Monday, October 27, 2014

The 10 Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief. put together a great list of the best and worst things to say to someone who is grieving and wanted to share it! VIA Security National Life.

The 10 Best and 10 Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief
Many of us have said “The Best” and “The Worst.” We meant no harm, in fact the opposite. We were trying to comfort. A grieving person may say one of the worst ones about themselves and it’s OK. It may make sense for a member of the clergy to say, “He is in a better place” when someone comes to them for guidance. Where as an acquaintance saying it may not feel good.
Some people often unintentionally trivialize grief by expressing to the person their own opinions as if that is what the person needs to hear. While some of these opinions have been helpful to some people, the way in which they are often said has the exact opposite effect than what was originally intended.
The Best Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. I am so sorry for your loss.
2. I wish I had the right words, just know I care.
3. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in anyway I can.
4. You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.
5. My favorite memory of your loved one is…
6. I am always just a phone call away
7. Give a hug instead of saying something
8. We all need help at times like this, I am here for you
9. I am usually up early or late, if you need anything
10. Saying nothing, just be with the person
The Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. At least she lived a long life, many people die young
2. He is in a better place
3. She brought this on herself
4. There is a reason for everything
5. Aren’t you over him yet, he has been dead for awhile now
6. You can have another child still
7. She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him
8. I know how you feel
9. She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go
10. Be strong

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Springfield Funeral Home will Host its First Fireworks Show Using Cremated Remains...

Who doesn't love a firework show? People have gone all out using them at their parties and weddings, but what about a funeral? Why not take it a step further and have your loved one be apart of them, literally...

A funeral home will host its first fireworks memorial service this Saturday.
The Greenlawn Memorial Gardens event will showcase fireworks manufactured with cremated remains by AM Pyrotechnics. The inaugural display will be near Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
“We are anxious to see the first of what we hope to be many of these unique fireworks displays,” said Jason Diemer, vice-president of Greenlawn Funeral Homes. “This is an exciting service which Greenlawn is pleased to bring to our community.”
Greenlawn Funeral Homes collaborated with AM Pyrotechnics in 2013. Through this partnership, they have the ability to create a beautiful and meaningful tribute. Cremains can be displayed in a breathtaking fireworks display of one’s choosing. One can choose from varying noise levels, colors and more to create a personalized display.
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the rate of cremations is more than 40 percent, and continues to grow. Greenlawn’s partnership with AM Pyrotechnics increases personalization options for families that choose cremation and allows its customers to design a memorial as close as possible to each individual’s personality.
Greenlawn Funeral Home is a sixth-generation family owned funeral home.

Monday, October 20, 2014

We Need a Heroic Narrative for Death

Amanda Bennett and her husband were passionate and full of life all throughout their lives together — and up until the final days, too. Bennett gives a sweet yet powerful talk on why, for the loved ones of the dying, having hope for a happy ending shouldn't warrant a diagnosis of "denial." She calls for a more heroic narrative for death — to match the ones we have in life.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New Urn Company Foreverence Make 3D Printed Custom Urns

Have you heard of 3-D printers yet? They have been all the buzz the last few years, and have now made their way into the funeral industry in an impressive debut with custom urns. Now you can have an extremely unique urn made for your loves ones that really go above and beyond. They have the ability to really showcase someone's personality and display what they loved most.

Foreverence began making one-of-a-kind cremation urns using 3-D printers about three months ago. It can design an urn in just about any shape, giving families the opportunity to have endless creativity in memorializing their loves ones. The urns typically cost about $2,500. Foreverence is on track to make $500,000 this year and hopes to hit $3.3 million by its third year. Co-founder Pete Saari said. “It’s literally having a conversation with a family that suffered a loss to say, ‘What is symbolic of the way that person lived their life? What is a form of passion for them? What is something that was a hobby or interest of theirs?’ The conversation is around legacy — what was meaningful to that person, what’s meaningful for the family.”

With more and more people looking to cremation, this should come as no surprise. Pete Saari and Wally Danielson the founders of Foreverence found a way to customize cremations, and people are loving it. Check out their site, because the possibilities are endless. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Funeral Home Offers Drive-Thru Viewing

People want things fast and easy, and that mentality has found it’s way to the funeral industry as well. A funeral home in Saginaw, Michigan recently added an unusual new convenience for mourners — a drive-thru viewing window.

