Author Archives: Michael Bernardo

Waverly, NY cremations

Coping with Regrets after Death

Regrets are common after Waverly, NY cremations. They seem to be an inevitable part of the grieving process, especially when the reality of death sets in and we’re all alone with our thoughts, rehashing the details of our lives with the loved ones we’ve lost.

Regrets are not necessarily a bad thing, although if we eventually get stuck on them, they can make grief much more intense for much longer than it should be. Regrets are often the product of paying attention, which is something we don’t always do when someone is still alive. Regrets can also be wishing that an event or an incident with our loved had turned out differently than it did and, if we’d been doing something differently, it might have.

One of the benefits of regrets is growth. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know until it’s too late, at least for our loved one who has died. But we can learn from those kinds of regrets and make changes in our lives to make sure they never repeat themselves.

Another benefit of regrets is wisdom. Until we are in the situation where we can look at our lives, both in relationship to our deceased loved one and in relationship to everyone else, with integrity and honesty to see where we fall short, whether that’s in selfishness, obliviousness, impatience, unkindness, or harshness, among many other things, we don’t gain wisdom.

Regrets, like death, should change us for the better, and make us more wise and more humble, as we see our own reflection clearly in them.

Some regrets are about things we couldn’t have done any differently or that wouldn’t have turned out any differently, but we wish that we could have or that they had. Perhaps we were caring for an elderly parent, vigilantly watching them, and they fell anyway because they were just beyond our reach. They may have broken bones, suffered from head trauma, or got really banged up and bruised. Those kinds of scenes can replay over and over in slow motion, bringing pain and agony to us as well as regret, but we couldn’t have done anything differently at the time.

Those are the kind of regrets that we can get stuck in and they can prolong intense grief, because we want to change the outcome. And those are the kind of regrets that we have to put to rest and say, “I did the best I could. It may not have always been good enough, but it was the best I could do at the time.”

Some regrets are for missed opportunities with our loved ones. We may have been talking for years about a trip we were going to take or an adventure that we wanted to do with our loved ones, but we never got around to them before they died.

And some regrets are for issues and problems between us and our loved ones that were never resolved while they were alive. These can be very difficult to cope with, because there may also be guilt associated with the regrets, but like all other regrets, we can’t change the past. All we can do is move forward, and professional help may be needed for that to happen, and know that somewhere in the future everything will be made right.

If you’d like information about grief resources after Waverly, NY cremations, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.

funeral homes in West Elmira, NY

Military Veteran Funeral Benefits

When planning funerals at funeral homes in West Elmira, NY, if the deceased was an honorably-discharged military veteran, they are eligible for funeral benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The funeral home will coordinate with the VA for all arrangements. A copy of the military veteran’s separation papers – Form DD-214 – should be provided to the funeral director (do not give anybody the original form).

One of the military veteran benefits available is free burial in any national cemetery where space is available. This includes a gravesite, opening and closing of the grave, a gravestone or grave marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. National cemeteries are maintained by the United States government, so perpetual care of the gravesite is included in this burial benefit.

Spouses and dependents are also eligible for free burial with military veterans in a national cemetery. The names and dates of birth and death of the spouses and dependents will be added to the veterans’ headstones. If a spouse or dependent of an eligible military veteran dies before the veteran, they are still eligible for burial at no charge.

Gravesites in a national cemetery cannot be reserved ahead of time, but the VA will, upon request, determine eligibility for burial in a VA cemetery before the need arises.

For eligible military veterans who want to be buried in a private cemetery, free burial benefits include a gravestone or grave marker, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate. Some military veterans may also be eligible for burial allowances, but the family will have to apply for that on their own. Spouses and dependents of military veterans are not eligible for any burial benefits in a private cemetery.

If an eligible military veteran is buried in an unmarked grave in any cemetery around the globe, the VA, upon request, will provide a gravestone at no cost to the family, regardless of the date of the veteran’s death. For graves of eligible military veterans who died on or after November 1, 1990 that have a privately-purchased gravestone, the VA will provide a government gravestone as well. The VA will provide a government medallion for the privately-purchased gravestones of eligible military veterans who died on or after April 6, 1917.

