Most people have been to a traditional funeral at a cemetery in Huntersville, NC, but celebrations of life are non-traditional services that, rather than mourning a loss, remember and celebrate a life well-lived. They give attendees a chance to say goodbye by sharing stories and memories and then laughing and smiling about those stories rather than crying over them.
Since celebrations of life aren’t rooted in long traditions, they can be whatever the bereaved and the deceased want. The best thing about celebrations of life? They have no rules at all. They can be whatever you want them to be! Unless, of course, the deceased left specific instructions for their service. But if there are no rules, how do you go about planning one? Where do you start?
Here are some tips to help you plan a celebration of life. Start with the guest list. Who do you want to invite? Keep the guest list small if you want an intimate celebration or open it up to the whole community if you want a large celebration. Once you have a rough idea of how many people are going to attend you can start to choose a location. Some celebrations of life are held at traditional places like churches, funeral homes, and banquet halls, but others are held at much more unique locales. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box: campfires in the woods, dinners at restaurants, services in a field, or even just a backyard barbeque. Next, think about the service itself.
You also need to do some planning for how you will honor and celebrate your lost loved one. Generally, celebrations of life have some kind of officiant or MC that leads the group in memories, speaks about the life of the deceased, and ushers the ceremony along. However, you can also have a more informal ceremony without a specific leader. If you go this route, consider passing out programs so guests know what to expect, where to be, and what to do.
What about activities? A celebration of life can be full of a range of activities to help remember and honor the deceased. Some common activities are scrapbooks or memory boards, reading the deceased’s favorite literature or listening to their favorite music, watching memorial tribute videos, and eating the deceased’s favorite foods. Remember, a celebration of life is a celebration. As such, it should be uplifting and fun. Don’t shy away from good fun, drinks, and even decorations like balloons and streamers. They are interesting, unique and heartwarming ways to celebrate lives.
While there’s nothing wrong about being comforted in tradition, there is something to be said for going a different route: a celebration of life. We are here to help if you want more tips on planning celebrations of life or on Huntersville, NC cemeteries. We are honored to do to however we can in your time of loss and celebration of a life well lived. Call or visit us today
Services at cemeteries in Charlotte, NC and, in fact, the entire funeral service industry are built on traditions. Most of these traditions originated in religion, be it Judaism, Christianity, or another belief system. But with religion on a downslide, what will take the place of these traditions? How can those suffering from a loss find richness and meaning in death?
Rituals might be the answer. A ritual is defined “a repeated pattern of behavior performed at specified times”, and it often includes the use of symbols, rites, and actions.” Rituals have long been used in both religious and general cultural situations. Take, for example, Día De Los Muertos, visiting a lost loved one at a cemetery, or performing Last Rites on someone who is dying. All of these rituals fit the definition, but they also offer lots of benefits for those that perform them.
Rituals are powerful because they offer a wide range of benefits. Specifically, they give us space to process a loss. In a grief study performed by Harvard University, researched discovered that it wasn’t just traditional rituals that helped people going through a loss. They also learned that personal rituals played a large role in helping with grief. These personal rituals might seem useless or silly to the outside word, but to the mourner they had immense meaning and healing power. Little acts from washing a car to going for a walk have the bereaved space to emotionally process the loss.
Though they reported feeling sad during the ritual itself, they mostly reported feeling better and lighter afterwards. Rituals give us a feeling of control. We don’t have much control over life or death, but rituals help us feel like we have control, which can go a long way towards comforting us. In that same Harvard study, the participants that performed a ritual reported feeling that “things were in check’ and less likely to feel ‘helpless’, ‘powerless’, and ‘out of control’.”
Rituals also bring people together. As said by expert Tracey Wallace from Eterneva, “Mourning rituals and ceremonies are meant to bring people together, to take the hands of those mourning the loss and lead them astray from isolation”. People often feel along after losing a loved one, but rituals can help them feel connected to other people and part of a community. As The Conversation wrote, “Using familiar words and actions in an unfamiliar situation can help us find our way through it”. During a grief study done by Harvard, the scientists discovered that people who experienced little or no grief symptoms within one month of losing someone they loved all performed rituals. The experts believe that the rituals helped with the grief symptoms because they gave the bereaved a chance to mourn the loss, celebrate the life, and process their grief.
