funeral home service in Oakland, CA

All About Grave Markers

You often have a choice as to which kind of grave marker you want There are lots of different kinds of grave markers you can choose after a funeral home service in Oakland, CA, so how do you choose? You can start by learning the most common types. They include:

  1. Bevel Markers – Bevel markers are designed to lay flat on the ground at the head of the grave with the back slightly raised to create an upright illusion. They are often polished and finished with engravings, inscriptions, artwork, and other touches.
  2. Etched Portrait Marker – Etched portrait markers are flat or bevel markers that have an etched portrait of the deceased on their surface.
  3. Flat Markers – These grave markers are often the most affordable as they are flush to the ground and only about three to four inches thick. Flat markers are usually rectangular in shape and have a polished finish with the common inscriptions, carvings, and symbols.
  4. Sculptures – Sculpture markers are usually either a separate statue or sculped as part of the tombstone itself. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes from angels to hearts and much more.
  5. Niche Markers – If you choose to bury your loved one’s remains in a columbarium you can choose to add a niche marker. These markers denote which niche belongs to which person, making it easy for the bereaved to visit their loved one’s remains.
  6. Bronze Markers – Made out of bronze, these markers are attached to another grave marker.
  7. Military Marker – Veterans usually receive special grave markers to denote their military service. These markers are usually upright headstones or tombstones and are often provided by the government.
  8. Slant Upright Marker – These markers are simply headstones with slanted fronts. Usually between 12 and 16 inches high, the angle of the headstone makes reading the inscription easy. They can be finished with bronze memorial plaques or other inscriptions.

It’s important to note that there is a different between grave markers and headstones. A headstone, sometimes referred to as a tombstone, is an upright monument generally made of granite. A grave marker, however, has a flatter design and often comes with a bronze marker or inscription. You can also have a cemetery memorial marker. These are as simple as a plaque attached to a stake to mark the grave and can include a bronze plaque.

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Don’t forget to think about what kind of material you want for your grave marker. There are tons of different materials to choose. Bronze and granite are both popular choices because they are strong, hardy and cost-effective. Granite is also a good choice if you want some color as it comes in colors including gray, green, white, black, red and even blue.

Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to assist you if you have more questions on grave markers or Oakland, CA funeral homes. We have years of experience and are ready and willing to do whatever we can to help you in your time of loss or preplanning.

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Designing a Headstone

When you’re making cremation service arrangements in Oakland, CA one decision you’ll have to make is how to mark the memorial or grave site and one of the most common types of grave markers is a headstone. But how do you go about designing your lost loved one’s headstone?

Use these headstone tips to help guide you through the process:

  • Choose a Budget – The first step is to come up with how much you can or are willing to pay. It’s difficult to come up with an average cost for a headstone because they vary so much when it comes to finish, size, material, lettering, artwork and other personalized features. However, don’t forget to include the costs for delivery and installation in your calculations.
  • The Designer – Headstone designers are important as they not only give you design suggestions and letterform ideas but also play a large role in capturing the essence of the deceased. Be sure to choose an experienced designer that understands your vision and can help you create a personalized memorial.
  • Learn the Different Kinds of Grave Markers – There are a few different kinds of grave markers that you will have to choose from. What kind you choose depends on your budget, burial plot, and style preferences. The most common kinds of grave markers include flat markers like ledgers and slabs, upright monuments like headstones and mausoleums, bevels, slants, and cremation monuments like traditional urns, columbarium, and more creative urns. Don’t forget to consider what kind of material you want the grave marker to be as well.
  • Choose a Family Representative – While everyone in the family might want to be involved in the headstone design process, having too many cooks in the kitchen can get messy. Especially when grief is involved. Its best to designate one family member or loved one that oversees the design and inscription process. That way, the process is streamlined and simplified for everyone.
  • Write an Inscription – The inscription, sometimes referred to as an epitaph, is one of the most important parts of a headstone. When choosing what you want the headstone to say, be sure to really take your time. Headstone inscriptions are permanent, so you need to ensure that its meaningful, personal, and something that will remain so for years to come. One way to ensure it will be meaningful for years to come is to avoid using cliches and generic phrases. While “In Loving Memory” is nice, its rather bland and doesn’t say anything specific about the deceased. Try using poems, quotes or songs for inspiration.

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Generally, if you’re working with a funeral director, he or she will give you pertinent information regarding that funeral home’s specific headstone purchasing and designing process. However, it doesn’t hurt for you to be familiar with the process and some key parts. Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want more information on designing a headstone or Oakland, CA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more.

