• When the Opioid Crisis Hits Home: Grief After an Overdose

    Grief is a universal response to loss, but it’s a complicated emotion. When a loved one dies, it can be hard to process your grief. If the person dies of an overdose, the grief may be overwhelming  

    On top of the pain of loss, you may also feel guilt and shame. People can tell you it wasn’t your fault, and you might believe them — but especially if you’ve been invested in helping the person overcome addiction, the death might make you feel you have failed. It might also make you fearful, anxious or concerned about losing another family member or friend. And it may be hard not to look for someone to blame, especially if you feel isolated by the social stigma attached to the manner of death.  

    Sadly, overdose is not uncommon these days. Your task now is to grieve the loss and find a way to get through it. Don’t let the stigma of the death keep you from mourning fully. It’s important to take time to remember this unique person who was loved.  

    Take care of yourself during this difficult time, paying attention to your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Accept the help of friends and family, and consider reaching out for support from organizations in your community.  

    If you have not lost someone to an overdose but you know someone who has, you have the opportunity to make a difference for that person.  

    • Be there for your friend. Reach out, even if you aren’t sure what to say and even if you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes your presence is the best gift.  
    • Listen without judgment. Encourage your friend to talk about his or her loved one, and avoid making statements that might perpetuate the stigma they may already feel keenly. Just listen, and if it’s appropriate, share stories of your memories of the person who has died. Saying his or her name will let your friend know that this unique person will not be forgotten.  
    • Avoid saying you know how your friend feels. There’s no way you could know the pain your friend is experiencing, so a better thing to say is, “I’m sorry” or “I’m here for you.” 
    • Help in practical ways. Life goes on even after a terrible loss. See how you can help your friend, whether it’s by bringing groceries or a meal, offering childcare, helping around the house or helping to sort through their loved one’s belongings.  
    • Encourage self-care. It’s important for your friend to get enough sleep and maintain a healthy diet. It’s also important to accept help, seek support and avoid being isolated. You can help with all of these things, so pay attention to what is going on with your friend.  

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

  • Learning to Cope With Grief During the Holidays

    The holiday season seems to get longer every year. Holiday decorations come out in stores before September is even over, and retailers push merchandise long before most of us are ready to think about buying gifts or decorating our homes. While the season may seem to go on too long for many of us, to those who are grieving it can seem like an eternity.  

    If you’ve recently lost someone important to you, the impending holidays may seem too much to bear. While grief is unique to each person, there are some practical ways to cope during the holiday season.  

    • Make your own plans. Holiday traditions are not set in stone, and it’s up to you to decide which you want to keep and which might be too difficult this year. Do as much or as little as you want, being assertive about your own needs, and letting your loved ones know ahead of time how you may need to change your holiday plans. Don’t overcommit, and if you do decide to participate, have a plan to duck out early if you need to.  
    • Allow yourself to feel what youre feeling. Everyone around you may be celebrating, but that doesn’t make it wrong for you to be sad. By the same token, it’s OK to be happy, even in the face of your recent loss. Find joy in the season if it’s possible, but don’t feel badly if you’re experiencing negative emotions. Grief is different for each person, and whatever you feel is part of your own unique experience.  
    • Let other people help you. You may find yourself surrounded by loving friends and family, or you may just have one trusted person with whom you can share your feelings. Wherever you can find support, accept it. Even if you need to reach out for professional help, join a support group or attend a service of remembrance, it’s important to find people in whom you can confide. 
    • Make time and space for memories. The holidays can be full of nostalgia, even if you haven’t suffered a loss. If you are grieving, that nostalgia can be powerful and sometimes painful. If you allow yourself to remember, though, memories of your loved one can be part of your healing process. Share memories with others by telling stories, looking at photo albums, and perhaps providing an opportunity for friends and family members to share notes and mementos in a book or memory box. Find a way to memorialize your loved one that has meaning for you, whether that’s lighting a candle, volunteering in his or her honor, or simply setting an extra place at the table.  
    • Reach out to help other people. Sometimes, a big part of healing can be helping someone else. Giving your time, talents and resources to others can help you form real connections, which can ease the pain of your own grief. Look for ways to do this, whether it’s inviting someone to dinner who might otherwise be lonely or adopting a needy family for the holidays. You might find it meaningful to donate in memory of your loved one or provide flowers or decorations for your place of worship. 

