ObitTree Blog

father and son talking on father's day

Father’s Day Without Dad: 5 Life Lessons That Grief Will Teach You

Throughout one’s lifetime, a father plays a very important role. For many of us, your dad is your first hero and one of the most important people in your life. A father teaches us many things in life while offering love, guidance, and support. With Father’s Day around the corner, millions of people will say thanks to one of the most important men in their lives.

 

If your dad is no longer here though, it can be a day that can be emotional or one you try to forget altogether. With that being said, Father’s Day without your dad can still be celebrated. Last year, for instance, we published a post about Remembering Your Dad on Father’s Day. It’s full of great ideas for you to pay tribute to your dad and feel a connection to him on this special day.

 

Even with so many great ways to celebrate Father’s Day without your dad, it understandable that you might not feel up for it. In fact, many people find it can be a day that’s filled with grief even if many years have passed since your father’s passing. That grief can be a powerful tool and teach you a lot about life. In some way, it’s almost like your father is still teaching you lessons about life.

 

At the end of our Father’s Day article last year, we asked our readers how they planned to honor their dad. The response was incredible, to say the least. What was even more remarkable though was the lessons some people shared with us. They said that the grief they felt spending Father’s Day without their dad taught them a lot about life, and themselves.

 

This year, we want to share the wisdom they offered to us with everyone. Here are 5 lessons about life, that grief will teach you.

 

Life is short, make the most of it.

Death waits for no man. In the blink of a second, life can simply come to an end. That might make you feel uncomfortable, but understanding that provides a valuable lesson. Too often we hear about someone who “died too soon”. Take a minute and think about yourself. If you knew you only had 10 years, 5 years, 6 months, a week left; what would you do? Life is a very valuable thing when you start to appreciate that, you begin to live it to the fullest. Not a day goes by that many people don’t wish their dad was still here to spend time with. Now is the time to make the most of life, and create those cherished memories with your loved ones.

 

Enjoy getting older.

You should never be upset with getting older. The fact is, it’s another day you have to spend with the ones you love. Rather than be upset about growing old, embrace the fact that age has given you so many wonderful memories. With each day that goes by, I try to make sure that I make one positive impact on the people in my life. Eventually, your time will come, and all that your loved ones have left will be the memories they made while you were still here. Enjoy getting older, it means you have another chance to create memories for others to cherish when you’re gone.

 

Know what’s important in your life.

It’s great to have goals, ambitions, and a rewarding career. But first and foremost, your family should always take precedence. When you lose someone you love, it makes you appreciate the people you still have in your life. It also teaches you the value of a memory. When you lose a parent, it makes you reflect on the memories you shared with them. For many of us, we wish we had more of those memories. What that teaches us is that you need to make an effort to make those memories. Understand what’s important in your life so you can prioritize the people you want to leave those memories with.

 

Don’t run away, embrace life’s challenges.

Life is a journey filled with endless twists and turns. You’ll experience happiness and joy, but also pain and grief. For some people, grief is something they try to avoid or pretend doesn’t exist. What I learned from my father’s passing was you can’t outrun those feelings. As much as you try to pretend they’re not there, they are and you have to deal with them. Embrace the challenges life throws at you. If you do, not only will you live a happier life, you’ll develop strength and resilience to help you face anything.

 

Healing doesn’t happen overnight.

Dealing with grief is a process, and it takes time to overcome it. One of the first things I learned after my father’s passing was that people grieve in their own way, at their own pace. There’s no set timeframe or date that grief will magically end. Understand that everything will work out and eventually the pain you feel will begin to fade. And in its place, will be the memories you’ve created with that person which bring a smile to your face.

 

Happy Father’s Day from ObitTree

From all of us at ObitTree, we want to take a moment to thank dads for everything that they do. We hope you enjoy Father’s Day and spend it celebrating your dad with family and friends.

 

What’s the greatest lesson your dad taught you? We want to hear about them.

 

Happy Father’s Day.

american flag

7 Ways To Honor Veterans On Memorial Day

For many of us, Memorial Day weekend is a chance to escape to the beach, hold a barbeque and enjoy some time with family and friends. In recent years, it seems like more and more of us have forgotten the true meaning of Memorial Day and instead use it as an opportunity to kick off the unofficial start of summer.

While enjoying your long weekend, try to take some time to honor the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Here are 7 ways to honor Veterans on Memorial Day weekend.

 

Help decorate Veterans’ graves at your local cemetery

American flags beside veterans graves
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and the purpose was to decorate the graves of fallen Veterans. Contact your local cemetery and ask if they are doing anything to honor Veterans this weekend. If so, spend some time volunteering to help with planting flowers and flags on Veterans’ graves.

 

Visit a memorial museum or monument

 

military monument

Across the country, you will find a countless number of military memorials, museums and monuments. Take some time this weekend to visit one near you. Not only is this a great opportunity to pay your respects to fallen Veterans, you might even learn a little bit about military history. Many of these landmarks will hold services this weekend as well so call ahead and find out when you should plan to go.