Grave markers are flat and can be bronze, marble, or granite. Gravestones are upright and can be granite or marble. If the military veteran has been cremated and is stored in a columbarium, bronze niche markers can be provided for the niche where the remains are stored.

When burial is at a national cemetery, state veteran’s cemetery, or military base or post cemetery, the cemetery will order the gravestone or grave marker with the information provided by the family to the funeral home. Spouses and dependents of eligible military veterans are provided with a gravestone or grave marker only if they are buried at a national cemetery, a state veteran’s cemetery, or a military post or base cemetery.

While there is no cost for a government gravestone or grave marker to eligible military veterans who are buried in private cemeteries, the family is responsible for having it placed on the grave.

To get more information about military funeral benefits at funeral homes in West Elmira, NY, 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.

cremations in Waverly, NY

Emotional Overeating after Death

Before and after cremations in Waverly, NY, the relationship between bereaved people and food can become quite complicated. Death creates a lot of anxiety and stress, and grief taxes us emotionally, mentally, and physically. When people are under these conditions in life, they generally respond to food in one of two ways.

Some people can’t eat at all when they are stressed and anxious. They simply stop eating and they are not hungry. Other people, however, go to the opposite end of the spectrum when they are experiencing extreme emotional upheaval and they compulsively eat, whether they are hungry or not.

Emotional overeating is common among people who, under normal circumstances, try to eat healthy diets, exercise regularly, and maintain other good health habit, but who, emotionally, throw all of that out the window in times of intense stress.

Part of this tendency to overeat when stressed comes from the dopamine high that eating comforting foods – which are usually full of fat, full of sugar, and full of carbohydrates – can provide. So if a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream hits the spot and temporarily takes the edge off of grief, then the brain says, “Imagine how much better I will feel if I eat the whole container!”

That’s how overeating works. It’s a stress reducer and it numbs the pain and other emotions temporarily, but it can also, if done long-term, create more issues than the temporary salve it’s putting on intense grief.

One issue that may come from extended overeating to assuage emotional trauma after the death of a loved one is unwanted weight gain and the creation of health issues, such as cardiac problems, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes, related to the weight gain.

Another issue that arises from habitual and long-term overeating is that shame, and guilt suddenly join grief and anxiety to create even more stress, which can drive the overeating engine into a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.

Extending overeating may also produce constant fatigue. A diet that’s saturated with fatty foods, high sugar foods, and carbohydrates wreaks havoc with glucose levels, which when out of balance can create extreme fatigue.

Mood swings are also a common issue that arises with long-term overeating. Part of this is related to glucose levels, but it is also related to the stress/grief/shame/guilt cycle that overeating can produce.

Binge eating is a common form of overeating. Binge eating is consuming a lot of food, not because the person is hungry, but simply because it’s there and they want to eat it all. Binge eating is very unhealthy because it can lead, because of the guilt/shame emotions, to eating disorders like bulimia.

Emotional overeating usually begins with a trigger. To get a handle on it and break the cycle, the person has to know what their trigger(s) are. Since grief is complex, it’s wise to consider counseling (it doesn’t have to be specifically grief counseling) to help understand the emotional overeating triggers (identify them) and come up with effective and healthy ways to manage those.

If you’d like information about grief resources after cremations in Waverly, NY, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.

Owego, NY funeral homes

How to Support Teens as They Grieve

Before and after funerals at Owego, NY funeral homes, teens who have experienced loss, whether it’s the death of a friend or the death of a loved one, will need a lot of support as they move through the grieving process. In part, this is because adolescence is full of hormonal fluctuations, the competing crossroads of being dependent and independent, and the juxtaposition between knowledge and experience.

It is more unlikely that teens will openly express their grief, unlike small children who, while not being able to always verbalize their feelings, will certainly act them out in quite open ways. Teens can typically be more moody than not just because of their stage of life, so it may be difficult to tell what the source of their moodiness is on any given day.

However, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, and clergy (if applicable), we as the adults in their lives need to be in touch, observant, and actively supportive of our teens as they maneuver through grief.

