Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery

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Final Care of Our Fallen Troops

When a soldier dies in combat, he or she must be transported back home to the grieving family. Have you ever wondered who cares for the bodies of these brave men and women in our nation’s service?

Since 2009, journalists have been permitted a glimpse inside the Dover Port Mortuary on Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The reports they’ve given paint a picture of tender care and solemn honor, as service members undertake the task of preparing their compatriots for their final journey home.

For veterans killed in the line of duty, that journey begins on a cargo flight to Dover. Upon landing, the plane is met by military officials and, often, family members. White-gloved service members solemnly carry the flag-draped casket to the 72,000-square-foot building housing the mortuary, where fallen troops are carefully attended by members of the armed forces dedicated to providing respectful care.

After an autopsy is performed by the armed forces medical examiner, mortuary staff members begin their work.

Embalming comes first. Then the body is washed, with special attention to cleaning the hands and hair. Repairs to the body are made, and embalmers use photographs of the person to try to recreate each distinguishing line and feature. When the body is ready, it’s time for staff to dress the service member one final time.

This is the part of the process that is most indicative of the veteran’s time in service. A dress uniform is prepared for each fallen service member, even if that person is going to be cremated or the service will have a closed casket. Even if the uniform can only be placed on top of the person’s remains, it must be perfectly prepared.

The men and women who dress service members at this time do it for the families, but also out of a deep and solemn respect for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our nation.

They carefully choose medals, badges, ribbons and other insignia specific to the person’s military service record, taking care to assemble them properly on the uniform.

Once the uniform is complete, a photo is taken and sent to Fort Knox, so that personnel there can double check to make sure that it’s perfect. No misplaced medal or loose thread is allowed to mar the look of the uniform that will be the last outfit the family sees on their loved one. Once it’s perfect, it’s deemed suitable for someone who, through the ultimate personal sacrifice, has earned the respect, honor and appreciation of our entire nation.

At Evergreen Mortuary, Cemetery, & Crematory, we also provide tender, respectful care to every person whose care is placed in our hands. For veterans, we strive to provide honorable and dignified arrangements and offer special services to truly honor the men and women who have given so much to protect the freedoms that all Americans hold dear.

Call us at 520.257.4831 for more information, or visit the Veterans Services page of our website.

The History of Evergreen Mortuary, and What it Means for You

At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we have years of experience caring for families in our community. We’re proud of our reputation for excellence and delighted when generations of family members continue to choose us. What many people may not know, though, is how long we’ve been here and how rich our history really is.

Evergreen Mortuary was founded in 1974. Our history, however, doesn’t begin when the mortuary was built. Evergreen Cemetery was founded in 1907, providing a place outside Tucson for burials. The city was growing rapidly and running out of cemetery space. Many of the pioneers from old homesteads and ranch sites have been reinterred at Evergreen, and we’re proud to be an important part of Tucson’s history.

A walk through our beautiful grounds offers a glimpse into the rich and colorful history of the area. Notable people whose final resting places can be found here include:

  • Pioneer Mary Bernard Aguirre. She came to Las Cruces on the Rio Grande in 1863 with her husband, Epifanio, who was a large-freight contractor. He was killed by Apaches near Sasabe, 65 miles south of Tucson. Mary taught at the first public school in San Pedro before coming to Tucson, where she became one of the area’s best teachers. She was the head of the Spanish language and English departments at the University of Arizona, and a book has been written about Mary and her family, entitled A Journey of the Heart. Mary died in 1906, a month before her 62 nd birthday.
  • John Brackett Allen, Tucson postmaster, mayor and territory treasurer. Born in Maine in 1818, he came to Tucson in 1858 and began selling pies filled with dried apples. Before long, he was running a general store. Although he never enjoyed great material success, he was a colorful man who, in addition to his store and public service, had a farm featuring the first three hives of honey bees in the territory.
  • Jules Verne Allen, cowboy singer and writer. Born in 1880 in Waxahachie, Texas, he participated in cattle drives from the age of 10 and sang songs about his experience. He also worked in law enforcement for many years as a peace officer, deputy sheriff and El Paso policeman. A talented composer and writer, the earliest versions of Home on the Range and Oh Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie are among his earliest notable authentic oral traditions. He also wrote the book Cowboy Lore, which gives readers a look into the Wild West days. Jules Verne Allen died in 1942.

Since 1960, Evergreen has been owned and operated by the Addison family. Anticipating the need for consolidated funeral services, they established the Evergreen Mortuary, making this the first mortuary and cemetery combination in southern Arizona. Since those early days, Evergreen has consistently pursued excellence and has been recognized nationally with many awards.

We’re proud of the service we’ve rendered to the Tucson community and continue to dedicate ourselves to exceptional service and compassionate care to the families in our care. Stop by for a tour or call (520) 428-7438 to learn about what we have to offer.

The Importance of Honoring Our Veterans

The veterans who serve our nation are deeply deserving of honor and respect. Whether in times of war or peace, veterans and their families devote their lives to the service of our country and the ideals we hold dear. The sacrifices they make are without parallel:

  • In times of war, veterans put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. They face danger and risk death while their families back home must carry on without them, knowing that they could forever lose this person who is so important in their lives. Nearly 70 percent of officers and half of all enlisted personnel are married, which means that when deployment happens, spouses are left behind to wait, worry and try to help their children cope.
  • Even in times of peace, veterans and their families give their lives. The life of a military family can be very difficult and punctuated by long periods of separation, which puts a tremendous strain on marriages. Many service members also suffer from PTSD, so that even when their active duty is over, the effects linger.
  • It’s important to find ways support our troops. This might mean contributing to veterans’ causes or attending events meant to honor veterans’ service. It could be as simple as writing notes or sending care packages on special holidays, which you can do through organizations including redcross.org, operationwearehere.com and operationgratitude.com.
  • If you know a veteran, make sure to take time to show gratitude for his or her service. Listen to stories, ask questions and spend time learning more about the veterans in your life. You may find ways to enrich their lives while at the same time enriching yours.
  • Reach out to military families in your community. Invite a military family to your house for dinner, or take a military spouse out for coffee. Offer to watch the kids if you have a friend whose spouse is deployed, or give to a charity that benefits military families. Show your gratitude in practical ways whenever you see an opportunity.

