“Community”

16 11, 2017

Talking with the Dead

By | 2018-01-31T09:16:33-08:00 November 16th, 2017|Community, Inspiration, News|0 Comments

I have learned so much from grieving people and I continue to be amazed at the creative, meaningful, and symbolic rituals they take on in the journey of missing their loved one. Recently, I came across a story deeply grabbed my heart and that I am so thankful I listened to. From the podcast, This American Life, I listened to Episode #597, "One Last Thing Before I Go." To paraphrase the story for you, in Japan a man's cousin died. Desiring an outlet for his grief, he found an old phone booth and installed it in his yard. The phone was old, [...]

22 03, 2017

Stop Saying “Don’t Give Up.” Please.

By | 2017-03-22T06:53:13-08:00 March 22nd, 2017|Community, Perspective|0 Comments

We say a lot of things to grieving people that under normal circumstances would be fine, hopefully even encouraging, but to people facing a life or death situation, a trauma, shock or loss, these can be the most backward and unhelpful things they could possibly hear. Our discomfort, our desire to bring ease, our inability to fathom what they are going through, and our inherent inability to keep our mouths shut are all common reasons that lead to us saying things we never would have if we'd thought about it. I've talked about this before and doubtless, will talk about it [...]

19 10, 2016

Look & Laugh, but Don’t TALK About Death: Halloween & Death Exposure

By | 2016-10-19T06:33:42-08:00 October 19th, 2016|Community, News, Perspective|0 Comments

Before you think that I am anti-Halloween because of the ideas expressed below, I want to say that Halloween is actually my very favorite holiday. I love the community feeling of the night, of children scampering off in sweet costumes knocking on the doors of their neighbors and being treated with candy. It's a holiday I celebrate with friends and family every year gathered around a bonfire in the front yard, eating chili and sharing coffee with the weary parents that come by. It's special, festive, and magical to celebrate with friends and strangers by the light of a fire. But [...]

14 09, 2016

Say “Died”: Don’t Lie to Kids About Death

By | 2016-09-14T06:00:47-08:00 September 14th, 2016|Community, News, Resources & Information, Seasons of Life|0 Comments

    Talking to kids about grief is a classic example of ways adults over-complicate, over-think, and over-explain the ideas of death and what it's like to miss someone. Talking about death is uncomfortable for a lot of people, mostly because death is something no one wants to think about. Because we would rather avoid the topic than spend time thinking about it, our kids' understandings of death suffer. From what I have heard and even observed some funeral professionals say about death to their own children is proof that it's not easy for anyone to tell a sweet child about [...]

21 10, 2015

A Crash Course in Listening: 3 Do’s and Don’ts

By | 2015-10-21T22:42:25-08:00 October 21st, 2015|Community, Inspiration, News, Self-Help|1 Comment

  One of the biggest concerns people have when they encounter a bereaved individual isn't (strangely enough) how the bereaved person is doing, but "what do I say to them?" The secret to "what to say" is simple in theory, but ironic in reality because honestly, "saying something" isn't the key. We feel a lot of pressure to say something but the best thing you can do is to listen with compassion. When you feel the pressure to open your mouth, start with a simple but sincere question, "How are you holding up?" and then ... listen. Listening is THE KEY when it comes to talking to someone who [...]

11 12, 2014

25 Years + 1 Mortuary = A Career of Meaning

By | 2014-12-11T07:42:32-08:00 December 11th, 2014|Community, Inspiration, News|4 Comments

Monday, December 1st, marked the 25th Work-iversary of Jeff Turner, our Chief Administrative Officer! Feeling that this event merited more than a celebratory lunch, speech and many "Congratulations," we decided a blog was in order. We have all pooled together to write about Jeff, share special thoughts, memories and ways he has influenced our lives. But first, a brief history: Jeff began at O'Connor in 1989 working in the Care Center as a Licensed, Supervising Embalmer. He moved into meeting with families as a Funeral Arranger (a job which he is still credited by some as being "the best in [...]

3 12, 2014

Deleting “Shoulds” from Your Grief Vocabulary

By | 2014-12-03T23:06:09-08:00 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, [...]

8 10, 2014

How to Talk to Grieving People … Never Saying “At Least…”

By | 2014-10-08T22:31:45-08:00 October 8th, 2014|Community, Perspective|11 Comments

Last month I wrote about the power of responding to people in grief with memories. So many of us don't know what to say to a grieving person and even if we do manage to say something as simple as "I'm so sorry," very often our discomfort makes us feel the need to keep speaking and, if we're not careful, our rambling can lead us into dangerous words. One of the worst things we can say to someone in grief is a phrase that starts with "At least ..." For example, At least he had a long life ... (most [...]

10 09, 2014

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

By | 2014-09-10T20:45:50-08:00 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 [...]

16 07, 2014

Meaning-Making: The 3 Acts That Give Purpose to Pain

By | 2014-07-16T22:41:45-08:00 July 16th, 2014|Community, Inspiration, Perspective|30 Comments

I recently saw an instagram post that wasn’t a weird selfie or amazing plate of food, but was in fact, something far more sad. It was a picture of a darling little red-headed boy with the hashtag #redballoonsforryan. A friend of mine had posted it with the story that Ryan had died from being hit by a car while playing at a friends’ house. Let me tell you, no matter how long you work at a mortuary and no matter how many stories you hear, you never stop feeling them – especially when there is tragedy and especially when there [...]