Loss and grief in teens creates a gulf between them and their peers at a time in their lives where fitting in is paramount. Therefore, teens need a comprehensive network of support to help them bridge that gulf and to keep them grounded and growing (as well as protected from bullying, which is common throughout life by some people who look for what they perceive as weakness in others and then harass, harangue, and torment them either verbally or physically or both) toward adulthood.

One way to provide support for teens as they grieve is to get outside therapeutic help. If the adults in the teens’ immediate families are having difficulty handling their own grief, this may create more anxiety and a misplaced sense of responsibility in grieving teens, which can overwhelm them with stress. Seeking grief counseling for everyone is highly recommended.

All the adults in the lives of teens who are grieving need to pull together and work together to offer support networks. Grieving teens need to know who is there for them, since they may not want to talk with their parents, but they may have aunts, uncles, coaches, or teachers that they feel more comfortable talking to about what they’re experiencing.

An important aspect of supporting grieving teens is simply listening when they do want to talk. There may be intense anger or sobbing sorrow as they talk, but the words they say are what we should focus on because they will tell us what the real issues are that teens are dealing with in relationship to the death of a friend or a loved one. Don’t interrupt. Take notes about important areas they touch on, because they’re still children in many ways and they will often make, because they don’t know any different, wrong assumptions and wrong connections about death and loss. We have an opportunity to address those things and correct what they don’t know or understand, which can actually lead to greater peace and faster healing for them.

To get more information about grief resources for teens at Owego, 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.

Elmira, NY cremations

Distancing Ourselves from the Inevitable

With Elmira, NY cremations, people have died. But what were the years, or months, or weeks, or days, or hours before their deaths like? Were they active, vibrant, independent, and living life to the fullest or were they confined to assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, perhaps with limited or no mobility, staring at four walls every day? This was at least on the days when they weren’t at the doctor’s office get new (and probably more medication) or hospitalized on a regular basis for health issues and illnesses.

Even if we knew these people well, as family members or friends, we may have distanced ourselves from death itself, and, particularly, their deaths, because we’re told by science, technology, and medicine that it’s life that’s important and that’s what we should focus on.

So we may not have visited them often if we weren’t in caregiving role because dying and death can be depressing. If we were in a caregiving role, we were the ones constantly taking them to doctor’s appointments and to the emergency room when a more serious issue arose, and then staying with them throughout each hospital stay that was designed to keep them alive.

This focus on living at all costs has impact the way most of us deal with dying and death. We don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to think about it. And we certainly don’t want to be around it, whether it’s someone else or ourselves going through it.

Even the nature of funeral and memorial services reflects this focus on life, as the traditional mourning and acknowledging the death and loss of people is increasing giving way to contemporary celebrations of life, where death and dying are not discussed, but only happy memories from deceased people’s lives.

But what is the cost of this change to a focus on life?

One cost is that although people may be gaining quantity of life, it’s at the expense of quality of life. One can’t contemplate this without thinking about 90-year-old Norma Bauerschmidt’s decision to forgo cancer treatment – which would have prolonged her life, but would have taken the quality away – and, instead, use the time she had left to travel with her son and daughter-in-law across the United States – which gave her a quality life, until she died a year later. She experienced a lot of firsts during those 12 months and she became a social media celebrity with her own Facebook page named Driving Ms. Norma.

Another cost of changing to a focus on life is that we aren’t prepared, don’t know how to handle, and are terrified of death. It seems like an anomaly when it happens, when, instead, it is the biological cycle of nature. We begin dying the day we’re born, and although we usually don’t hit full stride until we get a life-threatening illness like congestive heart failure, a terminal illness like cancer, or just the wearing out of the body after living for many decades, it’s a process that is with us from the beginning.

It’s time to get closer to death. It will make our living years more meaningful because we’ll realize they’re finite. We can say, “No” to excessive overtime, we can say, “Yes,” to vacations and family time, and we can make the time we have remaining more meaningful by serving others.

If you’d like more information about Elmira, NY cremations, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.

