funeral home in Oakland, CA

Celebrations of Life at Funeral Homes

Most people have been to a traditional funeral at a funeral home in Oakland, CA, but celebrations of life are non-traditional services that, rather than mourning a loss, remember and celebrate a life well lived. They give attendees a chance to say goodbye by sharing stories and memories and then laughing and smiling about those stories rather than crying over them.

Since celebrations of life aren’t rooted in long traditions, they can be whatever the bereaved and the deceased want. The best thing about celebrations of life? They have no rules at all. They can be whatever you want them to be! Unless, of course, the deceased left specific instructions for their service.

But if there are no rules, how do you go about planning one? Where do you start? Here are some tips to help you plan a celebration of life. Start with the guest list. Who do you want to invite? Keep the guest list small if you want an intimate celebration or open it up to the whole community if you want a large celebration. Once you have a rough idea of how many people are going to attend you can start to choose a location. Some celebrations of life are held at traditional places like churches, funeral homes, and banquet halls, but others are held at much more unique locales.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box: campfires in the woods, dinners at restaurants, services in a field, or even just a backyard barbeque. Next, think about the service itself. You also need to do some planning for how you will honor and celebrate your lost loved one. Generally, celebrations of life have some kind of officiant or MC that leads the group in memories, speaks about the life of the deceased, and ushers the ceremony along.

However, you can also have a more informal ceremony without a specific leader. If you go this route, consider passing out programs so guests know what to expect, where to be, and what to do. What about activities? A celebration of life can be full of a range of activities to help remember and honor the deceased. Some common activities are scrapbooks or memory boards, reading the deceased’s favorite literature or listening to their favorite music, watching memorial tribute videos, and eating the deceased’s favorite foods. Remember, a celebration of life is a celebration. As such, it should be uplifting and fun. Don’t shy away from good fun, drinks, and even decorations like balloons and streamers. They are interesting, unique and heartwarming ways to celebrate lives.

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Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want more tips on planning celebrations of life or on Oakland, CA funeral homes. We are honored to do to however we can in your time of loss and celebration of a life well lived. Call or visit us today. After all, while there’s nothing wrong about being comforted in tradition, there is something to be said for going a different route: a celebration of life.

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Rituals for After Cremation Services

Rituals go a long way towards easing grief after a loss and a cremation service in Oakland, CA. But how do you perform a ritual? What do they even look like?

A ritual is defined “a repeated pattern of behavior performed at specified times”, and it often includes the use of symbols, rites and actions.” They offer benefits like creating community, providing space to grieve, giving a sense of control and many, many more. They can also be almost anything.

Want some inspiration? Use this list of rituals:

  • Start a Grief Journal – Grief journals are so simple and yet so powerful. Creating ritual of writing in your grief journal at a certain time of day or for a certain length of time can go a long way towards providing comfort, familiarity, support and routine in the turbulent time of loss. If you don’t know what to write, try with letters to your lost loved one, what you did that day, or even just how you feel in that day or moment. There is no right or wrong way to journal.
  • Share Memories – Create a memorial website or use the deceased’s social media to share memories of the deceased and have other people share theirs as well. This gives everyone a space to grieve and heal together.
  • Carry on Existing Rituals – Maybe your lost loved one had rituals of their own, from eating in a certain restaurant on a certain day or just regularly watching a TV show. Carry on these rituals to feel connected to the deceased.
  • Memory Boxes – Gather photos, clothing, and other mementos of the deceased’s life and place them all in a box. You can even include poems, quotes or other writings or art that remind you of your lost loved one. Once made, you can revisit the box at certain times of year.
  • Try Meditation – Guided grief meditations are an easy way to jump into a new ritual. There are tons of options on YouTube, Spotify, and other libraries. If you want to try meditating in person, try a local yoga or meditation studio. Meditation can provide calm, peace and comfort in the weeks following a loss.
  • Host Gatherings at the Deceased’s Favorite Place – Whether it’s a park, workplace, restaurant or dream destination, hosting a gathering at the deceased’s favorite place will help you remember their passions and create familiarity.
  • Plant a Tree or Garden – Living things are comforting, and the act of planting and caring for them is very ritualistic. Every time you water the plant or garden you can remember your lost loved one.

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Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want to learn more about grief rituals or Oakland, CA cremation services. These are just a few of the many, many different rituals you can perform after you lose a loved one. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do a ritual or even a right or wrong ritual to try. Do whatever makes you feel supported and grounded in your time of loss. Call or visit us today.

