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Here Come the Holidays

This Saturday, November 18th we will be hosting our annual Holiday Remembrance in which we honor those families who are grieving the death of a loved one during this past year with a service of remembrance. It is hour privilege to provide this time for families and friends to prepare for the coming holidays while still grieving the reality that someone we love will no longer be here to celebrate the holidays. But, the holidays are coming!

I want to share some practical suggestions for grieving families preparing for the coming holidays.

1. Be intentional about selecting people with whom you will spend the holidays

Keep in mind that some of those people may be grieving with you. There are those who don’t know how to relate to you. There are even those who will say some seemingly stupid things. It is important that you spend holiday time with people you feel truly get where you are emotionally.

2. Get with your family members to discuss your holiday plans

Attempt to have a face-to-face meeting. However, you can include distant family members through Skype. Make sure to include the children. No matter the age, they        will need to be able to share their feelings and feel a part of the process.

3. Think About your family traditions

Some traditions may suddenly become difficult. Talk with your family about those traditions that might cause you the most stress and anxiety. Be honest about the things that you just might not have the energy to do; things like writing and sending Christmas cards, decorating your home or holiday baking. This would be a good time to allow family members to share their heartfelt thoughts about the family        traditions as well.

4. Be sure and take care of yourself during the holidays

Think in advance about how you will react when the grief and stress is overwhelming. Is there a special friend or family member you can call? Will you want to attend a support group; maybe begin writing a journal.  Remember that exercise can be your best friend. Give yourself permission to cry, even if its in the food court at the mall.

5. Allow your deceased loved one to still be a part of your holidays

Be sure and speak your loved one’s name during the holidays. If you are at a point where you feel you can, carry on one of their favorite traditions. Let your friends and family members know that it is OK to mention your loved one’s name as well.

The holidays are coming. But, they don’t have to run over you!

Blessings & Peace this holiday season.

 

Greg Webber, Director

Morrissett Community Care & Aftercare

 

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Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service

6500 Iron Bridge Rd.
N. Chesterfield, VA 23234
Serving the Richmond area since 1870

 

All Saints Day and the Importance of Remembering

In the Christian tradition November 1 is often observed as All Saints Day. On or around this date many believers all over the globe hold special services or perform rituals to honor those who have passed. According to the Church of England it is a time “to remember all the saints of the church, both known & unknown.”

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The observances vary greatly between countries. Candles are lit, flowers and wreaths are placed near memorials or on graves, prayers are spoken. In Poland part of paying respect to deceased loved ones includes taking a portion of the the day to clean up cemeteries and family tombs. In observance of All Saints Day some churches in the United States hold special services, and during those services the names of those who have passed during the previous calendar year are spoken.

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Rock Poti shared these words about All Saints Day: “All Saints Day is now a day to remember those who have glorified God with their lives. In the early church the ritual and remembrance focused on church martyrdom and saints who did not have a named feast day. Today we reflect on the witness of those who serve and further the “already but not yet ” kingdom of God in an amazing array of callings. In the beautifully simple hymn text by Lesbia Scott, “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God,” the saints are doctors and lawyers and teachers and soldiers; they are young and old people we meet in the street, in shops and schools — of the now and of the past. The text boldly proclaims that “I mean to be one, too.” We are, and have been, a part of the wonderful continuum of God’s beloved community. To remember those who have gone before us, who have informed (and perhaps helped to transform us by being as Christ to us) is not to idolize but rather to acknowledge the gift of life and the threads that weave us together for the continued care of one another and God’s good earth. So, on November 1, we enter into a time of thanksgiving and remembrance as we celebrate –finding joy even in our sorrow of missing dear ones because we are indeed surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. We are the communion of saints, gathered in, nourished and sent out, again and again and again.”

Taking a moment to pause in thankfulness and honor the memories of those who have gone before us can be done no matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs. Rituals, no matter how simple, can be a source of healing and strength. Remembering those who have influenced us in the past and reflecting upon departed loved ones can be a grounding experience and remind us where we came from. It can be encouraging and empowering to reconnect with our roots and recall the lessons taught through the lives of those important to us. We can remember the wisdom they imparted and acknowledge the impact they had on the world.

Speaking the names of those who have passed and telling stories about their life can help keep memories of them from fading. Memorializing the dead can also have a positive effect on those who remain on this earth. It can be comforting to hold our departed loved ones close in our hearts. It can also help us feel empowered to continue conducting our own lives in a way that honors on their legacy and possibly even carries on their good works.

It is said we all die twice. The first is when our body ceases to function. The second is when our name is spoken for the last time. By taking the time to honor those who have died we can help their name, and their memory, live on. That in turn can help rejuvenate us as we continue on with this process of living. Hopefully, when our time on earth is done, we will also leave behind a life’s story worthy of remembering.

 

Jennifer Roberts Bittner
Funeral Celebrant/ Life Tribute Specialist

Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service
6500 Iron Bridge Rd.
N. Chesterfield, VA 23234
Serving the Richmond area since 1870