Grief Has No Age Limits or Time Frames

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Q) Do holiday seasons magnify grief?

A) Grief during the holiday season and particularly when starting a new year does seem to carry a heavy sadness. All the “happy memories” you shared with your loved ones are now full of grief, and remembering them can often change your emotions from happiness to sadness. Also, when the world seems so happy and full of “holiday spirit”, grief can make your broken heart even more painful. It’s an odd experience, almost as if there is a feeling of holiday peer pressure to “be happy”. But never lose hope during the holidays. As with any relationship, grief will change over time, even if you don’t believe me while reading this. We like to refer to them has happy/sad memories because, over time, you will learn to love these memories and simultaneously be sad that it’s “over”. We find sadness in the fact that they are gone, but comfort and happiness in having the special memories.

Q) Can grief show up in your emotions regardless of how many years have passed or your age?

A) We couldn’t help but realize how powerful love, memories, and grief are while watching the Cubs win the World Series. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. The world got to view this 7 game series as one of the closest and hardest fought battles between two teams who had not won in many, many years, possibly the two longest losing droughts in baseball, and it was a movie story finish. The Cubs went into extra innings, in the other team’s stadium, and finally won it all. Even if you are not a baseball fan, we want you to understand the magnitude of the buildup, and that it was on of the most epic displays of teamwork and bonding together, making it simply magical to watch. Our point and reason for all these details is to create the emotional environment surrounding what happened next. After the win, Bill Murray, long time actor and fan of the Cubs was interviewed. He was so excited and overwhelmed with joy that he almost couldn’t collect his thoughts while standing on the baseball field. Then Bill Murray made a statement that no one expected and got teared up. He started talking about his mother, stating that the tears were from him reflecting about their special “mother/son” and family love of the Cubs. Bill Murray explained that November 3rd (the day of the World Series win) was the anniversary date of his mother passing away 28 years ago. Even in the middle of an epic win, he was taken back to the heart of his mother’s death. But the most touching part of this was that Bill Murray was so excited about the win and his emotions and memories were so strong about his mother, Bill Murray was able to use that to bridge an emotional tie to the World Series Win. In other words, he was able to still have his mother’s memories connected and tied to this event that meant so much to him. Can’t we all do the same with our loved ones? For example, on my wedding day, I used one of my dad’s neck ties to wrap around my wedding bouquet of flowers. The memories keep our loved ones in our hearts and lives.

Over the years, one thing that seems to prove itself time and again is that (on the outside) we all grieve differently, and some of us often build up emotional walls. However, within our loving souls, we never truly let our loved ones leave our lives. Instead, we keep their memories alive by reminding ourselves of the bonds that connected us and also by the silly stories we remember.

Q) Do the memories still hurt?
A) If so, please take a moment to stop and look back at how far you have come. No matter the timeline, remind yourself to keep going, even if you need to ask for help. There is always hope that tomorrow will be better on your broken heart than today. The memories will not always hurt so badly, and one day soon, you will be able to smile at the times you had, even if the tears are still there. Never lose hope.

By Scott and Ellen Wynn McBrayer
Jones-Wynn Funeral Homes & Crematory

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Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Grief.

 Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Grief.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Grief.

Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Grief.

Grief is a pain or emotion that we usually can’t see in other people. We can only see the hurt or heartache if someone allows us to see their pain. However, if their pain is so great that they can’t hide it any longer, you might see signs of their emotional pain.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are wonderful holidays. However, with a broken heart, holidays can magnify the pain of losing a loved one. I realized that the first Father’s Day after my father’s death. The familiar statement of “Happy Father’s Day” didn’t feel so “Happy” to me. I didn’t even want to look at a Father’s Day greeting card. It took years for me to feel comfortable about Father’s Day again. I am back to loving it again, but I had to survive the grief first. Father’s Day celebrations had taken memories that were once happy and painfully transformed them into moments of sadness for a while. Now, thankfully, I realize how blessed I am to have the memories and love to live on in my heart.

