongoing grief support group that meets the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Celebration of Life Center at Mountain View. There’s no sign-up required and no cost to attend.
. If you’re looking for a group or just someone to talk to, Mountain View has resources to help make it happen. When you’re ready to preplan, we can help with that, too. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information, visit our Grief and Healing webpage, or request your free preplanning guide on our Plan Ahead webpage.
The holidays can be especially tough if you’ve lost a loved one. Grief can make it hard to celebrate and painful to remember the happy holidays of the past. However, taking some time to remember and honor your loved one can help you heal.
Finding something that’s meaningful to you is a very personal process. Here are some suggestions you might find helpful.
- Attend a memorial service. These services are often held during the holiday season, whether in places of worship or other locations in the community. Do some research to find one that lets you display a photo, share information about your loved one, and join with others in remembering the people you’ve lost.
- Light a candle and keep it burning on tough days. Some people find it meaningful to visit a place of worship to light a candle, while others find comfort in having a special candle at home to light in memory of the person they’ve lost.
- Create a photo display. It can be one photo of your loved one or a whole collection, sitting on a table or decorating a wall. The point is to have a place where you can feel comforted by happy memories.
- Make or buy a memorial ornament. If you put up a Christmas tree each year, it can be extremely meaningful to have a special ornament to hang in honor of your loved one. Each year, when you place it on the tree, you can take a few moments to reflect and remember.
- Donate or volunteer in your loved one’s honor. Did the person who died have a special charity that was near to his or her heart? Did he or she volunteer during the holidays, wrapping gifts for children or feeding the hungry? If you can carry on the good work that your loved one enjoyed doing, you’ll be honoring his or her memory in a way that benefits others, as well.
- Buy a gift you know he or she would have loved and donate it to charity. Shopping during the holidays can be difficult if you have suffered a recent loss. It may seem that around every corner there’s another gift that would have been perfect. Purchasing one or more of these gifts and giving it to someone in need can make your heart feel a little lighter.
- Create a memorial table in your home where visitors can leave mementos or write down memories of your loved one. Grief shared is grief lessened, and when friends and family members take time to think about your loved one, they can lift your spirits by reminding you of happy memories of their own.
- Make a memory wreath for your door. There are many tutorials online for making a memory wreath. Some incorporate photos; others use mementos and keepsakes. Use whatever feels meaningful and comforting to you.
One important step in honoring a loved one’s memory and beginning to heal is having a meaningful memorial service. At Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory we have been supporting families in our community since 1915, helping them plan beautiful ceremonies that truly honor the lives of their loved ones. Call at (253) 948-9895 to learn more about how we can help with grief and healing.
Modern culture is becoming increasingly minimalist, and many people embrace an aesthetic in their homes that favors sleek lines and uncluttered surfaces. Because of this, children and grandchildren often choose not to keep a deceased family member’s possessions, instead selling them off at an estate sale. Things that would have once been handed down and treasured might now be sold to strangers, as older people die and younger people fail to value the things their relatives have accumulated over the years.
Paring down your own belongings may be virtuous, but is it important to hold onto some things?
In many ways, it is. There’s a sense of history you can find in things that have been passed down through generations of your family, and it’s difficult to convey this history just by talking about it. In a way, the things our grandparents and great-grandparents treasured can give us a feeling of family connection and help us remember our roots.
Of course, your grandchildren may not be interested in keeping every one of your knick-knacks, but you can create meaningful heirlooms they’ll treasure and pass along.
- Scrapbook family memories. By keeping a combination of photo album and journal, you can pass along meaningful moments of your family’s history in a tangible way.
- Keep a journal of your life. After you are gone, the stories and emotions you share in your journal will give family members a way to remember and feel close to you.
- Engrave a piece of jewelry with words that mean something to you. A favorite quotation or saying on a piece of jewelry passed down to a loved one can become a cherished possession.
- Write down the possessions that hold meaning for you and tell their stories. Knowing why these things are important to you can make them more valuable to the people who love you.
- Keep a record of items you want to be given to specific people upon your passing. It’s good to put your wishes in writing so that there’s no question about where you wanted your things to go.
Designating a home for your prized possessions before you die is an important part of getting your affairs in order. Other ways you can make it easier for your family to manage after your death is to keep your records organized and to preplan for your funeral. When you preplan, your final wishes are honored and your family is relieved of the burden of answering difficult questions at an already stressful time.
