Category Archives: funeral homes

funeral homes in Elmira, NY

Helping Children with Addiction Deaths

Some funerals at funeral homes in Elmira, NY are for loved ones who have died as a result of addiction. No death is easy, but deaths that have occurred because of an addiction carry a lot of extra weight and burdens for friends and family.

Drug overdose deaths are outpacing deaths by car accident and by firearms. In 2016, there were 63,000 opioid overdose deaths alone. This number exceeds the number of Americans who were killed in the Vietnam War during the 19 years that the United States was involved.

Discussing drug overdose deaths with children can be difficult. When somebody dies as a result of overdosing on drugs, there are many feelings among the living that come up. They are the tough feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, worry, anguish, blame, and isolation. Overshadowing these feelings is always the question of why.

If we’re dealing with a child who had significant exposure to a parent died because of addiction, the child is already aware on a subconscious level that life, in general, was hard, a struggle, or somehow different from the lives of other children. If a child whose parent died because of an addiction was protected from exposure to it, then drugs and death will be something they don’t know anything about. Regardless, losing a parent is a traumatic event for child.

Losing close friends to drug addiction is also hard on children. They may not have even been aware that their friend was abusing drugs, or, in some cases, the death may have been caused by the first use of a dangerous drug like fentanyl.

It’s important first to explain addiction to the child in very concrete terms on a level that they are able to understand. The first thing that the child needs to know is that an addiction is an illness that has an effect on the brain and on the behavior of another person. The child needs to know that addiction can be treated, but that it can be very hard to treat successfully.

Explain the difference between medicine that is prescribed for specific illness and drugs, legal and illegal, that can be abused. You don’t want the child to get the impression that all medicine or drugs are harmful. Therefore, the easiest way to explain addiction is to describe it as an invisible disease that makes the person use more prescription medication (or even alcohol) than is safe or use drugs that aren’t safe for anyone.

To successfully communicate with a child about an addiction death, it’s important to be prepared. Take some time to think about what you say. The conversation should be ongoing, with the foundation laid in the initial discussion of addiction, and then more added as a child asks questions or comes back at a later time to talk about it more. It’s critical not to overwhelm the child with too much information all at once.

While we are suffering our own sadness and grief over the death of a loved one due to addiction, we need to be as calm as possible when talking with children about the death. If the children really young, we’ll need to explain death first, and then explain addiction in very simple terms without a lot of details. We might just say that the person who died was sick including get better and leave it at that until the children are older and start asking more questions about the loved one died.

For more ideas about funeral music at funeral homes 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.

funeral homes in Horseheads, NY

Breaking the Code: Suicide as Cause of Death

Some funerals at funeral homes in Horseheads, NY may be the result of someone taking their own lives. Yet often these deaths are shrouded in code phrases that explain the death as sudden or unexpected.

Suicides in the United States have increased 33% since 1999. Because we as a nation are still reluctant to talk about suicide and many people believe that suicides are acts of selfishness or acts of cowardice, we skirt the issue, which is a growing concern, so that we don’t have to deal with the inevitable questions that arise when suicides are brought out into the open.

There is no single cause for suicides. While some suicides are related to mental health issues, many suicides are not.

Young children and teenagers, for instance, who commit suicide are often the targets of real life bullying or cyberbullying, and they hit a point where they don’t know how else to make it stop but to take their own lives. In most of these cases, these kids can’t think far enough ahead to think of the permanence of death: that middle school and high school won’t last forever and neither will the bullying. All they can see is the pain and torment they are experiencing right now.

Some adults commit suicide as an act of despair. They may be dealing with job losses, financial losses, or family breakups, and as they watch the world they worked so hard to build crumble around them, they reaching a breaking point where it seems pointless to keep living. In that moment, they make the decision to end their lives instead of waiting out – which admittedly is very hard when the bottom drops out of your life – the sudden urgent desire to stop the pain.

Until recently, suicide is the cause of death was rarely mentioned and obituaries. However, families are beginning to be honest about the cause of death if it was suicide in the obituaries of their loved ones.

When Dr. Paula Sandler committed suicide in 2015, her family began her obituary this way: “Dr. Paula Margery Sandler, 62, died at home in Memphis on April 20, 2015, of suicide. We ask that you open your heart and offer compassion without judgment for those that suffer from illness rooted in stigma, trauma or shame; this was how Dr. Sandler practiced medicine. Sadly, she succumbed to severe depression, leaving behind bereaved friends, patients and colleagues.”

This obituary is an example of the trend toward removing the taboo and stigma surrounding suicide that has shrouded many deaths in mystery in the past. The reason that people are doing this is because they want people to know that suicide happens. It happens to wealthy people. It happens to successful people. It happens to children. Suicide is no respecter of persons.

By raising the awareness of suicide, these families who have lost loved ones who took their own lives are hoping to get help for or save others. One of the most common things that people will say after they find out that someone took their own life is, “I didn’t know anything was wrong.”

