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Dealing with Dead People’s Stuff

One of the most emotional and taxing tasks after the death of a loved one is, “What to do with all their stuff?” Once the family has rifled through everything taking what they want to keep – then what? It can be incredibly overwhelming and time consuming. Rarely, if...

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Butterflies, Birds and Heart Rocks

Whenever I receive a call from an individual or family that requests my services for a Celebration of Life, a large butterfly swoops right in front of me. It may happen while I am in my office looking out the window, in my car or out walking – anywhere! The first few...

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Please Don’t Try to Fix Me

Several months after the sudden death of my 32-year-old husband, the subtle hints from my friends, family and co-workers appeared – suggesting the time had come for me to get out more socially, begin sorting through his personal belongings and find the smile I once...

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Scale Of 1-10, How Religious?

“On a scale of 1-10; how religious would you like this Celebration of Life?” This is a question I ask each individual or family when we discuss the components of a Celebration of Life.  Most often, the answer shouted out is a consensus such as zero, one, five, ten,...

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What to Do After a Death Occurs

When a death is sudden and unexpected, such as an accident, homicide or suicide – it’s hard to know what to do first. Our brains want to make sense of what happened, put some logic to it and our hearts are shattered with sadness. So many unanswered questions and now...

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Graveside Service Before Celebration of Life

In the past, tradition has been to have the Funeral or Celebration of Life first, then have the burial or Graveside Service. Recently, I have seen a flip in this tradition and surprisingly, I like it better. Some families are choosing to have the Burial first, then...

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Family Estrangement at a Funeral

The word “estrangement” is strange in itself, isn’t it? Definition: “Estrangement is the state of being estranged from someone or the length of time for which you are estranged.” When meeting with families after the death of a loved one, I have seen estrangement in...

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It Takes a Village: Transcending Fatherhood

Written by Gretchen Kodanaz.  Daughter of Rachel Kodanaz.  Gretchen’s natural father passed away when she was 2 years-old.  In honor of Father’s Day she wrote this meaningful and heartfelt blog. The first time my adoptive father, Taner, tried to teach me a lesson was...

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Her Funeral, Her Way

Although Cheryl had never smoked, she was dying from Lung Cancer.  Her only symptom was a nagging cough for years that didn’t seem to go away. She dismissed it until her voice became hoarser and she started losing weight. Cheryl was stunned by the diagnosis from her...

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Family with Different Faiths

Dawn entered into her heavenly experience just shy of her 50th Birthday. She is survived by her Mother, three sisters, six children, and fourteen grandchildren (with another one on the way).  Her family met with me to talk about her Funeral. The conversation began...

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Remembering Rose

Typically, I change the names when writing these Blogs, but this time I wanted to use her real name and it was Rose. I met Rose when she was in her late 80s (this just goes to show that you can meet new people and make new friends at any age). I take my little dog...

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