• Budgeting for a Funeral

    If you’ve ever had to pay for a funeral, you know that working it into your budget can be a challenge. You’ve probably heard about people crowd-sourcing funerals when tragedy strikes and they’re unprepared. However, there are other ways to budget for a funeral.  

    Burial insurance is one way to make sure your funeral expenses are covered. Also known as pre-need, burial, or final expense insurance, this is a type of insurance that goes directly toward your final expenses. Some life insurance policies have burial insurance written into their coverage.  

    You can also preplan for your funeral, which can soften the financial blow by locking in today’s prices for a future need. Taking it a step further by pre-paying eliminates stress for your loved ones by ensuring your expenses will already be covered. If you don’t want to pre-pay, having a dedicated savings account specifically for your funeral expenses is a good way to make sure money is there when it’s needed.  

    You can also make it easier to budget for the funeral by reducing your costs.  

    • Educate yourself on what’s available so you’ll know what you want and what you can do without. Learn all your options because funeral prices can vary widely. Funeral ceremonies, caskets, cremation, headstones and all the other elements of a person’s final arrangements come in various levels and price points and can often be modified to meet your needs.  
    • Talk to your funeral director, being straightforward about your budget. Funeral directors know the ins and outs of funerals and can help guide you in planning the one that’s right for you.  
    • Simplify your funeral. If it’s not important to you to have an elaborate service, opt for a simple graveside service without all the bells and whistles. Consider a potluck gathering instead of a catered reception. Think outside the box and look for ways to make it meaningful but modest.  
    • Make sure you’re getting all the benefits you’re due. Honorably discharged veterans, for example, are entitled to many different veterans’ burial benefits, which may include a free burial plot in certain cemeteries, a burial allowance, a burial flag and a government headstone. Veterans are not the only ones who can qualify for assistance with funeral costs. Those who receive government assistance can also qualify, and there are non-profit organizations that can help in certain situations.  

    However, you plan to pay for your funeral, having a plan in place is the first important step in making sure your funeral goes the way you want. Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been helping people preplan for more than a century, and we’d love to help you. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information or request your free preplanning guide.

  • Why It’s Important to Talk about Death

    Death is inevitable for all of us, but it isn’t something most of us want to talk about. It can be uncomfortable to think of your own mortality and painful to remember the loss of someone dear to you. Discussing death can feel grim and may even be frightening. Not talking about death, though, can sometimes lead to misunderstandings about how people feel about their own death and what they really want. 

    A non-profit organization called Death over Dinner has come up with a simple plan to facilitate meaningful conversations about death. It’s exactly as it sounds: have dinner, discuss death. Visitors to their website can fill in a simple questionnaire, explaining why they want to have this kind of dinner, and a list of questions will be generated to help guide conversation. Since the organization was formed in 2013, there have been over 100,000 “death dinners” around the world. There’s even a book, written by the group’s founder, offering practical advice on how to have these important conversations.  

    Another group focused on getting people to talk about death is Dying Matters. A coalition of individuals and organizations in England and Wales, Dying Matters “aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life,” according to their website. Originally funded by the Department of Health, this coalition is working to change the way society views death and dying, encouraging open discussion and acceptance of death as a natural part of life. The hope is that more people will talk about their end-of-life wishes, including where they want to die and how they want their funeral to be.  

    Why are so many people jumping on the bandwagon of talking about death? Because it’s an important thing to discuss. When we embrace death as a part of life, talking about it openly and honestly, it helps us to build empathy and connect with other people in our lives. Demystifying death can help people cope better when death occurs in their lives. Perhaps most importantly, discussing death facilitates preplanning.  

    Preplanning is not just a smart thing to do, it’s a compassionate action. When you preplan you make your final wishes known, but you also prevent your family from experiencing undue stress during an already painful time. You take the guesswork out of your final arrangements by preplanning, and your family doesn’t have to answer difficult questions while they’re grieving your loss.  

    Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been supporting families in our community since 1915. When you’re ready to talk, we’re here to listen. When you’re ready to preplan, we can help with that, too. Call us at (253) 948-9895 for more information or request your free preplanning guide.

  • Older Adults and the Rise of Social Media

    Technology has improved so rapidly over the past several years that it can be found in nearly every aspect of our lives. It’s not really a surprise that older people are online more than ever before.  

    Senior citizens are an impactful demographic in the United States, with a record million of them currently living here. That’s 15 percent of the population, and by 2050, people 65 and older will account for 22 percent of Americans. A recent study by the Pew Research Center had some interesting statistics about older adults and technology.  

