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Preparing for the Arragement Meeting

When someone has died and once a verification of death has been obtained, your chosen funeral director will make arrangements to take your loved one into our care before contacting the Next Of Kin and making an appointment to begin the necessary funeral arrangements.

If your loved one passes through the night, an arranger will usually make contact the following morning. If however they pass throughout the day, your arranger will usually make contact with your family several hours after first contact is made and once your loved one is in our care.

If your family feels they require more time before beginning arrangements, you can let your funeral director know at any time.

Meeting a Funeral Arranger

Before you meet with your funeral arranger, there are a few things you can begin to consider and make decisions about. Through all of this, it is important to remember you do not need to make decisions immediately. Your funeral arranger is there to guide you through every option and answer any questions along the way to ensure you are making the right choices for your loved ones final farewell.

Service Location

There are many different locations to choose from for a funeral service. Local Church, or you may choose to hold your service in one of the cemeteries chapels. You are not limited to these choices of course and although they are the more popular choices, many families choose more personal options,such as at their home, or local club house or yacht club.

You can speak further with your arranger regarding different options and they will assist you with everything from initial contact with the venue, through to co-ordinating and confirming bookings and arrangements as required. Your wishes are recorded and made known to your family.

Burial Or Cremation

The decision whether to bury or creamte the deceased can be based on very personal ideas of what is appropriate for oneself or others. Some people are guided by their own or the deceased’s religious beliefs. eg. Orthodox Jews, Muslims, Greek and other Eastern Orthodox Churches choose burial. The traditional memorial has been a tombstone or monument placed above the grave. Low maintenance lawn graves have become popular. With a lawn grave, a plaque is laid either flush with the earth or along a concrete strip at the head of the grave allowing easier maintenance.

By law, both the deceased and coffin are consumed in a cremation, leaving only a small quantity of cremated remains for retention. Cremated remains can be placed in an existing grave as long as the owner of the grave gives permission and there is enough room.

Viewing The Deceased

A viewing can help people to come to terms with the reality of death and this includes children. Some people also choose to place sentimental items in the coffin. The deceased may be dressed with his or her own clothing or another
option is the provision of a shroud.

Celebrant or Clergy

If a funeral ceremony is led by a person of religion, the service will focus on the beliefs and faith that are part of that religion. Civil celebrants individually prepare the funeral ceremony with a eulogy on the life of the deceased, and can incorporate poetry or other readings.

Embalming

Embalming is essential where the deceased is being transferred overseas, interstate or some delay of the funeral is anticipated, and always when vault or mausoleum interment is planned. If a viewing is required embalming is recommended.

Copy of Death Certificate

Our Funeral Care Consultant will organise a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate, through birth deaths and marriages as most institutions will request this document to finalise the estate of the deceased.

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Viewings

The viewing is a time for family to support one another in their grief. The body is present in an open coffin or casket, allowing you and others who loved the person who has died to acknowledge the reality of the death and to say goodbye.

The decision to view is an individual one. Mourners should not be prevented from viewing, nor should they be forced to do so.

You may consider giving close friends the opportunity to be involved in the viewing.

If possible, try not to leave the viewing till the day of the funeral. Allow enough days between the death and the day of the service to benefit from the viewing.

The choice of clothing is yours. Choose clothing that reflects the tastes and personality of the person who died. Where clothing is not supplied, the funeral director will provide an appropriate shroud.

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Choosing a Burial or Cremation

The wishes of the deceased are followed, if they are known. A cremation cannot take place if there are written instructions to the contrary.

Cremation is sometimes chosen as a lower-cost option, especially in metropolitan areas, where cemetery fees are very high. In regional areas, cemetery fees tend to be less expensive, so cost is not usually the main reason families choose cremation.

Cremation is a respectful, dignified process that feels right for many of today’s families. If you would like to know more about this process, your funeral director will explain it for you.

What to do With Ashes

There is no necessity in law to inter the ashes or keep them in an urn. You may wish to:

  • Create a memorial for your loved one in a specially designed garden or wall of remembrance
  • Create your own memorial at home or on a property
  • Have the ashes scattered at a location of significance.

