By Jason Meidl, funeral director at Creston Valley Funeral Services
Grief is complicated. It can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Dealing with death daily has given me what I think is a firsthand experience on grief and how unique it can be to each person. One thing I have learned is that there is no formula when it comes to grief. We all grieve differently and that is okay. One thing I always tell my families is that grief is like ocean waves coming into the shore; sometimes the waves are small, other times they are huge and can knock you over. We cannot control the waves as they come, we can just hold on, embrace them, and be okay with knowing that grieving a loss takes time. It’s okay to have those uncontrollable waves of grief coming in when we least expect it. Having a support system in place can be key in braving these crashing waves. For some their support is family, friends, and even their pets.
Here are some questions I received recently:
“I have lived in Creston for many years, can I have you perform the service and be interred in my hometown?” – Mike
I have done many services not in our area. When I first began my career, I remember taking care of a family who had a service locally and then I headed out to another province where I performed a second service and burial in the family plot. I personally have gone as far as Saskatchewan to perform services. The answer to your question is absolutely. As a funeral director, I have also found myself officiating a lot of services for my own family. One thing that a lot of funeral directors have done, me included, is to become certified funeral celebrants so that we are better able to serve our families as the officiants when called upon.
“What can I do with my loved one’s ashes?” – Keith
There is a lot that you can do with someone’s cremains. The two most common things that people do are to inter the cremains in a cemetery or to scatter them. People will often keep a small portion of cremated remains and place them into a keepsake urn, which is essentially a smaller version of a regular sized urn. There is also jewelry that you can place cremains in, everything from lockets to bracelets. We use a company that allows our families to have not only there loved one’s cremains contained inside a piece of jewelry, but also allows us to engrave someone’s fingerprint on it as well. Another unique way to use someone’s cremated remains is to have it blown into a glass piece making it a one-of-a-kind keepsake. A new company that I have recently come across will take all the cremains, and through the solidification process, they are able to return the full amount of remains as 40 to 60 solids depending on the amount of ash provided. The appearance of each set will vary naturally in shape, color, and texture making each collection uniquely beautiful. Essentially, you will be given a set of unique stones that you can physically hold in your hands. One other way that I have seen cremated remains used is a family having a small portion of their loved one made into a memorial diamond which can be set into a ring or earrings.
Urns can be as unique as the person whose cremains are placed in them. Fred Baur, the inventor of the Pringles Can, was so proud of his invention that he had a portion of his ashes buried in one.
Keep the questions coming! Email me at email@example.com.