Welcome to the Holidays!

My name is Mona Lane. I’ve been helping families with Advance Planning for the past 18 years.

It’s that time of year – the Holidays! But also a time when I become fairly unpopular. No matter how much fun my appointments are, the laughter we share, the hugs at the end, the satisfaction knowing that funeral/cremation plans have finally been made, I am persona non grata beginning with Thanksgiving week.

I get it…I think. Who wants to talk about depressing stuff around the holidays? I love meeting people and helping them prearrange, so it’s not depressing to me. People I call have been telling me for weeks to “get with me after the holidays.” After 18 years of this, I accept it without arguing.

happy-holidays

These years have also taught me that life happens during the holidays too. Mothers will get a cancer diagnosis, fathers will have a stroke, husbands will have a freak accident, wives will have a car accident. So for many families “after the holidays” is a bit late for them. I have no crystal ball, so I simply say: “I’ll give you a call in January.” Then the excuses will run more like: it’s so cold, call me when it’s warmer, we’re heading to Florida, call us in the spring….but I digress.

There are a handful of people I have already met who are planning to discuss their funeral plans during holiday gatherings. This is what they tell me. This is what I know: “No. You won’t.” In theory it sounds like a great idea, everyone is here, we can discuss this together. In reality, the grandkids and the great grandkids are there too. The family is happy. What better time to discuss your funeral plans? So I know your intentions are good, but I also know you won’t go through with it. I will call you in January and you will say: “I’ll see them all again at Easter.”

My suggestion, that never wavers, is to make your plans and tell your family very simply that you’ve taken care of your funeral/cremation planning. It’s not a bombshell that ruins your holiday gathering and it’s a gift your family will appreciate later.

Feel free to call me at 260-466-3465 with questions regarding funeral or cremation planning. I am here to help no matter what time of year it is!

It’s an emergency…again *sigh*

It’s been a busy and draining week for me over here at the funeral home.  Through my prospecting and phoning efforts last week I had 8 Advance Planning appointments set for myself.   That’s an awesome feeling on Sunday evening, knowing a productive week lay ahead.

Then Monday morning dawned.  It turned into something far different, and far less satisfying.

A brochure request came through our website.  I dropped it off at the post office within an hour and went on to begin running those appointments I had worked so hard for.  At 1:00 pm a woman called and wanted to meet for advance planning.  It was the family I had just mailed a brochure to hours before.    I tried to fit her in on Thursday or Friday.  No, it needed to be sooner.  The appointment was shoved into an already tight schedule for Tuesday, but that’s ok.  More driving, but that’s part of the job.

Tuesday morning she called and cancelled.  Her husband was in the hospital and not expected to make it.  He didn’t, and now they are meeting with a funeral director on Thursday instead of me.

My 6:00 pm appointment called me at 5:45 pm to say: “tonight isn’t good”.  I’d driven 25 miles and was nearly there.  Another appointment  was spent helping a family plan for an 103 year old’s funeral.  They stood me up and then complained when I couldn’t get them back into my schedule.  They needed it done by the end of the month for Medicaid purposes…and they were leaving on vacation.

Back in the 80’s and 90’s I worked in Production and  Inventory Control for a local factory.  My favorite quote at that time was: “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”                                        

Here at the funeral home I cannot say this, even though I think it and even say it to myself…A LOT.

How does someone get to 103 without considering that they might die?  How do her kids in their 70’s not think about it either until it must be done in a week?  The man that died this week was not yet 70, but had a known illness.   They still waited until 2 days before his death to begin to make plans.  The person who cancelled 15 minutes before their appointment will most likely call back when it’s a crisis as well.  And you know what?  I will take that call, meet them with kindness and compassion that they will need at that time.

The other 38 hours in that week I will work at educating the public that advance planning is a great thing to do for yourself and your family, that it only takes about an hour, and that 55 is a great age to start thinking about it.

Please consider advance planning.  Call me for questions or to set an appointment.  260-466-3465.

Please visit our website at: www.northernindianafuneralcare.com  Take a look around.  We put our prices on our website (shouldn’t everyone?).  Notice the A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, the endorsements from the American Legion Department of Indiana and the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters Union.

Dickens on Grief

In 1862, Charles Dickens’s younger sister, Letitia, lost her husband of twenty-five years. In a letter from early October of that year, found in The Letters of Charles Dickens, he envelops Letitia with equal parts compassionate consolation and a call to psychoemotional arms:

“I do not preach consolation because I am unwilling to preach at any time, and know my own weakness too well. But in this world there is no stay but the hope of a better, and no reliance but on the mercy and goodness of God. Through those two harbours of a shipwrecked heart, I fully believe that you will, in time, find a peaceful resting-place even on this careworn earth. Heaven speed the time, and do you try hard to help it on! It is impossible to say but that our prolonged grief for the beloved dead may grieve them in their unknown abiding-place, and give them trouble. The one influencing consideration in all you do as to your disposition of yourself (coupled, of course, with a real earnest strenuous endeavour to recover the lost tone of spirit) is, that you think and feel you can do. . . . I rather hope it is likely that through such restlessness you will come to a far quieter frame of mind. The disturbed mind and affections, like the tossed sea, seldom calm without an intervening time of confusion and trouble.

