Planning a memorial service when you are deep in grief is difficult to say the least. The amount of things that have to be done when a loved one dies can seem insurmountable. So, if you can take some time to allow yourself to reflect on the joy your loved one brought to your life, getting through this time may be a bit easier. One of the ways to do this is to incorporate a photo/video memorial into your service. Know that it will be a lot of work, but by doing this, you will have a chance to relive the life of your loved one and the memories will allow you a final visit before you put your loved one to rest. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. Use the cloud to help your family share photos. Set up a Dropbox or Google
photo album to allow all family members to share photos. We Transfer is also good for family members who do not have the above cloud sharing services but do have access to email. It also is a free service.
2. Now comes the fun part, sifting through the collection you've acquired. Keeping in mind how the photo will appear on a large screen pick the clearest and most animated shots. It's best to do this is stages. Pick your best, then pick your best from those. Consider putting them into a specific photo organizing system like MyLio (free plan available). Some things to watch for:
4. Find the music. This is often the most difficult part as there are so very many songs to remind you of your shared time. A favorite song, a favorite musician or genre, a song that reflects the joy of life. So many choices. You can use a collection of a few songs, but if so, be sure you have a way to fade them in and out during the show as an abrupt change of music can ruin the moment.
5. Finally, you'll need to find a way to put them all together. iMovie or PowerPoint are both good tools. Take a look online as there are several options that will work. You can also hire a company to put together the presentation. You will, of course, have to provide the photos.
6. For those who cannot attend there are also ways to duplicate your slideshow. Check for sources to assist with this online.
Be sure not to exceed more than five to six minutes.There can be too much of a good thing. This memorial tribute will be a meaningful addition to your loved one's service as a lasting treasure for all who are grieving their loss. To assist you with audio/visual equipment needs, please contact us in advance of your service at Hilgenfeld Mortuary.
Last time we shared some suggestions to help you write an obituary. Once it is written, what do you do next?
The first step is to share it with someone whose opinion you trust and who knew the individual who passed. This will be a good check, not only for grammatical and syntax errors, but also to ensure that you have achieved the spirit of what you wanted to express. Then you can proceed to share the obituary with your family, friends and the general public. Consider the number of words you use, as most publications charge by the word. Obituaries can range from 50 - 400 words, most run about 200.
1. Your mortuary should have the option of posting the obituary along with the listing of services on their website. Not only will there be a link to the obituary, but often times an online guestbook is made available.
2. When publishing an obituary in a newspaper, either for print or online submission, there can be confusion as to terminology. Technically, a death notice is written and submitted by families and obituaries are considered editorial articles, usually written by the staff when the deceased has some notoriety. However, often the terms are used interchangeably. Know that whatever you call it, there will be a charge for publication. The charge can be by the word, number of lines or number of inches.
3. In most cases, you will have the option of having the obituary/death notice run in a printed version, online or both.
4. To run the information in your local papers, contact the local writer or editor to find out the specific process for submission. If you need assistance finding where to publish, for example the hometown newspaper of the deceased, you can visit Legacy.com which works with hundreds of newspapers that publish death notices/obituaries. On this site, you can also view obituaries that are running in these publications.
5. Hilgenfeld Mortuary can submit death notices to local papers on your behalf. Please contact our staff to find out details and charges for this service.
Today we are fortunate to have access to a staggering amount of information and thus is the case of researching what you need to do with the passing of a loved one. So much information can be overwhelming, especially during this difficult time. Please don't hesitate to contact a member of the Hilgenfeld staff during the process for assistance. We are here to help.
In our last blog, we addressed the definition of obituary, as well as the history behind using obituaries to memorialize noted individuals in society, as well as loved ones who are special to our circle of family and friends. Links to the obituaries of those served by Hilgenfeld Mortuary are provided on the website along with information on funeral or memorial services. These written tributes, also called death notices, mean a great deal to those who read them and often present quite a challenge to those tasked with writing one. Here is what is usually included in a typical obituary.
1. Announcement of the Death: Provide the name and a very brief description. It is not required to list the cause of death, that is at the discretion of the writer. The age of the deceased and the day of passing are usually included.
2. General Biographical Information: Keep in mind that short and simple is always best when drafting a written piece. Tailor the biography to the things important to your loved one, hometown, education, marriage, work history or personal or professional accomplishments. Turn to others who knew the individual to find out what they think should be included. Remember, keep it simple and short.
3. Make it Personal: Whether you share a favorite poem, tell a story or anecdote, the purpose of an obituary is to remember the special life that has been lost. You might list special hobbies, an organization the individual supported or a cause that brought out his/her passion.
4. List Family Members: Most obituaries include the close family members who are grieving the loss. Include the names of a spouse or partner, siblings, children, grandchildren. It is up to you to determine aif you want to include close relatives who have passed before. You may choose to either list the name or simply the relation to the deceased.
5. Services: Listing the time and location of the services and whether they are public or private is a good way to close the obituary. You can also include a link to the mortuary's website where people can go for more information.
6. Photos: This is an option and you can decide whether or not to use a current or older photo. There will be an additional cost when publishing in a newspaper.
We also suggest that you GOOGLE information to help with drafting your obituary. There are a number of good examples and tips available.
Our next blog will cover where and how to get your obituary published.