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cremation services in Oakland, CA

How to Save Money on a Memorial

What do you do if you don’t have a big budget for a memorial after cremation services in Oakland, CA? Memorials after cremations can be expensive. And for most people, that’s just fine. Memorials are a big deal and oftentimes the memories of your lost loved one and meaningful moments honoring their life are worth the expense. But for some, it’s important to save money on a memorial so they can spend it on other things that are equally important. And that’s OK, too.

However, working within a small memorial budget can be hard, especially for people who have big dreams of what they want their lost loved one’s service to look like. If you’re worried about the cost of a memorial, maybe it’s time to cut back on the budget. Think about it this way – you won’t be stressed about bills or money, and you’ll actually be able to soak in the time spent honoring and remembering your loved one. Not sure how to decrease your budget to save you money?

Here are some tips for cutting down your memorial budget.

First, DIY as much as possible. While there are some aspects of a memorial you don’t want to DIY, like preparing the body, there are tons of things you can. For example, make your centerpieces, create your own floral arrangements, design your own programs, or ask friend and family to help with set up and tear down. There’s also the option of DIYing the food at the reception following the service if you want to go with a more casual vibe and your venue allows.

What about skipping stationary? The cost of paper death announcements and memorial invitations really adds up. Luckily, there are tons of digital platforms that will send these out for free. If you’re set on having paper invitations, consider mixing them with a digital RSVP system. You can also cut things like day-of programs, and menu cards as they always get thrown out anyway. Instead, try big chalkboard signs that can give the same information for way less than half the cost. You can also make cuts to the guest list. This is the simplest way to save money on a memorial. Think about it like this: a 300-person memorial reception will automatically be twice as expensive as a 150-person reception.

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Pare down your guest list to just people you really know and really love, and you’ll see your budget go way down. However, don’t skimp on the venue. The one thing you shouldn’t try and scrimp on? The memorial home. The memorial home has such a massive impact on the entire day, so don’t try and cut back there. Instead, use these tips for other ways to save money.

We are here to help if you want more memorial or funeral planning tips. As an Oakland, CA cremation service provider, we have the expertise needed to make your lost loved one’s service the best it can be, no matter what your budget. Call or visit us today to learn more.

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Tips for Offering Sympathy to a Coworker

What do you do when one of your coworkers loses a loved one and has to plan a service at a funeral home in Oakland, CA? Workplace relationships are already tricky, but they can get even trickier when one of your coworkers loses a loved one. Situations like these can be very difficult to navigate as it’s hard to know what to say or what to do to be helpful and comforting but still professional.

How do you properly express sympathy in the workplace? There are a few ways to go about it. For example, if you’re speaking to a bereaved coworker from just yourself, you can say things like: “My heart goes out to you during this difficult time.”, “Please let me know if I can help in any way.”, “My warm thoughts and sincere prayers are with you and your loved ones.”, or “Please know I’m here for you in this season of mourning.” If you’re speaking on behalf of a team or the entire company, try something like: “We are fully behind you and however much time you need! You have the sincere condolences of the entire team in this challenging time.”, or “On behalf of the company, we are here to help you through this.”

But where and when do you convey these sentiments? Oftentimes the easiest and best way to convey condolences in a professional setting is via email. Here are some tips for writing a professional condolences email, like don’t make it about you. Phrases like “I know how you feel” aren’t helpful and may make the recipient feel as if you’re not seeing them in their specific pain. Instead, share a memory of their lost loved one. Be professional in tone and style and use a simple subject line. Its best to avoid unprofessional or flippant writing. Therefore, don’t use things like slang, cliches, or emojis. Be sure to make your subject line clear and simple so they know the message isn’t about work but is instead about their loss. Try something like: “My Condolences” or “With Deepest Sympathy.” Also, not everyone shares the same religious beliefs. Don’t assume they believe in the afterlife by using generic expressions like “they’re in a better place.” You can, however, say you will pray for them if that is in line with your beliefs or religion.

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You should also offer specific help. Don’t offer advice. Instead, offer to help in specific ways. For example, you could offer to deliver a home cooked meal, send a gift card for a grocery delivery service, or send a bouquet of their favorite flowers. No matter how you offer to help, don’t be too pushy or insistent. Finally, sign off professionally and proofread. Though this email is personal in nature, you should still sign off in a professional manner. Avoid signing off with sentiments like, “All of my love,” as it can be too informal. Instead use “All my best” or “With sympathy” before signing.