Big Flats, NY funeral homes

The Sixth Stage of Grief

With funerals at Big Flats, NY funeral homes comes grief. Before the funeral, during the funeral, and after the funeral, grief is a constant. In 1969, psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published On Death and Dying. In it, Kubler-Ross identified five different stages in the grieving process when someone is dying (but it applies just as much to those who have a loved one die).

The first stage is denial. When people lose a loved one, the mind may record the loss, but the heart denies it. We keep waiting for them to walk through the door. We pick up the phone to text or call them. We look for them, somehow expecting them to be there.

The second stage of grief is anger. We get emotionally upset that our loved isn’t there, that they aren’t coming in the house, answering the phone, and that they’re never going to do any of those things again physically.

The third stage of grief is bargaining. In this stage, we imagine things we’d be willing to change, to let go of, to give up in order to have our loved one back.

The fourth stage of grief is depression. As the reality in our hearts sets in that our loved one is really gone, really not coming back in this life, and we have to face life without them, the cloud of doom and gloom settles in.

The fifth stage of grief is acceptance. This one may take time to reach, but there is a point where we accept that our loved one has died and we start looking forward to ways to forge a new life without them.

In the book, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, a sixth stage of grief is presented.

The sixth stage of grieving is how we seek to find meaning in the legacy that our loved ones have left behind. This be expressed in finding and supporting a charitable organization or a cause that was important to our loved ones. It may mean making sure their story gets preserved through writing a family history or memoir. It can also include handing down family traditions, such as special things they did for holidays or religious celebrations.

While grief causes pain, whether we suffer is optional. Grief doesn’t occur when we don’t love other people, but how we frame the loss can make all the difference in whether we suffer from the pain of grief.

The first step to frame grief positively is to allow ourselves to really feel what we feel. We live in society that avoids this (people usually are expected to return to normal life, whether that’s work or school, three days after their loved ones die or after the funeral), so we are encouraged to put on happy face, get back on the horse, and carry on as if nothing ever happened. Because of this, we don’t get the time to really feel the pain of grief. And that is when we suffer.

But when we allow ourselves the feel the pain deeply and intensely, that is when the search for the meaning of what our loved one left behind for us to be able to take forward in our lives. It creates a bond and connection with our loved one that will last the rest of our lives, and that is comforting.

Not all people experience the six stages of grief, nor, if they do, do they experience them in the order they’re listed in. Sometimes, people go through some or all of the stages of grief many times. We’re all unique and can’t fit into a cookie-cutter framework for such a personal and strong emotion.

To get more information about grief resources at Big Flats, 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.

Waverly, NY cremations

What to Write in Sympathy Cards

After Waverly, NY cremations, people begin buying and writing sympathy cards to the family who’s lost a loved one. Sympathy cards are intended to express support, comfort, and empathy, so the words that are written should reflect those things.

One of the traps of sympathy cards is the sympathy card with a long poem in it. The greeting card industry, like most other writing industries, sources these kinds of cards to people who get paid to do it. Often, the messages are trite and lack the warmth and sympathy of a personal note. Too often, people who want to express sympathy buy one of these cards and simply sign their names, then send them.

It’s helpful to put yourself in the shoes of the family who’s lost someone dear to them. How would you feel if you received a card like this? To people who are grieving, a card like this can convey the message that the sender didn’t care enough to write anything themselves, sent the card out of duty and not care and concern, or that the sender was simply to busy to be bothered with more than a signature.

None of this may be true, but that can be the effect of sending a card like this. It is best to get a simple sympathy card that is blank inside and includes a handwritten note. It can be an expression of condolence on the family’s loss or it can be a cherished memory of the deceased. It doesn’t need to be long, but it needs to be heartfelt.

Avoid offensive clichés like “I know how you feel” or “it’s all for the best.” You may have an idea of how the family feels, but you may not actually know how they feel. It’s better to use phrases like, “I can imagine…” instead. Telling a family that losing a loved one is all for the best is literally a slap to their emotions. It doesn’t feel that way to them, and it comes across as heartless and callous.

Many people include these in sympathy cards, not meaning to hurt or offend anyone. So it’s important to take your time and think through your words carefully before you write a sympathy card.

If you’re sending a sympathy card, but you know only one member of the deceased’s family, address the card to them. Write personally to that person, but extend your thoughts to the rest of the family.

