Coping with Your Grief During the Holidays

November 24th, 2014

iStock_000033249936_Medium“I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me…”

As the lights twinkle and the merriment of shopping and gatherings increase, those who are mourning the loss of a loved one may feel like outsiders to joy.

It’s true… Holidays can be difficult times – especially the first year after the passing of a loved one. Where music and laughter flow freely, our hearts may be troubled and our sadness, palpable. While it may not feel like a happy time for you; when in mourning, knowing that you’re not alone can help provide some solace.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to mourning and its timeline. We are all different in the ways in which we grieve and how long it will take to heal. Because the holidays center on family and friends, this can also be a beneficial time to fully embrace what you feel and start to heal those wounds. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ten Practical Ways to Offer Grief Support During the Holidays

November 19th, 2014

iStock_000029415594_MediumThanksgiving is the pinnacle holiday for families, generally speaking, and a time of coming together with loved ones.  As families make travel arrangements, gather Grandma’s best collection of holiday recipes, and bundle the kids up for the journey to the homes of relatives both near and far, the season itself seems devoted to togetherness.

For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be difficult to bare and a deeply felt time of sadness. The whole world seems consumed with holiday cheer, and every place we look is filled with lights and decorations. Holidays can make those who are grieving even more aware of the loss.

As we stand by our bereaved friends, we may wonder what we can do to help them through this time, while offering some grief support, acknowledgment, and hope. Read the rest of this entry »

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Honoring Our Soldiers: Veterans Day Events

November 10th, 2014

Amereican Flag display commemorating national holidayTo those who have fought for our country and their many friends and loved ones, the significance of Veterans Day cannot be adequately described.  It is a day of reflection, honor, thanks, and reverence as we acknowledge the incredible sacrifices made for us by the brave men and women who have served or currently serve in the military, in numerous and heroic ways.

In today’s busy world, sometimes this indelible day of observance to give our respects is overshadowed by the political push of candidates seeking our votes, upcoming holiday travel planning, or even the busy school activity calendar. Thankfully, modernity need not become an obstacle to the important tradition of thanking our military service personnel and veterans.

For those seeking timeless, reverential ways to observe Veterans Day, there are several options that can be appropriate and inclusive for the entire family.

Observing Veterans Day with Your Family

  • Visit a veteran – Young or old, family or neighbor – offer a veteran or current man or woman serving in the armed forces a home-cooked meal or evening at a favorite restaurant. Teach your children the importance of respecting the sacrifices that have been made, both today and throughout history, and consider age-appropriate stories about what it has meant for our country to have such brave individuals in the armed forces.
  • Visit local nursing homes or assisted living facilities – Consider volunteering your time to help organize rides to Veterans Day events or create a special on-site celebration of food, music, and sharing. Find out which residents are veterans and honor them in a small ceremony with gifts or tokens of appreciation.
  • Pick up the phone – Does your family know that Uncle Harold fought in the Korean War, or that a favorite cousin is currently on duty overseas? If your loved ones live far away or are currently serving in the military, consider arranging a family phone call to express your gratitude for all they have done.
  • Visit a memorial or cemetery observing the holiday – Many families choose to remember loved ones who have passed on through gifts of flowers, ribbons, graveside flags, and stories shared at family plots or memorials.
  • Make a donation – There are several reputable nonprofits that serve the needs of injured war veterans or families who have lost spouses in combat or military actions.  Your charitable gift will help acknowledge those whose service to this country is beyond measure.
  • Community Events

    If you are in the region, Gramer Funeral Home – Clawson and Gramer Funeral Home, Diener Chapel – Shelby Township, are offering those in the community a way to recognize military servicemen and women, as well as veterans, with a symbolic, personalized ribbon. Each ribbon will feature the name of the man or women being honored and will be placed on a dedicated American flag, displayed in front of the funeral homes, on Veterans Day, from 9am – 4pm.  The ribbons will then be offered as memorial keepsakes to participating families.

    We encourage you to be a part of this ceremony by contacting us at the numbers below with information to include your loved one.

    Gramer Funeral Home, Clawson: (248) 435-9010

    Gramer Funeral Home, Diener Chapel, Shelby Township: (586) 731-4150

    More information is also be available on our Gramer Funeral Homes Facebook page.

    Other Veterans Days Events to Consider 

    Troy, Michigan: Veterans Day Ceremony

    Veterans Plaza, City Hall

    November 11, 2014: 11am – 12pm

    This event honors all military personnel and veterans and will feature a memorial wreath, commemorative bricks, music, and a keynote speaker.

    Royal Oak, Michigan: Veteran’s Day Ceremony

    Veterans War Memorial Plaza, next to the library

    November 11, 2014: 11am – 12pm

    The Royal Oak Memorial Society invites everyone to attend the Veteran’s Day Ceremony to honor our veterans. This event will feature guest speakers, the St. Paul’s Children’s Choir, and the Royal Oak High School band performing Taps.

     

    Gramer Funeral Homes wish you and your loved ones a special, thoughtful, and deeply felt Veterans Day. And, to all of those who dedicate their lives in service to our country, we thank you!

     

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    Día de los Muertos and the Significance of Ritual

    October 27th, 2014

    Young girl with halloween make-upFrom its symbolic candy skulls and costumed processions, to candlelit vigils in cemeteries across the world, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, offers a way for family and friends to honor the spirits of ancestors who have departed. Throughout Latin America, the Southwestern United States, and more recently other parts of the country, people from all backgrounds and ethnicities are embracing the idea of a colorful, spirited, and positive way to honor the lives of those who have gone before us.

