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.
Over the course of the next few blogs, we will focus on obituaries, answering questions that might arise when you are faced with writing one for a loved one. This first segment is some general information about obituaries, then in later blogs we'll move into more details about where to post them, how to write them and who to turn for help.
Obituaries have been around longer that you probably know. The word "obit" in Latin can be translated as "going down or setting" (as in a sunset) or more bluntly, death. Obituaries first appeared in the early days of Rome, when sophisticated society enjoyed a daily papyrus newsletter of sorts which included happenings of the day, including death announcements of important citizens. In America 's history, the purpose remains the same, which is to announce the passing of someone to the broader community. Obituaries can take many forms. Some are very official and serious, others can be sweet or funny. Poetry is sometimes included and many such poems can be retrieved today through a simple Google search. Initially obituaries were short, due to the difficult processing of printing and publishing. According to an article "The History of The Obituary" from by Frazer Consultants, the Civil War was a major turning point of the importance of the obituary in America . "As soldiers left their home states to fight in the war, obituaries became more prominent. They would have more biographical details and list genealogical information to help spread the word to as many relatives as possible."
The article also stated that historians have used the style of published obituaries to gauge the mood of the country. For instance in times of war or despair, obituaries are more sentimental and religious. In booming times, the focus is more on success, jobs and wealth. Throughout most of history, papers would hire reporters to write obituaries, in fact, it was a "beginning beat" for many newly hired reporters. Now, with so many other options for sharing the word about the loss of a loved one, find an obituary editor can be a bit more difficult. Next time, we'll cover a few things to consider when you need to write an obituary for someone you love. Thank you to Frazer Consultant's "History of the Obituary" which provided information for this and future articles.
In this day and age, we may laugh when we hear of someone who tries to bring a "support" peacock or turtle onto an airplane. But although that might be a bit over the top, pets do provide a wonderful sense of love and support to so many people. Losing one can be devastating to an individual or family. There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed of feeling deep grief for the loss of a pet. There are ways to help you grieve and it is an important process to recognize. Here are a few ideas to help.
1. Realize that the grieving process will be slow. The feeling of loss will not go away quickly. Be prepared for the sadness to linger awhile, especially at times when you and your pet shared together.
2. Don't be ashamed or undermine your feelings of grief. Pets can become true members of our families and we can be dependent on their love to turn to when we are feeling a variety of emotions. Not having them there is a shock.
3. Find a way to memorialize your pet. Put a shadowbox or framed picture in a spot near your pet's favorite spot. You will find yourself looking there often and seeing an image or two will bring comfort.
4. Don't let others tell you how to feel. No one can understand the bond between two people or human beings and their animals. You know how you are feeling, others shouldn't tell you how they think you should behave.
5. Make sure if you have other pets, that you keep their routine the same. Actually, they will most likely be missing your pet as well and will need a little extra TLC.
6. Look after yourself. This is true for any type of loss. Neglecting your own needs, especially, time to reflect, can cause harm and it is important to make sure you take care of you.
In a future blog, we will focus on helping a child deal with the loss of a beloved pet.
So it looks like spring may finally be on its way. We've had a cold and wet winter this year which was welcome to many but was also possibly a bit trying to those who enjoy the usual mild and sunny Southern California winters. Weather can so often have an impact on our emotions, our spirits and our energy. There is something about the coming of spring, the budding of flowers, songs of the myriad of birds that serenade us throughout the day. It's uplifting and spiritually can be a time of change and growth. If the past few months have been difficult, maybe now is the time to get out into the sunshine, enjoy the blue skies and soak in the beauty of spring. Throughout the southland there are flowers galore, with super bloom locations just a short drive away. Head to the coast for a warm walk on the sand and simply watch the sun sparkle off the water. Find a park to smell the grass, sit in the shade and watch people enjoying the outdoors. Guaranteed, it will bring a spring to your step and a feeling of re-birth and new direction.
