Monthly Archives: December 2020

cremation services in Shelby Charter Township, MI

The Role of Storytelling in Funeral Receptions

It is common after cremation services in Shelby Charter Township, MI to hold funeral receptions where food, drinks, and stories are shared about loved ones. Storytelling is one of the great traditions that humans have of passing along information throughout time.

Many of the classic epics and books that are available now in written form were once part of a vibrant oral tradition. The Illiad and The Odyssey, written in poem format by Homer in the 8th century BC, are two of the oldest examples of storytelling.

The stories we tell help us define ourselves. They help us to connect with each other. And, in the case of stories that are told during a funeral reception, they help us begin to start the healing process after the death of someone we love.

The stories we tell at funeral receptions focus on fond memories, funny memories, a meaningful life, the impact our loved one had on other people. They are a comforting and supportive way to say farewell to someone we love.

So, how can you naturally evoke storytelling about your loved one at the funeral reception?

One way to encourage storytelling at your loved one’s funeral reception is to provide photo collages of them that highlight certain aspects of their lives.

For example, if your loved one was an ardent supporter of the sports teams from the college where they graduated or they had a favorite professional sports team that they closely followed, then a photo college of them in their team’s gear or attending games will naturally encourage people to say, “I remember when…”

Your loved one may have served in the military and may have won several honors and medals during their service. A photo collage of them during their military tour (or career) along with some of the accolades they received is sure to spark conversations from people who served with them or from people who may not know about their military service.

Another way to encourage people at the funeral reception to share their stories and memories of your loved one is by the food you serve at the funeral reception. You can share some of your loved one’s favorite dishes and explain why they were favorites.

Perhaps your loved one had a favorite comfort food that they wanted when they were sick, or when they had a rough day. Maybe your loved one had a special dessert that they wanted each year for their birthday. Serving these foods lets you tell the stories behind them and give insights about your loved one.

If your loved one had passions and hobbies that sustained them throughout their life, you can create a display of them doing what they loved or some of the things that they created. Not only will this elicit stories from you and your family, but it will also spark conversations among the others at the funeral reception about their memories of your loved one following their passions or enjoying their hobbies.

One of the common ways that storytelling is done at funeral receptions is by asking people who attend to share their memories of your loved one. You will have people at the funeral reception who may have known your loved one all their lives and who shared close friendships with them during their life. Perhaps college friends will be there or colleagues who worked with them throughout the years.

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Hearing the stories each of the groups of people tell about your loved one will be very comforting and healing for you and your family.

For information about cremation services in Shelby Charter Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home is here to assist you.

funeral homes in Shelby Charter Township, MI

Funerals of Famous People

Every one of the funerals at funeral homes in Shelby Charter Township, MI is memorable to all the people who knew them because they say goodbye to a life that mattered, that loved and was loved, and that will be forever missed.

However, when famous people die, a lot of people, who have never met them and don’t know them personally at all, consider their funerals to be memorable. Many people want to see celebrity funerals because there is a natural curiosity about the lives of people who are well known, and because funerals are events that even the playing field between people almost nobody knows and people who are known all over the world.

Many famous people opt for private funerals. However, for those celebrities who choose to have public funerals, we are welcomed in to share in the mourning of their loved ones for their loss, and, in a sense, to mourn what their deaths mean to each of us personally.

Undoubtedly, one of most memorable celebrity funerals in the last 50 years was the funeral held for Princess Diana in 1997. Princess Diana was a public figure from the time she married Prince Charles in 1981. The young princess quickly won the adoration of the world as she was catapulted into a highly visible role both in Britain and around the world.

When it was revealed that Prince Charles, despite his marriage to Diana, had never given up his relationship with Camilla Bowles, the world showed great sympathy toward Princess Diana as she ended their marriage. As her marriage was falling apart Princess Diana worked as an ambassador for causes that were near and dear to her heart and she raised her two sons as far away from the public as she could.

When Princess Diana died at the age of 36 on August 31, 1997 in a horrific traffic accident, a shocked world went into mourning. Her funeral was televised. It is estimated that 2.5 billion people watched her funeral, making it one of the most-viewed television events ever.

Another famous funeral that many older people remember was the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. After President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, TX during a campaign event in his bid for a second term in office, American citizens mourned with the whole Kennedy family over the death of a son, a brother, a father, and a husband.

One of the most enduring and poignant memories that many older Americans have is the image of a forlorn and heartbroken Jackie Kennedy walking in the funeral procession with her two little children, Carolina and John Jr.

The funeral of John McCain in 2018 was another funeral held for a famous American. Senator McCain served in the military during the Vietnam War, where he was held as a prisoner of war from 1967 (after being shot down over Hanoi) to 1973.

Senator McCain continued to serve in the military until he retired in 1981. He then ran in Arizona as a candidate for the United States Senate, where he began serving in 1982. He served in the Senate until his death in 2018.

Senator McCain was a Republican, but he was respected and loved by many people across the political spectrum. This was highlighted by the moving eulogy, seen by many Americans watching the funeral as it was televised from the Washington National Cathedral, that former president Barack Obama gave at McCain’s funeral.

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If we wonder why we are inexplicably drawn to the funerals of famous people, it is because funerals are something we all share when we lose the people we love and we care about.