Also, for parents who have lost a child, these holidays can be exceptionally hard to manage from an emotional standpoint. Any day can feel very lonely as a parent of a child who has passed away, but on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day the reality that your child is gone forever is something from which you can’t hide. Certainly many other specific reasons and circumstances exist as to why these holidays seem to intensify the feelings of grief and heartache for the survivors. However, once you are a mother or father, you are forever a mother or father. Remembering the love you shared may lead to shutting down on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or even their birthdays, but remember that these feelings are part of grieving. The reason for this grief and pain is the result of experiencing such a strong, loving relationship. Spend time recalling the special bond that you once shared with your loved one, a bond that is still alive and well. Try to honor their lives as a part of who you are and by trying to always move forward, by living, and never losing hope.

Please remember to always try and find hope during these holidays. Even if these holidays shine a spotlight on your pain of missing them, we challenge you to make this holiday one to remember or to help someone else you know that might be missing their loved one. Here are a few ways to honor and remember them:

-Create a scrapbook, photo album, or just find some older pics of them.

-Volunteer your time to an organization that you love and support

-Carry a special keepsake with you so that you will feel close to them.

-Write them a letter (that only you will see) and express to them how you feel. You can relay that you miss them, or that you are mad they are gone. Maybe you even want to share a story you remember about them.

-Talk about special “rituals” or “inside jokes” you might have with them.

Remember to find someone who you can talk openly with about how much you miss them.

We are not going to say Happy Father’s Day or Happy Mother’s Day, but we will continue to say that we hope you have a Blessed Day. Love your loved ones who are still with us and honor, remember, & share memories about the ones that were taken from us too soon.

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April is National Donate Life Month.

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This month long awareness commemorates those who have received or continue to wait for lifesaving transplants as well as the donors who save and heal lives. We would like to encourage you to learn more about the difference between being an organ donor and being a tissue donor.  Here are some Donate Life Month Facts:

-Who can be a donor? People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.

-Every major religion in the United States supports organ, eye and tissue donation as one of the highest expressions of compassion and generosity.

-There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate for donation. The donor family pays only for medical expenses before death and costs associated with funeral arrangements.

-Organ, eye, and tissue transplants offer patients a new chance at healthy, productive, and normal lives with their families, friends and communities.

We encourage everyone to join LifeLink as we celebrate the lives of those who received their second chance – and remember the men, women, and children who still wait – and to honor the lives of the donors who have saved and healed others by giving someone a second chance.

Over 5,400 of our friends and neighbors in Georgia await the Gift of Life through organ donation and more than 122,000 in the United States. Sadly, an average of 22 patients die every day while waiting for a transplant.

To become an organ and tissue donor, sign up on Georgia’s organ & tissue donor registry by visitingwww.donatelifegeorgia.org and follow a few simple steps.

1. Visit www.donatelifegeorgia.org and learn about organ and tissue donation. 2. Register your decision to become a donor and choose a password. 3. Under the “How Did You Hear About Us” drop down tab, choose Hospital Partner and select (your hospital name here) in the submenu. 4. Finalize your registration by accepting terms and conditions, sharing your decision with friends and family via email if you like and choosing “Complete Registration” at the end. 5. A confirmation email will be sent to you, and you will have the option of logging back ontowww.donatelifegeorgia.org at any time to alter your registration.

One person can potentially save or enhance up to 60 lives through organ and tissue donation.

Again, we are compassionate about the National Donate Life Month and encourage you to learn about organ, tissue, and eye donation. #DonateLife #LifelinkGA #AprilIsNationalDonateLifeMonth

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Myths of Cremation

IMG_0586Even though cremation is getting to be a choice that more families are choosing, it’s still a mystery to many people. As a child growing up in funeral service, I can still remember riding in the back seat of my parent’s car on the way home from a continuing education conference. That conference was about cremation. I was very young, but I still remember the conversation as my parents started planning on ways to not only offer this service to families, but how to make it meaningful.

To give you a better idea of how fast the rate of cremation has changed since I remember them talking about it in the car, here are some statistics I found on CANA’s website: “In 1999, there were 1,468 crematories and 595,617 cremations, a percentage of 25.39% of all deaths in the United States. By 2009, there were over 2,100 crematories and over 900,000 cremations…and 36.84% of deaths in the United States were handled through cremation, a percentage that is expected to grow to over half of deaths by 2018.”

