Archive for March, 2008

Pre-planning – Where do you fall?

I just ran across the survey results on “Getting Ready to Go” from the AARP conducted in November 2007.  The survey was a national sample of U.S. adults 35 years of age and older who were polled by telephone.

27% of the respondants had heard about and completed funeral arrangements or burial pre-plans.  Broken down by age segments the numbers were 35-49 years old (12%), 50-59 years old (30%) and 60 years & older (42%).

The numbers for the youngest group don’t surprise me but they do for the oldest group.  Less than 50% of adults 60+ have not completed funeral arrangements.  I know most people are uncomfortable talking about their death and thus planning for it.  But isn’t it incumbent upon someone over 60 to assist their loved ones with funeral plans?  Any one of us could go at any time so shouldn’t we all have plans in place?

Planning funerals is the key point of our web site  We provide articles, resources and tools to assist with funeral planning.  Funerals (or end-of-life celebrations) can be so personalized today – no need to have a “traditional” funeral if you want something special.  For instance, take a look at the casket gallery and see some of the amazing caskets and coffins available today that in no way resemble the caskets of your parents or grandparents.

 So have you planned your celebration yet?  If not, what’s keeping you from doing it?



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I agree with John

wedd-2.jpgWhen John Lennon said, “Rituals are important.” He was talking about marriage. The next line is, “Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip.” (Right, well John, you were the hippest human beingever invented.)

Rituals are a feature of almost all known human societies, past or present. They include not only the various religious rites (Baptism, Bar & Bat Mitzvah…), but also the rites of passage like debutante balls and high school graduation. Actually, ritual is all around us – – we shake hands when we meet someone new, we stretch during the seventh inning.

I think rituals are important.  Especially rituals like marriage and, of course, funerals that invite us to gather our closest friends and family and reflect a little.

At the end of the day, what is the most important thing about living? Isn’t the answer always human relationships – the experiences we’ve shared with others.  Yet, how many times in a life do we actually invite significant people to gather? Maybe we’ll invite friends and family to gather for a wedding, but that’s about it. 

One hundred years ago, communities gathered together much more frequently. Now we  live thousands of miles away from our best friends and favorite aunt. It certainly is harder to gather when you have to pay for airfare, but this stuff is important. Like I said earlier, most people who’ve thought about it say that it’s the most important thing in life. So, let’s re-invent rituals to include picking up people at the airport.


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Do your homework!

Most Americans, like 75%, get on their computers and do research before they buy any significant product or service. People are out there right now planning a funeral on the internet. We’re there to help them. We’ve re-modeled our site to be more user friendly and present more ideas right smack on our homepage. The sky isn’t even the limit any more when it comes to funeral planning. (Cremated remains can be sent up into outer space, beyond the sky!) Funerals and End of Life Celebrations are really important –do your homework, care about it — plan ahead.

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Getting it all.

We want to have it all. Every conceivable product & service that’s funeral related. Our directory already has over 300 companies in it and it’s growing everyday. Are we missing something? Some new amazing thing you can do with cremated remains? A new unique funeral favor for people to take with them after a memorial gathering? Let us know.

 It’s looking good now, but we want to have it all!

We started out more focused on our directory of funeral homes, but found that there was a need for centralized information on funeral products & services. So, our  funeral products & services directory is getting a lot of our attention right now.

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A Tale of Two Funerals

 Grandma Happel

 My beloved Grandma Happel died in the spring of 1986.  I was thousands of miles away in San Franciso finishing up my first year of law school. It was finals week. My grandparents and parents lived in Iowa. I couldn’t go to her funeral. Right after the funeral, my brother came out to visit me. We cried together as he tried to convey the experience of attending the funeral. Just writing this tears me up. 

About twice a month I dream that Grandma Happel is still alive. I dream that we’ve all forgotten about her but she’s still alive struggling on her own. Do I dream this because my subconscious doesn’t understand that she’s gone? If I had been able to attend the funeral, would I still have these dreams?

Grandma copley 

Seventeen years later, my Grandma Copley died. She moved out to Seattle and lived with my parents before needing to move to an assisted living care facility. I visited her frequently. During her final days, I got to say goodbye.  I attended her funeral.

I don’t have strange dreams about Grandma Copley. I am at peace with how we got to say goodbye.

I’m sure there are a number of reasons why I react so differently to the loss of each of these extraordinary women.  I believe that one of the differences was their funerals. Funerals are important for us, the survivors. I really miss my Grandma Happel.  Maybe I wouldn’t miss her quite so much if I had attended her funeral.  

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Welcome to TheFuneralSite blog.  We look forward to talking with you about all kinds of end-of-life issues.  Our web site can be found at

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