We are here to help if you want more tips on dealing with workplace loss or planning Oakland, CA funeral homes. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in our time of loss or preplanning.

cremation services in Oakland, CA

Got Strange Cremation Service Questions?

Lots of people wonder a lot of odd or quirky things about cremation services in Oakland, CA.

From the icky to the bizarre, its normal to have questions about cremation. Are you ready to satisfy your curiosity?

Here are the answers to some of the most common weird cremation questions.

  1. Are the ashes really the person? Cremation ashes, sometimes called cremains, are the bits of bones leftover after the cremation process. So yes, the ashes really are the person. Every cremation provider has safety and identification protocols in place to ensure that the proper cremains are returned to the proper family, so you can rest assured the ashes you receive are the ashes of your lost loved one.
  2. Do teeth burn during cremation? Teeth usually burn up during the cremation process. Tooth fragments that are not burnt up will be ground during the ash processing.
  3. Do cremains have DNA? Cremains rarely hold enough DNA to be read during an analysis. The bone and teeth fragments left behind after the process are ground into a fine powder, making it almost impossible to extract viable DNA for testing.
  4. Can you be cremated without a funeral? You can be cremated without a funeral service. This is called direct cremation. Your loved ones can always have a memorial service at a later date after the cremation if they or you so choose.
  5. What is the most affordable way to be cremated? Whole-body donations, or donating the entire body to science, comes with a no-cost cremation, making it the most affordable way to be cremated.
  6. Are bodies cremated in their caskets? Bodies will be removed from their caskets if the caskets are not suitable for cremation. But, if the casket is able to be cremated, the body will be cremated while still inside the casket.
  7. Is cremation common? The National Funeral Directors Association states the current rate of cremation is about 56%, while traditional burial is 37%. In short, it is safe to say that cremation is the most common disposition method in the country.
  8. Can you watch a cremation? Some cremation providers do allow the bereaved to view the cremation from a separate chamber. However, as the entire process takes several hours, most only allow the bereaved to view the body being placed into the cremation chamber.
  9. Are bodies cremated with clothes on? Bodies are cremated in what they died in if they are cremated with direct cremation. If they’re cremated after a funeral, they will be cremated in the clothes they were placed in for the service.
  10. Do bodies sit up during cremation? Because of the cremation chamber’s high heat, some bodies go into what’s called a pugilistic stance, meaning the elbows, knees, and fists clench from dehydration due to the extreme heat. The pugilistic stance may make the body appear shorter or stiffer, but it will not make the body sit up.

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We are here to help if you have more questions about Oakland, CA cremation services. Please call or visit us today to learn about what we can do for you in your time of loss, preplanning, or curiosity.

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Ceremony Crowns

Funeral crowning celebrates the life of the deceased at funeral home services in Oakland, CA. But what kind of crown should you use in the service?

In crowning ceremonies, a crown is presented by a family member or officiant and then placed on the deceased’s head inside the coffin. Those in attendance also sing group songs and hymns, give sympathies to the family of the deceased, and generally celebrate the deceased’s life on earth. Funeral crowning celebrates the life of the deceased. The act of a crowning ceremony, even removed from the context of homegoing, is to offer a final gift of grace to the deceased which they may not have received in life, serving as a recognition of their importance in the lives of others and a crowning of the life they lived. You can also view a crowning ceremony as a way to put a more positive spin on a traditional funeral, making it an event that allows for the wide range of emotions that come with losing a friend, family member, or loved one.

Crowns used in funeral crowning ceremonies are usually provided by the funeral home. Most providers have some in stock meant to be loaned out during ceremonies and services. However, some bereaved choose to purchase a crown specifically for their lost loved one.

Some of the most common types of funeral crowns include costume crowns. Costume crowns and tiaras, like those found in Halloween shops or accessory stores, are flashy and bright, making them ideal for use in funeral crowning ceremonies. If you choose a costume crown for a crowning, look for ones with lots of rhinestones for a lustrous, eye-catching effect. You can also use wooden crowns. Wooden funeral crowns are natural yet powerful. They can symbolize a connection to the earth as well as wisdom, strength of spirit, and other qualities of the deceased. As wooden funeral crowns are less common, it may be difficult to find one to purchase and therefore it might be best to make your own.

There are also flower crowns and DIY crowns. Flower crowns and hand-woven head wreathes are great for crowning ceremonies as they are beautiful, natural, and have a long-standing tradition in memorializing the dead. In ancient European societies, unmarried women who died were given flower crowns to symbolize and bless their new lives as brides of Christ. People who are deeply affected by the death of a loved one may find comfort in the act of making a funeral crown for the deceased. DIY crowns can also be made to perfectly suit the deceased and what made them unique, serving as a symbol of their individualism, achievements, or another aspect of their lives. If you choose to make the funeral crown, be sure you communicate it with your provider and bring it to them well in advance of the ceremony.

