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My Grandfather’s Hands

My grandfather’s hands played a prominent role in my childhood. His hands were strong, and I spent many bright afternoons outside watching him chop wood for the fireplace. His hands were busy, tending to his vegetable and flower garden or adding a column of numbers for his accounting work. His hands were steady as he guided our entire family and cared for my grandmother.

old hands

When I was a young girl he took me with him to the pool. I had not yet mastered the art of swimming and ventured into waters that were too deep for my tiny frame. I suddenly found myself floundering under water, and can still vividly recall the panic I felt as well as the sight of the bubbles swirling around me.  It seemed to last an eternity. Then suddenly I felt myself being lifted out of the water by a pair of reassuring hands. My grandfather had saved me, just as I knew he would.

I continued to rely on those hands into adulthood. My grandfather and his caring hands were always there when you needed him, all you had to do was ask. As time passed his hands began to show their age, and it frustrated him that he could no longer do as much to care for my grandmother and the rest of our family. We reassured him that our love for him was not dependent upon his usefulness, and we knew that the time had come for our family to take care of him. We were grateful for the opportunity to repay in even a small way the love that he had shown us for us for so many years. So care for him we did.

As my grandfather’s time on this earth drew to a close his health began to fail him, and he entered the hospital due to difficulty breathing. He had made it very clear that under no circumstances was he to be intubated, so he utilized an oxygen mask to breathe. Every breath was a struggle, but my grandfather faced his final moments with strength and dignity and on his own terms. As I sat beside him in that hospital room I wished with all my might that there was something I could do to ease his suffering, but the best I could do was hold his hand and love him. And so I did.

I held his hand all night, sleeping next to his hospital bed, hoping that somehow my love and strength could pass through me into him. There were moments that were more of a struggle, and he felt like he was drowning trying to breathe. So just like he had reached down into the swirling waters and saved me that day when I was so small, I tried to save him. I would turn up his oxygen, whisper to him that he was not alone, and squeeze his hand tight.

Those precious, precious hands. Hands that had guided me through so many of life’s milestones. It was a privilege to hold his hand as he neared the end of his journey. I just hope that he found my hands even half as much of a help and comfort and his were to me.

I’m still holding onto those hands in my heart.


Jennifer Roberts Bittner
Certified Celebrant/ Life Tribute Specialist

Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service
6500 Iron Bridge Rd.
N. Chesterfield, VA 23234
(804) 275-7828

Cremation vs. Traditional Burial and What You Need to Know

If a loved one has passed away without leaving any information about what they would like to be done with their body, this responsibility can fall on those closes to the deceased. For someone who is in that position, deciding on options like cremation or traditional burial can be stressful. How do you know which choice is the right one for your loved one? There are a number of things that Ameila, VA funeral home and cremations providers urge you to consider.

funeral home and cremations in Ameila, VA

The first thing to consider is if your loved one belonged to any denomination of religion that has special requirements for burial or cremation. Most religions these days allow for both, but the more orthodox branches can require traditional burial. Be sure to speak with a religious leader to find out more about how to proceed from them. Funeral homes have contacts with these leaders and will be able to help you.

Budget is another vital thing to keep in mind. Traditional burials tend to cost much more than direct cremation, so if you are limited in funds, cremation is probably the best choice. Because cremation does not require the purchase of a casket or of a cemetery plot, it can be dramatically less expensive. If you choose options like bio-cremation, the price can hike up because it is not as common an option as direct cremation, but it will usually still be more affordable than a traditional burial.

To make the best decision, you also need to keep in mind the kind of environmental strain that each option places on the planet. This is especially important if your loved one was concerned about their carbon footprint. As long as there is no embalming fluid or metal parts in the casket that you choose, a burial can be ecofriendly. Cremation that is done using water, called bio-cremation, puts very little strain on the environment and can be a great option, as well. Direct cremation does release some carbon into the air, but it is still a good option.

The choice you make between traditional burial and cremation will also impact cemetery options. Not all cemeteries provide spaces for cremated remains. If this is something that you and your family want for your loved one, then be sure to search for the right cemetery that can accommodate your needs.

Before looking for funeral homes and cremations in Ameila, VA, the first thing you need to do is decide on your budget and the desires of the person who died. All of this will help you make the right choice. If you have any questions or worries, speaking with a funeral home director or crematorium director can be a great idea. They can help you in this difficult process. Get started by contacting a company like Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service, 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234. Reach them at (804) 275-7828 to learn about their cremation and burial services.