Even with the percentage growing so fast in the United States, it’s a topic that can be overwhelming and hard to process. It’s also a topic that is hard to talk about. I remember talking to a precious couple who had been married for years. They told me they already decided on cremation. Then after we talked for a while he said, “I know we said we would be cremated, but if I die first, I can’t stand the idea of burning her”. Then a few months later, one of my dear friends was really struggling with trying to explain cremation to her young children. Their grandmother passed away and was cremated after her funeral service. When the grandchildren started asking questions about the meaning and concept of the cremation process, my friend had a difficult time explaining it. Yes, cremation is an intense process that does use fire. But, in my opinion, perhaps an understandable way to say what happens to our loved one during the cremation process could sound something like the following. “Cremation is the reduction of a loved one by the application of heat”. This is another way of saying it without using the emotionally heavy word “burn”.

One of the main Myths about Cremation is that you can’t have a funeral or service if you choose cremation. We have to explain (a great deal of the time) that you can choose cremation to occur before or after the service. If you choose to have cremation done before the service, then the term we associate that with is referred to as a memorial service. A memorial service is a service that is held without your loved one’s body present. You can choose to have the cremation urn present during the service. Most families like to have pictures of their loved ones present during the service. If you choose to have the cremation done following the service, it is called a funeral service. If you choose this option you can still have a visitation and a viewing of your loved one.

Another myth is that cremation is cheaper. As a matter of fact, every time I tell someone that the rate of cremation increases each year, people usually say ”Well, it is because it’s cheaper, right?!?!” The answer is that it can be, however it is such a personal decision with more options than anyone could ever realize that it may turn out being more expensive than originally planned. One of the main reasons cremation is increasing in popularity is because we live in a very transient society. The majority of people don’t stay in the same town they’re born in, and it’s also very rare for multi family generations to still remain in the same town. People move for many different reasons that include: jobs, family, retirement, etc. As a result, they gravitate to the option of cremation because they feel like they will always have the option to be able to carry their loved one with them. This is a very meaningful reason, but I would also like to add my personal opinion on the matter. That opinion would be to always create some sort of “permanent memorial”, because with grief you often still need to have a permanent place of memorial where you can go and grieve. It is important to consider creating permanent memorials, Cremation memorials, keepsake and jewelry memorials in order to honor everyone and their family’s emotional needs. And this is possible because the funeral home that you choose can help you divide your loved one’s cremains accordingly and in a respectful manner.

Another myth is that a Cremation Society is always cheaper than a funeral home. This isn’t necessarily true. Oftentimes, a Cremation Society might charge “membership fees” or other “fees”. However, with our funeral home and crematory, we don’t charge “membership, enrollment, or annual fees”. Remember, extra fees or unnecessary “fees” can add to the cost of the cremation that are not necessary. So I would advise you to ask questions. Also, ask for a breakdown of what is included with their cremation. For example, ask if a temporary urn is included? Also, ask about hidden or unnecessary fees. It’s important to become familiar with what cremation means and what is included with each provider (cremation society, funeral home, or crematory) that you may call/visit and ask questions.

With any death, the process of making final decisions for your loved one can be overwhelming. Remember to call, ask questions, take notes, and reach out for help. It might feel like your world has stopped for the moment, but many others have walked in the path of impossible choices with a broken heart who can be a vital sounding board. Your friends want to help you during these moments, so you could even get a trusted friend to call different places and help you find the answers to the unknown questions.

Also remember that our funeral home family is always available to answer questions, even if you are at another funeral home or crematory, we can help provide you with the peace of mind you need by answering any questions that you are unsure about.

As always, we remain “A Family Serving Families®….Since 1950” ,

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Less is More….What not to say to someone when their loved one has died

Less is More….What not to say to someone when their loved one has died

So many people ask, “What do I say to someone when they have had a death?” They truly worry and agonize over “the perfect words” to comfort someone. But why do we need words to make an impossible situation better or to help a broken heart? Words alone can’t heal a broken heart.

Trying to create the “perfect greeting card” with words could actually have the opposite effect. I will start with a true to life example. One hour before my father’s funeral, a lady approached me and said, “I’m so sorry!” This is the moment at which she should have stopped. However, she continued, “I mean, your dad will never see you graduate from college, he will never walk you down the aisle at your wedding, and he will never hold your first child.” Yes, all her statements were painfully true! But the day of his funeral wasn’t the time to paint me a timeline of all the milestones in my life that he wouldn’t see. After years of re-living that moment, I finally realized that she was simply expressing what her fears would be if it had happened to her. However, the way it felt, with a broken heart, is that she was kicking me while I was down. I know she was very sincere in her heartbreak for me and was truly trying to help.