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Grief Myths and Funeral Homes

Most people don’t understand grief at all even though everyone will experience grief after a service at a funeral home in Oakland, CA at some point. There are many myths surrounding loss and grieving that muddy the waters and, in many ways, make it difficult for people to deal with loss in a healthy way. They include:

  1. Staying Connected to the Deceased Makes You Crazy – How many movies have you seen where the widow is worried over and considered “crazy” for holding onto her dead husband’s shirts or talking to him at his gravesite? This couldn’t be further from the truth. Its healthy to continue your connection with the deceased. In fact, many cultures around the world have deep tradition in connecting with the deceased through rituals, songs, conversations, songs and keepsakes. The book Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief says, “remaining connected seemed to facilitate the bereaved’s ability to cope with loss and accompanying changes in their lives.”
  2. Remembering the Deceased Means Staying in the Past – Remembering a loved one doesn’t mean staying in the past, it can mean connecting to them in a new and meaningful way that changes as time goes on. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only way to stay connected to the deceased is to remember past times. But your relationship with the deceased doesn’t have to stay the same. Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of Grief states, “Instead [of a static relationship], they evolve and mature right along with us”. A healthy way of grieving a loss is to keep the deceased part of new experiences and new memories.
  3. A Death is a Loss – While people often refer to death as a “loss”, death doesn’t mean that someone is gone forever. Their memory, goodness, and even wisdom can live on through the people they met and loved in life. After all, how can you lose someone when you hold them dearly and deeply in their heart?
  4. You Need to Move on from the Loss – Oftentimes those in mourning feel a societal pressure to move on from the loss. However, there isn’t really a way to move on or detach from a loss. Grief doesn’t go away. Instead, it changes. In the early months you might grieve by sitting in the dark and crying, but as time goes on you might grieve by lighting a candle once a year. Also, there shouldn’t be any pressure to leave the deceased behind. The deceased can, and often should, always be a part of you and your life, even though that part may change with time.
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  5. Grief Eventually Ends in Closure – This couldn’t be further from the truth. Grief is non-linear and generally has no end or “closure” when you can sign and move on completely. Grief can change over time, but it won’t ever completely go away. Eleanor Haley from What’s Your Grief says, “Grief isn’t something you go through, it’s something that becomes a part of you. It’s forever.”

Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want to learn more about grief or Oakland, CA funeral homes. Call or visit us today for more information.

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Cremation Services on a Budget

While all of the more expensive memorialization and cremation services in Oakland, CA are lovely, there are plenty of less expensive options that are just as comforting and respectful such as:

  1. Photographs – It’s likely that you already have lots of pictures of the deceased. Turn those pictures into a memorial by making a scrapbook, gallery wall or another display dedicated to your lost loved one.
  2. Jewelry – If your loved one was cremated you can easily carry them with you at all times with jewelry. For example, you can put their ashes in a locket with a photo.
  3. Charitable Giving – If your lost loved one was dedicated to a certain cause, why not make a donation in their honor? It doesn’t have to be a large donation for it to be meaningful and to do some good. You can also ask funeral or memorial guests to make donations instead of bringing flowers.
  4. Memories – Memories of the deceased are free and plentiful. Put out a jar or dish at a memorial service and have guests write down their memories of the deceased to place in the jar. Then, read them one by one on special occasions or whenever you need some comfort in your grief. You can even make this idea digital and have people send memory emails to a special email address.
  5. Listen to Music – Music can be very powerful. Listen to the deceased’s favorite song or artist or find a kind of music that is soothing to you in your time of loss. You can create a mix or a tape of the comforting music to play when you’re sad or to give to others who are feeling the same loss.
  6. Plant a Garden – Plant a memorial garden in the deceased’s honor. Seeds and flowers are very cost-effective, plus gardening is a constructive way to release grief. You can always add a memorial bench or stone.
  7. Repurpose Belongings – Instead of donating or storing your lost loved one’s belongings, see if you can repurpose some of them into remembrance items. Sew a shirt or dress into a pillowcase you can keep on your bed or on the couch or patch up their jeans to give to younger generations.
  8. Write a Memorial – While you may not feel like a poet or an author, sometimes the act of putting your feelings into words can be very comforting and honoring to the deceased. You can write short stories of their life, create a poem to honor their memory, or just write down how much they meant to you.

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You don’t have to spend a ton of money to honor your lost loved one as long as you act from the heart. Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you’re looking for more tips or information on Oakland, CA cremation services? We have years of funeral and cremation experience we would love to put at your disposal, so give us a call or pay us a visit today.