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We are here to help if you want to learn more about funeral crowns or Oakland, CA funeral homes. Call or visit us today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss or preplanning.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

Want to Involve Your Kids in a Memorial?

Your kids deserve to participate in a memorial after a cremation service in Oakland, CA as it will not only make them feel included, but it will also help them express their own grief in constructive ways. Keep reading to learn more about involving your kids in a memorial.

You need to make sure the service is memorable, respectful, and meaningful, but you should also make sure your kids feel included as they knew and loved the deceased, too. What can you do to help them feel included? These tips can help.

To begin, try making them part of the service. While younger children might not be able to be part of a memorial or funeral, older kids certainly can. In fact, many older kids would be honored be part of remembering and celebrating their lost loved ones. You can make kids part of the service by having them do a reading, make a short speech, lead a prayer, or even just stand up at the front with the rest of the family.

To make them feel included, add a few kid-friendly games or activities to the service schedule to make sure they are part of the event. Set up a children’s table with coloring books or crafts or hire a babysitter to help keep them entertained during the long day. Even having a side room where they can go if the service gets overwhelming will be helpful. It won’t hurt to put in a little extra effort with your little ones while planning a memorial or funeral. You don’t want anyone to feel neglected. Try putting aside some one-on-one time for your younger children while planning. You can take them with you while running errands and stop for lunch or an ice cream after, or just add a bit of extra play time into your daily schedule.

What about assigning them responsibilities? One sure-fire way to keep everyone happy and feeling involved is to actually involve everyone. Handing out responsibilities to your kids is sure to keep them happy and help them feel like they’re part of the experience. Plus, there’s lots to do when planning and executing a service, so the extra help will be appreciated. Get them to help with researching good quotes for speeches, helping guests make travel arrangements, or drawing pictures for decorations. Your other kids will feel excited and engaged if you give them a personal assignment to help make their lost loved one’s service the best it can be. You can also add activities for them and give them one-on-one attention. If your other children are younger, they might feel left out of the service and the planning because such events usually don’t have activities for younger kids.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

Want more tips on getting your kids involved or on planning memorial services for your lost loved one? We’re committed to making sure your lost loved one’s service and Oakland, CA cremation service is as meaningful and respectful as possible. Call or visit us today to learn more.

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All About Military Services

A veteran can earn a military honors service at a funeral home in Oakland, CA by serving their country in an honorable way. Every honorably discharged veteran is eligible for standard military honors, no matter which branch of the armed forces they served in, whether they died in battle, or if they lived a long life.

Military Funeral Service Etiquette

These tips will help shed light on military funeral etiquette, like where to sit. Only immediate family members of the deceased should sit in the front row, as this is a pale of honor and makes it easier to give them the folded flag. Everyone seated should stay seated throughout the entire service, unless directed to stand. Keep in mind, only current or former military members should salute, but all civilians should remove hats or headgear during the salute. Also, when dressing, remember that men should wear a darkly colored suit and a tie, while women should wear a dark suite, dress, or skirt and blouse. All military personnel should wear their dress uniforms. Similar to standard funerals, its best to dress as conservatively as possible out of respect for the deceased.

Types of Military Services

Did you know there are two kinds of military honors services: standard military honors and full military honors? In a standard military honors service, a military chaplain officiates the service and serves as a counselor for the bereaved before and after the service. A standard service also includes a United States flag that is draped over the casket for the service and given to the family afterwards as a keepsake to honor their lost loved one’s service. An honor guard to present arms and salute the deceased is another part of a standard military honors. At the appropriate time, two members of the guard will perform the flag folding ceremony. The guard will fold the flag into a tri-corner shape. The guard will present the flag to the next of kin. Finally, a standard military honors service includes the playing of Taps, a standard bugle call during which everyone should stand and face the flag. Military personnel will salute, and civilians will place their right hand over their hearts.

A full military honors service includes the same elements as standard service as well as several other honors, like a star-ranking officers are honored with a fired salute. In this tradition, the deceased will receive a specific number of gun salute depending on his or her military rank. For example, Five-Star ranking Generals, along with chiefs of staff, cabinet members, and other high-ranking US officials will receive a 19-gun salute, Three-Star ranking officers will receive a 15-gun salute, and One-Star ranking officers will receive an 11-gun salute. The full 21-gun salute is reserved for the President as Commander-in-Chief. A full military honors funeral also includes a military band and an escort platoon to accompany the deceased to burial or the service. Finally, a Colonel/Captain and above will receive standard military honors and a caparisoned, riderless horse to symbolize a fallen leader.