I believe the vast majority of people say things in love and don’t even realize that statements could actually be hurtful. Finding the right words can be very challenging. Below are some examples of what not to say, followed by another way to express it:

1) “I know exactly how you feel.” Instead try, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.” Even if your stories are “the same”, the brokeness and grief that a person is feeling is different from anyone else.
2) “This Happened for a reason.” Instead try, “I’m sorry this happened.”
3) “Let me know if you need anything.” Instead, try taking them dinner, calling, or texting them “thinking of you”. Rather lead with actions and just do things, instead of asking them to contact you.
4) “How are you doing?” Instead try, “I know you are hurting, but physically how are you feeling?”
5) “I’m sorry I couldn’t come to the service” or “I wish I had been there for you more, but I had so much going on with _______” Instead try to just be there, loving them, and allow them to tell their story in that moment. Grief continues for months and sometimes years after a death. Remember your friend/family will need love and support for a long while after the service.
7) “God must have needed a new angel.” Instead try, “They will truly be missed.”

When someone is struggling to just hold it together emotionally, words alone are not the answer to making someone feel better. Why is saying nothing so hard? Challenge yourself to be ok with silence and understand that sometimes the best thing to say is…nothing at all. Allow them to “tell their story” and understand that sometimes the most healing occurs when you allow them to express their loss, in their own words, and in their own time. Allow them the opportunity to have a safe place in which they can grieve with any emotions they are feeling. When you know someone has a broken heart, try to remember the 4 H’s:
H: Hush, H: Hang Around, H: Hear, and H: Hug

Even if God himself could explain the reason for our loss, and why someone we love died, and even if we understood the reason “Why?” clearly, the hurt would remain the same.

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Coping with the Holidays after the Loss of a Loved One

602362_4912615864379_534881503_nCoping With Grief During The Holidays

Although the holiday season characteristically fosters feelings of happiness and joy among family and friends, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can feel overwhelming for those coping with the death of a loved one. While it might seem that everyone else around you is in the festive spirit, it is normal to feel increased anguish during the holidays, even if your loss is not recent. However, there are things that you can do to ease your grief during this time of year. Ellen Wynn McBrayer with Jones-Wynn Funeral Home & Crematory and member of The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) offers the following suggestions to help you cope with the holiday season:

Nourish Your Mind and Body

It’s easy to overlook the physically draining effect the holidays can have on individuals, an impact magnified for those who have experienced the death of a loved one. To boost your energy level: Stay well hydrated and do not overindulge; eat balanced, nutritious meals; stay active and find an exercise program you enjoy; and get enough sleep. Remember, take care of yourself. Most importantly, listen to what your body is telling you. If you don’t feel well, take time to rest. If your fatigue persists, see your physician.

 

Pay Tribute to Your Loved One

There are many ways to honor and remember your loved one and even the simplest of acts can represent his or her importance in your life. Consider making a donation to a charity in your loved one’s name, volunteering at an organization that was significant to your loved one, or attending a holiday memorial service sponsored by a funeral home or faith community.  You can create a new normal or new tradition during the Holidays.  We changed our Thanksgiving normal for a few years after my father passed away by helping with Meals on Wheels and then eating together at the local Waffle House.

 

Maintain Balance

While it might feel tempting to avoid celebrating the holidays altogether, it is difficult to escape the season entirely. Family celebrations will still go on, even if they will not be the same as they once were. It’s important to acknowledge that things will be different. Don’t feel as if you need to attend every gathering you’re invited to; however, even a small amount of time spent with family and friends can prove therapeutic. Just make sure to balance your social activities with solitude.

Express Your Grief; Maintain a Positive Perspective

It’s okay to let the tears flow. Crying will offer a release and is often quite healing. However, be sure to complement these feelings of sadness with positive thoughts. Acknowledge the support you have received from family and friends in your time of grief. Remember the many happy holidays you spent with your loved one. Finally, remember that while the upcoming days and weeks might seem daunting, you will get through them.  Remember, when you think you have gone as far as you can go…stop and look back at how far you have already come.

