• November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month

    National Hospice and Palliative Care Month was created to honor the caring people who serve others facing the end of life, and to raise awareness about the kind of care provided by hospice and palliative care programs across the country. November is also a great time to express gratitude to the workers who may have touched your life. 

    How much do you know about hospice and palliative care?  

    • Hospice care is given when a cure is not possible. Hospice provides high-quality care that gives patients and their families the chance to fully live their lives, even in the face of a life-limiting illness. Caregivers provide pain management and symptom control, along with psychosocial support and spiritual care for patients and their families. Because the focus is on caring, not curing, hospice care is often given in the patient’s home. It’s provided in many other places, too, including freestanding hospice centers, nursing homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities. Fully covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans, hospice services are available to patients of any age and with any illness. Hospice care in the U.S. serves more than 1.5 million people each year — some in the final days of life, others in the final months.  
    • Palliative care occurs earlier in an illness, often alongside treatments intended to cure. It’s not a replacement for traditional medical care but gives patients, caregivers and family members an additional layer of support. Palliative care services are often provided by hospices, although many hospitals also have palliative care teams.  

    National Hospice and Palliative Care Month lasts throughout November, and November 12-18 is also Home Care Aide Week. If you’d like to acknowledge the month in a meaningful way, there are several ways you can do that.  

    • Do something for a caregiver. Show your appreciation to a hospice or palliative care worker with a card, a gift or a heartfelt thank you. 
    • DonateThrough organizations such as the National Hospice Foundation, you can donate to support the important work that hospice and palliative care workers do. 
    • Spread awareness on social media. Use the hashtag #Hospice&PalliativeCareMonth to share information about this critical type of care.  

    At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we appreciate all that caregivers do. We’re caregivers, too, and we have cared for families from all walks of life since 1872. Committed to being leaders in our profession, we are dedicated to excellence in service and the highest integrity. We take pride in being able to guide people through some of their most difficult days and in maintaining a setting that allows people to find solace. For more information, call us at (520) 399-6652.

  • November 11 is Veterans Day: Honoring Those Who Serve

    On November 11, we celebrate Veterans Day to honor our American heroes. Unlike Memorial Day, which memorializes those who have died in service, Veterans Day honors living veterans — both those who have served and those who are continuing to serve.  

    Veterans Day is a great opportunity to celebrate these brave men and women and to appropriately recognize their achievements. But how? 

    • Listen to their stories. Being sensitive to the fact that some veterans would rather not talk about their experiences, make yourself available when a veteran in your life does want to talk. Ask questions, giving them the space to describe their time in service.  
    • Volunteer for veterans. Even if you don’t have a veteran in your own life, you can express your gratitude with an act of kindness. You might want to volunteer in a VA hospital, drive disabled vets to doctors’ appointments or visit homebound vets. Call your local VA for information about how you can help.  
    • Send some love through the mail. Write a letter or send a care package to someone in the service who is risking his or her life to protect our freedoms. Check out Operation Gratitude to learn how.  
    • Don’t forget military families. Veterans serving in our armed forces make many sacrifices for our country, but so do their families. If you know a military family, reach out by inviting them over for dinner or offering to help out. If you don’t know anyone in the military, Operation Gratitude is once again a good source of information. You can donate stuffed animals to children with deployed parents, provide care packages to caregivers of wounded warriors, and donate frequent flier miles to help family members travel to be with a wounded loved one.  
    • Teach your family the meaning of Veterans Day. Don’t let Veteran’s Day be just another holiday in which you gather to watch a parade or have a barbecue. Instead, talk about why it’s important, and teach your children to respect veterans. If you’re sending a care package or letter, ask your child to draw a picture that you can include.  
    • Do something meaningful on an ordinary day. Veterans Day is not the only day veterans need support. Sometimes, it’s even more meaningful to reach out on a different day. When you do something kind for a veteran, you can brighten his or her day and enrich your own life in the process.  

    At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we believe in treating veterans with the full honor they deserve. If you’re planning a funeral for an honorably discharged veteran, talk to us about all we have to offer, from a complimentary burial space in selected areas to a free bronze Veteran’s memorial provided by the Veterans Administration. Immediate family members may also be eligible for discounts. For more information, call us at (520) 257-4831 or follow the links on our Veterans’ Services page.

  • Understanding Grief: The Natural and Inevitable Response to Loss

    Grief is intensely personal and unique, yet it’s something we all must go through at some point in our lives. It’s also an emotional state that’s often misunderstood.  

    Most people have heard about the five stages of grief, and some look to them as a rule or guide. In fact, the stages of grief were related to people facing their own mortality from a terminal illness. The loss of a loved one is a different kind of pain. So although you may go through some or all of the stages — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — this is by no means the path everyone takes. And if you feel like you’re stuck in one of the stages, you’re not alone.   

