“Ceremonies”

9 05, 2018

Intentionally Commemorating Mother’s Day

By | 2018-05-09T18:56:21-07:00 May 9th, 2018|Ceremonies, General, Grief and Healing|0 Comments

Whether this is your first Mother's Day as a bereaved person or your 50th, Mother's Day brings all of us pause. As we take time to think about our own mothers or perhaps the children we are missing that made us mothers - it's important that we be present with the reality of those relationships. If you can be with your mom and your children are well - you should freely have the full joy of this day. Take pictures, speak from your heart, and try to make clear memories of the sweetness of health and family. If your relationships [...]

17 08, 2016

“But, it’s been 10 years …” Grieving a Long Ago Loss

By | 2016-08-17T07:00:05-07:00 August 17th, 2016|Ceremonies, News, Perspective, Seasons of Life|0 Comments

 || This month I am sharing a unique experience I had at a grief workshop where a 10 year old loss came flooding back to me in a deeply profound and changing way. I'm excited to share it with you! But, it's been 10 years ... As I've shared in my previous posts, I attended the Association for Death Education and Counseling Conference earlier this year. I've always left these conferences with pages on pages of notes and ideas to bring back to you and when I saw a session focusing on remembering, I knew I needed to go ... not for [...]

17 09, 2015

Seeing is Believing: The Empty Caskets of 9/11

By | 2015-09-17T06:00:07-07:00 September 17th, 2015|Ceremonies, News, Perspective|2 Comments

There's the age old phrase, "seeing is believing" and for so many of us, it rings true. At O'Connor we've seen families testify to this truth over and over, telling us that seeing their loved one at peace helped to bring home their new reality. Seeing gave them a physical object and an image to process in the future as a mental touch point and marker of what has happened. It doesn't seem like looking at someone who has died should be comforting, but so many people describe it that way and my own personal experience tells the same story. But what [...]

21 08, 2015

A List You Need to Have | Planning Ahead for What You Want

By | 2015-08-21T10:31:15-07:00 August 21st, 2015|Ceremonies, Inspiration, News, Planning Ahead|2 Comments

Ok, have I got a list for you! As you know and perhaps have seen first hand, most families have to make decisions about ceremonies with only days to plan. A lot of special conversations are avoided because people are uncomfortable/afraid/upset/fill-in-the-blank with the idea of talking about what they want at their funeral ceremony. This list could help change that. This list could begin the process of planning ahead. This list could help you have that special conversation. At one of our recent workshops Dr. Bill Hoy gave us this list and asked each of us to cross out anything [...]

8 05, 2015

Mother’s Day Without Mom

By | 2015-05-08T17:31:26-07:00 May 8th, 2015|Ceremonies, Inspiration, Perspective, Self-Help|5 Comments

Mother's Day without Mom, it changes everything. What do you do? How do you "celebrate" the day? It is my mom's first Mother's Day without her mom. None of the usual, sweet birthday cards came from my grandma last month when we celebrated 3 family birthdays. Since she died a few months ago, small things have changed in my world, but much bigger things have changed in my mom's world. Talking to my mom the other day she said, "I'm just really missing her. I feel like I should call her because I haven't in a while - and then [...]

22 04, 2015

I Needed To See Her In That Pink Casket: Viewing Our Loved Ones

By | 2015-04-22T06:15:34-07:00 April 22nd, 2015|Ceremonies, News|7 Comments

  When my grandmother died she looked grotesque. She suffered a sudden heart attack and was given CPR for quite a while before they stopped. When I walked in, a huge tube was in her mouth with flecks of blood, cords connected to her arms, her eyes were slightly open and she just looked the most un-grandma I could ever imagine. It felt traumatic, it was hard to look at and yet I needed to keep looking. I needed to know something about what her last moments had been like and I needed to just sit and be there with [...]

3 12, 2014

Deleting “Shoulds” from Your Grief Vocabulary

By | 2014-12-03T23:06:09-07:00 December 3rd, 2014|Ceremonies, Community, Inspiration, News|9 Comments

One of the most problematic phrases in our culture's grief vocabulary are the words, "You shouldn't be ... (fill in the blank with whatever makes them uncomfortable)." In general, our human nature is uneasy around sadness or any deep emotional pain that cannot be comforted. We fight to control or avoid grief in ourselves or others at all costs. We pick up this message subconsciously from the media, movies and even TV shows that don't generally make time to illustrate grief but push on to the next shocking plot-twist or scandal and meticulously edit out the pain. The worst though, [...]

10 09, 2014

“I Remember” || What to Say About 9/11 & Grief

By | 2014-09-10T20:45:50-07:00 September 10th, 2014|Ceremonies, Community, News|31 Comments

  For a person in grief, there are almost no two sweeter words than, "I remember ..." Those two words begin stories, spark memories, open old joys, and bring feelings back to us with blazing clarity. On a day like today I wondered, what would I write for this mortuary blog? what is there to say still about this infamous, monumental, and mournful day? And the only thing that came back to me was this: I remember. I grieve 9/11 each year. Last week I felt a nausea settle over me as I thought of the day's events and anticipated [...]

25 06, 2014

A Girl and Her Dog: When Pets Die

By | 2014-06-25T20:43:50-07:00 June 25th, 2014|Ceremonies, News, Resources & Information|52 Comments

She was 13 but we only had her for the last 5 years - Coco had come to my family unexpectedly. She needed a home and I felt that my parents needed a new dog. I told them she would just be there on a “trial run” but I knew better. They were instant goners and by the first night there was no “trial run”; there was just Coco. Like any dog she had quirks and a personality that spoke louder than words. She loved cheese and her favorite spot was in the front yard keeping watch with her little [...]

4 06, 2014

A Buddhist Memorial Service: Making Time to Remember Years Later

By | 2014-06-04T21:00:58-07:00 June 4th, 2014|Ceremonies, News, Seasons of Life|41 Comments

It is Buddhist practice to hold a memorial service for loved ones every set number of years after their death. Recently, my family and I gathered for a memorial service for not just one family member but 3: my grandpa, grandma, and mom. My grandpa died 14 years ago, my grandma 6 years ago, and my mom 5 years ago. Traditionally, these services consist of chanting, incense offering, and a message by the reverend. The service functions as a time for you to meditate on the memories of the one who died and to recognize the impermanence of our own [...]