Choosing The Best Urn For Your Loved One

When a loved one passes away and is cremated, you’ll need to choose an urn to keep his or her remains in. There are many types of urns to choose from, so that you can honor and remember them in a personalized way. 

No matter what your budget or preferences are, you can find a urn that matches your needs. From budget-friendly basic versions to fancy, decorative marble ones, there’s an urn for every situation.

Here are some types of urns you can choose from:

1. Keepsake Urns

Smaller than typical wood, marble or metal urns, keepsake urns are designed to give several family members the chance to have a portion of their loved one’s ashes in their homes. They can also be used if a portion of the deceased’s ashes were scattered at sea or in another location.

Keepsake urns are generally boxes that open on hinges and are lined in velvet. The ashes are typically encased in a metal container and then placed inside the box. You can also choose a personalized container, such as a seashell shape if the loved one loved the ocean, as well as the keepsake box color and design. 

2. Metal Urns 

Polished metal urns can easily be engraved to display the deceased’s name and birth and death date, as well quotes or special sayings. The most popular type of metal urns are bronze, copper and pewter, and they look regal when placed on a fireplace mantel or shelf. 

You can also choose an artistic cloisonne urn, which are made of brass and vibrantly hued enamel. 

3. Wood Urns 

Rustic and earthy looking, wood urns are also easily engraved and are ideal for people who loved nature. You can choose from a very large selection of hardwoods, such as oak, maple, mahogany and even more exotic types of woods.

To keep with the natural style, you can have the wood engraved with pictures of trees, flowers, birds, or any other plant or creature that the deceased one loved.

4. Marble Urns 

If money is no object when it comes to choosing the perfect urn for a loved one, consider a beautiful marble version. You can engrave the marble with a variety of designs, words and quotes, and the stone also comes in a large selection of colors.

Marble urns are extremely durable and can be kept by many generations of family members to come. For more information, contact companies like American Cremation Society. 

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Tips For Preparing A Memorable Eulogy

Losing a loved one is a stressful time for everyone, and if it is up to you to write the eulogy, it will take some preparation. Here are some essential tips for preparing a eulogy.

Choose the Correct Tone

The tone will be a bit different if you are speaking for everyone. The content will require organizing facts from each member of the family or friends if you are to relay some memory for each person. If it is for your part only, with you introducing other members to speak, the content is much simpler. Many people believe it is easier if more than one person is chosen.

Provide Back-up Speakers

If you have been chosen to lead the service during such an emotional event, it is beneficial to have someone that can step in and take your place, just in case you become too emotional. Leaving the floor open to the congregation of friends and family can also allow everyone to speak and share stories.

Choose Acceptable Content

Beginning the eulogy will include a short personal introduction of how you fit into the deceased’s person’s life. The content can include adventures you shared or special stories. Some people like to have a favorite song in the background playing quietly during the speech segments. It is important to include favorite songs or hymns loved by the deceased party.

Write According to Time Factors

The time factor must be considered. Most eulogies last approximately three to four minutes. However, rules are not essential because some members of the family and friends may have more to say than others.

Organize the Events

You can begin from recent or past events. There is not a set rule, but it is important to keep the structure the same. Try not to ramble, but using examples of fun times can relieve some of the tension. Many of the people listening can probably share and remember the event.

Remain Positive

It is important to maintain a positive attitude. The information shared should be joyful, and nothing negative should be mentioned. You are writing a speech to highlight the life of the deceased to save as good memories.

These guidelines should provide you with some important facts you need to remember when you begin preparing for a memorable eulogy. The family and friends will remember and enjoy events from the service for many years to come. The eulogy is only one part of the service, so keep it simple if possible.

For more information, consult with pre planning funeral experts.

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The Dos And Don’ts Of Making A Video For A Funeral

Making a video for a funeral can be either a good idea or a bad one. It all depends on how much heart, effort, time, consideration, and meaning is invested in the video. If you want to create a video for a memorial service, consider these dos and don’ts before you start the project.