    • What is grief? Grief is an internal feeling of loss, and a process that each person experiences differently. Grief over the loss of a loved one is a reflection of the connection that has been lost, and it can be heartbreaking.  
    • Is there a difference between grief and mourning? Just as grief is the internal part of loss, mourning is the external part. While grief is primarily feelings, mourning has more to do with the things we do to get through those feelings.  
    • How can grief be avoided? It can’t. You have to work through grief to heal from your loss.  
    • How long does grief last? Grief is a healing process that everyone who has lost a loved one must go through. It doesn’t have a clear beginning or end. In fact, the pain can come and go for the rest of your life. It’s never really possible to get over the loss of someone important, but grieving helps us take the time to remember and honor the loss so we can learn to live with it.  

    If you’re experiencing grief, it’s important to be gentle with yourself as you work through the process. Don’t try to block the feelings out or rush past them. Take time to feel, to reflect on the loved one you have lost, and find a way to honor that person’s memory.   

    If you’re struggling with grief, Evergreen wants to help. Our online grief support means we’re always there for you, no matter what time of day. Online, you’ll find counseling services, group grief support and interactive videos. We also provide aftercare for those who have suffered a loss, and can help you find a support group or counselor. Call (520) 399-6652 to learn how we can help.

  • What Part Does Heritage Play in American Funerals?

    The United States is a country of rich diversity, and Americans come from many different backgrounds, cultures and religious traditions. The city of Tucson is a good example of this diversity, with residents of just about every ethnic background adhering to a wide range of traditions, customs and religious practices.  

    Having served the city of Tucson for decades, Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery is well versed in providing care to all people, respectfully and skillfully.  

    We’ve been a fixture in Tucson since 1907, although the city was much different in the early days, particularly since Arizona didn’t become a state until 1912. When Tucson was founded, Arizona was still part of Mexico, so Mexican roots in the city run deep.  

    Catholicism, too, was a major factor in the city’s early growth, as missions were among the first establishments founded in the area. Along the way, many religions and ethnic groups have made their mark on the city’s development and culture, with events from the Mormon “Battle of the Bulls” in 1846 to the traffic flowing through to California during the gold rush days. Native Americans have also always had a presence here. 

    Evergreen is proud to serve all the people of Tucson, and our cemeteries feature special sections for different religious groups. We strive to give each unique life the honor it deserves, respectfully supporting families during a difficult time in their lives.  

    No matter what your religious or cultural heritage, Evergreen can help you plan a funeral that incorporates specific beliefs, traditions and personal preferences. Call us today at (520) 257-4831 to learn more about all we have to offer, whether you’re preplanning or have an immediate need.

  • Why Taps is Played at a Military Funeral

    A veteran’s funeral is full of symbolism and reverence, befitting a hero who put country before life and honor before comfort. That’s why a military funeral traditionally features a flag-draped casket, an honor guard and the firing of a rifle volley.  

    But why is taps part of the tradition? 

    “Taps” has an interesting origin rooted in the Civil War. Bugle calls have long been used to communicate with soldiers in the field, indicating times to wake up, eat, report for drills, return to their units and so on.  

    Starting in about 1835, a bugle call known as “Extinguish Lights” was played at the end of the day to let soldiers know it was time to go to bed.  

    In 1862, United States General Daniel Butterfield decided he was dissatisfied with that particular bugle call. He wanted to come up with something more melodious, so he reworked an existing call known as “Scott Tattoo” into the 24-note tune we know today as “Taps”. It wasn’t known as “Taps” until 1891, but under the name “Extinguish Lights,” it quickly became popular throughout the Army, and even the Confederates began to use it.  

    Shortly after this, “Taps” was played for the first time at a military funeral. A Union cannoneer had been killed in action, and his commanding officer, Captain John Tidball, didn’t want to have the traditional firing of three rifle volleys over the soldier’s grave because he feared it would give away their position to the enemy. Instead, he asked the bugler to play “Taps.” Since then, this haunting bugle call has been a staple of American military funerals. When it’s played, it’s customary for those in uniform to salute and for all others to place their hands over their hearts.  

    At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we offer veterans’ funerals with full honors, including taps. If you’re planning a funeral for an honorably discharged veteran, talk to us about all we have to offer, from a complimentary burial space in selected areas to a free bronze Veteran’s memorial provided by the Veterans Administration. Immediate family members of veterans may also be eligible for discounts. For more information, call us at (520) 257-4831 or follow the links on our Veterans’ Services page.

  • Interesting Cemeteries Around the World 

    If you enjoy visiting cemeteries, you might be surprised that there are so many around the world to explore. More than final resting places, they are often the only green spaces for miles around. They’re also touchpoints for the community, serving as public parks, sacred spaces and even tourist destinations.   

