• Songs for Every Unique Funeral

    When it comes to funeral music, there’s so much more freedom than there used to be. The difficulty is that with that freedom comes a broad variety of options that can be difficult to narrow it down.

    If you are planning a religious service, make sure you check with the officiant to learn any rules that apply to song choice. If, however, you’re planning a non-traditional funeral, you can choose just about any music that’s meaningful to you. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some suggestions:

    • For the classical music lover:
      • Ave Maria – Franz Schubert
      • Pie Jesu – Gabriel Fauré
    • If your loved one was into the standards:
      • They Can’t Take That Away from Me – Ella Fitzgerald
      • Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
    • For those who love country music:
      • Go Rest High on That Mountain – Vince Gill
      • When I Get Where I’m Going – Dolly Parton and Brad Paisley
    • For lovers of alternative music:
      • Ol’ 55 – Tom Waits
      • What a Wonderful World – Joey Ramone
    • Celebratory songs:
      • Somewhere over the Rainbow (What a Wonderful World) – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
      • To Where you Are – Josh Groban
    • Songs of Faith:
      • Amazing Grace
      • I Can Only Imagine – Mercy Me

    Did we leave off your favorite? Maybe this will trigger some ideas, even if we didn’t get it exactly right. Perhaps you love What a Wonderful World , for example, but prefer Louis Armstrong to Joey Ramone. You can choose whatever means the most to you. We hope we’ve given you a good place to start making your list.

    At Evergreen Mortuary, we’re well versed in creating meaningful, healing experiences that help families honor the life that was lived. Whether you’re arranging a funeral for a loved one or preplanning for your own future need, we can help you plan the perfect ceremony down to each little detail. Call 520.257.4831 to learn more.

  • The Obituary that Went Viral

    In January, Terry Wayne Ward of DeMotte, Indiana, passed away at the age of 71. As is often the case, his daughter wrote his obituary. What’s a little unusual, however, is that it was so funny that it went viral. Here are some of the highlights:

    The obituary stated that Terry had “escaped this mortal realm” and left behind “32 jars of Miracle Whip, 17 boxes of Hamburger Helper and multitudes of other random items that would prove helpful in the event of a zombie apocalypse.” His wife was described as “overly patient and accepting.”

    The obituary also read: “Terry graduated from Thornridge High School in South Holland, IL, where only three of his teachers took an early retirement after having had him as a student. He met the love of his life, Kathy, by telling her he was a lineman – he didn’t specify early on that he was a lineman for the phone company, not the NFL. Still, Kathy and Terry wed in the fall of 1969, perfectly between the Summer of Love and the Winter of Regret.

    “He retired from AT&T (formerly Ameritech, formerly formerly Indiana Bell) after 39 years of begrudging service, where he accumulated roughly 3,000 rolls of black electrical tape during the course of his career (which he used for everything from open wounds to ‘Don’t use this button’ covers).”

    Terry was described as enjoying many, many things, including “hunting, fishing, golfing, snorkeling, ABBA, hiking Turkey Run, chopping wood, shooting guns, Bed Bath & Beyond, starlight mints, cold beer, free beer, The History Channel, CCR, war movies, discussing who makes the best pizza, the Chicago White Sox, old Buicks and, above all, his family.”

    “He was a renowned distributor of popsicles and ice cream sandwiches to his grandchildren. He also turned on programs such as Phineas and Ferb for his grand-young’uns, usually when they were actually there. He despised ‘uppity foods’ like hummus, which his family lovingly called ‘bean dip’ for his benefit, which he loved consequently. He couldn’t give a damn about most material things, and automobiles were never to be purchased new. He never owned a personal cell phone and he had zero working knowledge of the Kardashians. Terry died knowing that The Blues Brothers was the best movie ever, (young) Clint Eastwood was the baddest-ass man on the planet, and hot sauce can be added to absolutely any food.”

    What a wonderful bond this father and daughter must have had, that she was comfortable writing such a humorous and detailed obituary. You may not have a gift for writing to equal Terry’s daughter Jeanne Lahm, but you can write a meaningful obituary that allows your loved one’s personality to shine through.