The Best Tips on How to Choose a Columbarium after a Cremation

Cremation has become more common these days, which is why there are more options about what to do with the cremated remains. For people who want to be able to visit their deceased loved one in a cemetery, choosing to place the ashes in a columbarium niche can be an excellent solution. Winterpock, VA funeral home and cremations providers will always know of great columbarium choices, but it can also make the process easier to know what you and your family should be looking for.

Consider what kind of budget you have to work with. Most cemeteries have different columbariums to choose from, and within those, there are many niches from which to choose. Price will depend on many variables, including the location of the columbarium, as well as size, and upkeep plans. By having a good idea of the kind of budget you have available, you will be able to narrow choices down to what you are most comfortable paying.

The columbarium you choose should be one that is in good condition. This is especially important for columbariums that are located outside. Always visit the cemetery before making a decision and be sure to take careful stock of conditions. If the columbarium is faded, overrun with weeds, cracked, or otherwise messy, you should think of choosing another one. The last thing you want is to have the urn that holds your loved one’s remains damaged in any way.

Size is another important consideration when choosing a columbarium. Not all of them have niches that can accommodate companion urns or oversized urns. If this is something you require, then it is vital to speak with the funeral home or crematory director before making a decision on the cemetery. Usually, a funeral director will be able to help you find a columbarium with the size of niche you need.

Another thing to keep in mind is that columbariums come in different styles and they can be made of different materials. Some are mores classical, made of stone or marble, while others can be of carved metal and can even be made of recycled materials. Depending on what you think your departed loved one would have wanted, one option might suit you better than another.

funeral home and cremations in Winterpock, VA

Choosing a columbarium to hold the cremated remains of a loved one should not be complicated. Funeral homes and cremations providers in Winterpock, VA always have extensive knowledge of what is available in the area in which they work so that they can start offering them to you. By keeping in mind that there are lots of columbarium options, including those that are indoors, as well as those that are outdoors, the process can be simpler. Before heading to the funeral home, be sure to know what kind of price ranges you are searching for. To get started, reach out to Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service, at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234. Contact them at (804) 275-7828.

How to Plan a Life Celebration with the Help of a Funeral Home

The honoring of a loved one after their death does not always have to be a sad, somber event. If your loved one was a gregarious person who loved life and parties, why not have a life celebration instead? Bon Air, VA funeral home and cremations providers can easily help with the planning of a life celebration. There are a lot of great ideas that can make the event one that will bring closure and healing to all of the guests.

Music is one of the crucial things to consider when planning a life celebration. Music sets the mood more than anything else. Most funeral homes have ideas and some have even playlists that you can use, but it can always be a good option to ask friends and family about music that reminds them of the departed loved one. You can also hire musicians to play songs that they loved that are upbeat. If you do not know local musicians, most funeral homes have contacts in the area that you can depend on.

Activities are also something else to keep in mind when planning a life celebration. Most funerals are passive events unless you say a few words, so why not make a life celebration something in which everyone can participate? Funeral homes do these kinds of celebrations often, so if you do not know where to begin, you can ask them for ideas. Some great options are to ask guests to bring pictures of the deceased so that you can all put together a memory collage. If your loved one enjoyed certain board games, it can also be a unique idea to gather the guests and play it. Think of activities that you associate with your loved one and adjust it for a large group of people.

For food and drinks, many people choose to offer everything that the deceased enjoyed. Do not be afraid to offer fun cocktails or punch that is colorful. If you are having the life celebration and reception at the funeral home, then finger foods are the way to go. When you start planning this part of the event, reach out to family members and friends who knew your loved one so that you can put together a selection of favorite foods and drinks.

funeral home and cremations in Bon Air, VA

A life celebration is not for everyone, but it can be an incredible way of honoring someone who died. It allows people to focus not on the death but on the way that loved one affected their lives. If this is something that you want to do, be sure to ask the funeral home and cremations providers in Bon Air, VA about their suggestions. The right provider will be happy to help and will do their utmost to make it a positive, healing experience. Reach out to a business like Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234. Call (804) 275-7828 to get started.

The Differences Between Various Types of Funeral and Memorial Services

When you begin to think of the way to honor a loved one, one of the first things to know is what type of memorial or funeral service you want. Most people think all of the options available are the same thing, but this is not the case. Midlothian, VA funeral home and cremations providers offer the chance to decide between these choices and it can be a good idea to know which one suits your needs best.

funeral home and cremations in Midlothian, VA

The most common options are funeral and memorial services. One of the main differences that exists between them is when they occur. Funeral services usually take place before the burial. This means that they need to be planned quickly after the death, since most people choose to have the casket present. Memorial services tend to be later, after a cremation or even after a burial. If you are deciding on cremation for a loved one, then you can plan a memorial service so that you do not have to rush. Depending on whether your loved one preplanned all of the arrangements or not, a memorial service might be the least stressful option.