Original article posted here.

"The Saginaw News reports Paradise Funeral Chapel has installed a window that displays a body set up in a special area inside the building with a raised and tilted platform for the casket.
Curtains over the window automatically open when a car pulls up, and mourners get three minutes to view a body as music plays overhead.
There also a deposit opening for leaving donations, cars or memory items. And behind a door is a retractable guest book that drive thru mourners can sign.
President Ivan Phillips says he is trying particularly to be sensitive to the needs of the elderly, who may have mobility problems that make it difficult to get into the building or who may be afraid of funeral homes.
He says his drive-through allows people who might not otherwise visit the funeral home to honor the deceased.
Phillips says it's up to each family to decide if they want to use the window as part of a funeral viewing. For those who do, the drive-up window is only used when indoor visitation is not taking place, he said, and the viewing area can not be seen from the inside of the funeral home.
His business also offers a silver, horse-drawn carriage to bring the dead to nearby cemeteries.
At least three other U.S. funeral homes offer drive-thru service."

There have been mixed review on this new service. On one hand this new way of viewing gives people the opportunity to pay their respects from the comfort of their vehicle even if they cannot make the traditional viewing because of work, disability or other challenges. While others think it is disrespectful. 
What do you think? Convenient, or controversial?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

What To See and Do During the 2014 NFDA Convention


 Article originally found on 

Every year, funeral professionals set aside time from their hectic schedules to attend the National Funeral Directors Convention. For many directors, a trip to the NFDA Convention may be the only opportunity to take a vacation. It is a truly special event that combines fun and sightseeing with informative educational sessions and networking opportunities. Without a doubt, the NFDA is the highlight of the year for many in the funeral profession. This year’s convention will be held at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. By selecting a location in the city “that music calls home”, the NFDA is helping funeral directors to discover a live music experience unlike anywhere else in the world. And that’s not all that Nashville offers. ASD researched the most popular sites in Nashville along with NFDA’s full lineup of workshops and convention activities. We are pleased to provide you with this fun and informative guide to the seminars, events and attractions that you won’t want to miss this year.

Here is Your Complete Guide to The 2014 NFDA Convention.

1. WORKSHOP: Transparency and Social Media: Creating an Ethical Edge for Your Firm
Social media allows funeral home owners to communicate and truly engage with their communities. Many funeral directors are familiar with the popular blog, Confessions of a Funeral Director, created by Funeral Director, Caleb Wilde, of Wilde Funeral Home in Parkesburg, PA. As the first guest on Funeral Pro Chat, Caleb shared how remaining open with his readers has helped him to inspire meaningful discussions with his blog followers. In his first NFDA workshop, Caleb explains how the transparency of social media allows for a type of self- disclosure that honest, caring funeral homes can use to separate their firms from the competition. (Approved for 1 CE hour by APFSP and licensing boards in most states and provinces.)
  • Presented by Caleb Wilde, Confessions of a Funeral Director
  • Sunday, October 12th, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

2. NFDA Whiskey Tasting & City Tour
Take a driving tour of Nashville with the NFDA to see the city’s landmark attractions including the famous Music Row2nd AvenueBroadway and the Tennessee State Capital. After getting to know this year’s host city, enjoy a beer and bourbon tasting at Doc Holiday’s Saloon which features some of the city’s best local selections. To learn more or to register for this tour, click here.
  • Sunday, October 12th, 2-5 p.m.