    • 67% of adults age 65 and older are online. Among younger seniors, the numbers are even higher with 82% of those aged 65-69 on the internet. This is significant because when the Pew Research Center started tracking these numbers in 2000, only 14% of older adults were online.  
    • 73% of seniors who are online use social networking sites. That’s another significant jump, the social media presence of older adults had tripled between 2010 and 2014.  
    • Facebook is the social media platform of choice for most online baby boomers, with 57% of them using the site. However, the fastest growing demographic on Twitter is people older than 55.  

    Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory offers cutting-edge technology in our funeral services. Options like live-streaming and DVD memorials make it easy for the families we serve to connect with friends and family members who are far away. Additionally, we have a strong social media presence and invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about us and gain useful information about our company and funerals in general.  You can also call us at (253) 948-9895 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

  • Photos at a Funeral: What’s the Etiquette?

    Today, when everyone has a camera on their phone, pictures are being snapped constantly. Often, people are so busy trying to capture every moment that they actually miss out on experiencing those moments. At a funeral, it’s important to understand when and how pictures are appropriate.  

    Whether you’re grieving a loved one or just supporting someone you know who has suffered a loss, you might want to put the camera down and just be in the moment. A funeral is a place where people connect, share stories, and begin to heal. Focusing on interacting with others rather than documenting the event can make your time more meaningful. If you do decide to snap some shots, it’s good to follow a few rules of thumb.  

    • Refrain from taking photos without permission. Sensitivity is key, so make sure you have the support of the bereaved family before snapping any shots.  
    • Wait until after the service. Before and during the service, photography is not appropriate. A funeral service is a weighty event, even if it’s positive in tone. After the service, however, the mood is often lighter. As people interact, the event becomes less formal and that’s when it’s ok to take pictures.  
    • Don’t use flash. Whatever you’re doing at a funeral, your focus should be on supporting the family. Anything that causes a distraction is disrespectful, and that includes the flash on a camera.  
    • Be inconspicuous. Just as it’s important to avoid causing a distraction with flash photography, it’s good to blend in at a funeral. The emphasis should be on honoring the life of the person who has died. No one in attendance should be prominent in attracting attention. Rather, all who are there should be supporting each other with kindness and care. 
    • No smiling selfies. It’s not against the rules to smile at a funeral. Sharing memories of a well-loved person can often bring up pleasant feelings. However, a smiling selfie shows a lack of decorum.  
    • Never post any photos from the funeral on social media. This is disrespectful and shows a lack of empathy.  

    Photos are not necessarily a bad idea because it’s good to have a record of the day. A funeral can be a blur to those who have lost someone dear, and often it’s hard to remember who was there. Then, too, many funerals serve as family reunions, and photos taken together at those events can be very meaningful.  

    If you’re planning a funeral, you might want to consider hiring a photographer who specializes in funerals. A professional photographer can provide meaningful images from that important day and having a photographer in attendance makes it easier to tell people not to snap personal photos. A videographer goes beyond what a photographer can capture, and those videos can become treasured keepsakes for the bereaved family, containing not only images of the day, but also supportive messages from people in attendance. 

    At Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematorywe offer the services of a videographer. It’s just one of the ways we support grieving families, helping them to create funeral services that honor the lives of their loved ones and help them begin the healing process. For more information on all we have to offer, call us at (253) 948-9895.

  • What Does Vin Diesel Have to Do With Communal Mourning?

    When a celebrity dies, it’s hard to know how to process grief. Even if we didn’t know the person in real life, we often feel connected because of their work and look for a way to express our sadness.  

    Of late, many researchers have been looking into the phenomenon known as “parasocial mourning,” paying particular attention to the way people mourn celebrities on social media. Action star Vin Diesel is just one example of someone using his celebrity to help fans mourn. 

    Vin Diesel’s Facebook page, which launched in 2009, has since become one of the top three celebrity pages on Facebook. His frequent posts, which are mostly geared to his fans, feature visual material such as photos and videos of not only his public appearances but also his personal life. He’s more transparent that one might expect from a celebrity, and it’s not unusual to see members of his family featured on his page.  

    In 2013, Diesel’s friend and Fast and Furious franchise co-star Paul Walker was killed in a high-speed car crash. The shocking and sudden death was especially tragic because Walker, 40, left behind a young teenage daughter. Walker was beloved by his friends and Fast and Furious costars who were very close knit, so it wasn’t surprising that they mourned publicly. A song was even commissioned in Walker’s honor for his last film, Furious 7, which was released in 2015. Many celebrities took to social media, especially Twitter, to mourn Walker’s passing.  