Thanksgiving, or even Halloween if you have children in your life, begins a long stretch of holidays that can be very time consuming, emotionally and even physically as we move back and forth for visits, family dinners, business gatherings, volunteer activities and holiday celebrations of all types. Christmas, New Years, a stream of government holidays with trips planned, it doesn't see to stop. However, once Valentine's Day comes and goes things seem to take a breather, a calming of social commitments and pressures from the intensity of the past months. So why not make this time a holiday for you? Use the quieter calendar to plan some ways to de-stress and celebrate calm. This is especially important for people who have come through this time mourning the loss of someone who is usually a part of the season. The best gift you can give yourself is time to recover. Here are some things you can do to help:
1. Say no to social engagements that you really don't want to attend. Sometimes a little alone time can be a good thing.
2. Consider taking 10 - 20 minutes each day for meditation or reflection.
3. Cut down on exposures to electronics - unless it is some quiet calming music.
4. Make sure you get your sleep - maybe even sleep-in on a weekend or two.
5. Reflect on the past few months and survey what you might want to eliminate from your holiday schedule next year or things you didn't do, that would would make the season more enjoyable for you.
Most importantly, use your days for reflection and relaxation. This way you'll emerge from these hectic, crazy months with a serenity and calmness that will guide you through the rest of the year.
Valentine's Day Can Be Difficult For Those Who Have Lost a Partner or Spouse
Holidays mark the calendar throughout the year. When grieving, some of these holidays are more difficult to manage through than others. Valentine's Day can be especially hard for those who have lost a partner or spouse as this is the holiday that speaks to romantic love. We can't make these days just disappear, so finding ways to get through them with the least amount of sorrow will be of great benefit.
In an article written by Glen Lord on the Grief Toolbox website, he provided some very sound suggestions that we would like to share to help those who may be anticipating a difficult Valentine's Day. Here are a few:
A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government body. His or her purpose is to compose or choose poems to recite at special events and occasions for the community in which they have been named. The Italians were the first to use poet laureates and in Britain the poet is also paid for his/her service. In 2018, for the first time in its history, Anaheim has appointed a Poet Laureate, Grant Hier. Grant and his wife Laura are long time residents of Anaheim. Hier is a creative writing professor at Laguna College of Art + Design in Laguna Beach and has published several collections including his book "Untended Garden", about Southern California history and culture, which won him the Prize Americana award. His latest publication, Similitude, a poetry collection, was launched in late 2018. Poetry can often reach into places in our hearts and minds and bring peace in times of sorrow and joy. To take advantage of the postings and work Grant is doing as our City's first poet laureate, you can visit ghier.com or follow him on Facebook(Grant Hier) or Instagram (anaheim_poet).
Since its January, we can't get the word resolution out of our mind. We hear it every year at this time and in fact, usually about this time of month we find out just how many of those resolutions we can't keep. Maybe one of the reasons is that January 1st brings around a long to-do list of things we find really hard or just plain don't want to do. Goals and resolutions may be good for us, but they aren't always easy. That's a lot of pressure. In our last blog, we mentioned some resolutions that that may help if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, we hope these may give you comfort. But as we were contemplating resolutions, we looked up the definition - the firm decision to do or NOT DO something. That second part is often left out. Curious. Can you think of things that you do that if you stopped doing them, you would feel a bit better? Maybe a family tradition that only makes you sad, or a friend that really isn't a friend or a task that doesn't need to be done, but you've just always done it. Take some time and think about it. What can you resolve NOT to do that will change your life for the better? We don't mean just NOT eating sweets, but something that speaks to your soul that lets you release a burden that will make life in 2019 just that much better.
If you have lost a loved one this year, especially in the recent past, the start of the New Year may be the perfect beginning to make some changes that will help you manage your grief as the months progress. Here are a dozen suggestions for New Year's Resolutions that may bring you comfort as you move forward with your life and your memories.
1. Be honest with how you feel, not only with others, but with yourself.
2. Speak freely, your loved one's name.
3. Live in a way that your loved one would have wanted you to.
4. Support someone else.
5. Seek professional help and learn about the process of grief.
6. Be open to happiness and let go of guilt when you feel joyful or are enjoying life (this one is hard).
7. Give away belongings that only increase your grief.
8. Journal on a regular basis or blog if you feel like sharing your thoughts with others.
9. Donate your time or financial support to a cause that was important to your loved one.
10. Read more, find a hobby, walk more, learn something new.
11. Get more sleep
12. Speak your mind and don't feel like you have to be strong. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone else.
It's a New Year, a new beginning, resolve to make it the best it can be.