3. NFDA Welcome Party
Kick off your first night in Nashville by attending NFDA’s Welcome Party at Nashville’s #1 Dining and Entertainment destination, Wildhorse Saloon. Hosted by 2013 NFDA President,Robby Bates, this year’s Welcome Party will take place in a historic warehouse turned restaurant where guests can enjoy live music, delicious cuisine and billiards in the famous Wildhorse Billiards room.
  • Sunday, October 12th, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Wildhorse Saloon
  • Located at 120 2nd Ave. North.
4. Broadway’s Nightlife
The NFDA convention will take place in the heart of Music City Center where live music can be heard from hundreds of venues across the city. Just a block away from the convention center, lower Broadway consists of 4 blocks bursting with live country music venues, restaurants and businesses. From honky tonk clubs to historic cafes to concert halls, lower Broadway offers everything a music lover could ever want. Head to the world famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (422 Broadway) to see where country legends like Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson got their start and listen to local talent cover modern country hits. For those who like a little bit of rock with their country music, check out The Stage on Broadway (412 Broadway) where live music plays every night and there is never a cover charge. If you’re in the mood for some mechanical bull riding, visit Tequila Cowboy (305 Broadway) where you’ll also find live music, a dance club lounge and Karaoke stage. The NFDA will host this year’s Funeral Directors Under 40 Party there on Tuesday night at 8 p.m.   5. WORKSHOP: How Green Practices Benefit Your Business Green burial practices have been a hot button topic in the funeral profession over the last several years as more firms embrace environmentally friendly burial options. At this year’s conference, directors will have an opportunity to learn how to integrate green practices into their funeral homes and communicate the program to the public. In this workshop, Funeral Director, Bob Prout, owner of the first funeral home in the United States to earn the NFDA Green Practices™ Certificate, will explain how he used cost-saving green practices to increase his firm’s market share.
  • Presented by Carol Lynn Green, Law Office of Carol Lynn Green and Robert J Prout, Prout Funeral Home in Verona, NY
  • Monday, October 13, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
6. The World’s Largest Funeral Expo
Be sure to set aside some time to explore the NFDA Expo Hall and learn more about the latest funeral products, trends and innovations. With more than 300 exhibitors, the expo hall is a chance to catch a sneak peak of what your funeral home’s vendors have in the works. There is always an exciting new product, booth design or special prize on display. You can find Security National Life at Booth 1902 where you can learn more about how we can help your funeral home. We believe the preneed industry is as service oriented as our funeral home client base. Our goal is to provide those client relationships with competitive preneed products and services and also accompany our other divisional offerings to fulfill that commitment. Our strategy is to educate our client base on how a service approach to marketing can increase the ability for them to serve more families. Let SNL show you a better way. We will be giving away a Peyton Manning signed football, as well as going through our iRegister and Funeral Home Services.

4X3 SNL Convention Booth 
  7. Jack’s BBQ Only a short walk from Music City Center, the award-winning Jack’s Bar-B-Que has a little of everything for BBQ lovers. Offering a wide selection that includes Tennessee pulled pork shoulder, Texas-style brisket, St Louis-style pork ribs and a large selection of side dishes, you won’t find a better BBQ joint in Music City than Jack’s.
  • Located at 416 Broadway

8. Country Music’s Roots It’s not just the burgeoning live music scene that makes Nashville the city that “music calls home”.  Nashville’s very foundation is built on music. Be sure to spend some time exploring all of the music history the city has to offer. Only a few blocks from Music City Center, you’ll find the “Mother Church of Country Music” – the Ryman Auditorium (116 Fifth Avenue. North.) Built in 1892, the theater has showcased legendary artists like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the largest collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world at the Johnny Cash Museum (119 3rd Ave. South.) On your walk back to the convention, take a stroll through the Music City Walk of Fame Park (4th Ave. South, directly across from Music City Center) to see the star-studded pavement honoring Nashville music legends and the Nashville Music Garden. 9. Grand Ole Opry This is the show that made country music famous. Located about 15 minutes from Music City Center, The Grand Ole Opry (2804 Opryland Drive), Nashville’s #1 attraction, features a mix of legends and contemporary artists performing country, bluegrass, folk and more. It is also the longest running radio broadcast in history. Unlike a typical concert, the Opry shows feature eight or more artists, giving the audience a sample of each artist’s style. If you don’t have time to see a show, you can schedule a backstage tour of the theatre. In the center of the stage is a circle taken from the Ryland Auditorium where the Grand Ole Opry began in 1925. If you’re feeling hungry while you’re in the Opryland area, check out Aquarium Restaurant (516 Opry Mills Drive). Dine while seated around a 200,000-gallon aquarium with floor to ceiling views of tropical fish, sharks, stingrays and more!

