March 2023

Page A20 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A and guide families through the process of loss when no one else wants to. Emma Seminoff, one of our licensed funeral directors on staff, said it best with this concept: “My favorite part about being a funeral director were the first calls. It’s the family’s first interaction with you and the intimacy of going into a stranger’s home in the middle of the night into people’s bedrooms is something they never forget. Families become very attached to the first person they encounter in this process because they have seen them at their most vulnerable [moments], in their home, and it’s the first person to tell them that they’ll take good care of their loved one. That moment never gets a redo, and it’s a core memory for so many. I think that’s another thing that technology can never do.” Genuine Community Involvement Can’t Be Automated or Scaled Bottom line, most funeral directors didn’t get into the profession for the money. These people are passionate about helping others through some of the worst moments in their lives. Plus, according to the NFDA, nearly 90% of all funeral homes in the United States are family-owned. These funeral homes and funeral directors have built long-standing legacies and been heavily involved with their communities for hundreds of years. These locally owned and operated funeral homes take the time to help create obituaries that will serve as personal, intimate keepsakes that live forever in memory of their loved ones. While technology can aid the arrangement process, it cannot simply replicate the physical, emotional, and meaningful experiences that funeral directors provide to families. Consumer Preferences Revolve Around Education, Not Digitalization Yes, consumer preferences change every day. We can even see that in our industry with more people opting in for cremation nowadays. We can also see that trickle into many other industries 1-888-792-9315 • Scan QR for our website Cots not included MODEL # TR3 Triple Cot Roll-In Mortuary Cooler AMC N W FAST SHIPPING AVAILABLE ON SELECT PRODUCTS lies. Now I feel more blessed than ever… and I know my wife would approve! That, more than anything, is helping me to gradually feel happier and more fulfilled again. How Grief Can Impact Relationships After his wife dies, a widower enters a dangerous period when his thoughts and actions can destroy the very relationships (family and friends) that he so desperately needs to survive the next year. The following blog digs into these challenges. Share this with new widowers and you will not regret it. As I sank into deep grieving after my wife’s death, I became increasingly concerned about my sanity and ability to make sound decisions. At times the world around me seemed surreal, my short-term and long-term memory became suspect, and I often wanted to shut the door on everyone and just hide in my grief. As I began to recognize the impact of these issues on me, I became fearful that I would make bad decisions that might threaten my relationships…particularly with my two daughters, four grandchildren, two brothers, and three sisters. While buried in grief it was easy for me to become so self-absorbed in my suffering that I would forget that my family was grieving too. I realized that I needed them more than ever now! But how could I let them know how much I was hurting, how much my thinking process was distorted, and how much my social filters were screwed up? I knew that it would only take a couple of “incidents” to color everyone’s perception of me in a bad way, in a way that could threaten our relationships going forward. My efforts to keep all the grieving to myself faltered as I realized that I could not heal by myself and that the more isolated I became the worse the grieving beBy Fred Colby Working With Widowers Fred Colby has served as a director, board member and consultant for nonprofit organizations in California and Colorado. After his wife, Theresa, died in 2015 Fred shifted his focus to writing and leadership roles to help his fellow widowers heal and re-engage with life. He co-founded the Pathways Hospice Men’s Grief Group and an online grief group. He resides in Ft. Collins, Colorado. For more information go to: Fred Colby’s new 2nd edition blends his own story with research, observations, and experiences during the first year of grieving the loss of his wife, plus what he learned after his first edition was printed. The book is in part a result of his frustration with the lack of other in-depth or quality materials available to help fellow widowers. His search for anWidower to Widower Surviving the End of Your Most Important Relationship New Second Edition To see what others are saying about Widower to Widower go to Special Offer — 5 Books for $49.99 w w w. Fr e dCo l b y . c o m swers took him to group meetings, individual counseling sessions, writings by fellow widowers, and discussions resulting from happenstance meetings with fellow travelers on the grief journey. came. That is when I started to reach out to my family. Thank God they responded with love, support, and understanding. Over time, this gave me the confidence to re-engage with others as well. I was fortunate to have a sister who had worked as a therapist for many years. She patiently listened to me as I verbalized the litany of issues I was confronting, and the terrible loneliness I was experiencing. Another sister who lived in the area regularly took me out for breakfast or dinner. My two daughters, who lived nearby, made a point of staying in close touch, stopping by to check on me regularly, and making sure that I often saw the grandkids. In turn, I learned to reach out to them as well. This included writing love notes from grandma to each of them (I had discussed this with my wife before she passed). We were able to share memories of her together, though this was often painful. Over the next few months, the awkwardness over the most painful topics began to diminish and we gradually built even stronger bonds through shared grief. My sense of responsibility for my daughters and their families has only grown stronger since Theresa’s passing, and I feel that I am becoming an even better parent and grandparent. I am now much more empathetic and willing to assume “grandmother” roles within the family such as babysitting and taking the kids out shopping or movies. Gradually, as I became more grounded and surer of myself, I increasingly enjoyed my new role and found new ways to strengthen and enjoy our famiWhyWe’ll Still Need Funeral Directors 100 Years from Now By Chase Downs Chase Downs ever really just end. Instead, we learn how to navigate grief over time. There are a few important factors that technology will never be able to truly automate or pin down: Everyone handles grief differently; Everyone needs different forms of support; Every family dynamic is different; and Every culture offers different, niche ceremonies and traditions that vary from others. The only people who are able to manage these different dynamics are funeral directors. Funeral directors are the people that hold the hands of grieving family members to provide comfort. Funeral directors are the ones who choose to be physically present, offer support, Continued on page A21 Technology disrupts every industry, and we’ve all been witnesses to it — old GPS systems, replaced by Apple Maps and Google Maps. Production and fulfillment workers, replaced by robotic systems. Old cameras, replaced by iPhones. Blockbuster, replaced by streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Taxis, replaced by Uber. The golden question stands — will funeral directors ever be replaced ? No, and we’ll explain to you why. Families Need Human Support When Grieving Funeral directors are far more than just people who take care of the deceased. They play an important role in helping families process the loss of a loved one. As a result, funeral directors also play the role of helping people learn how to grieve in moments of loss. According to a study that was reported by Amerispeak, WebMD, and our friends over at Eterneva, around 57% of Americans are grieving the loss of someone close to them 3 years later. The moral of the story? Grieving is not finite. It doesn’t SEND US YOUR NEWS PO Box 5159, Youngstown, OH 44514 1-800-321-7479 info@nomispubl icat www.nomispubl icat