Thursday, May 30, 2013

Legacy Funeral Home--Sun City

Legacy Funeral Home is happy to finally have our own freestanding building in the West Valley! We have been out in Peoria for a year, but we were leasing a small space until we could find the perfect home.  We found it about a mile away in Sun City, on the North West Corner of 107th Ave. and Peoria Ave. The new location is up and running, construction has ceased (thanks to those who had to put up with the noise and hammering while we finished the remodel).  We couldn't be happier with the new building, and the opportunity it gives us to provide our customers with better services.  We wanted to share some pictures of our new location:
The outside of the Funeral Home with the traditional brick exterior, and beautiful tall white arches gives it a traditional, welcoming feel.  We have a large parking lot, that can accommodate those larger services.
Entrance, looking right, toward our chapel.  We found this beautiful metal "family tree" that matches our logo tree.  On the wall is our motto:  "Honoring a life well lived, and the Legacy left behind."

Our lobby is warm and inviting, with beautiful artwork, comfortable traditional furniture and gorgeous warm colors.  You will feel right at home.

Our coffee room, or kitchen area is perfect for enjoying a nice cup of coffee, or a treat during your visit to our funeral home.  This area can also be used for serving refreshments, or drinks during or after viewings or funeral services.  There is room for 10 people to sit comfortably.
Our beautiful handmade custom florals, add rich colors and bring the decor together.

 Our chapel can accommodate both large gatherings, and smaller more intimate services.  We can fit up to 100 people for any funeral or memorial service. The rich colors, and dark wood blinds along with the elegant, beautiful draperies and floral sconces, make our chapel the perfect place for your family to gather and remember your loved one.

Feel free to stop by at any time and see our new building.  We welcome anyone in the neighborhood to come on by anytime and we would be happy to show you around. We are open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.--Saturday and Sunday by appointment only.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Never too Old to Stop Learning...

I had the opportunity again this week to tag along with my husband as he performed a funeral for a family in Lodi, California. It amazes me that even though Todd has done thousands of funerals, you would think that this was among the first by the care and attention given to the family.  He really has a way of making them feel at ease, even in the worst time of their lives.  I watched him as he interacted with this particular family, who was seeing their mom and grandma for the first time, as she had died in Arizona, and these relatives lived up in Northern California where their loved one was to be buried.  He talked with them about how beautiful she was, how she looked so peaceful, and even happy.  She just looked to be sleeping, at rest, and at peace. One of the relatives came to the funeral quite distraught, but then saw Todd standing there, and because he knew him from another service he did for someone else in the family, he felt comfortable enough to come over to Todd and embrace him and cry on his shoulder for quite some time. As I sat and watched him, I knew that this is where my husband is supposed to be.  This is where he is meant to spend his days, and sometimes his nights.  This is his calling in life, to help, to comfort, to guide people as they find their way through this difficult time.  He has a gift of healing, and a way with people. Even though being married to a funeral director is difficult at times, as the profession is very physically, mentally, and emotionally draining, I know that families love him, and appreciate the care and attention he provides each of them. It is a demanding profession, but one that gives so much back in the way of satisfaction, for both of us.

It is fascinating to me how each funeral service is different, yet similar in its own way.  It doesn't matter what religion people belong to, or even if there is no religion at all, the underlying purpose of the funeral service is always to bring hope and healing to an otherwise dreary situation.  At this particular service, I had the pleasure of listening to Pastor Steve deliver a beautiful and powerful sermon about hope and human nature.  He talked about how as humans, we are imperfect beings.  Our human nature sometimes causes us to falter, and many times we fall short and are not our best selves.  He talked about how we need to forgive, and be patient and kind and loving to each other.  He talked about how sometimes, it takes something like the death of a loved one to bring people together, and bring about the circumstance where we can finally forgive and fully love another person. Isn't that sad that sometimes we don't realize how deeply we feel about a person until they're gone? So many people have regrets that they needn't have at the death of a loved one.  He also shared something that another Pastor had told him as a boy, and something that he had remembered, and kept with him all of his life.  He said it was one of the most important life lessons he had ever learned.  That lesson was this:

"If people KNEW better, they would probably DO better, but most people don't KNOW better."

His point was, that as we go through life, often we judge people harshly because of their actions toward us or someone close to us.  Sometimes, these actions can be hurtful, or just plain ignorant, but if we can think about, and apply the saying above, it could help us to stop judging, stop being offended, stop being frustrated with people, and just LOVE them despite their flaws.  Human nature is such that we are all flawed.  Whether we realize it or not, if we take opportunities to judge people harshly--we better be prepared to be judged the same way by others.  On the same note, if we are forgiving and loving toward others, that type of treatment will be returned ten fold in the way others treat us.  Life is hard, and none of us know how long we really have to live here on this earth.  It seems to me that the more time we spend being judgmental, harsh, and unforgiving, the less time we leave ourselves to really LIVE, and after all, isn't that what we're all here to do?  His sermon reminded me of one of my very favorite quotes from Maya Angelou:

“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

I've learned that we never get too old to stop learning.  Thank you Pastor Steve, for teaching me another fabulous life lesson, at a funeral of all places.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sun City Funeral Home GRAND OPENING!