Sometimes, this is because other people aren’t paying attention, which sadly we can all be guilty of from time to time. Other times, the person who committed suicide simply put on a mask to hide the turmoil and pain they were feeling inside.

For information on funerals at funeral homes in Horseheads, 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.

funeral homes in Owego, NY

Funeral Music: Play What You Love

The music for funerals at funeral homes in Owego, NY is one of the most personalized choices we make for the funeral services of our loved ones – or even for ourselves, if we’re planning our own funeral services.

There are many songs, in every conceivable musical genre, that speak about death, loss, grief, and the hope for a better place and a better day. Any of those are excellent selections for a funeral service and many people go that route when they are choosing music for funeral service.

But some people don’t. There are songs in our lives and in the lives of our deceased loved ones that have nothing to do with death at all, but they carry the power of memories, love, and relationships. And those may be the songs we choose to play at our loved ones – or at our own – funerals.

A young Olathe, KS mother’s second child was stillborn. It was 1978. A group named Kansas had song on the charts at the same time. It was called “Dust in the Wind.” The grieving mother and father played that song as part of their daughter’s funeral service. When the mother died as a result of a medical emergency in December 2018, her four remaining children played the same song at her memorial service.

There was a daughter who took care of her mother for the last years of her life. The mother had congestive heart failure, vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. In spite of all these illnesses, she retained her love of music. So, the daughter played music in the house all the time. She knew her mother’s favorite music, which included bluegrass and country, and made sure that was prominent in the mix of sounds that filled their home.

A few months before her mother’s death, the daughter played a song that brought a smile and a twinkle in the eyes to her mother’s face. Knowing how much her mother loved to dance as well, the daughter asked her if she wanted to dance. The mother nodded yes. They danced, the daughter holding tightly to her mother so she wouldn’t fall.

Remembering that day, the daughter chose the same song, “Ashokan Farewell,” as the piece of music that was played at her mother’s funeral service. No one else but the daughter knew why that song was played, but it was comforting to the daughter.

A son watched his father grow old and frail. His father always told his son that he wasn’t afraid of death and he’d quote Hebrews 9:27, saying, “it is appointed unto men once to die.” When the son made arrangements for his father’s funeral service, he knew that there was only one appropriate song for his father. The rest of the mourners, including the immediate family, were a bit taken aback as they heard the urgent opening guitar riffs of the song the son had selected, but those who knew the father well appreciated the son’s nod to his father with Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

For more ideas about funeral music at funeral homes in Owego, 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.

funeral homes in Elmira, NY

End-of-Life Documents

Before funerals at funeral homes in Elmira, NY, there are several end-of-documents that we need to have in place so that our medical wishes are known, we have a medical advocate in place if we can’t advocate for ourselves, and we die the way we want to.

One end-of-life document that we need to have is a medical power of attorney. What this document does is to designate someone to make medical decisions for you if you are not able to make them yourself. The medical power of attorney may come into play if you have a medical emergency that leaves you unable to communicate, you have a tragic accident that leaves you unresponsive, or you develop dementia.

Choose someone you trust and make sure that they have all of your medical history, a current list of your medications, and any current health issues you are dealing with. You can create a medical power of attorney using software designed to create end-of-life documents or by using a printable medical power of attorney form online. As long as your medical power of attorney is signed and dated, it is a binding legal document.

In addition to a medical power of attorney, we all need living wills. No matter how young or old we are, time and chance happen to everyone. Living wills specify how we want to be treated medically if we are dying or in a medical situation from which there is no recovery (such as being brain dead, for example).

A living will gives you the ability to choose whether you want every possible measure exhausted to keep you alive in a situation where you are dying or from which there is no recovery or you don’t want any life-extending procedures, but you do want comfort care.

If we don’t have living wills done, then medical staff are obligated to exercise every option available to extend life, no matter if we’ve told our families we don’t want that. Some people believe that if they have a living will that specifies no life-extending measures be taken that medical personnel will not give them complete or adequate care. This is false.

Make sure that your medical power of attorney has a copy of your living will (your medical power of attorney should keep all these documents together and have them with them at all times – putting them in a folder in a backpack in the trunk of their car is a good way to ensure this). The living will is valid and legal as long as it is signed and dated.

If we do not want to be resuscitated or we don’t want to be intubated, we need to have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order and a Do Not Intubate (DNI) order created. Our family primary care physicians can write these orders and simply by signing them, they are legal and valid.

A DNR order tells medical professionals that we don’t want any measures taken if our hearts stop beating. One reason many people get DNR orders is because if resuscitation takes place more than six minutes after the heart stops beating, brain damage has already started to occur because of the lack of oxygen to the brain.

A DNI order tells medical professionals that we don’t want any measures taken if we are in respiratory failure, which can occur as a result of lung injuries, severe pneumonia, or breathing conditions like COPD.

For more information on end-of-life documents at funeral homes 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.