10. WORKSHOP: “Talkin’ ’Bout My Generation”: Four Generations in the Funeral Home
ASD team members have heard Lacy Robinson’s funeral seminars in the past and found her to be both informative and engaging. At this year’s NFDA convention, Lacy’s seminar will tackle the challenges of working in a multi-generational funeral home. Learn practical tips about resolving conflicts among the generations. Lacy will also offer guidance on how to mentor and motivate employees based on the core values of their generation.
  • Presented by Lacy Robinson, CFSP, Aurora Casket Company
  • Tuesday, 8:30–9:30 a.m.
11. Centennial Park
If you’re looking to spend a little time with nature during your trip to Nashville, take a short, 10-minute drive over to Centennial Park (2500 West End Ave.) where you’ll find 132 acres of pristine green space. The park boasts the impressive and iconic Parthenon building, which is the only full-scale replica of the original Athens Parthenon in the world. As Nashville’s premier park, Centennial Park is also known for its beautiful sunken garden, historic monuments and views of Lake Watauga.
12. Pedal Tavern – The Original Nashville Party Bike
If you want to see as much of Nashville as possible while enjoying the nightlife, check out Pedal Tavern, a 16-person party on wheels! Take one of the two different tours offered throughout the city and stop at local bars, restaurants and shops to explore Nashville in a completely unique way.
  • Located at 1514 Demonbreun.
13. SPECIAL ENGAGEMENT: “Radar On-Antenna Up”: The Ritz-Carlton Method of Fulfilling Unexpressed Wishes and Needs
This year’s Special Engagement Speaker will focus on a universal business concept: customer service. Presented by Jeff Hargett, Senior Corporate Director of the Ritz Carlton, the seminar will explain how to extend personal service by fulfilling not only the expressed, but also the unexpressed needs of your customers. Personalization is central to both the hotel and the funeral profession. Listening to an outside perspective often challenges you to consider how an approach used by a different industry can be adapted for your business.
  • Presented by Jeff Hargett, Senior Corporate Director, Culture Transformation, The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center
  • Wednesday, October 15, 2–4 p.m.
14. A Hall of Fame Evening: Celebrate with the Stars
The NFDA has saved the best for last this year. Head over to the Country Music Hall of Fame (222 5th Ave South.) for the final party of the convention and celebrate the induction of new NFDA President, Rob Moore. In addition to hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and live music, this event also offers exclusive after-hours access. Stroll through the museum exhibits, explore the immense collection of recordings and learn about the history of country music while sipping cocktails. To learn more or to register for this event, click here.
  • Hosted by 2014 NFDA President Rob Moore
  • Wednesday, October 15th, 6-8:30 p.m.

ASD Quick Tip: If you’re still unsure what you’d like to do during your trip, download a travel app like Roadside America or Best Road Trip Ever. These mobile apps help you to locate nearby attractions, restaurants, shops and more.
We wish everyone safe and happy travels as you journey to Nashville for the 2014 NFDA Convention. Please leave us a comment if there are any events, CE classes or attractions in Nashville you would recommend that we might have missed. We’d love to add more to this guide.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ghost Bikes

On a trip back home to visit my parents I was driving down a very familiar highway about to take my exit when I noticed to my right a white painted bicycle up on a chain link fence. My heart sunk a little when I made the connection to what had happened there. My mother had called me a few months earlier to tell me about a tragedy that occurred in our community. I am sure we have all seen a roadside memorial placed to commemorate a site where a person died suddenly and unexpectedly, but this one was different than anything I had seen before. This white painted bicycle represented the death of a cyclist who had been hit by an SUV that lost control while making a lane change, went off the road, up a grassy embankment and through a chain link fence before flipping over onto a group of riders.

I later learned that what I saw was a ghost bike; a bicycle set up as a roadside memorial in a place where a cyclist has been killed (usually by a motor vehicle) which also acts as a reminder to passing motorists to share the road. The first recorded ghost bike was in St. Louis Missouri, in 2003. After witnessing a motorist strike a bicyclist, Patrick Van Der Tuin placed a white-painted bicycle on the spot with a hand-painted note, "Cyclist Struck Here." It became a powerful reminder to the community about safety, and has become a way to commemorate the one lost.