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been supporting families in our community since 1915. When you’re ready to preplan, call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information, or request your free preplanning guide on our Plan Ahead webpage.
The opioid crisis is all over the news, and if it hasn’t touched someone you know, you may be among the lucky few. Many families who lose someone to addiction are reluctant to talk about how their loved one died because of the stigma. Recently, one family took the bold step of shining a light on this crisis through the obituary of their beloved family member, a young mom named Madelyn Linsenmier.
Beginning with an expression of the family’s sadness at her loss and pain at the inevitability of it, the obituary described Madelyn as a born performer with a “singing voice so beautiful it would stop people on the street.” It also referred to how, at the age of 16, Madelyn began attending a performing arts high school and soon tried OxyContin.
“It is impossible to capture a person in an obituary, and especially someone whose adult life was largely defined by drug addiction,” the obit read. “To some, Maddie was just a junkie; when they saw her addiction, they stopped seeing her. And what a loss for them. Because Maddie was hilarious, and warm, and fearless, and resilient. She could and would talk to anyone, and when you were in her company you wanted to stay. In a system that seems to have hardened itself against addicts and is failing them every day, she befriended and delighted cops, social workers, public defenders, and doctors, who advocated for and believed in her till the end. She was adored as a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, and mother, and being loved by Madelyn was a constantly astonishing gift.
“If you yourself are struggling from addiction, know that every breath is a fresh start. Know that hundreds of thousands of families who have lost someone to this disease are praying and rooting for you.
“If you are reading this with judgment, educate yourself about this disease because that is what it is. It is not a choice or a weakness. And chances are very good that someone you know is struggling with it, and that person needs and deserves your empathy and support.”
It was a brave move for Maddie Linsenmier’s family to tell the truth so plainly in an obituary that has shed a lot of light on the issue of opioid use. If you know a family who has lost a loved one to drug abuse, they might not have the same courage to talk about it but they may still need your help. There are several ways you can be there for someone who has lost a family member to this horrible epidemic:
- Listen without judgment. People grieving this kind of a loss may feel stigmatized. They may also be wrestling with feelings not just of sadness but of anger and even guilt. The best thing you can do is to provide an ear and a comforting shoulder.
- Help in practical ways. When people are grieving, they still need to eat, their houses still get dirty, and their children still need care. Look for ways you can jump in to help and offer before they ask.
- Say their loved one’s name. Don’t shy away from sharing memories of the person they’ve lost. Speaking the name aloud lets them know their loved one is not forgotten and is remembered with affection.
- Remember the person for who he or she was rather than dwelling on the reason for the death. This kind of death is not the whole picture of the person, which is why Madelyn Linsenmier’s obituary is so moving. Her family painted her not as a disappointment or a drug addict but as a wonderful, talented, loving and beloved individual.
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been supporting families in our community since 1915. If you or someone you know has lost someone, we can help. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information or visit our Grief and Healing webpage.
When someone dies, sending flowers is a lovely gesture. It’s the perfect way to honor the person who has died while also providing comfort to the family. There are many lovely arrangements from which to choose, from traditional to unusual. For a unique arrangement, you might consider seasonal plants and flowers.
Of course, most flowers can be found year-round because greenhouses and technology make it possible for florists to provide blooms even in the dead of winter. However, the fall and winter seasons have their own special beauty. Especially if the person you’ve lost had a special affection for the cooler months and the holiday season, a seasonal arrangement can be the perfect tribute.
- Fall is the harvest season, offering many options for arrangements. Beautiful, warm yellows and oranges can be found everywhere in flowers such as chrysanthemums, goldenrod, and black-eyed Susans. If you prefer a pink and purple palette, fall has that covered, too, with beautiful sweet alyssum, sedum, beautyberry and heather. For a bold pop of color, celosia makes a statement, while pansies provide a delicate option. If you’d like to send a potted plant to the family, consider a croton, with its bold foliage of red, orange, yellow and purple. Be sure to steer clear of dried flowers, berries or any other accent that seems dead or dry.
- Winter arrangements can reflect the purity of this cold, snowy season and provide an affectionate nod to the holidays. An all-white arrangement can be striking, especially when mixed with beautiful blooms such as dahlias, snowberries, peonies or white roses. Red can be a beautiful color to incorporate in a winter arrangement, using red roses, red tulips and red or striped amaryllis. If the person who has died was particularly fond of the holiday season, consider poinsettias as a meaningful and fitting way to honor that person’s life.