Rituals have incredible power for healing after a loss. We are here to help if you want to learn more about common rituals or Charlotte, NC cemeteries. Call or visit us today for more information.
An important part of the mourning process after someone dies is having a service of some kind after a service at a cemetery in Matthews, NC. This tradition has been going on for thousands of years because services allow the bereaved to gather together and support one another in their grief by remembering their lost loved one. But now we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
With safety guidelines asking people to stay apart from one another, how can the bereaved gather to mourn their loss? Graduation ceremonies, weddings, birthday parties and other big events can be postponed, but funerals and memorials are different. How can you have a memorial or funeral during a pandemic?
Unfortunately, some traditions will need to be let go, at least for now. Comforting the bereaved through hugging, handshakes or other physical touch isn’t possible right now. The same goes for sharing a meal after the service with a large group of people and traveling long distances for the service. However, there are ways that the majority of other traditions can take place while keeping the bereaved and staff safe.
For example, look into virtual services. Though many people won’t be able to be at the service in person, they can still attend virtually. Most funeral homes or cemeteries are equipped with video streaming and recording technology to give online guests a comprehensive experience all from their computers, phones, laptops, or tablets. Loved ones near and far can celebrate the deceased safely in these trying times through live virtual services or by viewing recorded services. There are also small services. Small families are able to host small, intimate services for their lost loved one in person as most states have a 10-person gathering limit.
While it’s not the best option, the bereaved can postpone a memorial service until its safe for everyone to attend. Cremation allows the family to postpone since the body will be preserved in its ash-like state. If you choose to have funeral, you can host a small one and then have a large memorial service when it’s safe to do so.
You also need to take safety into account when planning. It’s important to keep people safe while planning a service. To do this, it’s best to limit planning appointments to two people in person, though others can be present on the phone or via video call. You can also plan the service entirely remote through video calls, screen shots, emails, and phone calls.
It is possible to have services for your lost loved one even in the time of COVID-19. While it might be different than you imagined, it will still be beautiful, respectful, and meaningful.
Are you looking for a cemetery that has the capabilities to help you plan a service that’s safe and meaningful? We are here to help. Our staff is well-trained and has the experience necessary for a customized and unique celebration that can be held at any time preferred by the family. Call us today to learn more about services in the time of COVID-19 or about Matthews, NC cemeteries.
You often have a choice as to which kind of grave marker you want There are lots of different kinds of grave markers you can choose for burial in a cemetery in Huntersville, NC, so how do you choose?
It’s important to note that there is a difference between grave markers and headstones. A headstone sometimes referred to as a tombstone, is an upright monument generally made of granite. A grave marker, however, has a flatter design and often comes with a bronze marker or inscription. You can also have a cemetery memorial marker. These are as simple as a plaque attached to a stake to mark the grave and can include a bronze plaque.
You can also start by learning the most common types. They include:
- Bevel Markers – Bevel markers are designed to lay flat on the ground at the head of the grave with the back slightly raised to create an upright illusion. They are often polished and finished with engravings, inscriptions, artwork, and other touches.
- Etched Portrait Marker – Etched portrait markers are flat or bevel markers that have an etched portrait of the deceased on their surface.
- Flat Markers – These grave markers are often the most affordable as they are flush to the ground and only about three to four inches thick. Flat markers are usually rectangular in shape and have a polished finish with the common inscriptions, carvings, and symbols.
- Sculptures – Sculpture markers are usually either a separate statue or sculped as part of the tombstone itself. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes from angels to hearts and much more.
- Niche Markers – If you choose to bury your loved one’s remains in a columbarium you can choose to add a niche marker. These markers denote which niche belongs to which person, making it easy for the bereaved to visit their loved one’s remains.
- Bronze Markers – Made out of bronze, these markers are attached to another grave marker.
- Military Marker – Veterans usually receive special grave markers to denote their military service. These markers are usually upright headstones or tombstones and are often provided by the government.
- Slant Upright Marker – These markers are simply headstones with slanted fronts. Usually between 12 and 16 inches high, the angle of the headstone makes reading the inscription easy. They can be finished with bronze memorial plaques or other inscriptions.
Don’t forget to think about what kind of material you want for your grave marker. There are tons of different materials to choose from. Bronze and granite are both popular choices because they are strong, hardy, and cost-effective. Granite is also a good choice if you want some color as it comes in colors including gray, green, white, black, red, and even blue.
