October 2017

October 2017


Going Green

It’s safe to say that the “going green” initiative is here to stay. There are constant reminders and advertisements that the government, the private sector, and we, as individuals, are consciously taking steps to eliminate waste and protect the environment. This even includes green options being offered by the funeral industry.



Helping Children Grieve

As funeral directors, there is nothing that we understand more than that the grieving process is different for everyone. The way someone grieves, when they grieve, how long they grieve, all varies from person to person. Throughout all of the years that the Parthemores have served families, we have also learned that a child’s way of grieving is completely different from that of an adult.

Each child’s grief can look very different, based on their age, developmental level and their support system. The grieving process that children go through can be confusing to adults; because one minute the child may be crying and the next they are playing. It’s important to remember that children don’t have the same emotional capability that adults do. Moving from crying to playing within minutes may be their way of preventing themselves from becoming overwhelmed. At their age, it isn’t avoidance, but rather a coping technique.

Another behavior that parents might notice is that some children start regressing into behaviors they grew out of such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking. If this happens, be understanding of this change in their behavior and encourage them to talk about their feelings. These regressions will pass as they learn to lean on their support systems and work through their feelings.

It’s been our experience that many families use books as a tool to help children understand death and help start conversations. Stories are a great way to bring up the subject of death and relate it to the child’s life. Most children aren’t able to verbalize everything they are feeling, so sometimes having them draw pictures of how they feel or sharing pictures of the loved one who died can help them move forward in the grieving process.

Depending on the age of the child, they may have a lot of questions. Our best advice is to answer their questions as honestly and clearly as possible. Talking around their questions or using metaphors won’t help them with understanding what is happening. Often they will just become more confused, which can increase feelings of frustration or anger, resulting in negative behavior that makes it harder on the whole family. Keep in mind their age and level of understanding and adjust the details you include in your answers. Explaining something to a 3-year old is different than an 8-year old.

We know that grieving the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult. Trying to help a child through the grief process, while you are grieving is even harder. It’s important to try to get back to the child’s normal schedule as soon as possible. Be available to them to listen to whatever questions or feelings they may have. Helping children through their grieving process may be just what you need to work through your feelings as well.



Secondary Losses After Losing A Loved One

Coping with the loss of a loved one is a difficult experience. This can be compounded by the secondary loss of shared activities and life contributions made by those who have died. Often times secondary loses are overlooked but still cause an immense impact on someone who is grieving. These secondary loses have a ripple effect on loved ones.

Secondary loses are encountered over time, rather than all at once. For those who are grieving, these loses began to unfold as you continue on with your everyday life. They can appear in many different forms and affect each person differently.

After the death of a loved one, it can be hard to carry on with your daily life. It may seem like every little thing you encounter reminds you of them. It can be hard to vision new memories without that person there. For instance, you may have always attended your favorite baseball team’s opening day or shared an annual vacation to the beach. Or even weekly events such as going dancing or eating at a favorite restaurant. This loss can also affect you in other ways such as the loss of income leading to a negative impact to your financial security. In addition, if they were the one to manage the finances, you could be clueless on when and what bills need to be paid. Depending on the role this person played, you may have to restructure your life to pick up the tasks they use to perform. When simple things needed fixed around the house they were always there to manage the home repairs, but now you will need to hire a professional. These are common things you grow accustom to and don’t affect you until a major piece is removed from the scenario.

There are several heathy ways to cope with secondary loses. One way is to create a special memento to preserve the memory of shared experiences/rituals. This could be by creating a scrapbook that showcases all the precious memories shared with a loved one. You could also find new ways to enjoy your shared interests such as picking up a dance class. As for your financial security, don’t hesitate to reach out to family and friends. You can also seek assistance from professionals for guidance in your financial matters. Additionally, you will need to get help with taking over managing new tasks formerly done by your loved one. This could mean rearranging your daily schedule to include new tasks or hiring a handy man. Family and friends will be your biggest support system and will help to guide you through managing secondary losses.

It is also very important to take care of yourself. Each person grieves differently and there are many resources available to help. With the support of trusted family, friends and grief professionals, everyone can find a healthy grieving method to fit their needs.



The Gift Of Money

How do you show your sympathy to a family grieving the death of a loved one? Often, people send flower arrangements to the funeral home that are displayed during the viewing, but recently there has been a shift away from sending flowers.

While it is still common for people to send arrangements, many families are now requesting specific gifts in lieu of flowers. Most often the family chooses a charity that was either close to the deceased’s heart or may be connected to the struggle the deceased had before they passed away. A newer trend is requesting funds to help the family pay for the funeral via a crowdfunding campaign such as GoFundMe.

This may be a newer trend here in the U.S. but a gift of money to help pay for the funeral is actually the traditional gift given in Japan and China. In Japan, the gift of money for a funeral is called a koden and is given to the family in a special condolence envelope. In Japan, it’s customary to give money in odd-number amounts (e.g. five ¥1000 notes = ¥5000; one ¥10,000). The Japanese are very careful not to leave amounts of four, "shi", which means "death" in Japanese.

Chinese culture dictates that the money be given directly to the family or in a white envelope as white represents death. The amount should be in multiples of 100 yuan plus 1 yuan meaning the minimum given should be at least 101 yuan. The closer you are to the deceased the more you are expected to give.

The rules for giving money for a funeral in the U.S. do not have the same type of cultural traditions to follow as it is a newer trend. People tend to give what they are able to afford. With the explosion of social media and also the increase in unexpected deaths due to the opioid epidemic, it is becoming even more common to see crowdfunding campaigns to help families pay for funeral expenses. This can be very helpful to a family who is going through a difficult time.

With all of these options, how do you know what is best to give the family as a condolence gift? Reading the obituary of the deceased will most likely give you a good idea of what the family would prefer. There is no need to stress over whether you give a condolence gift or not. Your emotional support during such a difficult time will be appreciated.


Contact Us