Archive for July, 2009

The Absolutely, Number One, Most Important Part of any Meaningful Funeral……..

THE NUMBER ONE, ABSOLUTELY, MOST IMPORTANT Part of ANY Meaningful Funeral is …….(drum roll) a heart-felt eulogy delivered by someone who loved the deceased person.

This summer we’re building out the content on to reinforce the fact that is the best funeral planning site on the internet.  Last week we launched a new series of articles on Eulogies called the Eulogy Resource Center.

A eulogy composed and delivered by someone who loved the deceased is the key component of a meaningful memorial gathering.

Think about the funerals you’ve attended. What do you most remember? Wasn’t it the daughter’s speech about her mom’s life or the nephew’s series of stories about his Uncle?  These speak directly to our hearts. We relate immediately to the speaker. They may make us cry, but this group experience will draw us together as a community and help us to acknowledge the life of our relative, friend or associate that has ended.

A heart-felt eulogy may cause us to reflect on our own lives and how we’re spending our time.

Often the eulogy is given by a clergy or celebrant who has never met the decedent let alone loved them. Although the clergy or celebrant may do an excellent job of interviewing family and friends and presenting an accurate and interesting eulogy, the intimacy of first hand knowledge and heart-felt attachment will be missing and can lead to disappointment.

It almost doesn’t matter what is said, the experience of someone who loved the decedent standing up and speaking on behalf of the departed is a powerful experience for both the speaker and the audience.

The personal eulogy is a gift to the departed and to those in the audience.

Don’t miss out on this extraordinary life experience.


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Boston Funeral Guide is “Live”

The Boston Funeral Guide is live on the internet. Next up is the New York Funeral Guide.

Whenever she leads a funeral ceremony, the Rev. LisaAnn Donegan takes time to get to know all about the deceased, their passions, their quirks, their essential humanity. Rev. Donegan can then craft a gathering to bring both comfort and solace to mourners, as well as celebrate the life of the deceased in a meaningful way.

The only problem is getting the word out to those who need her services, she says: the funeral industry can be tight and insular.

“There are people who don’t want a traditional funeral,” Rev. Donegan says, “But they don’t even know they have a choice about how to proceed. You can educate people all you want, but in time of crisis, of mourning, people go to the fastest place they can, a funeral home. The funeral homes, though, have a small group of people they exclusively work with, such as the same ministers and chaplains. What my difficulty has been is helping people understand there is a different approach.”

That’s why she’s so pleased with the Boston launch of and its Boston Funeral Guide, the first-ever local online guide for funeral planning. While several companies produce local wedding-planning guides, no one has created a local funeral-planning guide aimed at consumers that allows them to quickly and easily compare services and vendors and pick those that best suit them.

“We want to help people plan funerals at home, on their computers,” says Anna Copley, cofounder of the

The Boston Funeral Guide can be found at  It is part of, a national funeral-planning Web site based in Seattle.

“We launched the national Web site two years ago; we realized that most of funeral planning involves local vendors – caterers, musicians, florists. We decided to create a series of local funeral guides that allows people to easily tap into these resources,” Copley said.

Finding the right person to conduct her mother’s service meant everything to Sarah Erlandson, who says other consumers should have the same ability to easily locate critical funeral resources. “I am totally at a loss how to convey in mere words what an iportant part in my life Rev. Donegan played, and how grateful I am that my search for just the right person to conduct my mom’s memorial led me to her,” Erlandson said.

Nearly 30 categories of vendors are included in the Guide. These local vendors provide funeral-related services such as ash scattering by boat or plane, clergy and celebrants, flowers, dove release, reception sites and venues, and musicians.  A unique category is grief support. All vendors in this category are nonprofit organizations that provide free or low-cost counseling for those grieving.

The Guide includes articles on Low Cost Funeral Tips for the Boston Area, Green Funerals in Massachusetts, and other key topics.

The Guide includes a complete directory of the Massachusetts laws regulating funeral homes and cemeteries.

In keeping with’s mission to help people plan meaningful funerals, the site offers an online funeral-planning tool called MY FUNERAL. MY FUNERAL covers all issues involved, from major considerations like, “Do I want to be buried or cremated?” to details such as what should be inscribed on a headstone. The MY FUNERAL tool contains seven steps, but users can skip steps or stop at any time and all their completed work will be saved.  MY FUNERAL helps people consider their options, make informed decisions, and pass these decisions on to people who will carry out their wishes.

From Burial at Sea to grave tenders, bagpiper to motorcycle hearses, is a great resource for funeral planning in eastern Massachusetts.

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