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been supporting families in our community since 1915, helping them plan life-honoring ceremonies down to the last detail. If you need help choosing and ordering flowers or gifts, we’ve got you covered. Visit our Send Flowers page or call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information.
It may seem like summer just ended, but the holiday season is fast approaching. This time of year can be warm and wonderful, with happy feelings of nostalgia and good times celebrating with family and friends. If you’ve recently lost a loved one, though, the holidays can be a tough time. Do you have a plan for coping?
One of the most important things you can do is to be proactive, making your own decisions about holiday celebrations and how you want to handle them.
- Decide which traditions to keep and which to lose. You may have always hosted Thanksgiving for your family, or put up elaborate Christmas decorations at your home, or you may have a tradition of attending certain events each year. This year may be a little bit different because you might not be interested in doing all of the things you traditionally enjoy. Some treasured traditions may be too painful in the wake of a loss. It might be time to ask someone else to assume hosting duties, scale back on your décor or attend only those events that give you a sense of peace and well-being. It’s completely your decision, so take some time to think about what’s most important to you.
- Don’t be afraid to turn down invitations. If it seems like it will be too painful to attend certain events, feel free to say no. The people in your life will understand that you’re having a hard time and can’t be as available for social events as you normally would be. On the other hand, make sure to consider each invitation without rejecting each one automatically: it’s important to maintain connections with your friends and family during this difficult time in your life.
- Have a plan in place so you can easily leave if it becomes too much. When you do attend events, don’t get stuck riding with someone who is planning to stay for the whole event. Whether you’re able to bring your own car or you have an alternative ride home, making a plan in advance to duck out if you need to.
- Take some time during the holidays to reflect and remember. You may want to find a memorial service to attend, visit a church and light a candle, or take some time by yourself to look through old photos and think about happy times you shared with your loved one. Whatever works for you is perfectly fine because taking that time of reflection can help you on your path toward healing.
- Be gentle on yourself. The pain following the death of someone important isn’t something you can just shake off- nor should you. Think about how you would care for someone you love who was experiencing the same kind of pain and be just as tender with yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and spending time doing the things that make you happy.
Grief is a universal condition, and yet it’s unique to each person who experiences it. Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory understands how difficult this time can be. If you need grief support, we can provide you with resources that may be helpful. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information, or visit us online for grief and healing support.
You may have heard the term “advanced directive”, but you may be unclear about exactly what it is or who needs one. An advanced directive is a legal document that specifies your treatment preferences should you become incapacitated. Do you need one? It might not be a bad idea.
There are three categories of advanced directives:
- Living will: A living will is a legal document that details medical treatments you would or would not want to be used to keep you alive. It addresses whether you’d want to be resuscitated by CPR or electric shock, whether you’d want to be placed on a ventilator or have tube feeding, if you’d want to receive dialysis and if so how long, and if you’d want infections to be treated aggressively. A living will can also indicate whether you’d like palliative care to keep you comfortable and if you want to donate organs for transplantation or donate your body to science.
- Healthcare proxy: A healthcare proxy is a legal document designating a person who will have the right to request or refuse treatment for someone who is not capable of making or communicating decisions.
- Power of attorney: A power of attorney gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf. A general power of attorney applies to a broad range of actions, like managing financial transactions or applying for government benefits, while a medical power of attorney simply gives someone the authority to make medical treatment decisions for you if you’re not able to make them yourself. A power of attorney is typically canceled because it was revoked or expired, or because the person giving the authority loses mental competency. A durable power of attorney, however, continues to be in effect even in the event of mental incompetency. A medical power of attorney is always considered durable, while other types of power of attorney need specific legal language to be given that status.
Why do you need an advanced directive? You never know when something is going to happen. Even if you’re incapacitated, it’s important for you to have a say in your own medical care, and that’s what having an advanced directive accomplishes. Further, the advanced directive does not take any power from you during the time that you’re competent to make decisions; it just gives you power when you are not.
An advanced directive protects your interests and allows you to make your own decisions even when you’re incapacitated. In the same way, having a plan for a funeral protects your interests after you die, by making your wishes clear. When you preplan, you can designate details of your funeral, long before that funeral occurs. Not only does this prevent guesswork, saving your family from having to make decisions on your behalf, but it can also save your family some money because when you preplan you lock in today’s prices for a future need.
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory can help you preplan. Request your free preplanning guide or call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information today.