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What About Wills?

There are different kinds of wills just like there are different kinds of funeral homes in Oakland, CA. Do you know which kind of will is best for you and your needs?

  1. Online Platforms – There are several online platforms that help you create your own official will. These platforms, like Willful, allow you to tailor your will to your exact needs while still maintaining status as official and legally recognized. These platforms are a good idea if you have a simple estate and won’t need any legal advice, or if you want to get started early on your will and come back to edit it later on in life. These platforms do charge for their service, but most include free will updates in the initial cost.
  2. Holographic Will – A holographic will is simply a handwritten will that you sign and date. These wills are not witnessed. While this may seem like a simple and cost-effective option, a holographic will can present a few issues. For example, these kinds of wills aren’t officially recognized in many states. Plus, as many people don’t have legal backgrounds, these wills might be missing important will components and legal language. However, holographic wills are better than no will at all.
  3. Will Kits – Similar to online platforms, will kits are fill-in-the-blank documents that allow you to fill in information about your estate to create a simple will. These documents are one-size fits all and don’t offer much space to customize or personalize your will, so they probably aren’t a good solution if you have a complex estate or specific needs. Also, you will have to purchase a new will kit every time you need to make changes because you get married, have children, get a divorce, or any other big life event.
  4. Lawyer Drafted – The best kind of will is one that’s made with the help of a lawyer. Hiring a lawyer to handle your will is best because it means the document will not only be official, but it will also be customized to fit your specific needs. Making a will with a lawyer is also best if you have a complex estate, like if you have assets in multiple countries, a child with a disability, or are separated but not divorced. It’s important to note that hiring a lawyer to draft your will can get pricey – with many lawyers charging over $800 for a basic will service. However, in the long run, the money might be worth it to know that your affairs will be properly handled after you’re gone.

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No matter which kind of will you want, be sure to choose one. Unfortunately, many people pass away without leaving a will. If this happens, the government will use its estate laws to handle your estate and will appoint its own executor to take care of the details. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, most people prefer to have control over their own affairs rather than leave things to the state.

Do you want more information on wills or Oakland, CA funeral homes? Deer Creek Funeral Service is here for you.

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Aquamation and Cremation Services

You know there are a few different kinds of cremation services in Oakland, CA, but did you know there’s a new kind called aquamation? Water cremation, or aquamation, is a process that breaks down a body after death. It involves water, heat and chemicals, unlike standard cremation that just uses heat.

The aquamation process is actually quite simple. During the process the body is placed in a steel chamber. The chamber is then filled with an alkaline solution made up of 95% water and 5% potassium hydroxide and raised to a very high pressure to prevent boiling. The chamber, and the body in the solution, is then heated to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, from 4 to 16 hours. The heat, pressure and solution work together to break down the body, leaving only the bones. The body slowly dissolves, and the bones, once removed from the chamber, crushed into ash and returned to the family just like in a traditional cremation.

Do you want to learn more about aquamation? Keep reading:

  • Does Aquamation Use Acid to Dissolve the Body? – No, there is no acid used in an aquamation. In fact, the process of alkaline hydrolysis uses a material called an alkali, which is actually the exact opposite of an acid. The combination of chemicals and water work together to naturally dissolve the body without the use of acid.
  • Is Aquamation Safe for the Environment? – Yes, aquamation is safe for the environment. The solution used in aquamation, a mixture of 95% water and 5% alkali, is completely natural and safe. And, even if it wasn’t, by the end of the aquamation process the alkalis are completely used up. So, all that remains at the end of an aquamation is water, bones and dust.
  • Are Aquamation Remains Safe? – Aquamation remains are 100% safe as they are simply a mixture of bone materials, minerals, and calcium phosphate. They are also disease and pathogen-free, which makes them, in many ways, safer to handle and be around than a dead body.

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  • What Happens to the Water Left Over After an Aquamation? – As the water left over an aquamation no longer contains any alkalis, it can be returned to the natural ecosystem just like water from a sink or a toilet – through the standard wastewater treatment facility.
  • What Can be Done with the Remains? – Aquamation ashes are very similar to remains left after a standard cremation, so they can be treated like standard cremation ashes. However, aquamation remains are much lighter in color and in texture than classic cremated remains. Cremated remains made from flames are often darker and denser from the various combustion reactions that occur when the body is heated under extreme temperatures. They can be kept in an urn, buried in the ground, or scattered in a special place.

Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you have more questions about aquamation or Oakland, CA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more.

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Funeral Homes Services in the Time of COVID

Large gatherings have been banned all around the world have as large gatherings could spread the COVID-19. However, just because we’re isolated from one another doesn’t mean death and funeral homes in Oakland, CA have stopped.

Is it possible to have cremation or funeral services that honor our lost loved ones when we’re in isolation? These are just a few ideas of how you can honor a lost loved one in this time of isolation.

While most indoor gatherings are limited in size or even prohibited, outdoor gatherings are still mostly allowed. This makes it easy and ideal to host a scattering ceremony to scatter your lost loved one’s cremated remains. Invite an appropriate amount of people according to your local guidelines and host the event in an outdoor space large enough for social distancing.

You can also pay it forward. If the deceased was committed to a certain cause, why not make donations in their name? You can share the chosen charity on social medias and ask others to participate in the donations to honor your lost loved one. Get creative! Ask family, friends, coworkers, and others that knew the deceased to send you photos, stories and handwritten notes. Put them all together into a memory that you can keep for yourself or share on social media. Small keepsakes are often a great source of comfort in times of loss. You can send cards, photographs, jewelry, plants or other keepsakes to those in grief to honor the deceased and give them comfort.

Try cooking the deceased’s favorite meal. Share one of the deceased’s favorite recipes and ask those interested to cook the meal on a certain date and time. Participants can share photos and talk about their various experiences surrounding the cooking and the meal. Or, as technology has made a lot of things easier included staying connected, you can have a virtual ceremony. Thanks to streaming, recording and social media technologies, it’s never been easier to have a virtual funeral or memorial service. Many cremation and funeral providers can assist families with planning and executing a virtual service.

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What about virtual vigils? Vigils have long been a way to honor the deceased, so why not have a virtual one? Invite those that knew and loved the deceased to log onto a Zoom meeting, post photos or videos in a social media group, or even just light a candle and listen to a playlist at a given time. Finally, cremation allows a lot of flexibility in when a service can be held as the body is not on an embalmment clock. Unless your religion or faith dictate, there are no rules about when a memorial service needs to be held. If you chose, you can cremate your loved one and hold a memorial later on when this crisis has smoothed out.

Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want more tips on Oakland, CA funeral home services. After all, there are still many ways we can honor our lost loved ones even though we’re apart. Call today to learn more.

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Medicaid and Your Cremation

Did you know that you can use Medicaid to help pay for funeral or cremation services in Oakland, CA 

 

The first step is to using Medicaid to pay for funeral and cremation expenses is to establish a trust. The trust should establish your chosen funeral home or cremation provider as a beneficiary to make sure that they receive the money upon your death. The best kind of trust you set up is an Irrevocable Trust, as this form protects the money you set aside just in case you need Medicaid to help cover any long-term care costs. Be wary of Revocable Trusts, as Medicaid set seize money from Revocable Trusts if you have already depleted your other assets and you need help paying for medical or long-term care costs.  

 

The best way to make sure you use Medicaid to pay for funeral and cremation services properly and protect your money is to work with an estate attorney. If you’re covered by Medicaid you can set aside money for cremation services, but trust and estate attorneys know the ins and outs of Medicaid, insurance and trusts and can best advise you on how to proceed in your specific circumstances. Another reason to hire an attorney is because Medicaid and cremation expenses rules vary from state to state. You need an expert that is familiar with your state’s rules to best advise you. You can also get in touch with your state’s Medicaid department, local Medicaid office, or an attorney in your area for more information.  

 

In many states, Medicaid trusts need to have been in place for at least five years for the funds to be accessible, so you also need to make sure that you establish your trust enough in advance. Your chosen funeral home or cremation provider with most likely have established protocols that they prefer you use when you create a trust to pay for future funeral and cremation expenses. Be sure to talk to your funeral home and your estate attorney to get a recommendation on the type of trust you should set up to pay for cremation service arrangements. 

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There are other ways to prepay for funeral or cremation expenses beyond Medicaid and trusts, like funeral insurance. You can purchase an insurance policy that lists the funeral home or cremation provider as the beneficiary so, when you die, the funeral home with get the money from the insurance company to put towards your funeral. Again, your local funeral home will most likely have a preferred insurance provider. Some might even be able to sell you the insurance directly. Keep in mind, though, that most life insurance policies do not cover funeral or cremation expenses.  

 

Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want to learn more about Medicaid, funeral homes and preplanningWe offer a range of Oakland, CA cremation services with the experience and compassion necessary to help you. Call or visit us today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss or preplanning.

