• 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.

  • Interactive Aftercare: How Evergreen Helps Families Heal

    If you’ve suffered a loss, Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery wants to help. We’ve been part of the Tucson community since 1907, and we’re committed to providing families with the very best care in a setting that allows people to find solace.  

    When you’re grieving, we want to be there for you in person as well as online with many valuable resources that will help you through this difficult time. We’ve got useful links and information whether you’re looking to research the traditions of various cultures, learn how to write an obituary or eulogy, contact Social Security or find a worthy charity for donations. One of the online resources of which we’re most proud is our online grief support.  

    Online grief support can be accessed at any time of day or night. Grief doesn’t stick to a timetable, and we are committed to helping you make it through this difficult time through online counseling services, group grief support and interactive videos.  

    Evergreen’s Interactive Aftercare brings the professional and personal experience of our executive counseling director, Dr. Virginia Simpson, into an online application. Featuring interactive videos that explore the dimensions of grief and the dynamic cycle of experience, it helps you learn to cope with the depth of emotional and experience that is part of the healthy grieving process. We also offer an email subscription called “Letting the Sun Shine In,” which brings daily positive messages to your inbox.  

    If you’re struggling with grief, Evergreen wants to help. Call (520) 399-6652 to learn how we can help, and sign up for our 365 days of grief support email.

  • Reaching Out on Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and a national day to be thankful. For most of us, Thanksgiving means spending time with family, counting our blessings and enjoying the day together. For people who are grieving, though, it can be a very difficult time of year as it’s tough to find reasons to be grateful when you’ve lost someone you love.  

    If you know someone who is grieving this Thanksgiving, find ways to be there and show your support.  

    • Reach out to let your friend know you’re thinking of him or her. Sometimes in the rush of our own holiday preparations, we forget to think of others who may not be in a celebratory mood. Take the time to reach out, whether it’s with a phone call or a thoughtful note. 
    • Be patient, understanding that everyone grieves differently. Grief is unique to each individual, and it belongs to the person who is experiencing it. Don’t assume you know how your friend is feeling, and don’t assert your ideas about the stages of grief or where your friend should be in the grieving process.  
    • Encourage your friend to talk, and be a good listener. Ask how your friend is feeling, and then listen more than you talk. Sometimes, a person who has lost a loved one gains comfort from telling the story, so make yourself available, even if you’ve heard it before.  
    • Invite your friend to dinner. If not dinner, extend a different invitation, whether it’s for coffee, a walk or a movie. Find a lighthearted and pleasant way to spend time together to help lift your friend’s spirits.  
    • Ask for a raincheck if the first invitation isn’t accepted. Although you don’t want to pressure your friend, you should keep gently asking for some time together until you find a day and time that works for both of you.  
    • Help prepare for the holidays if it’s helpful. If your friend has always loved celebrating the holidays, he or she might really appreciate some help making things festive. It may be overwhelming to think about doing those things alone, so offering your companionship and assistance may be a kind gesture. Don’t push it, though. If the holidays are more than your friend can handle this year, that’s perfectly understandable. 

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

  • 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.