General Information

Ten Tips for Saving Funeral $$$

1. EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS AND TELL YOUR FAMILY
Do you want to be buried or cremated, embalmed, viewed? Where do you want to be buried or scattered? Put your wishes in writing and share them with your likely survivors. If you say you want something “simple” and your survivors aren’t sure what you meant, they may end up spending a lot more than you would have wanted. Read more

Starting a Funeral Committee in Your Congregation

All major religions have established traditions and rituals for caring for the dead. In days past, the religious community was the focal point of activities at a time of death. Unfortunately, as we became a more dispersed society, we witnessed the emergence of for-profit “chapels,” and the funeral industry took over creating new “traditions.” A few congregations, however, have continued their participatory heritage, and there appears to be a growing interest among others to return to active involvement. Read more

How to Plan a Memorial Service

A memorial service is a commemorative event without the body present. Unlike a funeral, the service can be held weeks or months after the death, allowing the family time to plan and then gather at a convenient time and place. It is typically less expensive and simpler to arrange than a traditional funeral. Read more

Monumental Manipulation

WRITTEN BY AN INSIDER Many funeral homes sell tombstones. Monument shops, as well as many cemeteries and memorial parks, sell tombstones also. Most, however, do not refer to these items as tombstones, but rather as monuments or memorial markers. Here, language is important—A tombstone denotes something old, dark and scary; a monument, on the other hand, is sold as a unique item denoting the person’s role, as well as station in life. Read more

Light, Like the Sun

by Frances Newton
This article has appeared twice in The Reader’s Digest and was recommended by the president of the Raritan Valley Memorial Society, Roberta D’Angelo. Father was 87 when he died. And I, at 41, had never before seen death, knew nothing of funeral rites. Read more

Lay Me to Rest in A Plain Pine Box, One Mother’s Letter to Her Children

I’m getting older now. I’m beginning to think about which of my personal things I want each of you to have. Yes, I’ve written a will, so each of you will share equally in what little is left after I’m gone. There are a few special things, though, I’ll want to give you while I’m still alive, because they should not be counted in the sum total of it all. Read more

Four-Step Funeral Planning

FUNERAL SHOPPING: THE BASICS

If you’ve never planned a funeral before you might feel overwhelmed and not even know where to begin or what questions to ask. If so, you are not alone. In the early 20th century, Americans largely handed over the responsibility for caring for their dead to funeral directors. Read more