 

Have a toast to your family’s veterans

Toasting veterans

Chances are, a member of your family has served in the military. Whether or not they died in combat, take some time this weekend to honor their memory. If you plan to hold a barbeque or family gathering, make sure to have a toast to the fallen Veterans in your life. This is a great opportunity to share stories about the deceased and say thanks for the sacrifices your Veteran made.

 

Fly the American flag properly

american flags

If you have a flagpole in front of your home, make sure to follow proper mourning etiquette. First thing in the morning, raise the flag to the peak of the flagpole. After a moment has passed, slowly lower the flag to the midway point of “half-staff”. At noon, make sure to raise the flag back to the top of the flagpole. Finally, at the end of the day, have a small ceremony or moment of reflection before lowering the flag and removing it from the pole. Make sure that the flag never touches the ground.

 

Tune in to the National Memorial Day Parade (May 28, at 2:00 PM ET)

boy waving flag

If your lucky, your community might hold a Memorial Day parade. If not, make sure to watch the National Memorial Day Parade on television. This event was started in 2005 by the American Veterans Center and the World War II Veterans Committee. The parade will broadcast live from Washington, DC to televisions nationwide and troops stationed around the globe. Make sure to check your local listings.

 

Make a donation to a Veteran charity

donating to veterans charity

A great way to honor fallen veterans is by donating to charities that help Veterans and their families. Many of these organizations provide Veterans with homes, scholarship opportunities, rehabilitation programs and support for families. Below is a list of different charities you can support:

Hope for the Warriors

USO

Wounded Warrior Project

Homes For Our Troops

ThanksUSA

Fisher House Foundation

 

Observe the National Moment of Remembrance

veterans moment of silence

The National Moment of Remembrance has been an officially recognized moment of reflection since the year 2000. At 3:00 PM local time, make sure to pause for a minute of silence. This is a moment to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice millions of Veterans have made for us at home. Join in on this moment of national unity as we pay respects to our nations fallen heroes.

 

How are you planning to spend Memorial Day, let us know in the comment section below!

bordentown home for funerals

New Jersey Funeral Director Extends His Service Area

For many people, their understanding of death care is often limited to personal experiences. Thanks to a local funeral home, this is not the case for one Bordentown middle-school class. An innovative social studies teacher, Tom Ridolfi, decided to bring a multi-dimensional approach to the classroom when teaching his sixth-graders about death-care practices in ancient Egypt. Bordentown Home for Funerals – along with other entities including a Penn State Professor – responded enthusiastically to the call.

 

At first, the funeral director, Robert Pecht, was asked only to sponsor a portion of the online training program for $2000.00. He did that and more, offering to speak to the class directly about the history of death care and how it has developed over time.

 

Topics included the Greeks’ and Romans’ transition to cremation, where the term ‘Undertaker’ came from, and the Roman practice of hiring ‘paid-mourners.’

 

“It was a status symbol—the more people that would come to your funeral, the wealthier you were.”

 

He even enlightened the students on funeral practices they were more familiar with, such as why there is typically a visitation before the funeral ceremony. “Doctors were not experts in pronouncing people dead, and there was a big fear of being buried alive,” adding that coffins and caskets were built with certain failsafe mechanisms to ensure people were really dead before burial.

 

It is easy to think the process of embalming is an age-old tradition, however, because of Pecht’s teachings, the sixth graders at Bordentown Regional Middle School, now know the practice only became solidified when Thomas Holmes, the father of American Embalming, had to ensure Abraham Lincoln remained viewable to the public for 40 days, while his body traveled by train to Illinois.

 

This act of service in taking time to talk to local students about his profession and illuminating practices surrounding death is not an anomaly for Pecht. His career started out in serving his country in the Navy.  Unlike most of his peers he did not come from a long line of funeral directors, but rather a line of bakers from Newark and Irvington as well as construction workers and longshoremen from Brooklyn.

 

He made his way into the funeral industry under the guidance of a client at an answering service he was employed at. Many of his clients were funeral directors and one of the managers of a funeral home needed assistance. Shortly after starting his role there, his grandmother died. He picked up her body from the home and prepared it for a 4-day Italian funeral. Comforting his family, especially his mother, through this process felt like his calling to death care service.

 

 “I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world; I’m able to help people through the worst, most difficult thing they’re ever going to go through.”

 

In 2004, after receiving an education at American Academy of Mortuary Science in New York, he and his wife bought a funeral home from the Hartmanns who had owned the funeral home since 1932. Their picture still hangs in the lobby as a tribute to their dedication.

 

A lounge, dining room and a children’s activity area are just a few comforting amenities embodying Pecht’s commitment to serving his community and the people who walk through his doors.

mom and child's hands

A Letter To Mom

Dear Mom,

 

Growing up, you always taught me to be humble, to give more, and always say thanks. Not a birthday went by where you didn’t make me sit down and write a thankyou card for every gift I received. When my best friend’s family took me on vacation with them, you made sure that I let them know how grateful I was. When grandpa would fix the brakes on my bike, you made sure I went and cut his grass the next week.