For continued support we provide 365 days grief support that you can sign up for on our website.  For additional grief resources reach out to us at 770-459-3694 or www.jones-wynn.com, on our facebook pages or visit www.nfda.org.  We are members of the NFDA and they are the leading funeral service association, serving more than 20,300 funeral directors who represent more than 12,200 funeral homes in the United States and other countries.

 

As always, we remain  “A Family Serving Families®….Since 1950” ,

 

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Planning Your Funeral in Advance

If a little planning on your part could relieve your family from the stress of making important decisions during an emotionally wrenching time, would you do it? Planning your funeral service in advance can offer emotional and financial security for you and your family. With preplanning, which doesn’t necessarily mean paying in advance, families find comfort in knowing that the funeral reflects what their loved one wanted. Peace of mind is among the biggest reasons people are choosing to make advance funeral arrangements. A trend in personalization is another. Individuals and families today are planning celebrations of life as unique as the individual being remembered. Today’s funerals include adding personal touches such as favorite music and incorporating hobbies and life’s accomplishments. A National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) funeral director can walk you through the decisions necessary to create a meaningful funeral service. Once you’ve made your plans, keep a copy of them and any pertinent paperwork in a safe place. Also, inform a close friend or relative what arrangements you’ve made and where the information may be found. If you choose, there are several ways to prepay for your funeral. The most common ways include annuities, life insurance policies, savings accounts, and bank trusts. Each method has its advantages. To help determine which option is best for you, ask your funeral director the following questions: •Who receives the interest on the account? •Who must pay taxes on the interest? •Is the prepayment ever refundable, inpart or in full? •Can the plan be used at a funeral home of your choice? •What happens if the funeral home goes out of business or is sold?  •In the event that you move, is the prefunded plan transferable? If you feel prepaying is wise for you, then be sure to go over all available options with your funeral director. As with any contract, ask questions you may have regarding your preneed plan before you sign an agreement. NFDA developed the Consumer Preneed Bill of Rights as a resource for understanding what to expect from any preneed contract. The document is available on NFDA’s Website at www.nfda.org, and outlines the rights and protections that an ethical and reputable funeral home will guarantee. To plan your funeral in advance, contact your local NFDA member funeral home, or visit NFDA’s Website at www.nfda.org. NFDA funeral homes around the country are participating in a national consumer education campaign, For A Life Worth Celebratingsm, in an effort to help consumers make wise and informed decisions related tofuneral service.Planning Your Funeral in Advance© NFDA You can plan-ahead on Jones-Wynn.com:  http://www.jones-wynn.com/plan-ahead/

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Memorial Websites Make Sharing Memories Easy!

One of the most amazing parts of our new website is the Memorial Website feature – and we’re really pleased to offer this innovative way to honor those who remain in our hearts. While the service information and obituary is immediately visible, we’re really excited to highlight the interactivity of these sites –which is nothing short of phenomenal: anyone can upload images, videos, or audio files –no computer skills required! A Family Tree gives you a place to record genealogical facts (so often lost through time) – and there’s even a Family Map feature which shows you where all family members noted in the Family Tree reside.

Valuable healing after loss comes from sharing memories – and they can be quickly shared on the Tribute Wall. Social media enhancement makes it easy to share those comments through Facebook, Twitter, or by email, bringing even more friends and family to view and contribute to the memorial website. It quickly becomes an archive – a treasured repository in honor of your loved one –which can remain online forever.

We’ve invited you to explore the site, and now we hope you take the time to see the power of innovation in our Memorial Websites. There’s nothing like them on the Web!

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Our New Website is Live!

What makes this site more than meets the eye? It’s a resource for all things related to the healing experiences of funerals and memorial services. Yes, you read that right: healing experiences. You see, experience has taught us that families benefit from coming together to celebrate the life, and honor the memory, of their loved one.

Here at Jones-Wynn Funeral Home, our goal is to help you recover from loss – and we truly believe the first step is to plan a personal service for you loved one. Taking part in this planning process is rewarding, and knowing that you’ve got our professional funeral arrangers to assist you makes it easier to take this important step.

Our website is designed to provide you with insights as to the possibilities open to you and your family. We invite you to browse the site, and give us feedback through this interactive blog. We’re eager to hear from you!

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