    Through the use of bright colors, offerings of food and drink, and music, thoughts of sadness and sorrow are negated. Symbolically, we invite our deceased loved ones back to earth for an occasion of joy and merriment. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Providing Grief Support During a Time of Mourning

    October 21st, 2014

    iStock_000009447302_MediumThe loss of a loved one is, without question, one of the most significant hurts we will face in life.  There are no words for the pain we are feeling after saying goodbye. Grief often overwhelms us, and the need for space and time to process what we are feeling take precedence over all other matters. It is a difficult place to be, emotionally. Many of us have already experienced this time of grief, and can attest to just how difficult it is.

    For loved ones, it can be challenging to find ways to be supportive during this time.  While grief is something that must be lived through, faced, and felt by those who have lost; those of us who want to help, naturally gravitate toward trying to finding a solution to what our friend or loved one is facing. However, the only solution is to allow this necessary process to unfold, knowing that healing will be achieved when the heart has had time to completely grieve.

    There are, however, some meaningful ways in which we can offer grief support to a friend during this time, holding space for our hurting friend to feel the range of emotions that come with a loss so deep and palpable. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Why Funeral Etiquette Matters, Even Today

    October 6th, 2014

    iStock_000017315895_MediumAs we embrace so many new technologies and lifestyle changes that make life more convenient, there is still an argument for maintaining some traditions, namely when it comes to paying respects.

    Memorial and funeral services are the essence of dignity, honor, tradition, and respect. They are a place for mourning, but also celebration as we acknowledge a good life, a loss, and the memories that live on through loved ones and generations to come. If there is ever a place where the significance of etiquette, tact, respect, and grace meet, it is in these last moments of a life celebration.

    And, while the majority of us understand the significance and symbolism of such an occasion, there are some traditions that are products of generational preference that are no longer as meaningful today. Likewise, there are many accidental mistakes made now that can disrupt or even belittle the service. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Technology and the Modern Memorial Service

    September 29th, 2014

    In Memory LetterpressThere are very few areas in our lives that aren’t touched, in some way, by technology. It is the means through which we communicate with distant family and friends, attend to our personal business and finances, and access media and other information sources. It’s no surprise, then, that there has been a marked rise in the need for the use of technology in modern memorial and funeral services.

    While we may have once viewed video and electronic communication in an austere light, we are now seeing powerful, tasteful, and meaningfully crafted video tributes and live-streaming options. Furthermore, video offers us a way to capture the touching sentiments expressed about the life and character of the departed in a way that can be preserved for years to come, as well as shared with those unable to attend a service in person. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Creating a Deeply Meaningful and Unique End-of-Life Service

    September 22nd, 2014

    iStock_000027910676_MediumWhile there will always be a place for tradition when it comes to burial options and memorial services, people are now beginning to seek out more personal, unique, and authentic ways to celebrate their lives, or the lives of loved ones. As communities become more culturally diverse and individuals embrace their own cultures, traditions, and faith paths, it is understandable why the standard service of fifty years ago is changing to include a range of expressions when it comes to end-of-life services.

    Gramer Funeral Home, serving Troy, Royal Oak, Clawson, and Shelby Township, has responded to the change in trends, interests, and expressions by working with families to create that deeply personal service that exemplifies the personality, passions, and strongly held values of the beloved being honored.

    Ultimately, a funeral and memorial service offers us a time to truly honor the person who has recently departed. It is one of the most personal moments between family members and loved ones, and finding ways to capture the spirit of the departed is necessary as we mourn, celebrate, and hold space for our loved one in a way that reflects his or her faith-expression, values, and most notable life achievements. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Cremation: An Environmentally Conscious Option in Green Burial Services

    September 12th, 2014

    iStock_000036715654_MediumToday, we have far more choices when considering environmentally conscious end-of-life decisions. Many of us are opting for cremation as a way to reduce impact on the land, as well as help our family manage the financial demands of a funeral or memorial service.

    From the trend in choosing charity gifts over flowers, to ecologically sound, low impact cremation disposition, we are reducing environmental impact and allowing our loved ones to honor our memory in a way that aligns with our values.

    While there are many green burial options, most people select cremation and to scatter the ashes in a place that was special to their departed loved one. Cremation avoids the confusing regulations and prohibitive nature of some of the recent trends in green burials, while allowing family and friends to hold their own memorial service, or multiple services, when the time is right.

    It’s important – no matter what you select as an ecological option – to inquire about the process’ environmental impact and whether or not it falls within the Green Burial Council’s guidelines. Gramer Funeral Home is proud to be a member of the Green Burial Council and upholds the highest standards in ecologically sound burial and cremation. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Creating a Healing Place… A Permanent Memorial After Scattering Ashes

    September 3rd, 2014

    iStock_000001234220_MediumUnable are the loved to die.  For love is immortality.
    ~Emily Dickinson

    Throughout our lives, we identify comfort, security, family, and our most cherished memories with a strong sense of place. Place (home) roots us to an outward expression of what we are feeling, especially in times of grief.

    While cremation has become an ecological and financially sound choice for many, it is equally important to consider the need of our loved ones for a place where they can remember, honor, and speak to our memory. When ashes are scattered, oftentimes it occurs in places that are private and important to the deceased and a select few individuals with whom important memories of both person and place were shared. Read the rest of this entry »

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