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Young Funeral Directors Committee Guest Column

By Amanda Crates, Coldren-Crates Funeral Home, Findlay

Young Funeral Directors Committee
Guest Column by Amanda Crates, Coldren-Crates Funeral Home, Findlay

With the Holiday Season ever approaching, we as funeral professionals look to the care of our clientele during this ever emotional time of the year.

Many firms choose to conduct holiday memorial services. We have found great solitude in this service and our families have exhibited great appreciation for us doing so yearly. Sometimes, the delicate nature of the death is hard for many to know how to treat the holiday season. We try to take all necessary precautions to make our families and anyone who has suffered a loss in our area feel welcome at this special service. We have made a valid attempt to include all within our community at this service.

As it's said, "It takes a village to raise a child." It does take a village, to work with the family, to raise a child and weather the storms of life. We believe it also takes the support of the community, friends, neighbors and family to help heal a loss. Year-to-year our service has grown and we see the same faces back annually. Everyone has their own comfort level when it comes to death; we do not want to force anything upon anyone. We let them come of their own volition, ever making a valid attempt to make all feel welcome, even those we did not serve on an at-need basis. We reach the community through a series of newspaper publications which we choose to write ourselves. The amount of feedback we have on these hand-written articles is amazing; people in and out of the funeral home along with those we see outside of the business comment in detail on these articles. It does make a difference to put personalization into our publications. Another way we personalize these articles is to include photos. Our business is a family business so we use Christmas photos of years past inclusive of our family. People in general can identify with the family coming together for the holidays; it makes them view us as a family versus a business. And this time of year we want to emphasize that this is not a money maker for our business, but a valid effort to give back to our community in a way which we are able.

Many firms use ornaments to symbolize the deceased; giving an ornament or other item for the family to have is more meaningful than we sometimes realize. Angels are a great way to symbolize the deceased, as we all want to consider our loved one as an angel watching over us once they have passed away. Also, having many articles focusing on grieving and the holidays families may take with them is of great importance. Most people appreciate these the most when they can take them home and read them without others watching, as we know grieving is a process and each person grieves in their own way. There is no wrong or right way to grieve, but as professionals we must encourage the grieving process as a way to find closure and to heal.

Last year we handled the service of a clergyman's father; I thought it would be a great opportunity to have someone share firsthand loss with those who had also walked in his shoes. The response was amazing and the pastor later shared with me his anxiety prior to the service, but how this also served as a healing tool for his own emotions.

I hear many times that it takes a special person to do this job. I feel as if we must exhibit this all year round. We need to find that special person in each of us to give back to the families we have served.

We have walked with them down the hardest road of their lives. It is time to take their hand through this much anticipated holiday season.

I hope that you will understand
As these tears run down my face;
You made me promise not to cry
And you were in a better place.
But I am here,and although-Each day I'm stronger;
Sometimes I wonder if I can
Smile this way much longer.
Everyone has tried to help
And I am so thankful that they're here;
Sometimes when they're not around
I pretend that you are near.
And I know my Christmas wish
Will be unfulfilled with this passing day;
But, I also know - I am among many friends
who with me feel this way.

,Please know that you are not alone in your grief.

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