Monthly Archives: February 2019

Veteran, NY funeral homes

Ways to be Helpful in a Funeral

During funerals at Veteran, NY funeral homes, people often want to be of service or help out in any way that can for the family of a loved one who has died. Funerals are made of many moving parts that often look as though they just happen, but there are people in the background who are making sure that things go smoothly for everyone.  

One way to assist a bereaved family during a funeral service is to attend to the guest book. Guest books are placed outside the chapel where the funeral service will be held. Guest books allow people who come to pay their respects to the deceased and to comfort and support the family to record their presence. The family receives the guest book as part of the funeral home’s services to them.  

Attending to the guest book includes making sure mourners have a pen to sign the book during both the visitation and the funeral service (some people will attend both the visitation and funeral service and some will attend only the funeral service). Most funeral homes have staff that can keep up with moving the guest book if the visitation and funeral service are held in different locations, but it can help the family to know that someone is looking out for the guest book for them.  

Another way to help during a funeral is to record gifts and flowers sent to the funeral service. The bereaved family will get thank-you notes from the funeral home to send to people who’ve given gifts and flowers, so having a list of those names of those people and what they contributed helps make the thank-you note writing easier after the funeral. Be sure to record first and last names, addresses, if they’re included, and the actual contribution. The easiest way is to take photos with a smartphone of both tags and the gift so that the grieving family will have visual reminders to help them when they’re writing thank-you notes.  

A third way to be helpful during a funeral is to attend to the needs of the family. Offer to get them water during the visitation, and, if there’s a reception after the funeral service, offer to get them drinks and something to eat. These things are usually the last thing on the mind of a family that’s grieving, but they’ll be appreciative of your show of concern for their welfare.  

Consider buying cloth handkerchiefs for each family member to have during the visitation and the funeral. Paper tissues may be adequate, but people often find they have a pile of them with no place to put them. Also include a small bottle of hand sanitizer with each handkerchief, so that family members can use it as needed while greeting mourners.  

Often times, funeral home staff will assist with parking for the funeral, but you can offer to help both with parking before the funeral and with traffic flow after the funeral, especially if there is a funeral procession to the graveyard immediately following the funeral. Parking for handicapped individuals and the family should be reserved as close as possible to the funeral service location.  

A final way to be helpful during a funeral service is to offer to help with seating. The funeral director will guide people into the room where the service is being held, but an extra hand at helping people find seats is always appreciated.  

If you want to help during a funeral at Veteran, NY funeral homes, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for ideas. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.  

Caitlin, NY funeral homes

History of a Traditional Irish Wake

Traditional Irish wakes are being replaced with visitations in Caitlin, NY funeral homes, but the traditional Irish wake has a fascinating history.   

Begun, of course, in Ireland, Irish wakes served a practical purpose. Friends and family watched over the body of the person who was thought to have deceased to watch for them to wake up or ensure they didn’t awaken – hence, the “wake.” In a time that didn’t have modern medicine to know for certain that someone was dead, and not wanting to bury someone who was unconscious, but still alive (which happened from time to time), a set period of time was established to wait for burial.  

This period of time consisted of family and friends gathering together to celebrate and mourn. They would eat, drink (often to excess), play music, play games, and share stories about the dearly departed. In short, the wake became a party.  

However, the deceased was always honored. The body would be prepared and dressed in white. The deceased would be laid out in a specific room in the home of a family member. That room would be shut off from the party that accompanied the rest of the wake. However, someone was always with the body in case the person did wake up.  

How long the wake lasted depended on when the funeral service was being held. Because embalming and cold storage were not available in the earliest times of this custom, wakes seldom lasted longer than 48 hours. Wakes started as soon the body was prepared and dressed and ended when the family left for funeral services.  

An interesting Irish wake tradition was to stop all the clocks in the house at the exact time of death for the deceased. This was considered a sign of respect for the person who had died.   

Additionally, all mirrors would be turned around or covered immediately. The exact reason for this is unknown, but two prevailing superstitions were that if a living person looked into a mirror after someone died, they would die soon as well and that mirrors reflect everything and store all they reflect, so if a corpse or ghost passed by them, they would become permanent sources of bad luck. (This practice is still common, even in the absence of Irish wakes, especially in the South and in Judaism, where there is a belief that evil spirits may attached themselves to reflections in mirrors.)  

Next, candles would be lit and placed around the body of the deceased. The Rosary would be recited at midnight, and most visitors left afterward. People who were closest to the family stayed through the night.   

Although professional mourners are considered to be a new addition to funeral services, in traditional Irish wakes, it was commonplace to hire professional mourners to show grief for the deceased. If the death was untimely, unexpected, or tragic, more professional mourners would be used so the sounds of grieving would be louder.  

The emotions involved in the traditions of Irish wakes are the same emotions that people feel today when a loved one dies. Although most American funerals are pretty low-key (you can thank the Puritans for that), the idea of celebrating and mourning the loss of a loved one continues to be an integral part of how we say goodbye.  