    Planning a trip sometime soon? Consider this list of notable cemeteries when making your travel plans. 

    • Père-Lachaise- Paris, France: Established by the emperor Napoleon in 1804, this cemetery is interesting primarily because of all the people who are buried there. The list of who’s who includes writers (Balzac, Proust, Richard Wright, Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, and Alice Toklas); singers (Maria Callas, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison); artists (Delacroix, Ingres, Modigliani, Corot and Seurat) and composers Chopin and Bizet.  
    • Merry Cemetery- Sapanta, Romania: The hundreds of graves at Merry Cemetery are painted blue, adorned with a carved oak cross, and decorated with a scene depicting the life of the person who has died as well as an accompanying poem. The carpenter who carves the markers also composes the poems — and some of these even contain jokes.  
    • St. Louis No. 1- New Orleans, Louisiana: The water table in New Orleans makes above-ground tombs a must, and this beautiful property feels like a city of white-washed crypts. Some have statues, some feature wrought-iron gates, and one hosts the cemetery’s most famous resident: 19th-century voodoo priestess Marie Laveau. 
    • La Recoleta Cemetery- Buenos Aires, Argentina: This major tourist attraction in Argentina’s capital city is surrounded by a wall and filled with elaborately carved tombs and Italian statuary, making it resemble a city within the city. It was founded in 1822, and many famous people are buried there, including Eva Perón.  
    • Old Jewish Cemetery- Prague, Czech Republic: Used continuously from the beginning of the 15 th century until 1787, this cemetery is unusual in that it expanded upward rather than spreading out. It’s estimated that 100,000 people are buried there, but with 12,000 tombstones on top of all the others.  
    • Highgate Cemetery- London, England: Highgate feels as much a nature reserve as a final resting place. Trees, shrubs and flowers grow wild, sheltering native wildlife including foxes. Monuments date back to 1839 and mark graves of such notables as George Eliot, Karl Marx and Malcolm McLaren.  
    • Bonaventure Cemetery– Savannah, Georgia: Notable for being featured on the cover of John Berendt’s best-seller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this lush cemetery was once a plantation. There are 100 acres to explore, with southern Gothic-style tombstones amidst ferns, flowers, dwarf palmetto, and long moss trees. It’s beautiful and haunting, and well worth taking a walking tour or just exploring on your own.  
    • Waverly Cemetery- Sydney, Australia: Many famous Australians are buried here, but the best part of the Waverley Cemetery is its cliff-top view. The cemetery, which opened in 1877, sits on 40 acres overlooking the South Pacific. 

    Like those listed above, Evergreen is in a category of its own. The cemetery’s rich history began in 1907 when burials inside the city were prohibited and many from the main cemetery were relocated. Today, Evergreen hosts many of the pioneers who settled this area.  

    Feel free to contact us for a tour or call 520.257.4831 to learn more about the services we offer.

  • Putting a Price on End-of-Life Care

    There’s a perception that end-of-life costs are higher in the United States than in other countries. But while end-of-life care and funeral arrangements are expensive here, they are comparable to Europe and Canada. Without careful planning, however, these costs can still be a burden on families.  

    Fortunately, it’s possible to be proactive and cut costs.  

    • Don’t avoid talking about death. It can be a difficult topic, but death is something families should discuss. If your family is well informed about your wishes and kept abreast of important information and where it’s stored, they’ll be better able to manage your end-of-life arrangements, saving time and possibly money. If you take the next step by preplanning well in advance, you can knock down costs by locking in today’s prices for a future need. 
    • Talk about what would happen in case of illness or accident before it happens — and prepare an advance directive. When your loved ones know when you would want to let go, they can make better-informed decisions. Medical care is expensive, so make sure they know if there are measures that should be taken to extend your life.  
    • Ask questions of your loved one’s doctor. Sometimes, families can be overly optimistic about costly treatments that they think will prolong a loved one’s life. If you are caring for someone who is ill, ask the physician to tell you the truth of what you and your family are facing.  
    • Talk to others who have been down this road. People who have been through what you’re going through now may be able to answer some of your tough questions. Which interventions are helpful, and which are not worth the cost and the trauma? It depends on the illness and condition of the person at the end of his or her life. CPR, for instance, is a life-saving measure, but it can also cause blunt-force trauma in elderly patients — and studies have shown that only 6% of cancer patients who receive CPR recover enough to leave the hospital.  
    • Don’t be afraid to shop around for palliative care. Some palliative care and hospice services are covered through Medicare. Others can be quite expensive. Be an informed consumer, and thoroughly research your options before making a commitment.  

    At Evergreen, we understand the importance of making good end-of-life decisions. Call 520.257.4831 to learn more about all we have to offer.

