ObitTree Blog

Social distancing at a funeral

Funeral Service During and Covid-19 – Adapting to Change

Covid-19 social distancing has put many industries at a standstill. Despite this, funeral service must continue forward. Recently, we’ve seen funerals adapting to new measures placed by governance. The outbreak of Covid-19 has been met with strict guidelines for businesses of all kinds. It is important that funeral home workers follow the new guidelines put in place to combat the spreading of this virus, as this will perhaps set the standard for the handling of any future pandemics. These rules have been put into place to protect families of the deceased as well the employees of funeral homes.

 

Handshakes and hugs are not recommended

 

Coronavirus precaution

 

As many of us have heard in funeral home news, directors and employees have been strongly encouraging the avoidance of handshakes or other loving embraces. In fact, funeral home employees have been told not to shake hands with clients for weeks now. Closeness, let alone physical touching, contributes heavily to the spreading of Covid-19, and should be acknowledged as a health and safety risk for funeral home guests and workers. If you work at a funeral home and are greeting attendees, be sure to advise them against such actions. After all, we do not know where other people have been. People’s hands come in contact with many different objects that can carry the virus during the day, and many people are still not following the sanitation guidelines placed by the government and other authorities.

 

Funeral structure has been changed

In light of the situation, funeral homes have been forced to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus at funeral services, memorial services, or celebrations of life. Funeral home staff have been urged to sanitize their hands after handling anything, and have been encouraging guests to do the same. All events of more than 50 people between March 15th and May 10 have been canceled, and new rules have been put in place since to “avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people” (Times Free Press, 2020). This unfortunate circumstance means that funeral directors will be responsible for delivering this news to the loved ones of the recently deceased. This may result in some disappointment on the side of the families, but all precautions must be taken so that funeral homes to stand a chance at eliminating the spread throughout funeral homes.

 

But how are funeral directors adapting to the circumstances? And how are they improve the grieving experience for those who can’t attend the services?

 

Less people in attendance creates a need for more technological solutions

 

Live stream funeral

 

As a funeral director, it is your duty to see that the families of the deceased are satisfied with their loved one’s end of life events. Now that funeral homes are not allowing families to grieve together in large groups, funeral directors need to find a solution to this problem. Other people may want the ability to see the funeral proceedings from the comfort and safety of their homes if they are not one of the 10 people permitted to attend the live event. This is a good time to begin learning more about video chat software and live streaming. Here are a few software solutions that will help you get the videos out to other loved ones and friends:

 

Facetime

Zoom

Skype

Facebook Live

YouTube Live

Instagram Live

Facebook Messenger

 

New policies affect the handling of the deceased

Those who have been passed away due to Covid-19 must be cared for in a specific way to avoid any further spread of the virus. Funeral homes have been encouraging loved ones to complete the entire funeral planning process online to limit the risk of spreading the virus. Every precaution must be taken, and every guestbook pen and door handle must be continuously wiped down by staff to prevent anyone from getting sick.

 

Funeral directors have become more accustomed to adapting to trends in the funeral service industry in the 21st century. Though this virus has come with its share of difficulties, the resources for funeral homes and families have grown immensely over the last few years. This is a great time to begin using the software and technology provided to funeral homes in order to properly carry on with everyday procedure. The most important consideration is the safety well-being of their guests and the staff.

american flag next to text "thank you veterans"

6 Ways To Honor Veterans on Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a very important and special day to the American people. It is a time to honor and thank our veterans for their tremendous bravery and sacrifice. If it was not for their incredible efforts, we would not be able to enjoy the freedoms that we do.

 

Originally known as Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, marked the official end of the first world war. After some 20 million soldiers from both sides had given their lives, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the brutality of the great war ended.

 

Each year, we take time on this day to remember the brave men and women who have served in our military. If you want to help honor veterans on Veterans Day, we’ve compiled several helpful ways to celebrate the veterans in your life.

 

How To Honor Veterans On Veterans Day

Listen To Their Stories

two men walking together and talking

One of the best ways to show your appreciation to our veterans is by taking an interest in their lives. Try to set aside some time to speak with the veterans in your life and hear their stories. With respect and sensitivity, ask questions about their service and the experiences they’ve had. Not only will it help you have a better understanding of their service, but it will also help you appreciate and respect them that much more.

 

Host A Luncheon

people eating around a table

Consider hosting a luncheon to bring together veterans and civilians in your life to celebrate Veterans Day. Guests can learn about military experiences, show their appreciation for the veterans’ service, and build camaraderie and respect. It doesn’t matter whether the event is formal or casual as long as it shows your respect and appreciation.

 

Invite A Veteran To Speak At Your School

man in classroom teaching students about veterans day

A great way to help educate students about the importance of Veterans Day is by inviting a veteran to speak. It can be a parent or grandparent of a student, or possibly a fellow member of the faculty. The veteran can teach students about life in the military and why we celebrate Veterans Day. If you don’t know any veterans, contact your local Veteran Affairs office. They will likely be able to connect you with a veteran in your community who would be willing to speak at your school.

 

Send Hand Written Cards

pen on handwritten note

Nothing truly shows your respect and thanks like taking the time to sit down and write a thank you card by hand. Start compiling a list of all the veterans you know. Once you have your list, take some time to write each of them a note thanking them for their service. Something as simple as writing a card is a small gesture that can have a big impact. Over time, continue to add names to your list and make your card an annual tradition. Much like Christmas cards around the holidays, it will give the veterans in your life something to look forward to each year as Veterans Day approaches.

 

Organize Care Packages

veterans-care-package

If you have veterans in your life that are currently stationed overseas, organize a care package from home for them. You could even turn this into a party inviting others to bring items to include and create packages for veterans in need. Contact your local base or an organization like Blue Star Mothers of America to get connected with veterans who could benefit from your care packages.

 

Observe A Moment of Silence

man in military uniforming saluting

In 2015, the United States Senate passed an act calling on the American people to observe 2 minutes of silence on Veterans Day. The act states “The President shall issue each year a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe two minutes of silence on Veterans Day in honor of the service and sacrifice of veterans throughout the history of the Nation”.

Depending on the timezone you live in, the moment of silence is observed at different times of the day so that the entire country may participate together. Please check below for your designated time.

3:11 p.m. Atlantic standard time;
2:11 p.m. eastern standard time;
1:11 p.m. central standard time;
12:11 p.m. mountain standard time;
11:11 a.m. Pacific standard time;
10:11 a.m. Alaska standard time; and
9:11 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian standard time

 

How do you plan to honor the veterans in your life? Let us know in the comment section below.

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.