    At Evergreen Mortuary, we’ve been serving families in our community since 1974, helping to create healing experiences that acknowledge the uniqueness of each life. We can help you with every aspect of planning the perfect life-honoring tribute. Call 520.257.4831 today to learn more.

  • Planning a Funeral: Embrace These Three Essentials

    When you’re planning a funeral, it’s easy to tick off the big boxes and ignore the little details. This can be a mistake, because the little things are often what makes a service most memorable. Here are three things to embrace when you’re in charge of the funeral arrangements:

    • Opt for guestbooks, both in person and online. A funeral guest book is ideal for collecting the names of attendees, but it can be much more than that. Providing space for comments allows people to write down memories of your loved one that you can read later and treasure. Online guest books are also a wonderful way to connect, allowing people to share their feelings with you for years after the funeral is over. And don’t be afraid to think outside the box. A guestbook can be a tree of life painting embellished with the thumbprints of all the guests or a memorial quilt made of fabric squares signed at the funeral. Think of your loved one’s unique personality, and find a way to customize the guestbook to fit it.
    • Memorial imagery can be extremely meaningful. Framed photos of your loved one, memorial photo albums or a DVD slideshow or video can stir fond memories. You can even place photos in an interactive display, perhaps in a mat that guests can sign.
    • A video of the service lets you share this significant day. Some people may not make it to the funeral, even if they sincerely want to be there. They can feel connected, though, by watching a video of the service. You can also have the video as a reminder of the love and support shown on the day.

    Some of the memories made on the day of the funeral will last a lifetime. At Evergreen Mortuary, we’ve been serving families in our community since 1974, and we understand the importance of creating a healing experience that celebrates your loved one’s unique life. Let our funeral professionals guide you through the process, helping you find exactly the right little details to honor that life in a meaningful way. Call 520.257.4831 to learn more about all we have to offer.

  • When Your Loved One Didn’t Want a Funeral

    When a loved one dies, it’s traditional to honor their memory with a funeral or memorial service. Sometimes, though, a person really does not want a funeral. This can leave those left behind feeling a lack of closure that can impede the grieving process. If you want to respect your loved one’s wishes about not having a funeral but still want to find a way to honor his or her life, there are many ways to do so.

    • Write an obituary for the local paper . By sitting down to think about your loved one’s life and accomplishments, you’ve already honored his or her memory. Sharing the story with the community is another important way for you to begin processing your grief. The obituary doesn’t have to be solemn or traditional; some of the most meaningful obituaries reflect the person’s life, sometimes exhibiting a bit of irreverence along the way.
    • Take up one of your loved one’s hobbies . Whether it was cooking, salsa dancing, knitting, golf, tennis or scrapbooking, doing something your loved one enjoyed can make you feel closer to that person. If the hobby is also a handicraft, learning that skill can also build your loved one’s legacy.
    • Make your own small memorial to the person who has died. Assemble favorite photos and trinkets with a candle, and light the candle every time you think about your loved one. When you light it, spend a few moments of quiet reflection.
    • Create an online tribute . An online tribute to your loved one can include an obituary, photos and even a guestbook so that people can share their condolences and memories of the person who has died.
    • Donate to a favorite cause. Is there something about which your loved one was truly passionate? Giving your time and money to support that cause is a good way to honor his or her memory.
    • Host a small gathering in your loved one’s honor. Maybe your loved one didn’t want a funeral, but that doesn’t mean people can’t gather to remember. An intimate gathering of family and friends can give people the opportunity to share stories, reminisce, and begin to process their grief.
    • Make a pilgrimage to places that were important in your loved one’s life. Sometimes, a road trip can be cathartic. Traveling to places that held a special significance for someone can help you understand that person better. Especially when shared with someone else who loved the person who has died, such a trip can be life-affirming as you remember and create new memories.

    You can skip the funeral service in order to respect a loved one’s wish, but remember that funerals can actually help the healing begin. More of a boon to the living, they can be a place to remember, connect and begin to move on with life. Whether or not you want to have a funeral, Evergreen Cemetery and Mortuary can help you make your loved one’s final arrangements. Call (520) 399-6652 to learn more.