We are proud to announce that our new Legacy Sun City location is up and running!  We will be holding an Ice Cream Social to celebrate the Grand Opening of our beautiful new building on Wednesday, May 15, and Thursday, May 16 from 3-6:30 p.m.. Anyone in the community is invited to come on out, enjoy an ice cream cone, and take a look around.  We are located at 10702 W. Peoria Ave. in Sun City.  We are on the North West Corner of 107th Ave. and Peoria Ave.  Come celebrate with us!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Healing after the loss of a spouse...

For today's post, I found an article written by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt, dealing with how to heal after the loss of a spouse. Few things in life are harder than losing someone that you love.  Whether the death was sudden, or more gradual in the case of a terminal illness, it is never easy to lose a spouse.  I hope that these suggestions can help you on your road to healing and comfort you in your loss.  The most important thing to remember is that your journey is unique.  No one grieves in the same way.  Be patient with yourself, and give yourself time to grieve and heal.  Each day will be better than the last.

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Spouse Dies

Few events in life are as painful as the death of your spouse. You may be uncertain you will survive this overwhelming loss. At times, you may be uncertain you even have the energy or desire to try to heal.
You are beginning a journey that is often frightening, overwhelming and sometimes lonely. This article provides practical suggestions to help you move toward healing in your personal grief experience.

Allow Yourself to Mourn

Your husband or wife has died. This was your companion, the person you shared your life with. If right now you are not sure of who you are, and you feel confused, that is appropriate because you have lost a part of yourself. When you experience the death of someone you love, live with, and depend on, feeling disoriented is natural.
You are now faced with the difficult but important need to mourn. Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death of your spouse. It is an essential part of healing.

Recognize Your Grief is Unique

Your grief is unique because no one else had the same relationship you had with your spouse. Your experience will also be influenced by the circumstances surrounding the death, other losses you have experienced, your emotional support system and your cultural and religious background.
As a result, you will grieve in your own special way. Don't try to compare your experience with that of others or to adopt assumptions about just how long your grief should last. Consider taking a "one-day-at-a-time" approach that allows you to grieve at your own pace.

Talk Out Your Thought and Feelings

Express your grief openly. When you share your grief outside yourself, healing occurs. Allow yourself to talk about the circumstances of the death, your feelings of loss and loneliness, and the special things you miss about your spouse. Talk about the type of person your husband or wife was, activities that you enjoyed together, and memories that bring both laughter and tears.
Whatever you do, don't ignore your grief. You have been wounded by this loss, and your wound needs to be attended to. Allow yourself to speak from your heart, not just your head. Doing so doesn't mean you are losing control, or going "crazy." It is a normal part of your grief journey.

Expect to Feel a Multitude of Emotions

Experiencing the death of your spouse affects your head, heart and spirit, so you may experience a variety of emotions as part of your grief work. It is called work because it takes a great deal of energy and effort to heal. Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt, relief and anger are just a few of the emotions you may feel. Sometimes these emotions will follow each other within a short period of time. Or they may occur simultaneously.
As strange as some of these emotions may seem, they are normal and healthy. Allow yourself to learn from these feelings. And don't be surprised if out of nowhere you suddenly experience surges of grief, even at the most unexpected times. These grief attacks can be frightening and leave you feeling overwhelmed. They are, however, a natural response to the death of someone loved. Find someone who understands your feelings and will allow you to talk about them.

Find a Support System

Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult, particularly when you hurt so much. But the most compassionate self-action you can take at this difficult time is to find a support system of caring friends and relatives who will provide the understanding you need. Seek out those persons who will "walk with," not "in front of" or "behind" you in your journey through grief. Find out if there is a support group in your area that you might want to attend. There is no substitute for learning from other persons who have experienced the death of their spouse.
Avoid people who are critical or who try to steal your grief from you. They may tell you "time heals all wounds" or "you will get over it" or "keep your chin up." While these comments may be well-intended, you do not have to accept them. Find those people who encourage you to be yourself and acknowledge your feelings-both happy and sad. You have a right to express your grief; no one has the right to take it away.

Be tolerant of Your Physical and Emotional Limits

Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you fatigued. Your ability to think clearly and make decisions may be impaired. And your low energy level may naturally slow you down. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. Lighten your schedule as much as possible.
Ask yourself: Am I treating myself better or worse than I would treat a good friend? Am I being too hard on myself? You may think you should be more capable, more in control, and "getting over" your grief. These are inappropriate expectations and may complicate your healing. Think of it this way: caring for yourself doesn't mean feeling sorry for yourself; it means you are using your survival skills.

Take Your Time With Your Spouse's Personal Belongings

You, and only you, should decide what is done when with your spouse's clothes and personal belongings. Don't force yourself to go through these things until you are ready to. Take your time. Right now you may not have the energy or desire to do anything with them.
Remember that some people may try to measure your healing by how quickly they can get you to do something with these belongings. Don't let them make decisions for you. It isn't hurting anything to leave your spouse's belongings right where they are for now. Odds are, when you have the energy to go through them you will. Again, only you should determine when the time is right for you.