We are here to assist you if you have more questions on grave markers or Huntersville, NC cemeteries. We have years of experience and are ready and willing to do whatever we can to help you in your time of loss or preplanning.
When you’re making cemetery arrangements in Charlotte, NC one decision you’ll have to make is how to mark the memorial or gravesite and one of the most common types of grave markers is a headstone. But how do you go about designing your lost loved one’s headstone?
Generally, if you’re working with a funeral director, he or she will give you pertinent information regarding that funeral home’s specific headstone purchasing and designing process. However, it doesn’t hurt for you to be familiar with the process and some key parts. Use these headstone tips to help guide you through the process:
- The Designer – Headstone designers are important as they not only give you design suggestions and letterform ideas but also play a large role in capturing the essence of the deceased. Be sure to choose an experienced designer that understands your vision and can help you create a personalized memorial.
- Choose a Budget – The first step is to come up with how much you can or are willing to pay. It’s difficult to come up with an average cost for a headstone because they vary so much when it comes to finish, size, material, lettering, artwork and other personalized features. However, don’t forget to include the costs for delivery and installation in your calculations.
- Choose a Family Representative – While everyone in the family might want to be involved in the headstone design process, having too many cooks in the kitchen can get messy. Especially when grief is involved. Its best to designate one family member or loved one that oversees the design and inscription process. That way, the process is streamlined and simplified for everyone.
- Learn the Different Kinds of Grave Markers – There are a few different kinds of grave markers that you will have to choose from. What kind you choose depends on your budget, burial plot, and style preferences. The most common kinds of grave markers include flat markers like ledgers and slabs, upright monuments like headstones and mausoleums, bevels, slants, and cremation monuments like traditional urns, columbarium, and more creative urns. Don’t forget to consider what kind of material you want the grave marker to be as well.
- Write an Inscription – The inscription, sometimes referred to as an epitaph, is one of the most important parts of a headstone. When choosing what you want the headstone to say, be sure to really take your time. Headstone inscriptions are permanent, so you need to ensure that its meaningful, personal, and something that will remain so for years to come. One way to ensure it will be meaningful for years to come is to avoid using cliches and generic phrases. While “In Loving Memory” is nice, it’s rather bland and doesn’t say anything specific about the deceased. Try using poems, quotes, or songs for inspiration.
Most people don’t understand grief at all even though everyone will experience grief after a service at a cemetery in Matthews, NC at some point. There are many myths surrounding loss and grieving that muddy the waters and, in many ways, make it difficult for people to deal with loss in a healthy way. They include:
Remembering the Deceased Means Staying in the Past
Remembering a loved one doesn’t mean staying in the past, it can mean connecting to them in a new and meaningful way that changes as time goes on. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only way to stay connected to the deceased is to remember past times. But your relationship with the deceased doesn’t have to stay the same. Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief states, “Instead [of a static relationship], they evolve and mature right along with us”. A healthy way of grieving a loss is to keep the deceased part of new experiences and new memories.
Staying Connected to the Deceased Makes You Crazy
How many movies have you seen where the widow is worried over and considered “crazy” for holding onto her dead husband’s shirts or talking to him at his gravesite? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Its healthy to continue your connection with the deceased. In fact, many cultures around the world have deep tradition in connecting with the deceased through rituals, songs, conversations, songs and keepsakes. The book Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief says, “remaining connected seemed to facilitate the bereaved’s ability to cope with loss and accompanying changes in their lives.”
A Death is a Loss
While people often refer to death as a “loss”, death doesn’t mean that someone is gone forever. Their memory, goodness, and even wisdom can live on through the people they met and loved in life. After all, how can you lose someone when you hold them dearly and deeply in their heart?
Grief Eventually Ends in Closure
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Grief is non-linear and generally has no end or “closure” when you can sign and move on completely. Grief can change over time, but it won’t ever completely go away. Eleanor Haley from What’s Your Grief says, “Grief isn’t something you go through, it’s something that becomes a part of you. It’s forever.”
You Need to Move on from the Loss
Often those in mourning feel societal pressure to move on from the loss. However, there isn’t really a way to move on or detach from a loss. Grief doesn’t go away. Instead, it changes. In the early months you might grieve by sitting in the dark and crying, but as time goes on you might grieve by lighting a candle once a year. Also, there shouldn’t be any pressure to leave the deceased behind. The deceased can always be a part of you and your life, even though that part may change with time.