Do Get the Approval and Cooperation of the Family

A video should be used in the ceremony only if the immediate family members want one. As long as they want a video, you should also ask for their approval for the specific way you want to present the deceased and also request photos or home movie footage from the family to use in the video.

Don’t Assume the Funeral Home Has Audiovisual Equipment

Most funeral homes are not equipped with audiovisual equipment. While a funeral home will want to support you in the planning of the funeral that best serves your loved ones, never assume that one will have the equipment you need to deliver a quality presentation of your video at the funeral.

Instead, research what you will need to show the video at the funeral. You may need to bring along a large laptop or desktop computer screen to show the video. Let the funeral director know about your plans, and you can work together to ensure the video is presented in a tasteful way to all the mourners who attend.

Do Use Music

Music can be a very powerful tool to make the quality of a video stand out and also pay tribute to the deceased. If you don’t know the favorite songs of the person who passed away, call those who were close to the decease and find out. You may choose specific snippets of songs that convey how the person was or how the mourners now feel because of the loss.

Don’t Include Humor

Unless the humor is naturally occurring as part of the home video footage you reveal in the video, don’t even try to be funny with a video that’s made for a funeral. While some people may appreciate it, most will not want to feel the awkward need to laugh out of politeness during such a tough time.

Do Make Copies for Family Members

The video that’s shown at a funeral is likely to become quite important to mourners. Make sure that the family members and close friends of the deceased are all offered a copy of the video. You can simply email it to them. If they would prefer you post it online, you can do that as well.

Finally, keep in mind that a video can be the one way that the mourners can see and hear the deceased on a day that’s dedicated to celebrating the life of the lost loved one. That’s significant and special. Take the time to do the video well, and you will contribute something very memorable to the funeral.

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How To Give A Eulogy For Someone You Didn’t Know Well

Although eulogies are typically given by someone who was close to the deceased, every now and then it is impossible for friends and family members to request a eulogy from someone who was close to the person who has passed away. If you are asked to give a eulogy at the funeral for someone you didn’t know that well, be sure to tactfully explain to the family that you were not close to the deceased person. If they still want you to do the eulogy, it’s possible to perform this task in a way that is comforting to the bereaved and empowering to you as a speaker. Most importantly, you will be able to pay tribute to the person you’re eulogizing.

Speak to Those Who Were Close to the Deceased

Ask to speak to people who were close to the deceased. If those who were in the person’s inner circle are too deep in their grief to discuss the person openly with you, ask them to recommend someone you can talk to about the person. You really can’t properly eulogize someone until you know their unique individual qualities. When you do get the chance to talk to someone, ask the following types of questions:

  • What’s your strongest memory of the person?
  • Can you tell me about a funny moment that the two of you shared?
  • Do you remember anything about the person’s likes or dislikes?
  • Did the person ever talk about how they wanted to be remembered?
  • What do you think the person held nearest and dearest to their heart?
  • What would you say to the person if you could talk to them again?
  • What do you think they would want said about them?
  • Do you remember anything you particularly loved about the person?

Use Words of Comfort for Those Left Behind

No matter what your own relationship was to the deceased person, the people who are listening to your eulogy may be steeped in their own grief and experiencing a deep need for comfort. The words that you speak in a eulogy should be ones that can comfort these people. Say such things as:

  • In talking to friends far and wide this week, I have learned how loved and loving this person was.
  • What an incredible life was lived and what a remarkable legacy is left behind.
  • I have learned a lot about love in hearing people speak about this person this week.

Keep the Focus on the Person

When writing a eulogy for someone you didn’t know well, it can be tempting to simply string together stories that you hear others tell about the deceased. However, resist the temptation to do that. Be sure the heart of the eulogy is about who the person was, not what they did. You may use stories and examples to showcase who the person was, but always bring it back around to the focus on the person.

Finally, keep in mind that there are no hard and fast etiquette rules for this potentially sensitive situation. Do the best you can with the resources that are available to you. Your eulogy may make all the difference for a family who is seeking comfort after the loss of a loved one.