At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we are highly invested in honoring our veterans. We take care of all the details involved in providing the veteran in your life with a deeply meaningful and life-honoring ceremony. Call (520) 428-7438 today to find out more about how we can help honor veterans and their families.

How Grief Counseling Can Help You Recover From Loss

It can be very difficult to move on after the loss of a loved one. The grieving process is different for everyone, and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. You might feel sadness, anger, or even guilt — and in some cases, adjusting to the new “normal” feels impossible. If that’s the case, it may be time to consider grief counseling.

Having someone to talk to is an important part of the healing process. If you’re blessed with a close friend or family member who can lend a compassionate ear, you’re very fortunate. Sometimes, however, it helps to speak with a grief counselor who can offer a safe space in which to express yourself freely and find your own path to healing.

A support group can help ease the pain as you share your experience with a non-judgmental community of people who are in a similar situation. Their support and understanding can help ease your feelings of isolation, and may even provide you with coping skills to get through these difficult days.

By giving each other permission to grieve, you also give yourself permission to move on. Talking with others may help you discover new ways of honoring your loved one’s life, and may help you understand what other members of your family are feeling.

At Evergreen, we have resources to help you work through your grief and begin to heal. Our counselors are here to help, and our online support resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help you navigate this difficult time in your life. Call (520) 428-7438 or visit our website to learn more about all we have to offer.

Coping with Valentine's Day When You've Lost Your Spouse

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and for many, it’s a time to celebrate love. We dine with our sweethearts, give Valentine’s gifts to family members, and generally glory in all the people we hold dear. For someone who has recently lost a spouse, however, Valentine’s Day can be very difficult. Memories may crowd in, making the loss even more painful.

If you are a widow or widower, we grieve with you this Valentine’s Day. We know how hard this day can be, and how lonely you may be feeling. That’s why we’ve put together some suggestions to ease the pain and make the day a little bit easier:

  • Focus on taking care of yourself. Enjoy a favorite meal, schedule a spa day, or just make yourself a cup of tea and read. Plan something special, just for you, to make yourself feel good.
  • Think of the other loved ones in your life. Maybe you used to spend Valentine’s Day focused on time with your spouse, but try to think about others who could benefit from spending time with you. Maybe you could plan a movie date with a friend, invite someone to dinner, or make Valentine cards with your grandchildren. Celebrate the other loves of your life and everything they mean to you.
  • Take some time to remember good times with your spouse. Sometimes, remembering your spouse and the times you shared can be very healing. If it’s not too painful, you could spend some time on Valentine’s Day looking through old photos, dining at a restaurant you both enjoyed, or just remembering all the fun you’ve had in years past.
  • Get out of the house, and do something fun. Go outside, take a walk or treat yourself to an outing you’ll enjoy such as a movie or a massage. Make the day all about you and celebrating your life.
  • If you haven’t lost a loved one but know someone who has, this is a good time to reach out. Something as simple as a card, an invitation to lunch or a coffee date can brighten someone’s day and let them know you care. Surprise your friend with flowers, go for a walk, or have your child draw a picture. Find a small gesture that will make that person smile.

If you’ve lost a loved one, the pain and grief can be difficult to overcome, especially at Valentine’s Day. When that happens, it’s good to reach out for help, whether you call a friend or seek counseling. At Evergreen, we offer grief counseling to help you get through this difficult time. Call (520) 428-7438 or visit our website for more information.

Reaching Out to Someone Who Has Suffered a Loss

When a friend has suffered a loss, it’s natural to want to reach out. Sometimes, however, it can be hard to know how to support your friend. You may feel helpless and not know where to begin, but there are some very simple ways you can help.

  • Sometimes, just being there is enough. Listening while your friend talks is important, especially when it’s about feelings of loss and memories of the person who has died. Don’t try to have all the answers, and don’t say “It was for the best” or “Everything happens for a reason.” When someone is grieving, it’s not the time for platitudes but rather for compassionate and active listening.
  • Offer specific, practical help. When you say things such as “Let me know how I can help,” it may feel overwhelming to the person who is grieving. It’s better to think of specific things you can do. You may want to bring a meal, offer childcare or clean out a closet. On the other hand, you may want to offer a respite from grief in the form of an outing, perhaps for coffee or lunch. Try to find things that are actually needed, and offer them clearly.
  • You might want to offer deferred help. Often, there’s a rush of help right after the loss, so it may be useful to wait and find ways to help later. Sometimes, just staying in touch with your friend after the initial rush of well-wishers has passed is comforting.
  • The healing process can be easier when there’s a good support system. You may want to enlist the help of others on behalf of your friend. Organizing meals, helping with housework, running errands or doing other chores can be a boon to someone overwhelmed with grief. It also gives others the opportunity to step up when they may not have been sure how to do that.
  • Pay attention to your friend so that you can encourage professional help if it comes to that. Sometimes, people get lost in grief. They may not feel life is worth living and may be unable to engage in everyday activities. When this happens, it’s time to call in a professional counselor who is trained to deal with complicated grief.

At Evergreen Mortuary, we are committed to supporting people who have lost a loved one by helping them to plan life-honoring tributes. We also provide grief counseling services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, through our online resources. Visit our website or call us today at (520) 399-6652 to learn more about all we have to offer.

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