ObitTree Blog

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World Suicide Prevention Day 2017

One of the most beautiful parts of life is that everyone is unique. No two people share the same story and that is something that should be celebrated. Unfortunately, every year a countless number of individuals question how valuable their life is. It is estimated that 800,000 people worldwide commit suicide each year and up to 20 million make an attempt on their life.

Mental health is something that needs to be taken very seriously as these numbers are quite staggering. What is even more unsettling is that each of these individuals is surrounded by a community yet they still feel vulnerable and alone.

September 10, 2017, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

This is a day dedicated to raising awareness about suicide and mental health. The theme for this cause is “Take a minute, change a life”. Everyone is encouraged to reach out and offer support to those in your life who may be struggling. As a member of your community, you share a responsibility to offer help to those that are suffering and encourage them to share their story. Sometimes just a few kinds words and an offer to listen can make a world of difference. The smallest actions can help bring about the greatest achievements.

To learn more about suicide prevention day, check out this by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).



What We Can Learn From Survivors

There is so much that can be learned from those who have lived through a suicide attempt. The most important lesson being how it could have been prevented. When you speak with a survivor about their story, they often discuss reaching a point where they saw no alternative but to take their own life. This is something we need to address and learn how to stop others from reaching this point.

For many, they admit that dying was not their goal, instead, they wanted someone to intervene. Attempting suicide was their way of letting others know that something was wrong and they needed help. Some survivors even admit that before the attempt, they made a pact to tell someone everything and have them intervene if they simply asked how they were doing. Sadly, many of us fail to do so, and the consequences reflect our community’s lack of action.

To hear a survivor, talk about their story is nothing short of inspirational. Many will talk about what led them to this point and how it could have been avoided. After receiving help, many survivors also begin to become advocates for prevention with almost all saying that the outcome could have been different if someone intervened.


Warning Signs To Look For

In order to prevent suicide attempts, it is important that everyone recognize the signs that someone may be considering ending their life. A tool developed by the American Association of Suicidology is called:


I – Ideation (suicidal thoughts)

S – Substance Abuse

P – Purposelessness

A – Anxiety

T – Trapped

H – Hopelessness/Helplessness

W – Withdrawal

A – Anger

R – Recklessness

M – Mood changes

If someone you know is experiencing some of these symptoms, it is important to intervene and just be there to offer support. One conversation could be all it takes to make all the difference in someone’s life.


Resources To Check Out

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, there are plenty of helpful resources available. Check out the following organizations to learn more about suicide prevention and important information to know.

International Association of Suicide Prevention

Your Life Counts

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention


Become A Part Of World Suicide Prevention Day

The World Health Organization is encouraging everyone to get involved with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, 2017. This year marks the 15 anniversary of the initiative as millions around the world recognize mental health and offer support to those in need.

It’s important to remember that even though September 10, is a day dedicated to suicide prevention, it is something that should be worked towards every day of the year. Show your support by raising awareness in your community and take part in any events that are scheduled. If there is nothing planned in your area, initiate an event yourself.

Lastly, remember that mental health can affect anyone. If you are concerned about someone you know, take a moment to ask how they’re doing. It could change everything.

girls sitting

Gone But Not Forgotten, 5 Inexpensive Ways To Celebrate Friendship Day

Friendship Day is a time to celebrate your relationship with some of the most important people in your life. Your true friends are always there for you in times of struggle to lend a hand. For some, the bond you form becomes so tight that you consider them a part of your family.

The sudden death of a friend is never easy. Many people envision themselves being able to grow old alongside their friends and celebrate all of life’s milestones together. If you have lost a close friend, celebrating Friendship Day may seem difficult and have you thinking of skipping the celebration altogether. Even though your friend is no longer here, you have to remember that there are still others around who have been equally affected by this loss. Friendship Day marks the perfect time for your group of friends to come together to celebrate a fallen friend.

