“Ceremonies”

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 [...]

25 03, 2014

The Legacy Keeper

By | 2014-03-25T22:50:11-07:00 March 25th, 2014|Ceremonies, Inspiration, News|62 Comments

The Legacy Keeper: A Celebrant's Gift to Me My brother Jim had died on February 19th just over a month ago. The Sunday after my family gathered on that warm afternoon to share all of the stories we had accumulated throughout his lifetime. We (2 of my brother's children, all 4 of mine + grandkids galore) had come to meet Keith Page, our Funeral Celebrant. I had briefly met Keith last year when he and Ty Rose, another Celebrant, came to our Mortuary to provide us with a glimpse of what a Celebrant service looks like. Little did I know [...]

26 02, 2014

So, What’s a Celebrant?

By | 2014-02-26T00:22:08-07:00 February 26th, 2014|Ceremonies, Inspiration, News, Planning Ahead|47 Comments

  Last year I had never heard of a Celebrant. A what? What do they do? Sounds weird. Last week I walked into a room with 20 strangers, all there to learn about how to make a funeral personal & each life meaningful. When I was told that on the last day of training I would have to present a eulogy I had written for a fictitious person I felt overwhelmed, "How in the world will I do that?" I wondered. After 2 days of full training we were split into groups and given a situation to create a service [...]

4 12, 2013

We Lit Nine Candles: The Remembrance Service

By | 2013-12-04T21:52:44-07:00 December 4th, 2013|Ceremonies, Community, Inspiration, News|37 Comments

On Tuesday night we held our 12th Annual Candlelight Remembrance Service at the Laguna Hills Community Center. These evenings are unlike anything I've ever experienced before. Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bestdesigns The evening started cheerfully enough as families filtered in and re-connected with different staff members that helped them. There are always hugs but then the context of our relationship tends to hit and the mood grows somber. For many, this is a night looked for and cherished for the healing it has brought. There is anxiety for some who don't know what they will experience or maybe don't [...]

5 11, 2013

A “Fishy” Funeral

By | 2013-11-05T20:33:32-07:00 November 5th, 2013|Ceremonies, Inspiration, News, Resources & Information|42 Comments

Photo Courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Jasmina81   My brother died. It was about a week after we had returned home from my brother’s funeral in Michigan when my son, Sam, found his fish dead. Tears were streaking down his sweet face as he ran into our bedroom to tell me Sam Jr. was dead. After my husband and I and our older son each offered Sam our condolences, our family made the decision to have a funeral for Sam Jr. My son, with a look of determination, said “We will have the funeral tonight after dinner. I need to decide [...]

11 09, 2013

9/11 || Why We Remember Even When It’s Hard

By | 2013-09-11T05:00:11-07:00 September 11th, 2013|Ceremonies, Perspective|24 Comments

I was just in high school when 9/11 happened. Just a naive 15-year-old. I saw the second plane hit, I ran back to tell my mom what was happening. I remember her curling her hair with tears streaming down her face. That day I shared in the shock with the rest of America, I prayed for people, I cried and felt sad. But a month later I was "fine" and couldn’t understand why people were still so upset. The trauma and grief that surrounded me then was too huge for me to understand then and  it's taken years for me [...]

14 08, 2013

“So, Who Was the Funeral For?” | Creating Sacred Moments

By | 2013-08-14T05:00:08-07:00 August 14th, 2013|Ceremonies, Community, News, Planning Ahead|29 Comments

  I recently attended a service where the officiant said, “funerals aren’t for the person who died, they are for the living.” I initially disliked this idea, feeling that it sounded vastly self-serving at a time that was set-aside for someone who had died. This same officiant then proceeded to talk about himself and his own grief experiences, sharing almost nothing about the person who had died. My mind drifted off until a slideshow began playing and jogged me back to why I was there. This officiant’s failure made a sad event even worse. The service he performed wasn’t for [...]

31 07, 2013

Getting To The Heart of Designing The Perfect Grave Marker

By | 2013-07-31T05:00:07-07:00 July 31st, 2013|Ceremonies, Inspiration|57 Comments

I began my career with O’Connor Mortuary at precisely the right time. My boss, Neil O’Connor, is an idea man and to my benefit, one of his better ideas was that all of our orders for grave markers should be designed and processed by one member of our staff. He chose me for this role and three years later, I could not be more honored that he did. A grave marker is the rectangular bronze or granite stone that is placed on the grave of a loved one at a cemetery. While the name is that of the departed, the [...]

24 07, 2013

Diversity in Death: Lessons Learned from A Giant, 2 Families, and a Hare Krishna

By | 2013-07-24T05:05:48-07:00 July 24th, 2013|Ceremonies, Community|14 Comments

Diversity is a constant in life. It teaches us how to be flexible under stress, to appreciate ourselves and each other. Diversity tells us that it’s OK to be curious and ask questions, to live and let live. Diversity isn’t always drastic. Subtle diversity can yield the greatest experiences. But is there diversity in death?  Absolutely! I have served almost every kind of family you can think of in my 9 short years as a mortician. Families of strong faith and atheists, wealthy families and poor ones, families that can populate a small city and individuals who are the last [...]

9 05, 2013

When Mother’s Day is Hard: For Those Who Have Lost Their Mother or Child

By | 2013-05-09T05:00:44-07:00 May 9th, 2013|Ceremonies, Seasons of Life|11 Comments

  Mother’s Day.   Perhaps at one time, maybe just last year, this was a day full of flowers, hugs, laughter & good food. It’s astonishing what a death can take away from us, that even a holiday like this, once so simple and sweet, can become dreaded and excruciating days of mourning. Photo Credit: kayumac.tumblr.com Writing for a mortuary blog, I feel I have the special privilege to get to speak to the bereaved, to write about, confront, and open up these sorrowful topics that are so tremendously important. There are two main groups of people I [...]