I awoke from a vivid dream around four in the morning. Though my eyes were swollen from all the tears I cried earlier, I began quietly sobbing again, in the stillness of the night. Nobody else was awake in my house. It was just me and my tears, replaying memories in my head like a music player replays my favorite song.
My dream was about my dad, who was very ill. At the time, he appeared to be near death. The day before I visited him at a hospice care center with my husband and two young daughters. We brought him yellow flowers, something cheery to brighten up his cold, stark room. Then, we said our good-byes.
Have you heard of “Death Doulas”? They, of course, prefer the term end-of-life doula, but the catchier term is the one that sticks in the mind and is what most people search for when first diving into this broad topic of death, dying well, and end-of-life care. Continue reading Death Doulas & Caring for the Dying
Jewish burial practices are very similar to the contemporary eco-friendly trend, the “green burial” movement. As people begin to realize just how harmful some of the modern “traditional” funeral practices are, a movement back to the old ways it beginning to take place.
Death is coming. It’s easier to not think about it at all, but when the dreaded diagnosis or the irreversible decline from age comes it’s hard to avoid.
Still, we can keep busy in a number of ways bypass thinking deeply about death. There are always surgeries, procedures, medications, and other medical interventions that offer hope. Sometimes these help, or at least delay death. But ultimately it is a false hope. Death inevitably comes. When we spend all our time and effort looking for the perfect cure, death seems to hit even harder.
Written by Caitlin Doughty, who worked as a crematory operator and is now an “alternative” funeral director, author, and YouTube personality, the theme of the book is not really cremation or funerals or gory details, though it definitely includes that. The main theme is death itself. Specifically, how our culture interacts with death (or tries to avoid it), and what things might be like if we looked death – in all of its messiness – straight in the face.
In large part a memoir of Ms. Doughty’s first six years working in the funeral industry, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes functions in turns as an exposé of the funeral industry, a defense of a healthy interest in death, and an inside look at interesting funeral and memorial observances of various individuals, families, and cultures, as seen through the eyes of a crematory worker.
These things are all tied together by a question: Does the contemporary funeral industry help us die well?
There are few things more powerful, encouraging, and comforting than singing a beloved and Christ-exalting hymn in the midst of a difficult time.
When a Christian dies, they have the solid hope of being together with the Lord, free from sin and pain and the troubles of the world. Yes, it is a grievously sad day, but it is not a sadness without hope. Those of us who remain, including the believer’s family and loved ones, can draw much comfort while expressing our hope and grief through a well-chosen hymn sung in faith. Continue reading 21 Beautifully Christ-Centered Funeral Hymns
The loss of a pet is deeply affecting. Pets hold a special place in our lives and hearts, and their death creates a gaping hole that causes real, true grief. On top of this, pet owners are responsible for properly and legally disposing of the pet’s body.
So you want to know how to bury or cremate a pet while also allowing you and your family the time and opportunity to grieve the loss of your furry friend. This is where a DIY pet funeral can be helpful.
In many areas there are pet cemeteries or even pet funeral homes that can help you with this, for a fee. If that is not an option in your location or if the full-service option is out of your price range, you will be best served by a DIY pet funeral.
How do you ensure that your funeral plans are followed? This can include big decisions like whether to be buried or cremated, which funeral home to use, an eco-friendly natural burial or a big bold marble sarcophagus, services led by a pastor or a close family member.
Your wishes for your funeral can include smaller touches as well. Perhaps it is important to you that those who attend the service receive a “funeral favor” such as an engraved coin, a packet of forget-me-not seeds, or a bag of your favorite tea. Maybe you have a favorite hymn you would like sung, or a favorite poem you would like read.