September 2021

Page A20 SEPTEMBER 2021 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A my wife proud of me and what I accomplished after she was gone?” Please join me and many of our fellow widowers on this journey to healing. lonely like we have never felt lonely before. We are desperate to have our wife back in our life and to feel her presence again. We wander around our home lost and not knowing what to do next. We worked hard for decades to build a nest egg so that we could retire together and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We expected our wives to outlive us, and that our hard work would provide for her lat- er years. Instead, we now find ourselves alone with no place to go, and in a very unfamiliar role. It helps to focus on gratitude for this wonder- ful woman who was in our lives, for the lessons we learned from her, and for the love she shared with us. As we struggle with redefining who we are we must hold on to what she instilled into us and honor how she made us better. And finally, we need to discover our new purpose in life now that she is gone. That means becom- ing a better father, grandfather, neighbor, commu- nity member, and person. We need to learn how to turn away from negative, angry, and helpless thoughts, and turn to gratitude for the good in our lives while celebrating the wonderful memo- ries of our past lives with our wives. Our time left on this earth is now less than be- fore, so the importance of making good use of our remaining years becomes even more crucial. So, I challenge all of us to ask ourselves, “What will I do with my remaining time on this earth to make it better for my children, grandchildren, commu- nity, and world? What can I do that would make Share this with a Widower – Part 1 All widowers have something in common…we are going, or have gone, through hell on earth. We may have different experiences on this jour- ney, but we also have many commonalities…espe- cially if we were fortunate enough to have a good, loving marriage. We can support each other by sharing that which was common in our experience, as well as by shar- ing that which was unique to us. By seeing the dif- ferent ways in which we meet our challenges, we learn that we don’t all have to do it the same way. We also learn that there are many different paths to healing and to feeling whole again. My situation was unique because of my back- ground, culture, family, style of meeting challeng- es, faith, and circle of friends and acquaintances. Each of us has all of these in some unique com- bination, so what works for me may not work for another. BUT, we all feel, we all loved our wives, we all go through deep and painful grieving, and we all feel like we are alone in our pain during this period. And we all come out of the experience with more empathy than we had before it. These commonali- ties, together with our shared experience, help us to identify with and learn from each other’s expe- riences. We all feel as if a huge part of us has been torn away, as if our very being is now incomplete. We have pain, we cry, we feel disoriented, and we have lost all sense of our place in the world. We feel By Fred Colby Working With Widowers Fred Colby has served as a director, board member and consul- tant 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, observa- tions, 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 an- W idower to W idower Surviving the End of Your Most Important Relationship N ew S econd E dition To see what others are saying about W idower to W idower go to Special Offer — 5 Books for $49.99 w w w . F r e d C o l b y . c o m swers took him to group meetings, individual counseling sessions, writings by fellow widowers, and discussions resulting from hap - penstance meetings with fellow travelers on the grief journey. 1-888-792-9315 • NASHVILLE, TN BOOTH #545 Call 651-450-7727 to request a wholesale catalog, Our Extra-Large Cremains Bags (13”x 15”) are perfectly sized for the Standard Plastic Human Service Urn. or visit to order some bags. Just $2.90 each*. * Bags sold in multiples of 10 Choose from Black, Blue, or Burgundy J t $3. 0 each* Choose fr m Black, Blue, rgundy, Green or Gray over age 40 viewed religion as an important compo- nent of a funeral, dropping to 35.4 percent by 2019. Today, that percentage is back up to 47.3 percent. However, despite this embrace of more traditional el- ements for funerals, cremation rates continue to climb, indicating Americans are more comfortable than ever blending tradition with modern preferences. In fact, many states with COVID-19 “hotspots” reported dur- ing the pandemic saw a solid increase in state-wide cre- mation rates year-over-year. For example, New York City, the first major COV- ID-19 hotspot, saw its state-wide cremation rate in- crease from 49.8 percent in 2020 to 51.1 percent in 2021. Similarly, TX, the state with the highest total number of COVID-19 cases in the country last No- vember (Source: New York Times), saw its state-wide cremation rate increase from 49.1 percent in 2020 to 51.3 percent in 2021. Two completely different states with one thing in common: both saw their cremation rates cross the 50 percent threshold, making it the most popular preference when a Texan or New York- er dies. Overall, the majority of NFDA-member fu- neral homes (60.9 percent) reported increased rates of cremation in 2020, and the trend shows no signs of stopping – NFDA projects the cremation rate in all 50 United States states and Washington, DC will exceed 50 percent by 2035. “The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us of the im- portance of gathering to memorialize a life lived – something we may have taken for granted before,” said NFDA president R. Bryant Hightower Jr., CFSP. “During times of crisis, people often find comfort and reassurance in familiar customs. Therefore, it’s no sur- Turning to Tradition: More than a Quarter of Americans Embrace Religion in Post-COVID Funeral Planning BROOKFIELD,WI— The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to increase the average number of deaths in the United States by 494,000 in 2020 and 445,000 in 2021, according to the 2021 Cremation and Buri- al Report, released by the National Funeral Direc- tors Association (NFDA). While social gatherings – including funerals and memorial services – have fully returned in most communities, the lingering effects of the pandemic continue to impact how Americans grieve and memorialize loved ones who have died. NFDA members may download a complimen- tary copy of the 2021 Cremation & Burial Re- port by visiting www. (click “Cremation - Exclusive Member Resources” link; member login required). According to this year’s findings, 28 percent of Americans report stron- ger personal faith because of the COVID-19 pan- demic. As of last year, there was an overall in- crease in the number of Americans who feel reli- gion is a very important component of a funeral. This is in stark contrast to the last decade; in 2012, almost half of Americans S U B S C R I P T I O N Yearly Subscription Rates $ 25 .00 Subscription $ 45 .00 First Class $ 50 .00 Canada & Mexico $ 65 .00 Outside North America Funeral Home & Cemetery News subscribe online at www. N omi s P ubl i cat ions .com or call 1-800-321-7479 Continued on Page A23