    If you’re having trouble managing your grief, it’s important to reach out for help. At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we have resources to help you work through your grief and begin to heal. Our counselors are here to help and refer you to support groups, and our online support resources are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you navigate this difficult time in your life. Call (520) 428-7438 to learn more about all we have to offer.

  • A Day in the Life: What Does a Funeral Director Do?

    Have you ever wondered what makes someone become a funeral director? It might seem like an unusual job choice, but it’s a calling for some people. A funeral director might tell you what a joy it is to see families coming together or how hard it can be to keep emotions in check. But what does a funeral director actually do? 

    First, they handle all the logistics related to death and the funeral. Paperwork and planning can be overwhelming for a family, but the funeral director is there for them every step of the way, knowing that family members are often not in a good emotional state to plan a funeral.  

    They also  possess great attention to detail because their job is to do whatever they can to relieve the family’s stress and take care of them.  

    Ultimately, the funeral director brings everyone together after the loss of a loved one. He or she must have boundless compassion, which is why people from other caring professions such as chaplains, ministers and nurses often decide to enter this field. On the other hand, many funeral directors know from a young age that this is the job they want. Sometimes, they’ve grown up watching a family member excel at the job. Or a funeral director may have once showed them expansive care, and at that moment they understood the gravity of the profession.  

    Ask any funeral director, and you’re likely to hear the same thing: it’s a calling and an honor. Being entrusted with the most difficult time in family members’ lives is a weighty responsibility, but it’s extremely rewarding.   

    When you’re in a position to choose a funeral home, it’s important to pick one with a funeral director and staff with whom you have a rapport. These people will help you or your loved ones through some of the hardest days of your life, so you should be comfortable with them.  

    At Evergreen Mortuary, we are committed to supporting those who have lost a loved one by helping them to plan life-honoring tributes. For more than a century, we have served the community, caring for families from all walks of life. Call us today at (520) 399-6652 and let us know how we can support you, either by helping you preplan, assisting you with an immediate need, or supporting you in a time of grief.

  • Preplanning: A Gift of Love for Your Family This Holiday Season

    The holiday season is upon us, and no matter what your faith or tradition may be, this is a season of giving.  

    It can be hard to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. It may seem unconventional, but we have a suggestion this year. While you’re in the gift-giving mood, consider giving your family the gift of preplanning.  

    It’s a gift in many ways. Preplanning alleviates the stress that comes with having to answer difficult questions at an already painful time. When there’s a plan in place, family members can spend their time and energy supporting each other, grieving your loss and beginning to heal.  

    Another benefit of preplanning is that it saves money. You can pre-pay when you preplan your end-of-life arrangements so your family never has to think about what things will cost. And even if you don’t choose to pre-pay, preplanning can still save your family money by locking in today’s prices for a future need.  

    Preplanning also makes it easy for your family to know what you would have wanted. When you plan your own service, you get to choose every detail from the readings and music to the pallbearers and other people involved in the ceremony. You can decide your final resting place and any special elements you’d like the ceremony to feature such as a dove release, memorial portrait or DVD. Creating the perfect service is a gift you give yourself, and making it easy for your family to honor your wishes is the gift you give to them. 

    This year, why not let the experienced, compassionate professionals at Evergreen help you give your family the gift of preplanning? At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we’re well versed in preplanning and are deeply committed to giving families the care they need. For more than a century, we have served families from all walks of life. Call us today at (520) 399-6652 and let us know how we can help you preplan, help with an immediate need, or support you in a time of grief.