CRAIG MURPHEY (left)Ten Eyck Street and Union Avenue, Williamsburg.Early in the morning of October 18, 2007, Murphey was biking home from escorting his date to her South Williamsburg apartment. According to police reports, Murphey attempted to outrun a gas truck turning left on Ten Eyck Street. His pelvis shattered on impact, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. In his honor, over 40 friends have since received tattoos that read BE BETTER.
FRANK C. SIMPSONLinden Boulevard near 175th Street, St. Albans.Simpson, a janitor returning from the evening shift at a Con Edison facility, was hit by a Dodge Stratus on November 9, 2006.

ELIJAH ARMAND WRANCHER (left)Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens.On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.
DAVID SMITHSixth Avenue and 36th Street.On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Death & Marriage - Why Should You Prepay Your Funeral?

October is Founder's Month here at Security National Life, and our Vice President Chief Marketing Officer Jason Overbaugh gave us an insightful presentation on the background of the company and it's origins. One point he talked about during the presentation really stood out to me. He presented us with the average costs of a wedding and a funeral. In a recent survey conducted by The Knot, it was revealed that the average wedding is now about $28,858. However, bear in mind that weddings cost more in large urban areas. Currently, the average funeral in the United States costs anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000. This range includes the services at the funeral home, burial and installation of a headstone. And keep in mind that prices may vary greatly, depending on different funeral homes and their location in the country.

A wedding, and a funeral are two of the biggest events we will have in life, yet they are met with a very different sentiment. Both are a big financial expense, yet one is a happy and joyous occasion, while the later is met with grief and more often than not burdens for others. When death is a non-negotiable in our lives, and 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce, it makes you wonder why as a culture we hate to spend money for a funeral service, but don't hesitate to throw tons of money into a wedding? This is the question Overbaugh raised. A funeral is a celebration of a life, a memorial for a loved one. But more often than not, people are not able to provide the type of services they would like to for their love ones because of the high costs associated with a funeral.

People plan and save for a lot of things, weddings, college, houses, retirement, etc. But most people aren't saving or planning for their funerals. In fact, I don't think most people think about it until it has happened. Now please excuse my lack of tact, but when the only real sure thing in this life you can count on happening, is the fact that you will die, it doesn't make any sense to not plan and save for your funeral. When you don't save for it, who has to pay for it? That financial burden now goes to your grieving family, making a sad situation even more stressful. Planning a funeral is not something you want to do at the spur of the moment, in your height of grief. As a population we are going to really see the effects of this stress once the next generation of baby boomers leave the golden years.

So why should you prepay and plan ahead for your funeral? Proper planning for your final wishes is more than wise, it is a thoughtful decision to help your family during a difficult time of loss. But it doesn't just benefit the loved ones you leave behind, you can actually save money by prepaying and planning with funeral homes, by locking down prices for services and products. Preneed life insurance is tied directly to the costs of a prearranged funeral or cremation. All of the services and merchandise that you select may be completely covered by your insurance if your funeral home has guaranteed the price of your funeral.Second, there may be no tax liability on the death benefit to your surviving family members. And the benefit of your preneed life insurance policy may be payable immediately to the funeral home at the time of your death.

What is preneed life insurance?
Preneed life insurance is an insurance policy whose benefits cover the cost of the predetermined expenses of a funeral, cremation or burial. The expenses typically include standard funeral home services, funeral merchandise, church services and even burial services and merchandise. The purpose of preneed life insurance is to set aside funds for your funeral, before the need arises, thereby protecting your loved ones and your financial assets.


Funeral Guy's Bow Tie is your source for funeral industry news; publishing insightful information, industry trends, and staring conversations that can educate not only funeral professionals but all those who have dealt with death in their personal lives.

Sign Up to receive our FREE Funeral Guy's Bow Tie E-mail containing the latest articles published. 

Enter your email address:

This blog is hosted by Security National Life a market leader in "end of life" insurance products and services. We are a publicly traded company in the business of helping families.