Conclude your sympathy card with a sentence that makes the family – or person you know – aware of your concern and that also opens the door for them to contact you if they need something (don’t be vague with “if you need anything, just let me know;” instead, be specific with something like “I’m in the neighborhood on X day so I can pick up groceries or drop off dry cleaning, if you need me to.”) or they just need to talk. These are gestures that many people forget to include in sympathy cards and it can leave the family feeling like they’re all alone after they’ve read all the sympathy cards because there’s no extended invitation to reach out if they need to.

Be sure your handwriting is easy to read. If your cursive writing looks like a doctor’s signature, then print your note. Also, be sure to sign with your full name, because a lot of Bill’s, Mary’s, John’s, and Ann’s may be sending sympathy cards. You can also include your cell number and an email address in case the family wants to contact you later (this is optional).

If you’d like more help with writing sympathy cards after Waverly, NY cremations, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.

cremations in Elmira, NY

Why Funeral Directors Matter

Funeral directors handle cremations in Elmira, NY, as well as traditional burials. They are with the family of the loved one who has died each step of the way, and they have the professional knowledge and experience to make sure everything is done in accordance with your and your loved one’s wishes.

The first reason why funeral directors matter is that they handle all the behind-the-scenes activities that accompany cremations or burials. They take care of all the legal paperwork, including getting permits, handling military benefits (if applicable), and getting the official death certificates.

Funeral directors meet with the family as soon as possible after the death of their loved one. The meeting serves several purposes. It lets the family make funeral arrangements in a quiet, unhurried environment, where they can decide if they want to have a service (funeral or memorial) and what that will look like, what the final disposition of their loved one should be, and to ask questions.

Unless a person has had the experience of a lot of deaths in their immediate family, the first time going through the funeral process can be daunting. The funeral director is there to answer any questions or to help in the decision-making, by explaining anything that is unfamiliar or unknown. Ask questions about anything that’s not clear or that is not understood. This is their job and they are more than willing to help you in any way they can.

Another reason why funeral directors matter is because their priority is to let families focus on grieving while the funeral directors do the planning. Funeral homes can take care of all the details of the funeral process, so it’s advisable, with the family’s input, of course, to let them handle those and place that time and energy toward mourning the loss of a loved one.

Funeral directors can plan every kind of service for any size group in just a few days. They will take care of flowers, set up visitations, handle the flow of services, and make arrangements for catered receptions. While the family will be involved in the selection process of all of these, they don’t have to sweat the details of making them happen.

Funeral directors matter, as well, because their role is to encourage the family of the deceased to make the funeral process their own, as well as abiding by the wishes of their loved one. For example, if the deceased didn’t leave any specific instructions for a service, then the family can take this opportunity to remember them with special readings and music that reminds them of their loved one. Funeral directors will guide this process by asking what the best way would be to remember the loved one they have lost.

A fourth reason why funeral directors matter is because they can help the bereaved family after the cremation or burial. Funeral directors have resources for grief counseling – some funeral homes host grief support group meetings at their funeral homes – and they can get the information or the contacts needed to begin the healing process from the loss of a loved one.

Funeral home directors are with grieving families every step of the way. They are there to help, to guide, to offer advice, and to make sure that not only is the deceased treated with dignity, honor, and respect, but so is their family.

To get more information about funeral directors before cremations in Elmira, NY, 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.

Waverly, NY cremations

The History of Memorial Day

With more military veterans opting for Waverly, NY cremations after they die, it’s important to continue to remember their service to the country, as well as the service of every other military who has died, either on the battlefield or years removed from their active duty.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday that originated from Decoration Day (and some parts of rural America, it is still called by this name). Decoration Day was established in 1868, by the Grand Army of the Republic (an organization of Union military veterans), as a day for the entire country to decorate the graves of Civil War dead with flowers. The first Decoration Day was held on May 30, 1868. The date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom around the country and there was no specific battle whose anniversary felt on that day.

The first large-scale observance of Decoration Day occurred that year at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA. Flowers were laid on both Union and Confederate graves, followed by prayers and hymns.