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Rituals Vs. Traditional Religion

Services at funeral homes in Oakland, CA and, in fact, the entire funeral service industry are built on traditions. Most of these traditions originated in religion, be it Judaism, Christianity, or another belief system.

But with religion on a downslide, what will take the place of these traditions? How can those suffering from a loss find richness and meaning in death? Rituals might be the answer.

A ritual is defined “a repeated pattern of behavior performed at specified times”, and it often includes the use of symbols, rites and actions.” Rituals have long been used in both religious and general cultural situations. Take, for example, Día De Los Muertos, visiting a lost loved one at a cemetery, or performing Last Rites on someone who is dying.

All of these rituals fit the definition, but they also offer lots of benefits for those that perform them. Rituals are powerful because they offer a wide range of benefits. Specifically, they give us space to process a loss. In a grief study performed by Harvard University, researched discovered that it wasn’t just traditional rituals that helped people going through a loss.

They also learned that personal rituals played a large role in helping with grief. These personal rituals might seem useless or silly to the outside word, but to the mourner they had immense meaning and healing power. Little acts from washing a car to going for a walk have the bereaved space to emotionally process the loss. Though they reported feeling sad during the ritual itself, they mostly reported feeling better and lighter afterwards.

Rituals give us a feeling of control. We don’t have much control over life or death, but rituals help us feel like we have control, which can go a long way towards comforting us. In that same Harvard study, the participants that performed a ritual reported feeling that ““things were in check’ and less likely to feel ‘helpless’, ‘powerless’, and ‘out of control’.”

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Rituals also bring people together. As said by expert Tracey Wallace from Eterneva, “Mourning rituals and ceremonies are meant to bring people together, to take the hands of those mourning the loss and lead them astray from isolation”.  People often feel along after losing a loved one, but rituals can help them feel connected to other people and part of a community. As The Conversation wrote, “Using familiar words and actions in an unfamiliar situation can help us find our way through it”. During a grief study done by Harvard, the scientists discovered that people who experienced little or no grief symptoms within one month of losing someone they loved all performed rituals. The experts believe that the rituals helped with the grief symptoms because they gave the bereaved a chance to mourn the loss, celebrate the life, and process their grief.

Remember, rituals have incredible power for healing after a loss. Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want to learn more about common rituals or Oakland, CA funeral homes. Call or visit us today.

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Memorial Ornaments for Your Tree

Memorial ornaments can be a small way to hold your loved one close even though they’re no longer in this world. They can help you celebrate the holiday season after losing a loved one and going through their cremation service in Oakland, CA. But what is a memorial ornament?

They can be anything you want, really. But if you need inspiration, try any of these simple do-it-yourself ornament options. Take, for example, a photo frame ornament. Most craft stores sell small wooden or plastic picture frame ornaments. Buy one of these premade frames and decorate it as you please. Then, place a photo of your lost loved one inside the frame and hang it on the tree. If you have multiple loved ones to remember, you can try making a remembrance wreath with photo ornaments for each person strung or glued together.

What about memory chains? Cut out strips of paper, like colored construction paper, and write down special messages, memories, or thoughts about your lost loved one. You can even write down jokes, silly stories, qualities you loved about them, or something they taught you. Next, glue the strips together to make a paper chain and hang the chain on your tree. Your lost loved one doesn’t need their jewelry anymore, so why not use it to make an ornament? You can pace earrings, beads and other small jewelry items into clear glass or plastic balls for easy display, or you can turn necklaces and bracelets into sparkling tree trimming.

You can make scroll ornaments. Write down your thoughts, memories, feelings and hopes about your loved one into a piece of paper. Then, make a scroll by attaching two rods to each end of the paper and rolling it up. Tie the scroll with a ribbon and hang it from the tree. You can continue to add messages and thoughts as the years go by. If your loved one loved the outdoors, make a DIY ornament using items from nature. You can glue decorations like ribbons, jingle bells, pompoms, and sequins to pinecones, leaves, or any other outdoor item. This is also a perfect craft to do with kids!

You can also make fabric ornaments. Use your loved one’s favorite tie, shirt or other piece of clothing to make an ornament. Just trace whatever pattern you choose twice onto the material, cut out the shapes, sew or glue them together, and stuff the middle with cotton balls. Don’t forget to add a ribbon or hook to the top so you can hang it on the tree. You can also add embellishments like buttons, glitter, or stitching, or add a short note on the back to explain why the ornament is important for future generations.

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Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want more memorial ornament tips or want more information on Oakland, CA cremation services. Remember, any of these ornaments would make a lovely addition to your Christmas tree this holiday season. They would also make wonderful gifts to those who are suffering the loss of a loved one.