The following activities are great ways to celebrate Friendship Day and feel a connection to those you have lost. Whether you choose to do them as a group or individually is entirely up to you. In either case, these will help you reminisce about the good times and celebrate your friend’s legacy.

Visit Your Alma Mater


If your friend was someone you went to school with, gather your group of friends and make the trip back to your old stomping grounds to reminisce over the memories of your time there. Whether it’s the high school or the college you all went to, a trip to your school will allow you to reflect on all the good times you had there with your friend. Share a drink at the local bar, sit on the bleachers you watched so many football games from, or just walk through the place you use to call home. The time you spent there was an important part of your friendship and revisiting it will allow the chance to feel connected to your friend even now that they’re gone.


Write Them A Letter


Writing a letter is a great way to express everything that you’re feeling. By crafting a letter to your friend, you will be able to update them on what’s going on in your life, express how you miss them, or just talk about anything. Once the letter is written, you can leave on the grave or somewhere else that was a special place to them. If you’re worried about others reading it, just keep it for yourself, the exercise of writing will help you work through any emotions you may be feeling and allow you to cope with the grief you’re experiencing.


Eat At Their Favorite Restaurant


For many people, there is a certain restaurant they love to go to. Whether it’s the food, the service, or the location itself, everyone has a restaurant they always look forward to eating at. Visiting your friend’s favorite restaurant is a great way to reminisce about all the meals and laughs you shared their over the years. Perhaps there was a certain dish on the menu they always had to order. Order yourself a plate of that and enjoy the meal they would have like to have. To make the experience even more memorable, invite your group of friends to join you for the meal. Meals have long been a tool to gather people together and share or celebrate an experience. Use this meal as a way to celebrate your friend’s legacy and what they meant to you.


Get A Tattoo


Everyone has memories of special occasions or experiences they shared with a close friend. A memorial tattoo is a great way to honor this memory you shared with them. Not only is a tattoo a powerful way to permanently preserve a memory; it ensures that even though a friend may be gone, the mark they left on you will never be forgotten. The tattoo can be whatever you want it to be, you will know the special meaning behind it and that’s all that matters. Popular choices for many people include dates, names, favorite flower or animal, sports team logos, and military dog tags. Whatever you choose will be a personal reminder of your bond with that person. Just make sure you are completely sure you want a tattoo, the cost to have them removed can be both expensive and painful so don’t make the decision on a whim.


Visit Their Favorite Spot


Was there a particular place they love to spend their free time? Whether it’s their favorite place to go fishing or the park they love to run in, spending time there can help you feel closer to them. If it was a spot the two you frequently visited together, revisiting it will allow you the chance to do the activity they enjoyed and feel like a part of them is there with you. Even just a simple stroll will help bring back old memories and have you reflecting on the time the two of you spent together.


Final Thoughts

Experiencing grief and missing your friend on Friendship Day is a common experience. Celebrating their life may just be the thing you need to feel connected to them on the day. Experts agree, listen to your heart and only do as much as you are able. You may not want to do anything at all, that’s okay too. Try as many of our suggestions as you want when celebrating Friendship Day. Whether you choose to involve friends and family is entirely up to you, the point is to just feel a connection with someone you have lost and celebrate the positive memories you made with them.


Do you have unique or fun ways that you remember your friend on Friendship Day? Let us know how you plan to celebrate the day in the comment section below!


12 Things Funeral Directors Want You To Know About Them

When a loved one passes away, a lot of work goes into planning the funeral service. A funeral director’s job is to coordinate this process and help create a service for friends and family of the deceased to gather and celebrate their life.

Funeral directors are caring people who are here to offer support and help you through the grieving process. While many people have a basic understanding of what a funeral director does, there are also many misconceptions. To learn more about a funeral directors life and what their job is like, our team reached out to actual funeral directors to get a better understanding of their day to day life.

Here’s what we learned:

1. Funeral Directors Are Highly Educated

graduationTo become a licensed funeral director, there is a lot of education and training involved. Many funeral directors complete post-secondary degrees before enrolling in a mortuary science program approved by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. After they are finished with school, they must complete a 1-3 year apprenticeship and pass a state licensing exam.