While all of the more expensive memorialization and cemetery services in Huntersville, NC are lovely, there are plenty of less expensive options that are just as comforting and respectful such as:
- Photographs – It’s likely that you already have lots of pictures of the deceased. Turn those pictures into a memorial by making a scrapbook, gallery wall or another display dedicated to your lost loved one.
- Jewelry – If your loved one was cremated you can easily carry them with you at all times with jewelry. For example, you can put their ashes in a locket with a photo.
- Charitable Giving – If your lost loved one was dedicated to a certain cause, why not donate in their honor? It doesn’t have to be a large donation for it to be meaningful and to do some good. You can also ask funeral or memorial guests to make donations instead of bringing flowers.
- Memories – Memories of the deceased are free and plentiful. Put out a jar or dish at a memorial service and have guests write down their memories of the deceased to place in the jar. Then, read them one by one on special occasions or whenever you need some comfort in your grief. You can even make this idea digital and have people send memory emails to a special email address.
- Listen to Music – Music can be very powerful. Listen to the deceased’s favorite song or artist or find a kind of music that is soothing to you in your time of loss. You can create a mix or a tape of the comforting music to play when you’re sad or to give to others who are feeling the same loss.
- Plant a Garden – Plant a memorial garden in the deceased’s honor. Seeds and flowers are very cost-effective, plus gardening is a constructive way to release grief. You can always add a memorial bench or stone.
- Repurpose Belongings – Instead of donating or storing your lost loved one’s belongings, see if you can repurpose some of them into remembrance items. Sew a shirt or dress into a pillowcase you can keep on your bed or on the couch or patch up their jeans to give to younger generations.
- Write a Memorial – While you may not feel like a poet or an author, sometimes the act of putting your feelings into words can be very comforting and honoring to the deceased. You can write short stories of their life, create a poem to honor their memory, or just write down how much they meant to you.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to honor your lost loved one as long as you act from the heart. Gethsemane Cemetery and Memorial Garden are here to help if you’re looking for more tips or information on Huntersville, NC cemeteries? We have years of experience we would love to put at your disposal, so give us a call or pay us a visit today.
There are different kinds of wills just like there are different kinds of cemeteries in Charlotte, NC Do you know which kind of will is best for you and your needs?
- Online Platforms – There are several online platforms that help you create your own official will. These platforms, like Willful, allow you to tailor your will to your exact needs while still maintaining your status as official and legally recognized. These platforms are a good idea if you have a simple estate and won’t need any legal advice, or if you want to get started early on your will and come back to edit it later on in life. These platforms do charge for their services, but most include free will updates in the initial cost.
- Holographic Will – A holographic will is simply a handwritten will that you sign and date. These wills are not witnessed. While this may seem like a simple and cost-effective option, a holographic will can present a few issues. For example, these kinds of wills aren’t officially recognized in many states. Plus, as many people don’t have legal backgrounds, these wills might be missing important will components and legal language. However, holographic wills are better than no will at all.
- Will Kits – Similar to online platforms, will kit are fill-in-the-blank documents that allow you to fill in information about your estate to create a simple will. These documents are one-size-fits-all and don’t offer much space to customize or personalize your will, so they probably aren’t a good solution if you have a complex estate or specific needs. Also, you will have to purchase a new will kit every time you need to make changes because you get married, have children, get a divorce, or any other big life event.
- Lawyer Drafted – The best kind of will is one that’s made with the help of a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to handle your will is best because it means the document will not only be official but will also be customized to fit your specific needs. Making a will with a lawyer is also best if you have a complex estate, like if you have assets in multiple countries, a child with a disability, or are separated but not divorced. It’s important to note that hiring a lawyer to draft your will can get pricey – with many lawyers charging over $800 for a basic will service. However, in the long run, the money might be worth it to know that your affairs will be properly handled after you’re gone.
No matter which kind of will you want, be sure to choose one. Unfortunately, many people pass away without leaving a will. If this happens, the government will use its estate laws to handle your estate and will appoint its own executor to take care of the details. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, most people prefer to have control over their own affairs rather than leave things to the state.
Large gatherings have been banned all around the world have as large gatherings could spread the COVID-19. However, just because we’re isolated from one another doesn’t mean death and cemetery in Matthews, NC has stopped.