The name “Memorial Day” first appeared in 1882, but it would not replace Decoration Day as the official name of the commemorative day until after World War II. In 1967, the federal government officially declared that the last Monday in May would be Memorial Day. Memorial Day did not become a federal holiday until 1971.

After World War I, Decoration Day was expanded beyond just putting flowers on Civil War military veterans‘ graves to placing flowers on all United States military veterans’ graves. In 1915, after reading “In Flanders Field,” by poet John McCrae, Moina Michael was inspired to write “We Shall Keep Faith,” which encouraged people to wear red poppies on Memorial Day (they are also traditionally worn on Veterans Day).

Moina followed up her poem with action. She sold red poppies in her community on Memorial Day and used the money to help military veterans in need. Red poppies are still a popular flower on Memorial Day. However, instead of seeing people wearing them, as was traditional until about 30 years ago, you will see them placed on the graves of military veterans.

It’s important to take time each Memorial Day to remember the sacrifice that many men and women have made to each one of us as citizens of the United States. Many of them were barely adults and never got to have full, long, and happy lives. But they were willing to put their lives on the lines for ours. Do something active to commemorate their lives.

One suggestion would be to go out to the cemetery – may be one you’re familiar or one you’re not familiar with – and lay flowers on every grave with a military gravestone. If you have family members who were military veterans, lay flowers at their graves.

Another suggestion is to plant red poppies in your flower garden or plant a tree in memory of a deceased veteran.

You can also fly the United States flag at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day (the flag should be raised to full height for a second and then dropped to the half-staff position; afternoon, the flag should be raised to the top position again).

If you’d like more ideas for commemorating Memorial Day after Waverly, NY cremations, 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.

funeral homes in West Elmira, NY

Nurture the Family Unit after a Funeral

After funerals at funeral homes in West Elmira, NY, it is not unusual for family members – especially those that are more distant, but sometimes even the closest ones – to drift away and never come back together. If the deceased was a matriarch or patriarch of the family and the fulcrum point that kept the family together and in touch with each other, the loss of connection is even more likely.

Sometimes immediate family fractures, especially if there are already existing tensions or issues among siblings. Even if the siblings don’t have any problems, sometimes fractures occur because of legal matters such as wills and inheritances. Many times, these breaks are permanent.

More often, though, the distant family connections break because the thread that held them together is gone. People live in different places, lead different lives, and may have only seen each other once or twice a year for holidays.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many things that remaining family members can do to nurture the family unit after a funeral.

One is to get everyone’s contact information, including email, social media accounts, phone numbers, and addresses. Send a short update email to everyone once a while or create a family group on social media where everyone can post updates about themselves and their families. If you have relatives who aren’t using email or social media, send them a text message a couple of times a month, or call them every two weeks just to check in, or send them a handwritten card or note every couple of months.

Another way to nurture the family unit is to create a family newsletter that you publish every quarter. Encourage all the family members to send news and pictures of their family events or milestones that you can include in the newsletter. With a variety of free and intuitive page layout software available, putting a family newsletter together is not only easy but quick.

A third way to nurture the family unit after a funeral is to plan regular gatherings, either in small groups, or to bring the whole family together. A great idea is to have an annual family reunion. Choose four or five locations where family life that is good gathering spots (enough hotel and restaurant accommodations, as well as activities) for reunions. Rotate the location of the reunion through these places so the burden of planning the reunion (securing blocks of rooms in hotels, setting up one or two meals in restaurants, etc.) doesn’t fall on the same people every time. Plan at least one reunion in the rotation to be near the cemetery of the family patriarch or matriarch so that everyone can visit and future generations will know the history of their families.

A final way to nurture family units after the death of a loved one is to send an annual letter to everyone. Many people do this around holidays as a way of catching everyone up on the significant events in their year and to keep the lines of communication open.

It takes some effort to keep families intact after funerals, but the effort is well worth it. Don’t lose the people you love and who love you, no matter how far or near they are away.

For more ideas about nurturing families after funerals at funeral homes in West Elmira, NY, our sympathetic and experienced staff at Roberts Funeral Home can offer suggestions and guidance. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.