Be Compassionate With Yourself During Holidays, Anniversaries and Special Occasions

You will probably find that some days make you miss your spouse more than others. Days and events that held special meaning for you as a couple, such as your birthday, your spouse's birthday, your wedding anniversary or holidays, may be more difficult to go through by yourself.
These events emphasize the absence of your husband or wife. The reawakening of painful emotions may leave you feeling drained. Learn from these feelings and never try to take away the hurt. If you belong to a support group, perhaps you can have a special friend stay in close contact with you during these naturally difficult days.

Treasure Your Memories

Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after your spouse dies. Treasure those memories that comfort you, but also explore those that may trouble you. Even difficult memories find healing in expression. Share memories with those who listen well and support you. Recognize that your memories may make you laugh or cry. In either case, they are a lasting part of the relationship you had with a very special person in your life.
You may also find comfort in finding a way to commemorate your spouse's life. If your spouse liked nature, plant a tree you know he or she would have liked. If your spouse liked a certain piece of music, play it often while you embrace some of your favorite memories. Or, you may want to create a memory book of photos that portray your life together as a couple. Remember-healing in grief doesn't mean forgetting your spouse and the life you shared together.

Embrace Your Spirituality

If faith is part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you are angry at God because your spouse died, accept this feeling as a normal part of your grief work. Find someone to talk with who won't be critical of whatever thoughts and feelings you need to explore.
You may hear someone say, "With faith, you don't need to grieve." Don't believe it. Having your personal faith does not mean you don't have to talk out and explore your thought and feelings. To deny your grief is to invite problems to build up inside you. Express your faith, but express your grief as well.

Move Toward Your Grief and Heal

Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself. Be compassionate with yourself as you work to relinquish old roles and establish new ones. No, your life isn't the same, but you deserve to go on living while always remembering the one you loved.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How Much Life Can You Fit in a Dash?

I had the opportunity last week to travel to El Centro, California with my husband Todd to help him on a funeral.  Truth be told, even though Todd has been in the funeral business almost 20 years, I've not been to many funerals with him.  I've been lucky enough to stay home with our children, and raise them for most of our married life.  Every once in awhile, though, I get the opportunity to help him on a weekend funeral.  The funeral we attended in El Centro was for a family I have never met.  This didn't stop me from crying through almost the entire sermon. It was poignant, and beautifully delivered by a pastor I have never seen before, who belonged to a church I have never been to;  but the message he gave was beautiful, and it touched my heart. I hope it will touch yours as well, as I try to share some of  it here.

He spoke about walking through the cemetery on many different occasions, and looking at the numerous grave markers, and monuments.  When you do this, there is a certain feeling you get, as you look at the names and dates of people who have lived, and died, whether you know them or not. No matter how they lived, or how they died, their lives are written on their grave markers all the same way:  with a name, date they were born, and the date they died, separated by a dash in the middle.  The pastor then went on to speak about that dash.

That little dash represents the life that a person lives between the day they were born, and the day they died.  That dash, for some, represents only a few days, weeks, or years of life.  Infants who may have only had days or weeks to live, or were stillborn, never having the opportunity to draw that first breath.  Children that were taken from us too quickly, leaving parents with broken hearts, and shattered dreams.  For others, though,  that little dash represents so much more.  It's hard to put a whole life into a little dash.  It's hard to see that dash on your mother or father, brother, sister or friend's grave marker, and try to fit all of the life they lived into that little dash.  That little dash represents a childhood, filled with innocent and sometimes mischievous memories.  Playing tag in the schoolyard, the first crush, childhood games, family vacations, jump rope, bicycle rides.  It represents the teenage years, filled with angst, discovering who you are, learning life lessons, driving, dating, friends, and fun. First love, and first heartbreak.  It represents relationships, marriage, sometimes divorce, children, career, military service,  more life lessons, everyday life, still discovering who you are, still reaching, still trying.  That little dash represents middle age, kids gone, a new life, working, problem solving, more life lessons, striving, learning, listening, counseling, helping.  It represents old age, grandchildren, traveling, vacations, retirement, more life lessons, love and occasional heartbreak.  How can one possibly fit an entire life into one little dash?

The answer?  We can't.  No one will know what kind of person your loved one was just from looking at their grave marker.  They will know when they were born, and when they died, but it is up to those yet living to make sure that those who come behind them will know what the little dash on their grave marker entails. In order for a person to have a legacy, what happened during their life, the time that fits in that dash, must be shared.  Stories must be told.  Pictures shown.  People remembered and honored.  Whether you choose to visit a grave marker once a month, or once a year, it is up to you to share that legacy with your loved ones and keep those memories alive.  That dash is indeed a poignant reminder.  A reminder that life is short.  Life is precious.  Love is important.  Live your life to the fullest, and make beautiful memories with your loved ones.  Live every day as if it were your last.  Love more, laugh often, listen with your whole heart.  Think about the dash on your own grave, and ask yourself:  What do you want people to remember about you?  What kind of Legacy will you leave?  How much life can you fit in a dash?