Is it possible to have cremation or funeral services that honor our lost loved ones when we’re in isolation? These are just a few ideas of how you can honor a lost loved one in this time of isolation.
While most indoor gatherings are limited in size or even prohibited, outdoor gatherings are still mostly allowed. This makes it easy and ideal to host a scattering ceremony to scatter your lost loved one’s cremated remains. Invite an appropriate amount of people according to your local guidelines and host the event in an outdoor space large enough for social distancing.
You can also pay it forward. If the deceased was committed to a certain cause, why not make donations in their name? You can share the chosen charity on social media and ask others to participate in the donations to honor your lost loved one. Get creative! Ask family, friends, coworkers, and others that knew the deceased to send you photos, stories, and handwritten notes. Put them all together into a memory that you can keep for yourself or share on social media. Small keepsakes are often a great source of comfort in times of loss. You can send cards, photographs, jewelry, plants, or other keepsakes to those in grief to honor the deceased and give them comfort.
Try cooking the deceased’s favorite meal. Share one of the deceased’s favorite recipes and ask those interested to cook the meal on a certain date and time. Participants can share photos and talk about their various experiences surrounding the cooking and the meal. Or, as technology has made a lot of things easier included staying connected, you can have a virtual ceremony. Thanks to streaming, recording, and social media technologies, it’s never been easier to have a virtual funeral or memorial service. Many cremation and funeral providers can assist families with planning and executing a virtual service.
What about virtual vigils? Vigils have long been a way to honor the deceased, so why not have a virtual one? Invite those that knew and loved the deceased to log onto a Zoom meeting, post photos or videos in a social media group, or even just light a candle and listen to a playlist at a given time. Finally, cremation allows a lot of flexibility in when a service can be held as the body is not on an embalmment clock. Unless your religion or faith dictates, there are no rules about when a memorial service needs to be held. If you chose, you could cremate your loved one and hold a memorial later on when this crisis has smoothed out.
Gethsemane Cemetery and Memorial Gardens are here to help if you want more tips on Matthews, NC cemetery services. After all, there are still many ways we can honor our lost loved ones even though we’re apart. Call today to learn more.
Did you know that you can use Medicaid to help pay for funeral or cemetery services in Huntersville, NC?
The first step is to use Medicaid to pay for funeral and cemetery expenses is to establish a trust. The trust should establish your chosen funeral home or cemetery provider as a beneficiary to make sure that they receive the money upon your death. The best kind of trust you set up is an Irrevocable Trust, as this form protects the money you set aside just in case you need Medicaid to help cover any long-term care costs. Be wary of Revocable Trusts, as Medicaid set seizes money from Revocable Trusts if you have already depleted your other assets and you need help paying for medical or long-term care costs.
The best way to make sure you use Medicaid to pay for funeral and cemetery services properly and protect your money is to work with an estate attorney. If you’re covered by Medicaid you can set aside money for cemetery services, but trust and estate attorneys know the ins and outs of Medicaid, insurance, and trusts and can best advise you on how to proceed in your specific circumstances. Another reason to hire an attorney is that Medicaid and cemetery expenses rules vary from state to state. You need an expert that is familiar with your state’s rules to best advise you. You can also get in touch with your state’s Medicaid department, local Medicaid office, or an attorney in your area for more information.
In many states, Medicaid trusts need to have been in place for at least five years for the funds to be accessible, so you also need to make sure that you establish your trust enough in advance. Your chosen funeral home or cemetery provider with most likely have established protocols that they prefer you use when you create a trust to pay for future funeral and cemetery expenses. Be sure to talk to your funeral home and your estate attorney to get a recommendation on the type of trust you should set up to pay for cemetery service arrangements.
There are other ways to prepay for funeral or cemetery expenses beyond Medicaid and trusts, like funeral insurance. You can purchase an insurance policy that lists the funeral home or cemetery provider as the beneficiary so when you die, the funeral home with getting the money from the insurance company to put towards your funeral. Again, your local funeral home will most likely have a preferred insurance provider. Some might even be able to sell you the insurance directly. Keep in mind, though, that most life insurance policies do not cover funeral or cemetery expenses.
Gethsemane Cemetery and Memorial Gardens are here to help if you want to learn more about Medicaid, cemeteries, and preplanning. We offer a range of Huntersville, NC cemetery services with the experience and compassion necessary to help you. Call or visit us today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss or preplanning.