A memorial service can be a more flexible option than a funeral service. Because the body does not have to be present, this kind of service can be arranged in places other than a religious location or a funeral home. Los of people choose to have memorial services somewhere meaningful for the deceased. Memorial services can be done at any moment, which allows you to plan for a moment when everyone can attend and get the closure they need.

Another option is a life celebration. If your loved one was someone who lived life with gusto, a celebration of their life can be more fitting than a funeral. Life celebrations tend to be lighter in mood, with music and even dancing. People tend to think of a life celebration more as a party in honor of a loved one than as a somber event.

Some people choose to have a committal service, instead. A committal service takes place at the cemetery, at the graveside. It can be a simple service led by a religious person or even by a family member, and there can be music and eulogies read. For those who want a simpler service that takes less planning, then this can be a good choice.

All of these options can ensure that your loved one is honored after their death. Funeral homes and cremations providers in Midlothian, VA are ready to help you decide on the best option for you and your family. Speak to funeral directors about each of these to see the pros and cons so that you can make a good decision. Turn to a company like Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service to learn more about the available options. You can find them at 6500 Iron Bridge Rd Richmond, VA 23234 or by calling (804) 275-7828.

Death, Anger, and Forgiveness

Life is complicated. Death is complicated. Living after the death of someone you love is incredibly complicated. Even if there was time to “prepare,” a person can still find themselves overwhelmed and confused by all the complex emotions they experience. Quite often, however, death itself comes as a surprise. When that happens your grief may be compounded by the fact that you had unfinished business with the person who has passed. The people that we love are the people that have the power to hurt us the most. You may even find yourself actually angry with them for what they did or did not do, and never had a chance for resolution. It can be a very strange tension to simultaneously feel such strong grief and also unresolved anger.



A longtime friend with whom you had a falling out because they hurt you deeply. A sibling that you loved but also fought with constantly. A family member that was so toxic that you had to protect yourself from them and limit contact. A parent that was never the parent you wanted or needed them to be. Someone who wronged you repeatedly but never told you, “I’m sorry.” With each of these situations there comes an additional layer of emotion that complicates our grief process. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t your fault. People are human and flawed and sometimes hurt us

So what do we do when we lose someone in such a situation? How do we manage our conflicting emotions? The answer is not an easy one, but the first step is that you indeed try and work through them. Ignoring and burying negative feelings does not make them go away, but can actually intensify them. Feelings will come out one way or another, and recovery becomes more complicated by delaying the process.

One of the ways that you can cope with your feelings is to talk about them. It is okay to acknowledge that you are angry. Being angry at someone who has died does not make you a bad person. However it is also important to be cautious with the way you discuss those emotions, and with whom. Be sensitive to the fact that others may also be grieving, and may be experiencing different emotions than you are. When the loss is new they may not be in a place to understand your anger and hurt. Instead it may help in such a situation to talk to someone outside the situation. Writing a letter to them to vent your feelings and process your thoughts can also help. .

To find closure you may need to go to the memorial service or burial. Conversely, you may need to skip the proceedings and observe in your own way. If you do attend then that is likely not the appropriate time to talk about your conflict with the deceased. Doing so could upset those in attendance and takes the focus away from the task at hand. A eulogy is also not the appropriate place to discuss grievances and air dirty laundry, but instead should be a comfort. You don’t have to lie, but there are diplomatic ways of stating truths or skirting sensitive issues.

As we continue through the grieving process be patient with yourself. It takes time to work through complicated feelings. There is also no one way to feel. You may find you are not sad. You may find you are sad for what you never had. Whatever emotion you experience is valid.

The most important thing to do when we experience conflict and loss is practice forgiveness. You may think they don’t deserve it, but the forgiveness isn’t actually for them. It’s for you, to help release the weight that you carry. Bitterness and resentment can weigh us down, and binds us to that which we hate. We are the ones that are harmed by not releasing anger, not them. Letting go of those feelings frees us to experience healing. Of course this can also take time, and a lot of practice.

Once we acknowledge and release our hurt and anger it can help to focus on the positive, if there was any. Sometimes regret can obscure our vision of our blessings. Thinking about the good times can help you receive some comfort. Also, look at all the love you still have around you and soak it in.

None of these suggestions are easy, and they all take time and effort. What matters is that your are intentional about working through your feelings. If you do that I hope that one day you find that you have begun, at least a little bit, to heal.

Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.” ~Leo Tolstoy



Jennifer Roberts Bittner
Certified Celebrant/ Life Tribute Specialist

Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service
6500 Iron Bridge Rd.
N. Chesterfield, VA 23234
(804) 275-7828