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3 Tips For Pre-Paying Your Funeral Expenses

It is often recommended that people make a will or trust, establish a power of attorney, and make sure that all of their files are in order, but many people overlook pre-planning and funding their funeral. While it may not necessarily be pleasant to think about, pre-planning and funding your funeral is a wonderful gift for you family. After your passing, they will be free to mourn and grieve their loss without having to stress over funeral plans or try to figure out how to pay for it. There are several ways you can fund your funeral in advance, such as:  


One of the easiest ways to fund your funeral in advance is through an insurance policy. You may opt to purchase a funeral insurance policy that pays out upon your death, and the funds can be used to pay for your funeral expenses. Make sure that you name a beneficiary who is willing to take on the responsibility of dealing with the insurance company and working with the funeral home. It is also possible to purchase a life insurance policy and leave instructions for your family to use the money to pay for your funeral.

Savings Account

If you have cash on hand, you can establish a savings account with funds to cover funeral expenses. It is a good idea to name your beneficiary as a joint account holder so he or she can easily access the account when needed without having to wait for your estate to be settled. Doing this will make it much easier to pay for your funeral expenses in a timely manner.

Pay the Funeral Home Directly

If you know which funeral home you would like to handle your final arrangements, you can work with them directly to pay for your funeral expenses while you are still alive. One way to do this is by paying in cash, so when you pass away your family will just have to call the funeral home to make arrangements. You can also opt to establish a trust which names the funeral home as the beneficiary– upon your death, the assets of the trust will be transferred to the funeral home.

When you work directly with a funeral home (such as Foran Funeral Home) to pre-pay for your final expenses, you may also want to work with the funeral director to make your wishes known about what type of funeral service you would like. Your wishes will be noted, which can make the funeral planning process much easier for your loved ones.   

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Design A Meaningful Headstone Without Religious Iconography

Headstones are often decorated with religious symbols like angels and crosses or include an inspirational Biblical phrase. This is a sign of respect to the departed as well as a source of comfort for those who visit the grave. However, not everyone is a believer and some who do believe in an afterlife or a greater power prefer not to have religion in their lives. Designing a basic stone is possible, but many families want more for their loved one than a headstone that includes only a name and dates. Here are some ideas for creating a non-religious, meaningful marker that expresses who the person really was in life. 

Consider a Photo

Photographs of the individual are a lovely way to personalize any headstone. The photo is created in a couple of ways. With one, a laser etching inlay engraves their likeness directly onto the stone. Dark and smooth stones provide a better surface for this type of work. Another option is to have a photo printed on a porcelain ceramic tile and applied to the headstone. This makes it possible to have the exact image in full color or black and white and have it inlaid permanently into the stone. It is even possible for family members to purchase the tiles after the headstone is in place and attach them to the stone by themselves. 

Add a Quote

Meaningful words are not always borrowed from the Bible, but can come from a number of sources. You can include a few lines from their favorite song, a passage from a poem the person appreciated or any quote that meant something to the person or reflects who they were in life. Consider a little Shakespeare,”All the world’s a stage and the men and women merely players.” Or, maybe some Irving Berlin, “The song is ended but the melody lingers on.” Many family members will appreciate seeing the actual words of the person they have lost. Using a common saying or phrase they personally were known for is a great way to keep their memory alive.  

Include Their Interests

Not everyone appreciates having their likeness or that of their loved one on a stone in a cemetery. In order to embellish stones with more than words, consider adding etched images that represent their hobbies and interests. Use a nature theme for an avid hunter or fisherman or a palette and paintbrushes for an artist. Add the logos or the insignia of organizations they were members of or military emblems and an American flag if they were in the service. 

Designing a headstone after the loss of a loved one can seem overwhelming with the options that are available. However, the numerous options are what makes it possible to custom-design something wonderful. With just a little thought, it is easy to remember who they were, what they loved and what had meaning for them. With that knowledge and a talented layout designer and stone etcher or engraver everyone can have the memorial that honors them completely. Contact a company like to get started today.