For information about funeral planning at funeral homes in Shelby Charter Township, MI, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help.

cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI

Honoring a Coworker Who Has Died

Some of the cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI may be for people that you have worked with. You have had friends and family members who have died, so you are familiar with how to pay tribute to and honor their memories.

However, when you have a coworker die, you may be unsure about what appropriate ways to honor them are. It’s not uncommon for someone in the office to pass a sympathy card around the office for everybody to sign. Occasionally, you will be asked to make a donation so the office can send flowers to the funeral home.

Many people from the office may attend the cremation services, regardless of how well they knew their coworker.

But you may have known the coworker very well because you worked closely together, or you developed a friendship over the year. You believe you should do more for your coworker than what the office. So, how do you do that?

Many offices tend to push to move past an employee’s death. After the sympathy card is sent, the flowers are sent to the funeral home, and employees have attended cremation services, your office may simply act as though your coworker was never there.

This is a reflection of Western society’s relationship with death, but it can negatively affect the whole office’s morale, because it can imply that employees are expendable, and they don’t really matter to the company.

You can do something about this by leading the office, as a whole, to do something meaningful to remember your coworker who died.

You could organize a special memorial service for your coworker. Planning a lunch where everyone in office brings a dish is a great way to get everyone together to remember and share stories about your coworker. To include your deceased coworker’s immediate family in your office’s tribute lunch, you could invite them to come for the lunch as well.

Another way that you could honor your coworker is to ask if you can plant a memory tree for them in a place where other employees gather during breaks or for lunch when it’s nice outdoors.

You can create a memory board in a break room or cafeteria to honor your deceased coworker. You might ask your coworker’s immediate family if they’d be willing to participate by donating photos and other mementos that highlight what they loved about your coworker.

You could keep the memory board up in the breakroom or cafeteria for a short period of time (two to four weeks is common), and then have everything on the memory board turned into a printed photo book. You can ask everyone to sign it and then present it to your deceased coworker’s immediate family.

You could approach your company about creating a scholarship in your deceased coworker’s name. Companies often like to these kinds of things because it shows that they are charitable.

The scholarship doesn’t have to be for a large amount of money, but it should go to someone in need in the community. This might be a local non-profit group that your deceased coworker supported (a local animal shelter, a homeless shelter, a food bank, etc.) or some other institution or social issue that was important to your deceased coworker.

If, for whatever reason, your coworker needs help with medical expenses or funeral expenses, you could ask your company if you can solicit other employees to contribute money that can be given to your coworker’s immediate family to help them out financially.

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For information about cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

funeral homes in Chesterfield Township, MI

What Are the Origins of Funeral Eulogies?

Eulogies are often given as part of funerals at funeral homes in Chesterfield Township, MI. If you watched the funeral of Aretha Franklin, for example, in August of 2018, you saw so many people eulogizing the Queen of Soul that the funeral lasted more than eight hours (and two and a half hours past the original schedule for the service).

However, at funerals for ordinary people, you will probably hear two or three eulogies presented by close friends or family members of the deceased to honor the deceased and to offer comfort to the mourners who are present, including the bereaved family. The history of funeral eulogies is ancient and storied.

The word eulogy comes down to us from the Greek word eulogia, which literally means “true words of praise.” It should come as no surprise then that the practice of giving eulogies began in Greece.

Eulogies, in the strictest sense, can be given for someone who is still alive. This type of eulogy is presented on very special occasions, like birthdays or significant anniversaries. However, today, most eulogies are given during funeral services to honor someone who has died.

The modern practice of giving a eulogy for only those loved ones who have died dates back to the Renaissance. The middle Latin term for these words of praise and honor for a loved one is eulogium, which, in modern English, has become the word eulogy.

Memorable eulogies do several things. They provide inspiration to the living. They provide comfort to the grieving family and to other mourners. They create a close connection to the deceased loved one for everyone, whether they knew the loved one or not, who hears (or reads) the eulogy.

Some of the most famous eulogies ever given do just that.

For example, when civil rights icon Rosa Parks died in 2005, Oprah Winfrey eulogized her, in part, with these words:

“God uses good people to do great things…

I grew up in the South, and Rosa Parks was a hero to me long before I recognized and understood the power and impact that her life embodied. I remember my father telling me about this colored woman who had refused to give up her seat. And in my child’s mind, I thought, “She must be really big.” I thought she must be at least a hundred feet tall. I imagined her being stalwart and strong and carrying a shield to hold back the white folks. And then I grew up and had the esteemed honor of meeting her. And wasn’t that a surprise. Here was this petite, almost delicate lady who was the personification of grace and goodness…

And after our first meeting I realized that God uses good people to do great things. And I’m here today to say a final thank you, Sister Rosa, for being a great woman who used your life to serve, to serve us all…”

Winfrey’s words about Rosa Parks noted what her contributions were to people far beyond her immediate reach. They honored Parks’ character and determination. They remembered her lasting impact on the world and on individual lives throughout her time her on earth.

When you’re asked to give a eulogy for a close friend or family member, you have the unique privilege to remember and honor the deceased loved one. Your words should highlight their contributions to others, the strength of their character, and the impact they had on others during their life.

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Not only will you create a connection for others, but you will provide great comfort to the bereaved family.

For more information about eulogies at funeral homes in Chesterfield Township, MI, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help.