But nothing is to be attained without striving. In a determined effort to settle the thoughts, to parcel out the day, to find occupation regularly or to make it, to be up and doing something, are chiefly to be found the mere mechanical means which must come to the aid of the best mental efforts.”

Northern Indiana Funeral Care offers additional resources for coping with grief.

Let’s Talk

My name is Mona Lane. I’ve been helping families with Advance Planning for the past 18 years.

Today I’d like to share my thoughts on Communication. Ugh, I know. Who wants to hear: “We need to talk.”? No one.

I’ve experienced a couple issues regarding communication this week. Just in case I may have forgotten what the word means I looked it up (on Google).

The imparting or exchanging of information or news.

Means of connection between people or places, in particular.

In my work in Advance Planning I spend a lot of time trying to find people to impart information to. I do this in dozens of ways every week. It is probably the worst part of the work, for me any way. It is solitary. I am excited every day about what I do and how I can help. The struggle to find someone to share that with is real. For a few precious hours this week I was in the presence of people that were glad to meet with me and were hungry for the information I could share. We laughed, we had fun, they learned new funeral or cremation things, and through that they were able to decide what they wanted for themselves and their families.

I am an expert in a field that many are hesitant to discuss. I get it. Really.

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” – Anon

My suggestion is for all of us to better communicate with those we love, and also to communicate your wishes for your funeral and or cremation with someone like me. I promise not to talk at you when we meet. I will always strive for an exchange of information and a connection that will make the whole process more enjoyable…for both of us.

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.” – Anon

Feel free to contact me with questions about Advance Planning. (260)466-3465.

Please visit our website at: www.northernindianafunercare.com. Take a look around, notice our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, our local ownership, the endorsements from the American Legion Department of Indiana and the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters Union.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!

My name is Mona Lane. I’ve been helping families with Advance Planning for the past 18 years.

The profession I’ve chosen, or has chosen me, has made me a collector of sorts. I collect interesting stories about interesting chararacters. My collection of excuses is pretty grand as well. I’ll share a few with you. My responses are in italics.

stop-making-excuses

I’m too busy.
Busy doing what? Usually there is no answer. Because they aren’t.

I have a doctor’s appointment next week.
There are 5 days next week. How about one of the other 4?

I’m not ready.
What does ready look like? What does ready feel like? How will you know?

I’m not sure what I want.
That’s why we need to meet. I’m a wealth of funeral information. Ask me anything!

I want to talk to my kids first.
Your kids don’t really want to talk about this. My kids didn’t. Your kids would love
to hear you say you’ve taken care of this so they don’t have to.

I can’t afford it.
You don’t know how much it is yet. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know?

Isn’t it kind of morbid to talk about my death?
We won’t be talking about your death, or the dying part. We’ll be talking about
the services your family would like and the costs of those services.

No need to meet. I told my family to put me in a garbage bag and put it at the curb.
Well, then someone has to go to jail. Are you sure that’s what you want?

And my favorite….

I’m not dead yet.
Thank goodness because I’m not a funeral director!

What’s your excuse?

Please consider Advance Planning for yourself. Feel free to contact me at (260)466-3465 or email me at monalane@outlook.com with questions. I’m here to help.  Or visit us online at NorthernIndianaFuneralCare.com.

Benefits of Exercise in Coping with Grief

It takes you outside of your head. If you look around you, at the natural setting, or the others in the gym, you see something bigger than you and your individual pain.

It can restore a sense of control. Grief is a mystery; it moves at its own pace and it can be hard to see progress. However, exercise can give you a sense of mastery and confidence.

There are physical benefits. Exercise releases endorphins which can increase your sense of well-being.

It is perfect for the “instrumental” griever. Instrumental grievers are “head-oriented” and don’t want to talk about their feelings. They are more “task-oriented” in their grief process. They want something to do.

It is perfect for the “intuitive” griever. Intuitive grievers are more “heart-oriented.” For them, exercise can provide a way to connect with others and have a sense of community.

A memorial exercise activity has additional benefits. By running or walking in memory of a loved one, you are creating a positive legacy. You are also connecting to the community, which can reduce feelings of isolation so often felt in grief.

Burial vs. Cremation

The rate of cremation has surpassed that of burial in 2015 according to a report released today by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). The 2016 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report: Research, Statistics and Projections features statistics and in-depth analysis of consumer attitudes toward cremation. NFDA is the world’s leading and largest association representing funeral professionals.

