28 08, 2013

“How Do You Handle Working at a Mortuary?” | A Labor Day Special

By | 2013-08-28T05:00:14-07:00 August 28th, 2013|General, Perspective|21 Comments

I often wondered what Labor Day was as a kid, what did I care, I got time off from school was my thinking. As I got older I began to understand the reasoning behind the three-day weekend. Other then the unofficial end-of-summer, this day was a chance to stop and celebrate the everyday heroes of this country. This country was not built by the Rockefellers or the Carnegies, it was built on the backs of the everyday laborer. These are the people that sacrifice for their families and their country to work as a team, to build or do something [...]

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 [...]

12 06, 2013

Remembering Atticus: A Tribute to Our Fathers (& You’re Invited!)

By | 2013-06-12T05:00:58-07:00 June 12th, 2013|General, Seasons of Life|8 Comments

  A Father's Day Tribute   When I thought about writing this blog for Father's Day, I wracked my brain to come up with that quintessential father-figure. People like Walt Disney & Abraham Lincoln came to mind, but when I remembered Atticus Finch, the humble hero of Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, I knew I'd found him. Scout & Atticus Growing up I always loved the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird, because of the charming characters, the fright I felt seeing Jem up on the Radley porch, and the purity of Scout's love for adventure & [...]

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 [...]

1 05, 2013

Journey Mercies . . . Welcome to Holland

By | 2013-05-01T05:00:38-07:00 May 1st, 2013|General, Inspiration|21 Comments

Journey Mercies . . . Welcome to Holland She arrived with the usual fanfare, a normal, easy delivery . . . mom and dad crying tears of joy, Aunt Kari on hand, and me taking photos as fast as my camera would let me. She came home from the hospital waiting for a name. Mom and Dad wanted to make sure that they chose the perfect one. On the fifth day we learned what we would call her . . . Sofia Miyoko , Wise Beautiful Child. Sofia had a smile that would light up the room. As the months [...]

18 04, 2013

“You Killed Lilly!”: Losing a Childhood Pet

By | 2013-04-18T05:00:14-07:00 April 18th, 2013|Ceremonies, Community|27 Comments

“You Killed Lilly!”: Losing a Childhood Pet It was the summer of 1979 about 5:30 in the afternoon, that warm time of day when all the neighborhood kids were outside playing basketball and skateboarding. Life was good, we were a bunch of clueless kids without a care in the world, enjoying one of those long, California, summer afternoons. At the bottom of our driveway was Lilly, the family dog & neighborhood mascot. Our 12 year old black Cocker Spaniel was relaxing in the sun and keeping an eye on us . . . she had no idea she was about [...]

27 02, 2013

“Princess Butterfly”: How to Explain Death & Dying to Small Children

By | 2013-02-27T04:00:00-08:00 February 27th, 2013|Resources & Information, Seasons of Life|12 Comments

Explaining death & dying to small children. I used to feel like the word “dead” hung awkwardly in the air whenever I said it in the presence of my daughter, Zoey.  In time, I realized there was no getting around this word or its meaning and I shouldn’t be afraid to use it.  Death is a part of life and I couldn’t shield her from this fact forever.  When Zoey was about 3-1/2 years old, a dying monarch butterfly gave me the confidence to broach this topic with her. my Zoey She and her dad found the butterfly [...]

1 01, 2013

The Gift of Reconciliation & My Mother: Reflections & Resolutions

By | 2013-01-01T05:00:25-08:00 January 1st, 2013|General, Inspiration|27 Comments

The Gift of Reconciliation, Reunion and How It Will Shape My New Year's Resolution In October I wrote a post about the potential of losing a loved one at the holidays. Photo Credit: www.hipsterscripture.com While I am writing this, my grandmother is still with us. However, she will never be the same. She relies on round the clock care from caretakers. Her dementia has been thrown into overdrive and she does not remember what I have told her five minutes before. It is no longer me that she relies on, but her daytime caretaker for security. While she [...]

25 12, 2012

Christmas in 1952: Tragical to Magical

By | 2012-12-25T05:00:23-08:00 December 25th, 2012|General, Inspiration|14 Comments

Christmas in 1952: Tragical to Magical   December, 1952 – I was 5 years old.  There was a walkway from the street to the back door, which my brothers kept shoveled despite snow that was higher than our heads.  The plowed and drifted snow banks were up to the second floor of the house.  I am the youngest in a family of eight.  Six of us were still at home. March, 1952. ALL the Anderson children, upon arriving home from Mama's funeral. If you notice, we all attended. There was no question that I at 5, was too young [...]

23 12, 2012

Happy Holidays from the O’Connors: 6 Gifts to 7 Children

By | 2012-12-23T05:00:27-08:00 December 23rd, 2012|Community, Inspiration|22 Comments

Happy Holidays from the O'Connor Family to Yours!   The birth of my son Jesse Joe has changed my perspective on life, my family and mostly my parents. I guess you don’t realize certain things in life until some type of major shift happens to you, like having a kid. Photo Credit: www.shirtoid.com My parents never told us how to live our lives; they demonstrated a more valuable lesson. Joe & Jane O’Connor did not have to say much, because their actions spoke to us very loudly, they showed us by being a living example of how to [...]