 

This is a decision that doesn’t need to be made straight away. Your funeral director will give you a range of options when you’re ready to discuss this. That may be some weeks after the funeral ceremony.

If the ashes are to be placed in a columbarium wall, the niche size will need to be confirmed.

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Choosing a Venue

If you or the person who has died attended a church or other place of worship, this may be the natural choice for the funeral ceremony. This is particularly appropriate when a family wishes to arrange a ceremony of traditional religious significance, such as a funeral mass. Increasingly Australian is becoming more secular opening up a a whole world of location possibilities.

Possible venues are only limited by your imagination

  • The funeral director’s chapel.
  • A cremation chapel.
  • The graveside.
  • A garden setting.
  • A rural property.
  • A private residence.
  • A school assembly hall.

 

If you choose a venue other than a church building, a member of the clergy, or, if you prefer, a celebrant, can be arranged to officiate at the ceremony.

Some points to consider when choosing the venue for the funeral ceremony:

  • How many people will be accommodated? Is the facility large enough or perhaps too large?
  • Is there adequate seating?
  • Do you require special facilities, for example, video projection, room for musicians, on-site catering?
  • Will the service be conducted completely in one location or move in cortege to the cemetery or crematorium?
  • Is the venue easy to find?
  • Is there adequate parking?
  • Are there time restrictions in using the facility?
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The Service Format

You can choose from a variety of funeral service formats. There is no one ‘right’ way to hold a funeral. A funeral should simply ‘fit’ the person who died and the family and friends who survive that person. To help you in your planning, here are the most often asked-for formats for a funeral.

  • A service held in a church or chapel, followed by a full cortege to the place of burial or cremation where the committal will take place.
  • A service and committal in a church or chapel, with no cortege. The funeral directors remove the coffin or casket from the church during the singing of the final hymn.
  • A memorial or thanksgiving service. No coffin or casket is present at the church or chapel. A memorial or thanksgiving service usually follows a private graveside or crematorium committal.
  • A service held in a church or chapel, followed by a private cortege to a place of burial or cremation, where only the family is present to witness the committal.
  • A service and committal in a crematorium chapel or funeral director’s chapel.
  • A service and committal at the graveside.

Who will officiate or lead the ceremony?

If you or a loved one has an association with a church fellowship, your clergy will be the obvious choice. You may have not attended a church for many years but would still appreciate a clergy person to officiate at the ceremony. Your funeral director can easily arrange this. You may prefer a celebrant to lead the ceremony. This, too, can easily be arranged by your funeral director.

You or the person who has died may already know the clergy or celebrant. However, this is often not the case and it will be important for the clergy or celebrant and your family to meet and discuss the life of the person who died, the ceremony and your wants and needs.

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Writing a Eulogy

The eulogy is a speech in celebration of your loved one, a very personal account of the way they have touched your life and others. Writing and delivering the eulogy is a special task, for the eulogy helps survivors say goodbye and can begin the healing process for all.

Anyone can deliver a eulogy-a family member, friend or clergyperson-and it is best delivered by one who has known and loved the deceased. The eulogy may even be shared, with a number of people contributing words of remembrance and poetry.

Here are some hints that will help you create a eulogy worthy of your loved one.

Tips For Writing a Eulogy

Preparation

Before you begin to write, here is a simple strategy that will help you prepare. Know that you are not alone in your task; you have the support of family and friends.

1. Begin with the person’s history

Note the significant events of the person’s life in chronological order: childhood, education, jobs, marriage, children, places lived and so on.

2. Gather your stories

Jot down the stories that you remember-the ones that capture your loved one’s character. Ask family and friends for their stories as well. These questions may help get you started:
How did you first meet and become close?
What did you love and admire about the person?
What did they do that made you smile?
What will you miss most?
Even the simplest stories are worthwhile. Remembering someone’s laugh or their love of sweets, for example, can be as moving as recalling their kindness and generosity. Be sure to include stories that at least some of your listeners will remember

3. Look at photos

Going through photo albums may remind you of important qualities and memories of the person who died.