For more information about traditional funeral customs at Caitlin, NY funeral homes, our sympathetic and experienced staff at Roberts Funeral Home is available to help. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.  

funeral homes in Owego, NY

Popular Selections for Funeral Music

Choosing music is part of the planning for funeral services in funeral homes in Owego, NY. In reality, music is a very personal choice and any song or songs can be played as part of the funeral service. Sometimes people choose songs that have special memories connected with the deceased person. Other times people choose songs that were the deceased’s favorites. And still other times, people find themselves at a loss for what kind of music to play during the funeral service.   

Music for funeral services can be secular, religious, or classical. This list includes some of the most popular secular, religious, and classical music people choose to include in funeral services, with a brief explanation of why they are appropriate choices.  

In secular music, one song often played is Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” Gill began writing the song after the untimely death of country artist Keith Whitley, but completed the song after his older brother died unexpectedly of a heart attack. The song soars with grief, emotion, and celebration.  

Another secular selection that has become a popular choice at funeral services for younger people who’ve died is Deathcab for Cutie’s “I’ll Follow You into the Dark.” The song is about the circle of life and the reality that we all are going to die at some point and people will mourn our passing.  

A constant secular selection is “Dust in the Wind,” by Kansas. It captures the fragility of life and how fleeting it is. The title is an oblique reference to both Ecclesiastes 12:7 and Genesis 3:19 in the Bible.  

A final secular song that is commonly included in music for funeral services is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” performed by Jeff Buckley. The song laments love and loss, while providing counsel and comfort to the brokenhearted.  

Among religious and classical music that is popular for funeral services, one of the most often played selections is Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria.” It is a prayer set to music, and it’s soaring melody and words can offer consolation.  

Another popular religious hymn played at funeral services is John Newton’s, “Amazing Grace.” It speaks to forgiveness, redemption, and salvation, which are all themes associated with both life and death.  

“My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” written by Isaac Watts is an adaptation of Psalm 23 in the Bible. It is a comforting piece of music that reminds people of the constant presence of a power greater than us who is taking care of all of our needs from cradle to grave. This selection was sung in the Washington, DC 9/11 memorial service at the National Cathedral.  

A fourth classical song that is a popular choice for funeral services is Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings.” This is quiet piece of music at the beginning and then it blossoms in notes of both sorrow and hope as the song progresses. It was featured in Platoon, a well-known Vietnam War movie.  

The final popular selection in this category is “When the Saints Go Marching In,” written by Katharine Purvis and James Milton Black. This song is uplifting and speaks of the glory after death, not the sorrow of it. It is a standard in second line funerals in New Orleans.  

In planning music for funeral services at funeral homes in Owego, NY, our empathetic and compassionate staff at Roberts Funeral Home can give you guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can call us today at (607) 734-7811.  

cremations in Waverly, NY

Planning Gatherings Before or After Cremations

As part of cremations in Waverly, NY, you can have funeral services or memorial services for the deceased person. It’s a healthy way to gather family and friends in one location to facilitate and support the grieving process.  

First decide what kind of service you want for the deceased. Funeral services are held before cremation and may or may not have the deceased present. If the deceased is present, the body will be either in the cremation casket or a casket that is rented from the funeral home for the service, after which the deceased is transferred to the cremation casket (must be completely fully combustible, and contain no metal). If the deceased is not present, there is no need for a casket other than the cremation casket.  

Visitations are usually held before funeral services. These are designed to give friends and family a chance to offer the grieving family condolences, support, and comfort. Many times in visitation, the deceased will be present, but other times the deceased will not be present. Visitations are recommended regardless because they’re an invaluable part of taking care of a bereaved family after a death has occurred.   

The funeral service itself is more structured ceremony with someone presiding over the order of events, which often including secular and/or religious readings, eulogies, a sermon (if religious), and music.  

Often, if the funeral service is during the day, a reception with food and drinks is held after the service to let people more informally interact with the grieving family and offer care and concern.  

Memorial services, on the other hand, are held after cremation. These gatherings can be held at any time, which can help people from all over plan to come together to remember the deceased. Memorial services can also be held anywhere, and are often less structured and more focused on interactive conversations with stories and memories of the deceased. If memorial services are held in the funeral home, an urn with the cremains of the deceased will usually be displayed.  

Both funeral services and memorial services can be highly customized depending on what the family and deceased would have wanted, so take that into account when planning either service. Do make sure to ask the funeral home if they can record the service, in case there are friends and family members who are unable to attend because of distance, health, or other circumstances. You can copy the file of the service, which is in a standard format that most computer video players can play, to flash drives and send them to those who were absent.  

The next decision with cremations is planning a gathering around the final disposition of the cremains. There are many options for final disposition of cremains, but the most common are: permanent possession (the family keeps the cremains in a decorative container in their home); scattering cremains; and burial of cremains (next to a loved one in a cemetery).   

Some families choose to scatter or bury cremains privately, while others plan a more open (although it’s usually invitation-only) ceremony.  

It’s also common to create permanent memorials for the deceased after cremation. It might be a marker in the cemetery or a tree planted in the deceased memory. These enable family and friends to gather any time to remember the deceased.   

After cremations in Waverly, NY, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Roberts Funeral Home can help you with funeral or memorial services. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.