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Clear And Accurate: The Perfect Online Obituary

Traditionally, obituaries have been placed within newspapers. However, as newspapers enter into further decline and because the placement of an obituary in a newspaper isn’t free, it may be a better idea to submit an obituary online for free. The power of the obituary has nothing to do with where it is submitted, but instead with the type of obituary. And rather than write with flowery language, it is often more effective to be simple and clearly communicate accurate information about the life of the deceased.

Keeping The Purpose In Mind

The goal of an obituary is to tell what you know about the deceased in the most accurate way possible. Make sure that someone else who knows the deceased can check the obituary to verify that it is accurate and to also add their own details. Proofread the obituary to remove excessive words. Have a trusted family member also proofread the obituary both to check for misspellings.

Avoid First Person

Only use third person. In other words, do not say “I am writing about the death of my aunt.”Also, do not write “the Smith family sadly announces the death of.” These two approaches will make the obituary unnecessarily wordy and will draw attention away from the deceased.

Making It Readable

Break the obituary up into several lines to make it easier to read. Many of the paragraphs will only consist of one or two lines. Given that many Internet users suffer from eye strain, be considerate and make the obituary readable.

Know What To Include

Think about the details that will help others understand the life of the deceased, while ignoring unnecessary details. For instance, it may not even be necessary to state how the deceased passed away. An obituary can be very powerful if it focuses on the loved one’s passions and hallmarks.

Do not forget to include the date of birth and the date of death. Accurately list the family members and whom are survivors. Make sure that a family member is a grandson and not a great-grandson. Do not forget important details such as whether an individual has lived for a century.

In addition to providing the full name of the deceased, include whether he or she had a nickname. Other important details include:

  • The town of residence
  • The place of death
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Close friends
  • Level of education

With this framework in mind, it is easy to create an obituary that will let the word know more about your loved one who has passed on. For more information, contact companies like Near Frontier LLC.

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Why Cremation Might Be The Better Choice Financially

If you are worried about going broke when planning a funeral, you might want to consider the option of cremation. Take a moment to review the following points as to why cremation might be the better choice.

You Do Not Have To Pay For A Casket

Caskets are not used once the deceased is ready for the cremation process. Therefore, a casket is only really needed if you intend of having viewing services. Instead of spending possibly thousands of dollars on a casket for a few hours of viewing, you may want to consider renting a casket from the funeral home that you will be using. They have caskets that they clean in between uses so it is always clean and sanitized. This will allow your loved one to be laid out for viewing, which will allow your friends and family to pay their final respects.

You Do Not Have To Pay For A Burial Plot

If a burial has not been purchased ahead of time, you would have to purchase one if you did not opt for the cremation process. Even if a burial plot was already purchased, you can get some of that money back by selling it to someone that may be trying to plan their funeral in advance. In some cases, the cemetery or church may buy back the plot. You can then put that money towards the cost of the cremation.

You Do Not Have To Purchase A Headstone 

In some cases, the headstone can cost more than the burial plot itself. In some cases, a cemetery will allow you to wait on the purchase of a headstone while you come up with the money. Other cemeteries may require that a headstone is immediately put in place so that all of the graves on their land is accurately marked for the public to view. This is not something that you would have to worry about if you had your loved one cremated. Instead of a headstone, you will simply need to purchase an urn to display the ashes in, if you decide to keep them. Until you can afford the urn, you can keep the ashes in the box that they are placed in at the funeral home.

With just those few points in mind, you should have no problem deciding whether cremation is the best option for you. All you have to do now is talk to the funeral home director to make the appropriate arrangements.

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3 Tips For Paying For A Funeral

Dealing with the loss of someone you love one can be a very emotional time. If there weren’t any arrangements for their funeral made prior to them passing away, such as a small life insurance policy or money set aside, someone will need to pay the bills related to the funeral. With the typical funeral costing as low as $7,000, you may not have the money on hand to pay for it. These tips can help you understand how to finance a funeral or lower the costs.  