4. Find a theme

By now you may see certain themes emerging. For example, your collection of stories may reveal the person’s deep love of animals, the strays she brought home as a child, her dreams of becoming a vet and the joy she experienced at opening her own practice. Writing your eulogy to a theme will help it flow and is ideal for illustrating the character of your loved one.

5. Arrange your notes

Now you have a chronology, stories and a theme, you can put your notes in point form. We suggest arranging your material on cards, with a different story or idea on each card. Once you have placed the cards in order, you can begin to write your speech.

Writing a Eulogy

In writing the eulogy, it helps to break it down into three parts: introduction, body and conclusion. With your opening words, introduce your listeners to the ideas you intend to elaborate on. For example, ‘Today, we unite to honour and remember our loved one, who touched us all with her kindness and generosity’. The body of the eulogy is where you share the stories that demonstrate the qualities named in your introduction. Be sure to keep your theme in mind as you write and use linking sentences between each story so the eulogy flows. Use the conclusion to summarise the ideas raised in your speech and to reiterate what your loved one has meant to you.

Tips for Writing

  • Write as though you are talking to a friend, for that is what you will be doing-talking to a loving, supportive group.
  • Compose your speech on a computer if possible so that you can edit along the way.
  • Don’t be afraid to use humour where appropriate. Remember, the eulogy is a celebration of the life of your loved one.
  • You may want to use a special quote to open or close your speech. Look to poetry, songs and historical speeches for inspiration.
  • Once you have completed your first draft, ask a trusted friend or family member to read it over and suggest any changes.
  • When you are happy with your speech, type or write it out in large print with space between the lines so it is easy to read.

Delivering a Eulogy

Public speaking can be frightening. You need to be brave. Know that your listeners are supportive and loving. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes. No one expects you to be a great speaker and certainly not at this difficult time. It is your words, and the sentiment behind them, that matter the most.

Tips for Speaking

  • Before the day, practise in front of a mirror, imagining your listeners before you.
  • If you fear that you might break down, arrange for a backup speaker to be on hand with a copy of your speech. Simply knowing they are there may get you through.
  • When the time comes, be yourself. Imagine you are talking to a good friend.
  • Speak clearly and project your voice so everyone can hear you.
  • If you feel yourself becoming choked up with emotion, pause and take a deep breath to collect your thoughts. Your listeners will understand.
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Selecting the Coffin or Casket

Choosing a coffin is an important part of organising a funeral. It is often the focal point of the service, and can set the tone for the ceremony. For example, wooden coffins will suit a more traditional service, metal coffins are a more modern choice and wicker and willow coffins suit an alternative woodland ceremony. Coffins tend to vary greatly in price, also, and so it’s worthwhile to consider all of the options. Your funeral director can show you photographs of a range of coffins and caskets. However, we recommend that you also make a visit to see the range.

What is The Difference Between a Coffin & a Casket?

The difference between a coffin & a casket is basically one of design.

Coffins

Coffins have six sides that are tapered at the head and foot and are wide at the shoulders. Usually coffins have a sealed, single piece top.

See the full range of solid timber coffins or composite board coffins

Caskets

Caskets are rectangular in shape and are usually constructed of better quality timbers and feature higher standards of workmanship.

See the full range of solid timber caskets

How to Choose a Coffin

  • View our range of coffins and caskets.
  • Decide on your budget and size of coffin you will need.
  • Speak to your funeral director about our coffin range.

 

You will need to know the approximate weight and height of your loved one to make sure you get the right size. Usually, there will be a note to specify the dimensions of the coffin. If the deceased exceeds these dimensions, you may need to order a custom coffin.

When making your final decision, consider what will best reflect the person whose funeral it is, and what will look most natural at the funeral service, but don’t lose sight of the budget. Costs can quickly stack up and the coffin is just one element. You may also want to consider choosing an eco-friendly coffin that will biodegrade naturally and won’t pollute the soil.

Adding a Personal Touch to A Coffin or Casket

Coffins & caskets can be personalised with decoration. You may personalise the coffin however you like. Here are ideas others have used.

  • Use folk art, decoupage or colour
  • Apply significant stickers or adornments
  • Choose a special fabric interior
  • Invite friends to sign the coffin at the ceremony
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