Obituaries are typically serious. This makes sense because they’re meant to tell the story of a person’s life in the wake of that person’s passing. There’s a certain gravity inherent in that, so a straightforward, serious obituary is perfectly reasonable. However, if your loved one enjoyed humor and would have approved of you lightening the mood, you might consider having some fun with the obituary.
Consider these real-life examples of humorous obituaries:
- William “Freddie” McCullough, of Bloomingdale, Georgia: “The man. The myth. The legend. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. William Freddie McCullough died on September 11, 2013. Freddie loved deep fried Southern food smothered in Cane Syrup, fishing at Santee Cooper Lake, Little Debbie Cakes, Two and a Half Men, beautiful women, Reese’s Cups and Jim Beam. Not necessarily in that order. He hated vegetables and hypocrites. Not necessarily in that order.” You can read the full obituary here, which includes references to his exploits, television heroes, and truth-telling capacity. For those who would just like to know how Freddie’s story ended: “Freddie was killed when he rushed into a burning orphanage to save a group of adorable children. Or maybe not. We all know how he liked to tell stories.”
- Nevena Ann Topic, of Newburyport, Massachusetts: “Ann would like to let you know that her work here is done. She received a call, a sort of an offer you can’t refuse, for an appointment from which she will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus, a reunion with family and friends she has not seen in a long time. Job security is exactly 110 percent. Her new mission takes her to a wonderful place where she will be socializing, dancing, gardening and reading to her heart’s content. Music, laughter and love are guaranteed. Food is delicious, and you never gain an ounce. She left detailed instructions for her husband and children to celebrate her mission here, which has now been completed. Low adherence to this instruction will not be tolerated. We want to let her know that she did a great job and wish her a safe journey. We will remember her smile, her warmth, her energy, her love for life, family and friends, but also students, colleagues and clients, many of whom over time also became friends. She worked very hard all her life, up until the very end. She made a difference in the lives of many. We invite you to join us and celebrate together.”
- Harry Weathersby Stamps, of Long Beach, Mississippi: “Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black-label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam’s on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grass-stained MSU baseball cap.” This obituary was so well-received locally that it ended up being featured in an article in the UK’s Daily Mail.
If you’re responsible for writing a loved one’s obituary, you can decide how best to draft it to honor that person’s personality. Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory is happy to help you plan a funeral, and we’ll even help you decide how to write the obituary. You might also consider writing your own obituary, which can be found in our preplanning guide. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information or if you’d like help getting started.
You’ve probably heard about the virtues of preplanning. It’s a great way for older generations to organize their thoughts about their end of life arrangements, and to make their wishes known. You may have even encouraged some of your loved ones to take this kind of action. While you realize that preplanning is a good idea, have you ever considered doing it for yourself? If you’re young or middle-aged, is preplanning a good idea for you?
You’re never too young to preplan. It may be a long time before you need funeral arrangements or a final resting place, but that doesn’t mean you should delay making decisions about those things.
- Preplanning allows you to decide your final arrangements. Do you want a funeral with the body present, or a memorial at a later date? Do you want to be buried or cremated? Where would you like to be interred or memorialized? Deciding these logistics ahead of time is a good idea.
- Plan your own funeral service. This is not hard to do and can give you a great sense of comfort. Decide who you want to be involved in the service and the mood you want to convey. Do you want a traditional service, or are you more interested in a celebration of life? Preplanning also allows you to pick your own readings and songs, special services, and even mementos to be displayed at your service. It’s your funeral so you can make it anything you want it to be, and your wishes will be clear because you have put a plan in place.
- Preplanning allows you to relieve your family of some of the burden of making hard decisions after you’re gone. There are many questions that you can answer now so that your family doesn’t have to answer them later. When they’re already grieving your loss during a difficult time, it’s a gift to have those decisions already made so that they don’t have to wonder what you would have wanted.
- Preplanning can even save money, allowing you to lock in today’s prices for a future need. Funeral prices rise with inflation just like everything else, but you can protect your family from these rising costs by paying now and locking in the price. Even if you’re planning for a far-off need, it’s smart to go ahead and take care of it now, rather than leaving it for those you’ve left behind.
Here at Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory, we make it easy to preplan. We have an online preplanning form that lets you work on your plans at your leisure in a password-protected format that can be opened and saved as many times as you need. We also offer a free preplanning guide to help you get started. Of course, you can always call us to learn more from our caring and compassionate team, who are here to help you through this process. Call (253) 948-9895 for more information or start your preplanning.