    Vin Diesel soon became transparent in his mourning, using Facebook to share his grief and healing process. Immediately after the tragedy, he changed his cover photo to one that included his friend, and he posted an emotional tribute, quoting Scottish poet Thomas Campbell: “To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.” 

    Vin Diesel’s posts about Walker were not limited to the time immediately following the actor’s death. Rather, he’s continued to put up emotional content, including personal photos. Through Facebook, he has given fans permission to mourn with him and found a meaningful way to keep his friend’s memory alive.  

    At Mountain View, we understand the power of technology in funerals, mourning and keeping alive the memories of lost loved ones. That’s why we offer online obituaries and tributes as well as Signature Services℠ such as internet webcasts and DVD memorial tributes. Call us at 253.948.9895 to learn more about how we can help you create a funeral service that honors the life your loved one lived.

  • Preparing for the Inevitable

  • Amazing Ways to Memorialize Your Loved One

    Creating a memorial to a loved one who has died is an important process. It can be simple or elaborate, and often it is a beautiful, meaningful work of art. The most important thing a memorial can do is to tell the story of the life that was lived, creating a touchpoint for future generations to reflect and remember.  

    Long ago, people piled stones atop a gravesite to mark a person’s passing. Today, there are many types of memorials from which to choose.  

    • Cremation island: Set apart from the cemetery with distinctive landscaping, a personalized cremation island tells your loved one’s story through statuary, plaques and more. It’s a beautiful and distinctive way to honor a life well lived, and provides an ideal space to visit and remember. 
    • Benches: Memorial benches offer a space to rest as well as to reflect, and can be made to hold several urns. Personalized to fit your loved one’s style, the bench can be engraved with inscriptions and designed to reflect that person’s occupation, hobbies or interests. Benches are typically made of granite, come in different colors, and are set on a foundation of concrete so that they remain level over time.  
    • Monubenches: More personalized than a bench memorial, monubenches come in a variety of unique styles, shapes, and sizes. Imagine a bench with the back carved into a fish to memorialize an avid fisherman, or half the bench shaped into a majestic stag to memorialize a hunter. A monubench can be designed as a checkers game or a rocking chair, a cask of wine for a wine enthusiast, or an airplane for a pilot. The design is limited only by your imagination.  
    • Busts: Busts are statues depicting the people they honor, whether in a formal pose or captured doing something they loved.  
    • Flat memorials: Understated and elegant or ornate and personalized, flat memorials are a timeless option for memorializing a loved one. Typically made of granite, they can also feature a nameplate of bronze, steel or anodized aluminum, and can incorporate full-color photos or sketches. 
    • Pedestal: A pedestal can feature a statue of something the person loved, or it can be something functional such as a bird bath.  
    • Pedestal bench: By merging two memorial options — a bench and a pedestal — there is a place to sit as well as a focal point that reflects the life of the person you’re remembering.  
    • Private cremation estate: This is like a miniature mausoleum —perfect for those who want a special place for families to be together forever.  
    • Upright monuments: Large and decorative, these can be large headstones or statuary representing the life they’re commemorating.  
    • Posts: Simple and beautiful, a post is perfect for someone who was understated in life and preferred simple pleasures.  

    At Mountain View, we believe memorialization is an important part of celebrating the life of a loved one. That’s why we’re proud to offer a wide variety of personalized memorials to honor those who choose our property as their final resting place. Call 253.948.9895 to learn more.  

  • A Greener Option: Promoting Eco-Consciousness Even in Death

    As society becomes ever more eco-conscious, with more and more people trying to live “green,” there is a move to cut back on disposable items, avoid plastic with harmful chemicals, reduce, reuse and recycle — all in an attempt to be kinder to the environment and leave a smaller footprint.

    It makes sense, then, that more people want to be conscientious about the environment even in death. Green burial options help make that possible.

    Mountain View Funeral Home is approved by the Green Burial Council to offer green burial packages. The council believes that green, natural funerals should become the new standard for the industry, and works to educate and advocate for that purpose.

    Classifying a “green” burial as one that protects workers’ health, reduces carbon emissions, conserves natural resources and preserves habitats, the Green Burial Council offers environmental certificates for funeral homes, cemeteries and product manufacturers. Mountain View has earned a certificate by offering burials with no formaldehyde-based embalming and without metal or hardwood caskets.