While in school they develop technical skills and take courses in psychology, grief and death counselling, business management, law, and ethics. Upon graduation, the mortuary science program has prepared them for a rewarding career in funeral service.


2. There’s a LOT of Paperwork Involved

C/O Giphy via CBS

When someone dies, there is a stack of paperwork that needs to be completed quickly. A large part of a funeral director’s job is completing paperwork to obtain a death certificate, arrange the service, purchase a burial plot and products, write an obituary, ensure guests are aware of the plans for the service and much more.


3. A Funeral Director and An Embalmer Are Separate Jobs
C/O @confessions_of_an_undertaker Via Instagram

C/O @confessions_of_an_undertaker Via Instagram

A funeral director and an embalmer are two unique jobs. Many people assume the job titles are synonymous with one another but that is incorrect. While some funeral directors may assist with transporting a body or cleaning/preparing it, many do not and have a more administrative role.

An embalmer is responsible for preserving the remains of the deceased. This is done with chemicals to forestall decomposition and keep the body suitable for public display at a funeral or for other medical and scientific reasons.


4. Embalming Is Not What You Think It Is
C/O funerals365 via Instagram

C/O funerals365 via Instagram

Many people have been misled to believe embalming is the process of removing internal organs from the body. Embalming actually involves pumping formaldehyde through the veins to remove all the blood from the body. The formaldehyde is then drained and soft internal tissue that has already begun decomposing is removed as well.


5. It Takes A Team To Serve Your Family

C/O Giphy via MLB

When you die there are several people who help take care of your body. The funeral director is the primary role and responsible for coordinating each member of the team. Other jobs include office staff, drivers to transport the body, crematory operators, embalmers, restorative arts, and more.

Each person’s job is essential to helping families say a proper goodbye. In smaller funeral homes, a staff member may be responsible for multiple roles. Larger funeral homes typically have teams of employees for each role.


6. Funeral Directors Are Really Creative
C/O Wombourne Funeral Services

C/O Wombourne Funeral Services

Today more and more people are transitioning away from traditional religious funerals and beginning to hold a more personalized celebration of life service. Funeral directors are creative individuals and help families arrange unique services that reflect the life and personality of the deceased. It is not uncommon for the funeral director to invite families to add a personal touch and color or decorate the cardboard casket their loved one will be cremated in beforehand. Other creative ideas include having a theme for the funeral or decorating the funeral home with unique decorations or personal belongings of the deceased.



7. It’s Not A Typical 9-5 Job

clockIt all depends on the size of the funeral home and the number of staff. If a funeral director is on call, they may have to drop what they’re doing to go and help a family that has just lost a loved one. If they get a call in the middle of the night, they have to drive to the family’s home to pick up the body to transport it to the funeral home and begin comforting the family. While they may not be on call every day, their hours can vary and no two days are the same.


8. They’re Not Desensitized To Death And Grief

wineYou might think because they deal with death so much that they have become desensitized to it. This is not the case though, and funeral directors make time to decompress and deal with the grief they absorb at work. Helping others cope with grief can be one of the hardest parts of the job and funeral directors make sure to find a balance between their work life and personal life so that death and grief don’t consume their entire day. Doing so allows them to help others grieve while not becoming desensitized to the world around them.


9. No, They’re Not Trying To Rip You Off

black-and-white-people-bar-menYes, a funeral can be expensive, but funeral directors are not trying to rip you off or make a large profit. Many funeral homes offer a wide range of services and products that meet the needs and budgets of different people. While there are more expensive options available, most funeral homes offer direct burial or cremation packages at a rate far below the national average of a traditional funeral. Regardless of the cost of your arrangement, the funeral director will provide your family with the same level of compassion and care they would if you selected the most expensive option.