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Funeral Home Services in a Pandemic

An important part of the mourning process after someone dies is having a service of some kind after a funeral at a funeral home in Oakland, CA. This tradition has been going on for thousands of years because services allow the bereaved to gather together and support one another in their grief by remembering their lost loved one. But now we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

With safety guidelines asking people to stay apart from one another, how can the bereaved gather to mourn their loss? Graduation ceremonies, weddings, birthday parties and other big events can be postponed, but funerals and memorials are different. How can you have a memorial or funeral during a pandemic?

Unfortunately, some traditions will need to be let go, at least for now. Comforting the bereaved through hugging, handshakes or other physical touch isn’t possible right now. The same goes for sharing a meal after the service with a large group of people and traveling long distances for the service. However, there are ways that the majority of other traditions can take place while keeping the bereaved and staff safe.

For example, look into virtual services. Though many people won’t be able to be at the service in person, they can still attend virtually. Most funeral homes are equipped with video streaming and recording technology to give online guests a comprehensive experience all from their computers, phones, laptops or tablets. Loved ones near and far can celebrate the deceased safely in these trying times through live virtual services or by viewing recorded services. There are also small services. Small families are able to host small, intimate services for their lost loved one in person as most states have a 10-person gathering limit.

While it’s not the best option, the bereaved do have the ability to postpone a memorial service until its safe for everyone to attend. Cremation allows the family to postpone since the body will be preserved in its ash-like state. If you choose to have funeral, you can host a small one and then have a large memorial service when it’s safe to do so.

You also need to take safety into account when planning. It’s important to keep people safe while planning a service. To do this, it’s best to limit planning appointments to two people in person, though others can be present on the phone or via video call. You can also plan the service entirely remote through video calls, screen shots, emails, and phone calls.

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It is possible to have services for your lost loved one even in the time of COVID-19. While it might be different than you imagined, it will still be beautiful, respectful and meaningful.

Are you looking for a funeral home that has the capabilities to help you plan a service that’s safe and meaningful? Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help. Our staff is well-trained and has the experience necessary for a customized and unique celebration that can be held at any time preferred by the family. Call us today to learn more about services in the time of COVID-19 or about Oakland, CA funeral homes.

cremation service in Oakland, CA

What Are Care Packages?

From dealing with the emotions and stress of the loss to planning the details that go with a service. Losing a loved one and going through their cremation service in Oakland, CA is hard. If this seems to be the case with someone you know that’s going through a loss, you should think about sending them a care package.

But what is a care package? A care package is a package filled with some of the thing necessary to fill basic needs that might not be met in a time of loss. Care packages can include food, toiletries, grief resources and other personal touches that will help ease the bereaved’s burden and make managing their loss a bit easier.

What should you include in a care package? Anything that you think would help the bereaved or ease their pain is a valid idea. Use what you know about them and their preferences to help you decide what to include as you know them best. If you need some ideas, try thoughtful messages. Don’t forget to include a note with a thoughtful message of support and love.

You can also go beyond necessities into thoughtful and comforting gifts. Candles, slippers, bath bombs, cozy blankets, and teas are always welcome. If they have children don’t forget to add coloring books or stuffed animals. You can also include food. Cooking and grocery shopping might be the last thing on the bereaved’s mind, so sending food is a big help. Stick to non-perishable foods that can be easily snacked on like canned goods, granola bars, cereal or oatmeal, or make easily reheated meals like casseroles and soups.

Lastly, the bereaved might not have time to run to the pharmacy or drug store for basic toiletry needs. So, send a care package with anything you might replace in a bathroom including tissues, toilet paper, shampoos and conditioners, lip balm, toothpaste or soap. It’s important to note that you don’t have to feel like you need to buy and send a care package all on your own. You can always go in on one with family members or friends to share the costs and help the bereaved feel more supported by more people.

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But why should you send a care package? For starters, sending someone a care package shows you care and makes them feel supported in their time of loss. Also, a care package allows the bereaved to spend as much time alone as they need too but still helps them feel connected to others. Finally, a care package is an actual effort to help. So often people offer assistance to the bereaved at the service but don’t follow through. Actually, sending a care package proves that the bereaved are supported and cared for in their difficult time.

Deer Creek Funeral Service is here to help if you want to learn more about care packages or Oakland, CA cremation services. Please stop by and visit us or give us a call for more information on what we can do for you. Remember, a little care package can go a long way.

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.

funeral home in Oakland, CA

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.