    The caskets and alternative containers used in our green burial services to enclose and transport your loved one are made of biodegradable materials — and choosing an environmentally friendly end-of-life option doesn’t eliminate the opportunity for a traditional funeral service, although it does limit the time frame. Our green options are not limited to burial, but also include green cremation choices. We also provide alternative embalming and preparation care options.

    At Mountain View, we believe in honoring each person’s unique life and respecting the wishes of every family. Whether you prefer traditional burial, cremation or a green option, we have services available to fit every need and show respect to a wide range of cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. For more information, call 253.948.9895. To learn more about our alternative burial, cremation and embalming options, visit our Green Burials page.

  • Why Bagpipes at a Funeral?

    Legendary evangelist Billy Graham passed away in March of this year, and as his casket was led from the tent where more than 2,000 mourners had gathered, a bagpiper played Amazing Grace.

    It was a touching moment that would have felt familiar to many people because bagpipes are often played at funerals. In particular, military, police and firefighter funerals typically feature the mournful sound of the pipes.

    Bagpipes have long been played at important ceremonies, including funerals, in Ireland and Scotland. During the potato famine, when the Irish immigrated to the United States in large numbers, they brought this tradition with them. The Irish, however, don’t favor the bagpipes that we see at funerals here in America. Rather, the traditional Irish instrument known as the Uilleann pipes became fashionable in the 18th century, replacing the harp as the instrument of choice for most Irish music. Played from a sitting position, these pipes produce tones much sweeter than Scottish bagpipes.

    Why, then, are Scottish pipes played at funerals? The answer is simple: Scottish bagpipes are louder and easier to hear outdoors.

    As Irish immigrants assimilated into American society, many became firefighters and law enforcement officers. It’s only natural, then, that bagpipes were soon played at their funerals.

    Today, you don’t have to be a dignitary, firefighter, police officer or member of the armed forces to have bagpipes played at your funeral and the song doesn’t have to be Amazing Grace. they Bagpipes can be played before, during or after any funeral or memorial service, providing a mournful and poignant sound that seems to fit the occasion.

    At Mountain View, we believe in creating memorable, life-honoring services customized for each unique person. That’s why we offer Signature Services℠, including bagpipes, to help enhance your family’s time of reflection and remembrance. Call 253.948.9895 for more information.

  • The Unique Beauty of Mountain View Cemetery

    A cemetery can tell you a lot about the community it serves, and strolling through the grounds at Mountain View can give you a deeper understanding of this community’s history.

    Incorporated in 1915, Mountain View has seen many changes in Tacoma and has grown to meet the evolving needs of local families. For example, in an innovative move designed to keep up with the times, Mountain View became the first cemetery with a funeral home onsite in 1942.

    Nature is at the heart and soul of this property. We understand that progress must not disrupt the peace and beauty of nature, and as part of our commitment to preserving the serenity of Mountain View, we have developed only 100 of its 160 acres.

    The beautiful grounds are home to 181 varieties of trees, 575 rhododendron plants, and prize-winning rose gardens. Birds and wildlife abound in a wide variety of species.

    Tacoma is also a progressive, sophisticated city. People’s tastes have changed over the years, and a walk through the cemetery will show many different areas designed to serve different needs.

    • Our Veterans Memorial is a longstanding tribute to the men and women in military service. In all, there are five gardens set aside for veterans as well as a First Responders Memorial in the Garden of Honor.

    • The chapels blend harmoniously with the area’s natural splendor. They’re designed in a variety of styles to accommodate not only funeral services but also gatherings and receptions.

    • The Ching Ming Wall of Honor allows people to honor their departed ancestors by placing their names on the wall.

    • The Heather Pool is a peaceful place to sit and reflect. Flowers bloom, ducks swim by, and you can be alone with your thoughts.

    • The Valley Rose Urn Garden is beautiful and serene, featuring memorial benches and a tranquil pond. We are adding additional cremation gardens to meet the needs of families in our community.

    • The upper grounds are perfect for strolling. As you walk the tree-lined paths, you’ll notice a variety of monuments and markers designed to honor each individual life. Rest for a while on a memorial bench or shelter in a pagoda as you take in the beauty of the grounds.

    Come and see for yourself what makes Mountain View so unique. Drop by for a tour or call us at 253.948.9895 to learn more about all we have to offer. You can also visit our website, where you’ll find plenty of information and a virtual tour of the property.

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