10. To Most, It’s A Calling


Many funeral directors have grown up around funeral homes their entire life. It is not uncommon to meet a third or fourth generation funeral director. For many, they grew up watching their parents and grandparents provide care for those in their community. By becoming a funeral director, they are helping to continue their family’s legacy.

There are also those who are first generation funeral directors. These are people who have always had a natural instinct to help care for others in a time of need. Many have claimed that the level of care they have witnessed a funeral home staff provide their family is what inspired them to join the profession.


11. They Like To Have Fun Too

friendsEveryone enjoys their time away from work, and funeral directors are no exception. They’re a member of your community and when they aren’t working, they’re spending their free time with friends and family. Their kids play in the same baseball league as yours, they eat out at the same restaurants as you, and they enjoy a nice drink on the patio in the summer, just like you. Their natural instinct to help others is something that shines anywhere they go, a night out with a funeral director might just be the most fun you’ve ever had.


12. When You Need Them They’ll Be There For You

handshakeA funeral director’s main priority is to help your family in your time of need. Whether it’s 9 in the morning or the middle of the night, a funeral director will be there when you need them. Death does not have an off switch and funeral directors understand this. The truly good ones realize this and make the sacrifices necessary to be there for you. It is not uncommon to see a funeral director leave a dinner party or walk out in the middle of a movie because a family has just lost someone and they need to be there for them. Something many people do not realize is that a funeral director’s day never truly ends. If you make the call, they’ll be there to assist you.


Do you have any unique stories about funeral directors? Let us know in the comment section below!





parents day

Remembering Your Mom & Dad On Parents’ Day

For many people, your mom and dad have helped shaped you into the person you are today. They taught you so many things from understanding the difference between right and wrong to how to care for yourself and for some, how to raise your children. The sacrifices a parent makes for the betterment of their child is arguably one of the most important yet often underappreciated things about being a parent.

An often overlooked holiday occurs on the third Sunday in July after we have celebrated Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. It’s called Parents’ Day. A day dedicated to saying thanks to your parents for everything they’ve done as a team to help you over the years.

 If your parents are no longer here though, celebrating the day can be a stressful time for some people. Today we’ll look at different ways to celebrate Parents’ Day and pay tribute to the life of your parents.

Ways To Celebrate Parents’ Day

Gather for A Family Breakfast

If there’s one thing most parents love, it’s gathering the family together for a meal. With everyone living busy lives, it can be hard to get your entire family together at the same time. Often when families do gather, it’s for dinner. Try to switch it up and gather as a family for breakfast. Whether it’s at a local restaurant or someone’s home, bring your siblings and their family members together to share breakfast like you would have had with your parents when you were children.

Play A Memorial Tribute Game

Try to think about funny stories, things your parents often said or did, and other unique or quirky things about them. From there, turn these stories into questions and play a trivia game with your family. It will give everyone a chance to reflect over memories they may have forgotten and serve as a way to share stories with grandchildren that may not have known as much about their grandparents.

Look Through Old Scrapbooks

Most moms love taking pictures of their family. It’s wasn’t a real family trip or celebration if mom wasn’t telling you and your siblings to smile for what felt like the 200th picture together. All those pictures have to end up somewhere eventually. A great way to reminisce over memories of your parents is to look through old photo albums and scrapbooks. If you’re crafty, consider taking old photo albums and turn them into new scrapbooks infused with pictures of your parents and your children.

Hold A Barbeque for Friends and Family

A barbeque is a great way for friends and family to gather and share stories about your parents. Just because your parents are gone doesn’t mean you can’t connect with their long-time friends. Invite your family and friends of your family and relatives over to celebrate the day together. This will allow people the chance to reconnect if they haven’t seen each other in years and share their favorite stories with one another.

Spend The Day Doing What They Loved to Do

When you were younger, was there something you did every summer? For many families, something like an annual beach trip or weekend camping is something many parents look forward to. An excellent way to pay tribute to your parents is by spending the day doing what your parents loved to do with your family. It will serve as a way to reminisce over memories and feel connected to your parents.