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We are here to help if you want more information on military honors or Oakland, CA funeral homes. Please give us a call or pay us a visit us today.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

Military Funeral Flags After the Cremation Service

Here are some unique and helpful ideas to inspire you for what you can do with your lost loved one’s military flag after their memorial and cremation service in Oakland, CA.

 

A military funeral flag is a standard United States flag that’s draped over the coffin or urn of a veteran or military service member during their funeral, memorial, or internment ceremony. Also known as a military burial flag, the flag is folded up after the service is over 13 times to form a triangle, perhaps representing the 13 original colonies and the shape of the hats traditionally worn during the Revolutionary War. After its folded, the flag is given to the deceased’s closest family member, like a spouse, parents, sibling, or other next of kin. The VA provides funeral flags at no cost for both active duty and retired veterans of any of the armed force divisions. Civilians can request flags, but they do come at a cost.

 

There are several options that both honor the memory of your lost loved one and respect the nature of the flag. Some of them include buying a personalized military flag case or a memorabilia and flag display case. There are many flag cases available for sale, such as personalized cases that display the veteran’s service branch, name, and rank. The wooden case keeps the flag free from dust, and a felt-lined lid provides an area to proudly display awards and insignia.

 

You can also fly the flag or display it in a homemade case. While the official United States Flag Code does not mention whether or not you are allowed to fly a military funeral flag, there are two main factions divided on this issue. Some believe that once a funeral flag is folded it should remain that way, meaning it cannot be flown. Others believe flying the flag is a noble and patriotic way of honoring the deceased. Make your own case to display the funeral flag on your mantle, on a shelf, or on a wall. This is a great way to invest time and meaningful craftsmanship into honoring your lost loved one. If your lost loved one was cremated, you can also buy a flag display case that is designed to fit perfectly on top of their cremation urn. This way, you can keep your lost loved one’s remains and their funeral flag in the same place.

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Showcase your lost loved one’s military memorabilia and their funeral flag with a special display case. Such cases are perfect to exhibit awards, patches, photos, insignia, and more. You can choose a wall-mountable or standing versions of this kind of case so you can display memorabilia and the flag wherever it fits best in your home.

We are here to help if you want more information on military funeral flags or Oakland, CA cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do to help during your time of loss or preplanning.

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Wake Catering

How do you choose the right type of food service for your loved one’s wake after a service at a funeral home in Oakland, CA? After all, what you serve and how you serve it have a big impact on your guest’s enjoyment, making food a big pressure point in any wake after a funeral service. How do you choose the right food?

Start by deciding how you want the food to be served. The most common options are plated, buffet, food stations, cocktail, and family style. The most traditional wake food style, plated dinners are when the guests are served individual, pre-portioned plates for each course. Generally, guests select their preferred main course dish from a list of options in advance the wake. There are many good things about plated dinners, such as that they limit food waste, and they have a fancier feel. However, plated dinners can cost more than other styles as they take more staff to make and serve. They also take more planning time as you have to carefully place each guest to make sure they get the food they ordered.

Buffets are usually popular for wakes with large numbers of guests or those that want to offer lots of different food options. Buffets are great as they cater to many different tastes and are generally cost effective. However, buffet lines can get very long, slowing down the evening. There are also food stations. Similar to buffets, food stations are placed all around the reception hall with different sections at each one. You can have a pasta, raw bar, carving, or dessert stations, or any other kind you can think of. People tend to enjoy the ability to mingle and select their own food, and the number of stations keep lines short. However, stations require a large space and lots of staff.

What about family style? Family style is a sit-down dinner in which waiters bring large portions of food to the table and guests serve themselves like they would at home. This allows people to select the food they want and the quantity they want, and also makes the dinner feel more social and less formal. However, you do need large tables to accommodate big serving platters, and family style can be expensive. You could also try cocktail style. Instead of a sit-down meal, you can have small, passed hot and cold items served on platters by waiters. This lends itself to small venues and more intimate wakes, but guests might be disappointed if they were expecting a big meal. Usually served on long tables, buffets offer up many food options for guests to self-select, from meat and fish to pastas, salads, and other sides.