  • Bagpipes to Brahms: Musical Options to Memorialize a Unique Life Lived

    When you think of funeral music, what comes to mind? It may be hymns and other traditional pieces, but it doesn’t have to be. Some religious services require that song choices be specified, but in most cases, you can choose whatever moves you. 

    You can also choose interesting instrumentals. Just as song choice is typically fluid, there are many options for musical performers at a funeral, including:  

    • Harp: Harp music has an ethereal, serene quality that makes it a soothing and comforting choice for a funeral. This ancient instrument is well suited to classical music, religious music, or anything that’s peaceful and calming.  
    • Strings: Classical music, whether played by a string trio, a quartet or a chamber ensemble, can be very comforting and peaceful. It can also be stirring to elevate the mood. 
    • Bagpipes: Bagpipes have long been a traditional funeral option for dignitaries and first responders. The music is unusual and the mournful, haunting sound is well suited to a funeral. 

    At Evergreen, we offer various musical options including bagpipes, a string trio, and a harpist to help create meaningful, life-honoring ceremonies. You can also choose special music for a loved one’s funeral or preplan for your own future needs so that the music you love will be featured. Choosing your own music, readings, speakers, displayed mementos and special services will help reflect your personality and the life you’ve lived.  

    At Evergreen, we understand the importance of end-of-life arrangements because we’ve been helping families make them for more than 40 years. Serving families has always been our focus, and we take pride in guiding them through a difficult time in their lives. 

    Call 520.257.4831 to talk about preplanning and inquire about our Signature Services℠.

  • The Power of Affirmation

    When someone has suffered a loss, it can be helpful to have positive words to contemplate and perhaps to lighten our spirits.  

    Daily affirmations have been shown to be beneficial in many ways. Meditating on positive thoughts each day can help you put your problems into perspective and look at life in a more optimistic way. Recent research from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston shows that optimistic people are at a reduced risk for heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular events. In a way, you could say that daily affirmations are good for your health.  

    Of course, it’s hard to think positively when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one. That’s why it’s good to have a support system in place with people who will lift you up and help you through this difficult time. If you need a bit of extra support, Evergreen is here to help. 

    Our online grief support is available 24/7 so you can access online counseling services, join in grief support or watch interactive videos.  

    We also invite you to sign up for our Letting the Sun Shine In daily e-newsletter full of affirmations and gentle reminders of the recovery process. We know you’ll have good days and bad days, times when you need help and times when you can see better days ahead. Through it all, we want to be your daily companion.  

    At Evergreen, our focus has always been to serve those who are grieving. We feel it is our privilege to provide support to people who have suffered a loss and help guide them through a very difficult time in their lives. Whether you’ve recently lost a loved one or are having trouble finding the positive side of life, we’d like to be there for you. Subscribe to our daily newsletter or call 520.257.4831 to learn about all the services we offer.  

  • Hunting History Among the Headstones

    Genealogical research is becoming a popular activity, with more people than ever trying to uncover their families’ histories. There are a host of websites that allow for searching records of gravesites, birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, death certificates, and other documents.

    In fact, just by spitting into a tube, you can send away your DNA to have it analyzed for the purpose of learning about familial ties and uncovering personal history.

    If personal and community history interest you, a cemetery is an interesting place to search. It all starts with a death certificate, which can be found with a bit of online research. The death certificate can lead you to the cemetery, where you may be able to use a map to locate the gravesites you seek. Once you know where to look, it’s time to explore.

    What should you take along on this expedition?

    • Have a camera to document what you find. It’s also a good idea to bring a notebook and a pen. That way, you can write down the information, because sometimes headstones that are legible in person are often difficult to read in a photograph.

    • A pair of gloves is useful. Sturdy work gloves will help you delicately clear away any rubble or debris that could prevent you from closely examining the headstones.

    • Wear long pants. You don’t know whether you’ll have to trek through high grass, which can be a welcoming environment for snakes, rodents, and insects. Long pants and long sleeves are often your best bet for protection against whatever you encounter.

    • Sturdy shoes are a must. Terrain can be uneven in a cemetery, so make sure your shoes are good for walking on gravel, in the grass, and on any other surface.

    • Bring a damp cloth and a plastic brush in case the headstones need cleaning. Don’t use any cleaning products or even things like baby powder or shaving cream because they can damage older stones. Instead, just use a plastic brush and a damp cloth. Another valuable tool is a small paintbrush, which will help you brush dirt from delicate surfaces without causing any harm.

    If you believe a loved one is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, we’re happy to have you look around. We’ve been here since 1907, and our property is the chosen final resting place for many notable former residents of Tucson. What’s more, our beautifully maintained property makes it easy to find what you seek. If you’re interested in learning more about Evergreen Mortuary, Cemetery & Crematory, we’d love to have you come to visit. Call (520) 257-4831 or pop by to take a look.