Look Into Funeral Aid Programs

It’s possible that your state has financial aid programs that are designed to help people with low-incomes pay for a loved one’s funeral costs. A few examples include:

  • Colorado – Offers $1,500 for people on Medicaid
  • Washington DC – Offers $800 for a burial, $450 for cremation
  • Indiana – Offers $600 for funeral costs, $400 for cemetery costs
  • Vermont – Offers $1,100

Each state and county may have their own aid programs that have restrictions. For instance, to receive aid you may have limits on how expensive a funeral is or how much money a family contributes to the total costs.

Ask About a Payment Plan

A funeral home may allow you to have a payment plan to help cover all of the costs related to a funeral. Keep in mind that it still may require a deposit to cover a portion of the bill up front. A funeral home also may not allow a payment plan at all. Make sure you discuss this at the beginning of the inquiry process if you need to have a payment plan to help finance it.

Reduce Funeral Related Costs When Possible

You should never go into debt when paying for a funeral cost, so try to keep costs low whenever possible. Remember that you are honoring the life of somebody that passed away, and you do not need to make a funeral expensive or overly elaborate to do so.

One way to save money is to not have an open casket funeral. This will help you save on the costs involved with preparing the body. Having a closed casket funeral may be beneficial in some ways, because you will not have to worry about someone you love looking a different than expected at the viewing.

Consider having a short visitation time as well. While it is common to have a viewing be all day at a funeral home, you may find that a shorter viewing time is beneficial. It will help ensure that everyone shows up at the same time, so everyone will be sure to see each other.

For more tips on saving money on a funeral, speak with a funeral home director (such as Fletcher Funeral Home PA).

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Creative Alternatives To Flowers For Cremation Services

Cremation services are like funerals and memorial services in many ways. You also have a lot more freedom with them, though. They can be performed right after a loved one has passed away or months or even years after someone’s passing. Whatever you decide to do regarding the cremation services for your loved one, flowers may not be the best way to honor the deceased person. If you don’t want people to bring or send flowers to a loved one’s cremation services, consider requesting these creative alternatives.

Gift to Honor the Loved One’s Collection

If the deceased person had a collection that they loved building, you may request that mourners bring along something to go with that collection that your loved one would have enjoyed. For example, if someone enjoyed collecting trading cards, you may request others to put with the existing collection. If the person loved clocks, having everyone bring along a unique clock may be a fun way to add a bit of their passion and personality to the service.

Funding a Project

If your lost loved one was passionate about volunteering for a particular charity project, you may request that mourners make a donation to the completion of a specific project. This will likely feel more personal to those who attend the cremation services than merely asking for donations to charity. When you try to get a specific project funded, you are able to report on the results to those who gave, and you may even be able to name the project after the deceased. It can be healing for those who are grieving to know that good works continue to be done in memory of the one they’ve lost.

Glee Gift

If the deceased person did not leave behind great debts or a family who is in need, one of the best ways to remember their life may be to ask mourners to do something that makes them happy in honor of the lost loved one. Whether it’s dancing or giving hugs or volunteering, ask each person who attends the cremation service to do something that makes them happy, then write a one-paragraph note about what they did to read at the services. Then everyone can read their stories at the service, revealing a tapestry of joy that has been created in memory of the one who has passed away.

Finally, keep in mind that the people who are closest to a deceased person should ultimately make the call regarding whether flowers are appropriate for the cremation service. If you don’t want them at your loved one’s service, you are not obligated to have them. Simply spread the word about your preferred alternative to flowers in social media posts, obituaries, and notices on your loved one’s death.

For more ideas and information, it may be a good idea to talk with a funeral home, such as McComb & Wagner Crematory.

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For my mother's funeral, my sister and I spent a lot of time thinking about flowers for her funeral. We wanted beautiful, colorful flowers that reflected upon her energetic spirit and her love of bright, bold color. However, when we began to plan out her funeral with the funeral director, we were surprised to learn that different types of flowers had different meanings. Based on their meanings, some were appropriate for a funeral, and others were not. We had no idea about this, but I instantly became fascinated with the topic. I created this website to help educate others about the meanings of flowers and which are appropriate for funerals.


February 2017
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