Final Thoughts

Experiencing grief and missing your parents on Parents’ Day is not uncommon. By celebrating your parents’ lives, you’ll feel connected to them and help make the grief subside. Experts agree, listen to your heart and only do as much as you are able. You may not want to do anything at all, that’s okay too.


Do you have unique or fun ways that you remember your mom and dad on Parents’ Day? Let us know how you plan to celebrate Parents’ Day in the comment section below!

hands making a heart shape

How Funeral Home Crowdfunding Will Help Your Family

Crowdfunding is one of the most powerful tools available to help people raise funds for a good cause. It allows a community to come together and work towards helping someone else cover costs and offer assistance during a time of need.

If a death occurs unexpectedly, families can face two problems. The first is that they struggle to find the funds to cover the costs of the funeral which leads to additional stress and financial hardship. The second scenario is that the family settles for a lower costing service that fits within their limited budget. This can result in feelings of guilt, disappointment, and regret because they feel they weren’t able to properly honor their loved one’s life.

This week our partner company FrontRunner Professional released A Helping Hand™. This is a significant development for the funeral industry as it will undoubtedly help thousands of families across North America.

Because this announcement got us so excited about the possibilities, we thought we would look at some of the ways the funeral industry can benefit from crowdfunding.


Benefits of Crowdfunding

Cover Funeral Expenses

The first and most obvious benefit of crowdfunding is that you can cover the costs associated with a service. What many people don’t realize is that funeral expenses are more than just the cost of the service and funeral products. There are many additional costs like legal fees, estate fees, and much more. According to the NFDA, the average cost of a funeral with burial in North America is $7,181. If you would like to hold a funeral service and cremation, the average price is $6,078

For some families, this can be a lot of money to pull together quickly. By using crowdfunding, the family can receive assistance from those in their community to help make these costs more manageable.


Donating Money To Charity

A common question related to crowdfunding is what happens with the any of the extra funds once the funeral expenses are covered. Donating this money to charity or a worthy cause in the name of your loved one is an excellent way to pay tribute to them. If your loved one was a charitable person or firmly believed in a certain cause, this is most likely where they would like the extra funds directed.

Some notable charities families often donate to include the following:

Ronald McDonald House Charities

American Cancer Society

American Red Cross

Wounded Warrior Project

Save The Children


Establish An Education Scholarship

Was your loved one a strong proponent of education and personal development? Were they involved with or supported a local college or university in your community? A scholarship fund in their name could help deserving students in your area realize their dream of achieving a post-secondary education and help cover some of the costs associated with pursuing it.


Help Surviving Family Members

Sometimes the funds leftover from crowdfunding are best spent on supporting the surviving family members. For instance, if the father of a young family passes away unexpectedly, the funds could be used to help raise the children or be put into a trust to assist with their education.

When a death occurs suddenly, there is a period of adjustment afterward until the family gets back on their feet. The remaining funds could be used to support the family with living expenses, transportation costs, supplemental income if the primary income is lost, assist with childcare expenses, and to help cover medical bills.


Create A Lasting Memorial Tribute

A final benefit of crowdfunding is using the remaining funds to create a memorial tribute for your loved one. This could include directing the money towards building something in a local park in your community like a fountain, bench, or play structure.

Planting a memorial tree is another popular choice for creating a memorial tribute. The Honoring a Life program is a great way to plant a tree that not only helps the environment but also represents growth and the beginning of a new life.


How It Makes An Impact

Whether it’s planning a beautiful funeral service to say goodbye, donating the money to help others in the community, or helping the surviving family members adjust to a new life; crowdfunding helps to benefit so many people in a community indirectly.

The great thing about crowdfunding is that you can see donations in real time meaning you can stop the campaign when your goal is reached. You also get to see the names of each individual that has donated so that you know who to send thank you notes to after the campaign has ended.


To learn more about A Helping Hand™ check out Frontrunner Professional’s blog post!