According to the 2015 data in the report, the rate of cremation is projected to be 48.5 percent and the rate of burial is projected to be 45.4 percent.

burial-vs-cremation-map

“Funeral professionals have been serving families that prefer cremation for years,” said NFDA President Bob Arrington, CCO. “To us and the families we serve, cremation isn’t just a ‘trend.’ Whether a family chooses cremation or burial, funeral directors want to help families understand the many options they have to commemorate the life of their loved one. And, whether that family prefers a funeral, memorial service, a celebration of life or some other life tribute, funeral directors will be there to offer support and guidance to make their loved one’s service a meaningful and healing experience.”

He continued, “The 2016 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report will help our members understand consumer needs preferences so we can better support the families we serve.”

In addition to statistical information for the United States and countries around the world for which reliable data is available, the 2016 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report also contains data about consumer perceptions of end-of-life ceremonies and cremation.

There are many reasons why consumers choose cremation, including cost considerations, environmental concerns, fewer religious prohibitions and changing consumer preferences.

Many families who choose cremation also commemorate their loved one’s life. More than one-third (36.6 percent) associate cremation with a memorial service and 10.4 percent associate cremation with a viewing and funeral. Only 7.4 percent do not associate cremation with any kind of service at all.

New in the report this year is cremation and burial data for Canada. For 2015, the rate of cremation is 65.5 percent and that of burial is 33.2 percent. The rate of cremation is expected to grow to 89.4 percent by 2035.

http://connectingdirectors.com/articles/48504-2016-nfda-cremation-and-burial-report-released-rate-of-cremation-surpasses-that-of-burial-in-2015

Can I transfer my pre-arranged funeral plan?

As a general rule you may transfer your pre-arranged funeral plan from one funeral provider to another. However, laws of individual states govern the prepayment of funeral goods and services; various states have laws to help ensure that these advance payments are available to pay for the funeral products and services when they’re needed. But protections vary widely from state to state. We are knowledgeable about the laws in Indiana. We are happy to freely review them with you and offer you our advice, guidance and assistance. We will gladly accepts all pre-arranged funeral plan transfers from other funeral homes and we can very likely save you up to 40%.

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Simply gather all the prearranged funeral contract documents you have in your possession and meet with one of our preplanning specialists who will thoroughly review your plans with you. Upon review, we are happy to offer you our counsel on what the next steps need to be. All our services in this regard are free of charge. It is our goal to make this process as simple and hassle free as possible.

Call Northern Indiana Funeral Care today at (260) 456-0890 for information and assistance in transferring your pre-arranged funeral plan.

Burial Vaults

While no laws require burial vaults, there is a general public perception that they are required. This is because most cemeteries have a policy of using vaults. There are good reasons for using concrete and steel burial vaults. They make it easy to locate a grave so as not to disturb human remains when digging an adjacent grave. Vaults prevent grave collapse that does simplify maintenance, but more importantly, avoids a dangerous situation while digging graves with a tractor.

Outer burial containers meet the needs of cemeteries by providing protection again grave collapse but they are not lined or sealed and provide no protection from the elements.

Contact us at Northern Indiana Funeral Care with any questions you might have about burial vaults or funerals in general.  It’s our pleasure to help!  Call (260) 456-0890 and ask to speak to one of our Advance Planning specialists.

Funeral Costs

Since the 1960s, National Funeral Directors Association has calculated the median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial by totaling the costs of the following items: basic services fee, removal/transfer of remains to funeral home, embalming and other preparation of the body (casketing, cosmetology, dressing and grooming), a metal casket, use of facilities and staff for viewing and a funeral ceremony, use of a hearse, use of a service car/van, and a basic memorial printed package (e.g., memorial cards, register book, etc.).

The national median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial for calendar year 2014 was $7,181. If a vault is included, something that is typically required by a cemetery, the median cost is $8,508. The cost does not take into account cemetery, monument or marker costs or miscellaneous cash-advance charges, such as for flowers or an obituary.

Over the past decade, the median cost of an adult funeral in the United States has increased 28.6 percent. This is similar to the 2000-2009 period when the median cost of a funeral increased by 26.6 percent. The percent increase during the 1980s (1980-1989) was significantly higher (87 percent), reflecting the significantly higher inflation rates during that decade – See more at: http://www.nfda.org/news/statistics#sthash.XsOJsT22.dpuf

At Northern Indiana Funeral Care, our complete Church Funeral Plans start at just $4,495. That’s $2,686 less than the national median!  You can pre-plan and pre-fund your funeral and lock in today’s prices.  Call us at (260) 456-0890 and ask to speak to one of our pre-planning specialists.