June 2024

Page A4 june 2024 By Nancy Weil Recently my son’s best friend died – suddenly and tragically. Even working in the field of funeral service and grief support could not prepare me, as his mother, into how to guide him through his initial emotional response. I texted, called and generally let him know I would be there to support him, but I still wasn’t sure what that would look like until… “We are having a memorial service for him in a park out in nature,” my son shared with me. His friend loved nature, his widow wanted a gathering of people who loved her husband and a plan was put into motion to honor him at this special gathering. The only challenge was that they were young and did not know exactly what needed to be done. The funeral home handled the cremation, but I am not sure that they ever had a deeper conversation with his wife about a memorial service and how they could assist with this. To be perfectly honest, based on what they were planning I am not certain a funeral home would get involved. This event required shuttle buses to take attendees from a meeting spot where the reception would be held deep into the park where the ceremony would be held. They needed chairs set up, a sound system and the reception catered and ready when the service ended. This was an all-day event and instead of using the services of the funeral home an event planner was hired. Event planners are very good at handling chairs and food, but useless when it comes to creating a memorial service. Random Musings Serving as Member Resources Director at the International Order of the Golden Rule, Nancy Weil brings her years of experience working in the funeral industry to funeral directors across the globe. Her professional experience includes serving as Director of Grief Support and Community Outreach at Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, FL and at eleven cemeteries in Western New York. Nancy travels throughout the country offering presentations on how to reduce stress, combat compassion fatigue and offer support for those who are grieving through her company, The Laugh Academy. With certifications as a Grief Services Provider and Grief Management Specialist, Funeral Celebrant, Soul Injury Ambassador and Laughter Leader, Nancy is uniquely qualified to bring new perspectives into how to best meet the needs of the families you serve. For more information on how Nancy can help you and your company grow, visit her website: www.TheLaughAcademy.com or email Nancy@ TheLaughAcademy.com. FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS www.NomisPublications.com Monthly Columnsonline at Funeral For a Friend (Part 1) That is where I stepped in. The widow wanted some people to share a story or two and that was about all they had in mind. My son would serve as the emcee, but once I got involved it all changed. This would not just be a few stories without a framework around it. My son and I put together a service which honored his friend, provided comfort to his family and friends and turned my son into an unofficial funeral celebrant. Following the service my son heard over and over again how amazing the memorial was. People did not expect anything beyond a short gathering and were surprised at all the factors that were built into it. From the table at the front with photos and personal items to a small memento each person could take home with them, this was a highly planned event. It was developed to create an atmosphere where each person felt included and a necessary part of it. It was organized and led by an unofficial officiant who found himself digging deep within to find the strength to minister to those around him who were shattered by their loss, including himself. However, this service should not have been special. It is what every person deserves at the time of their death. A personalized service that reflects their life and allows a healing space for all who attend. It should not have been led by a young man with no training in funerals or grief. Imagine if my son did not have me to guide him how different that gathering would have been. Are you prepared to ask questions and be ready to offer a personalized funeral to each family who wants one? Do you know what elements to include in a service to turn it from ordinary to extraordinary? What are you and your staff willing to do to offer a healing space where family and friends can gather and know that it was set up just for them? Next month I will review the specific elements I included in my son’s “funeral for a friend.” I hope it will inspire you to ask more, offer more and do more. SPRINGFIELD,OR— Musgrove Family Mortuaries and Cemeteries has announced plans to create a new “Court of Honor” at Springfield Memorial Gardens to remember and respect Oregonians who served in the United States Armed Forces. Located along the main driveway in the northeast corner of the cemetery, the area’s existing monuments will be replaced with a series of new polished granite structures including a distinguished granite flagpole base inscribed with the names and ranks of area veterans. “There is nothing more important than recognizing and honoring the service of the men and women who risked or lost their lives to defend our freedoms,” said Kristi Pyle, market sales manager. “The new expanded area will offer veterans’ families many new options for permanently memorializing their loved Springfield Memorial Gardens to Honor Oregon’s Fallen Heroes Before (top) and after photos of the Springfield Memorial Gardens Court of Honor project. ones. From simple plaques to an ossuary, inground burial sites and a cremation niche wall with space for more than 100 veterans, the choices are as varied as the heroic deeds of the fallen.” The original monument was dedicated on May 30, 1967, through the joint efforts of the Springfield American Legion Post 40 and Springfield Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3965. Representatives of the American Legion joined the Springfield Memorial Gardens team to mark the official groundbreaking and placement of the new memorials. The revitalized Court of Honor will serve as the gateway to the cemetery’s Veterans Garden where more than 1700 veterans and their spouses currently are interred. “I am sure this will be an important place for veterans and their loved ones to stop and reContinued on page A8 Send Us Your News! We welcome news of the industry. Send us information on your School, Firm, or Association today! FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS info@NomisPublications.com FAx 1-800-321-9040 PO Box 5159, Youngstown, OH 44514 CALL 1-800-321-7479