Whenever something good happened, you made sure I let the person know how appreciative I was. It didn’t matter how big or small a gesture was, a thank you always followed.

But throughout everything, there was always one person who never asked for thanks. You made me thank everyone else, but never asked for it when you did something. I can’t change the past, but I can let you know that everything you did, did not go unnoticed, or unappreciated.

 

A mom’s job is tough. The hours are endless. It pays nothing. And in most cases, you don’t realize how much work goes on behind the scenes. You were the backbone of our family. The person who got everyone together for holidays. And the one who didn’t take a break until we were fed, had our baths and finished our homework.

It’s incredible how selfless you were.

From rushing home from work to take me to baseball practice, or helping me finish science projects late at night. You were always there. With a smile on your face, ready to take on anything.

As I got older, we fought. Someone was wrong, the other was right and we didn’t always see eye to eye. And even though I was rude, or grumpy or just plain selfish. You never stopped loving me.

You were my biggest supporter, loudest fan in the stands and always had my back.

When I went off to university, you didn’t make it to the highway before you started to tear up.

When I graduated, you were front and center with the camera in hand, and a smile that lit up the auditorium.

When I failed, you picked me up. When I wanted to quit, you said no. When I succeeded, you celebrated.

It’s truly amazing how much you actually did. With nothing asked for in return. But a hug when I left, or a “love you too” before I hung up the phone.

 

You made me thank everyone, but never asked for it yourself. I wish I would have said this when you were still here. So, thank you, for all of this and so much more.

Thank you for staying up with me when I had nightmares.

For taking the day off work to stay home when I was sick.

For knowing that something was wrong just by looking at me.

For loving me unconditionally, even though I was a total brat sometimes.

For sitting through hot baseball games, and driving across the country for tournaments.

For not telling dad when I did something I shouldn’t have.

For working overtime so I could have the shoes and clothes I wanted.

For the family vacations when money was tight.

And for always being there no matter what.

planning a funeral

Things People Forget When Planning A Funeral

While no two funerals are ever the same, the funeral planning checklist most people follow is almost always identical. The steps on these checklists include things like selecting a casket, choosing a plot, and purchasing flowers for the service. For many of us,  these steps are straightforward and seem like a no brainer. However, there are also many things that people often forget when planning a funeral.

Whether you a pre-planning your funeral or one for a relative who has passed away, it’s important to remember that a funeral is for the living, not the deceased. A funeral is about providing a family with closure and saying a final goodbye to a loved one. Too often when planning a funeral, the family makes choices off what they think the deceased would have liked. But this is the problem. The deceased isn’t here to enjoy it, and almost all of the guests aren’t going to remember these details either.

1. Have A Budget and Stick to It

It is important to have a budget and stick to it. A conversation about the funeral budget is one that every family should have. Make sure you know if your loved ones have already set money aside to cover funeral expenses when they pass away and how it can be accessed. You should also talk about how much of the estate should be spent on the funeral if there is no dedicated account. If you ask most people, they would rather their loved ones use the money for themselves than spend a large sum of it on the funeral expenses.

Ask yourself, at the last funeral you went to, do you remember what the casket looked like? Some families feel like the more expensive options should be purchased because it means you love and miss the deceased that much more. Ultimately it’s up to the family to decide what items they buy. With that in mind, try to decide if you feel like an individual item is necessary. If it is, then purchase it, but don’t put yourself over budget because of it. Having a dedicated budget will help make sure you give your loved one a dignified goodbye without putting any financial stress on your surviving family members.

2. Understand A Person’s Wishes

While a loved one’s will may specify their preferences, make sure the family also knows what they are. If you are unable to locate a will or if it doesn’t specify, your family may argue when deciding between burial or cremation. Some people want to embalmed so their family can have a viewing, others do not. These are all important decisions to make and talk about when planning a funeral. By having a talk with your family about how to care for your remains, you can make sure that they will follow your wishes and can have closure knowing that this is the option you wanted.

3. Make Sure Your Family Knows Where Your Important Papers Are Located 

An often overlooked aspect of funeral planning is making sure your family knows where they can find important paperwork when the time comes. This includes things like your will, bank account information, and life insurance policies. Whoever the executor of your estate is should know where all of these important pieces of paperwork are kept so that they can be easily obtained when legal paperwork is being filed, and funeral arrangements are being confirmed.

Final Thoughts

Planning a funeral involves so much more than just the actual arrangements for the service. What many people often forget is to make sure their family understands their wishes. This can be accomplished by having a talk about finances, caring for remains, and where to find important documents. Without this information, the process of planning a funeral can become very stressful for your family. Rather than comforting one another and preparing to say goodbye, their attention is on arranging the service.

 

Originally published by Colonial Funeral Home blog.