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As an Oakland, CA funeral home, we have years of planning experience at your disposal and are honored to do whatever we can to help you. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss or preplanning.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

Grief Counseling After Cremation Services

Grief counseling is a specific form of therapy that helps you cope with the effects of a major loss after a cremation service in Oakland, CA. There are many different ways you can get help and support when you’re grieving after a loss and cremation service in Oakland, CA, grief counseling is just one of them. Though it comes in many different forms, it commonly involves taking through your feelings about and reactions to the loss of a loved one or any other grief-inducing event such as divorce, infertility, or an adoption falling through.

The main goal of grief counseling is to give you tools to help you deal with the emotional, spiritual, physical, and social effects of grief. The counselor will help you process what has happened, identify what you are experiencing, and provide strategies that help you cope in the healthiest way possible. As there are different kinds of grief counseling, there are different kinds of grief counselors including licensed or certified grief counselors. Licensed or certified grief counselors are mental health professionals who focus on treating individuals and families suffering from loss, whether that means a death or a divorce, loss of a job, or even the loss of a pet. Because grief comes in many different forms for many different people, there are lots of different kinds of grief counselors. Some work in group settings, others focus on private sessions. Some just listen, others give advice and actionable tools to help you move through the grieving process.

There is also pastoral counseling and support groups. Many people find comfort through their faith, making pastoral counseling an excellent choice for getting through grief. This type of counseling helps back up your faith and gives you guidance and support in grief through religious texts and concepts. Many people feel alone after the loss of a loved one. Support groups are excellent for making you feel less alone or if you’re uncomfortable talking to a professional in a one-on-one setting. In support groups, each member works in tandem with the others and gives instant validation from being around others who can understand on some level. Funeral homes, churches, hospitals, and community centers all usually offer support groups or recommendations.

You can also get grief counseling from professional therapists. “Therapist” refers to psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors. Though they have different titles, each of these professionals are educated and certified in helping with mental and emotional problems. However, their different titles do indicate different specialties. Psychiatrists can diagnose mental health conditions and prescribe medicine, while psychologists are trained in talk therapy, the study of behavior, and psychological testing and analysis and therefore cannot prescribe medicine. Counselors are trained to help individuals address specific problems involving behavior and mental and emotional well-being. You can find any of these professional therapists in locations such as mental health clinics, community centers, hospitals, online practices, military facilities, and schools.

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We are here to help if you have more questions on grief counseling or on Orange Park, FL cremation services. Call or visit us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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What Is Funeral Crowning?

Many cultures choose to view services at funeral homes in Oakland, CA as chance to celebrate the life of their lost loved one through unique traditions rather than viewing them as sad events in which they mourn the death of their loved one. One such happy, celebrating tradition is the crowning ceremony.

A crowning ceremony is a traditional part of an African American or Black Canadian homegoing ceremony in which, before the final viewing and benediction, a crown is presented by a family member or officiant and then placed on the deceased’s head inside the coffin. The crown used in a crowning ceremony is just what you’d imagine, a jeweled, bedazzled, or otherwise decorated ornament that is sometimes ordered special by the family or borrowed from the funeral home for the service.

The crown is often presented to a piece of music, sung along by the gathering or by a special choir, and is placed on the head of the deceased, proving they were a king or queen both in life and in death. Then the service continues according to the funeral program. The funeral crown holds specific significance thanks to symbolism in the Bible. Revelation 2:10 reads, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Though the “crown of life’ referenced in this passage is not a literal crown, it does represent the gift of eternal life for those who believe in God.

The crowning ceremony is derived from this passage and serves to symbolize this promise of eternal life through a physical crown. Though the crowning ceremony is a modern tradition, it does have roots in several ancient traditions from many different parts of the world. Throughout history there have been many cultural practices surrounding death that depict an idea of what happens in the afterlife, such as Egypt and Poland. Ancient Egyptians decorated their dead and the tombs with clothing, jewels, and everyday items as they believed the dead would take whatever they wore and whatever was buried with them into the afterlife. In the 1500s, Polish kings were buried with the Funeral Crown, known in Latin as Corona Funebris, until the next king died, and the crown was passed to him. The living kings wore different crowns.

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The most recent iteration of the crowning ceremony popped up very recently, as demonstrated in the viral video of “coffin dancers” carrying a casket in rhythmic step to an upbeat and celebratory song. While some people thought the video was disrespectful of the dead, it is, in actuality, just a different way of honoring the deceased than many Americans are used to. It’s simply a unique form of celebration for the dead, to stay joyful and positive for who they were in life.

We are here to help if you want to celebrate your lost loved one with a crowning ceremony or a more traditional service. Call or visit us today to learn more about our Oakland, CA funeral home services.