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Mourning Rituals

Mourning is an important part of grief after a service at a funeral home in Oakland, CA, and mourning rituals are symbolic activities that help ease the pain of loss and the heavy weight of grief, you should investigate forming rituals of your own. Mourning rituals help those in grief connect with others over the loss and find support in one another. They are traditionally based in religion, like the catholic funeral service or the Jewish shiva. However, as classic religion is on a decline, many people are looking other places for their mourning rituals.  

 

Are you looking for inspiration for a ritual of your own? You can try burning sage. Sage burning is another very traditional ritual. Sage has long been associated with cleansing and can therefore help you feel like you’ve aided the deceased in their passing or can assist in cleansing away negative emotions. You could also carry a remembrance item. You can carry an item that belonged to or reminds you of the deceased and help you remember that they are always with you. Remembrance items can be anything, such as a watch, handkerchief, lighter, or piece of jewelry.  

 

Some ancient cultures would host a “giveaway” in which they would each take a piece of the deceased’s possessions to use as their own. You can do a modern version of this in which you go through and donate the deceased’s possessions with other grieving people. There are often many things left unsaid when someone dies. A healthy way to say those unsaid things is to write a letter to the deceased. You can bury the letter with your loved one, burn it to release the feelings, or hold onto it for later remembrance. 

 

Food brings people together, especially in hard times. Cooking the deceased’s favorite meal and then sharing it with others allows you to honor their memory and connect with those that are also grieving the loss. What about lighting a candle? Candles have a long history of being associated with both rituals and grief. Take this tradition and make it your own by lighting a candle for the deceased at a certain time of day, a special date, or whenever you need to feel connected to them.  

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Coloring a picture, painting or sculpting is a wonderful way to release feelings of grief and loss. Create in the deceased’s memory in whatever medium feels comfortable to you. Though altars are traditionally more Eastern, they have recently become more and more popular in Western cultures. An altar for your lost loved one can be anything from a collection of meaningful items to an array of photos, candled and incense.  

 

These are simple yet powerful mourning rituals you can use after a loved one’s death. Do you want more information on mourning rituals or Oakland, CA funeral home services? Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help in any way that we can. You can stop by and visit us or give us a call today for more information on what we can do for you.  

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Deaths Overseas

Most people do have some arrangements preplanned for cremation services in Oakland, CA for themselves or their loved ones. It’s a good idea to plan, but almost no one plans on having to deal with a death or bringing a body home. The process of bringing a body home, called body repatriation, can take a long time and a mountain of paperwork, so it’s best to get started as soon as you can. Move quickly and efficiently to make sure that you stay on top of all that needs to be done 

 

If you lose a loved one while they’re traveling, the stress of that death is usually compounded by the question: “what do I do now?” Generally, the local embassy of the country where the person died will contact the United States State Department, who will in turn notify the appropriate next of kin. That’s when it’s time to get moving with an executed and signed Next-of-kin Affidavit and a Letter of Instruction that details your wishes for the body’s repatriation.  

 

There are some instances in which confirmation of the deceased is tricky, so the next-of-kin may be asked to provide dental or medical records to assist with confirming the identification of the body.  

 

The exact process of body repatriation can differ slightly from country to country, but it’s important that you follow the laws of the country where the death occurred. There are generally three different methods of body repatriation. The first is Local Cremation and Return of Cremains. Cremation is usually available in most countries. However, cremation might be more costly or less available in countries that are predominately Muslim or Catholic. You can also choose Local Burial. Local burial is possible if the country in which the death occurred allows for burial of foreign nationals. The local embassy will generally make burial arrangements and send the next-of-kin the details.  

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There is also Preparation and Return of an Embalmed Body. In this method the body is embalmed at a funeral home in the country where the death occurred and then returned to the USA. Sometimes the embalming standards of the local country are not at the same level as American embalming, so a viewing of the body will not be advisable. Keep in mind that the next-of-kin will be responsible for all body repatriation costs as the US government does not have funds set aside for these instances. Embalming prior to repatriation is the most expensive, with local cremation and local burial coming behind. Also, it’s important to note that there might be extensive delays in body repatriation if the deceased was a victim of a crime as the local police will need to investigate. 

 

If your family is put in the unfortunate situation of losing a loved one overseas, you need a funeral home you can count on. Deer Creek Funeral Service offers Oakland, CA cremation services with the compassion and expertise needed to help you through this difficult time. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you.