• UK Charity: “We Need to Talk about Death”

    Sue Ryder, a UK charity that cares for people with life-threatening illnesses, is big on talking about death. They want to break the taboos. They want to open up a conversation. They want us to change how we think and talk about it.

    Death is certainly inevitable, but we’ve distanced ourselves from it. According to the folks Sue Ryder, we look at death as something to be avoided or postponed as long as possible.

    When a loved one dies, many people are reluctant to hold a visitation or even a funeral, preferring to gloss over the death in an attempt to remain unscathed. This doesn’t work, though, because we need to face what has happened before we’re able to heal. Our fear of death is also stifling some very meaningful and important conversations.

    Sue Ryder is urging people to talk to their loved ones about death before it’s imminent. This is not as scary as it sounds: Just ask questions about end-of-life arrangements, and ask what sort of funeral your loved one would like. Talk about the things you and your loved one want to accomplish while you’re still alive, and discuss where each of you would like to spend your final days.

    You might be surprised at the insight you gain into the mind of a person you’ve known for a long time, and you might find that the conversation draws you closer together.

    When we talk openly about death, it takes away some of its power to scare us. The discussion can lead to other important topics, such as whether your loved one has a will and how he or she feels about medical intervention. Talking about death helps ensure people get the support they need when they are facing the end of their lives — and being unafraid to discuss death makes you more likely to live in the moment and appreciate life.

    While you’re having this discussion with your loved ones, consider preplanning for your funeral. Preplanning removes the guesswork and relieves family members of stress during an already difficult time. At Evergreen Mortuary, our preplanning advisors are well versed in helping people create services that promote healing and honor the life that was lived. Call us at 520.257.4831 to learn more about preplanning, or visit our website to request your free preplanning guide.

  • 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.

  • Teaching Children about Death

    When a loved one dies, it can be very difficult to process, even for adults. Many parents find it especially hard to talk to their children about death. It’s uncomfortable and you might not even know where to start, but death is a natural part of life’s journey — and if you explain it to children simply and with sensitivity, you can help them process the information in a healthy way.

    First, don’t assume your child doesn’t already know about death. Even before they experience the death of a beloved relative or cherished pet, they see dead bugs, dead flowers and other indications that living things don’t last forever. Fairy tales touch on death, as well. Children have a wonderful natural curiosity that leads them to be inquisitive about the world around them, and it’s important to tell them the truth so that they don’t have misconceptions that may prove damaging.

    When you talk to a child about death, use simple language.

    • Don’t speak in euphemisms, which can lead to confusion. Saying someone “has gone away” or “fallen asleep” may seem like a good way to soften the blow, but in fact, it can cause children to become anxious. They might worry when a parent goes on a business trip that he or she will not return, or they might fear that they’ll fall asleep themselves and never awaken.
    • Explain death simply. Tell the child that when someone dies, the body stops working. The person’s heart stops beating, and he or she no longer breathes. Explain that death is irreversible and that the person is no longer in the body.
    • Listen to the child, taking cues as to readiness and answering questions . Don’t go into great detail or over-explain. It’s better to answer questions as they are asked rather than overload the child with information that’s difficult to process.
    • Consider reading an age-appropriate book about death. The right book can be a valuable tool for a difficult conversation. Look for books that explain death simply, in terms the child can readily understand.

    At Evergreen Cemetery and Mortuary, we provide support to families even after the funeral is over. If you’ve lost a loved one, our grief support team can help you find resources to help you and your family heal. Call us at (520) 399-6652 to learn more.

  • When a First Responder Dies

    First responders are brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day in the service of our communities. When they lose their lives, we as a community grieve along with their loved ones, respecting and appreciating their sacrifice. It’s only fitting that they should be honored with a meaningful memorial service.

    • First responder funerals are similar to those of veterans. Although there are rituals unique to the person’s particular area of service, some traditions remain the same.
    • A flag-draped casket is an important honor. Just as members of the military are honored for service to their country, firefighters and police who have died in the line of duty are also entitled to a flag-draped casket.
    • The presence of an honor guard is another tradition shared with military funerals. The honor guard is involved in many aspects of the funeral. Duties include casket watch, pallbearers, and color guard. A designated member of the honor guard escorts the family into the service before assuming the duties of the ceremony.
    • A ceremonial volley may be fired if it’s deemed appropriate . If the family feels that the sound of gunfire would be too traumatic, a 21-bell ceremony is another option. For firefighters, it’s traditional to toll a bell three times.
    • At the end of the service, the flag is treated with special care and respect. It’s taken from the casket and folded carefully into the traditional triangle fold, then presented to the family.

    Law enforcement funerals are heavily endowed with symbolism and meaning. A police escort accompanies the mourners to the cemetery, and sometimes officers from around the country come to pay their respects. Additionally, blue-tinted flowers are sometimes placed in a vase beside the casket as a tribute to the Thin Blue Line a phrase that refers to law enforcement as a barrier between order and anarchy .

    Funerals for first responders honor the hero who has lost his or her life, but they are also a time of great respect for the person’s family. The family’s wishes are taken into account first, even ahead of longstanding traditions. During this time of grief and mourning, the community of first responders comes together to support the family and help its members begin to heal.

    First responder funerals are meaningful and special, but every person deserves a funeral that honors the life that was lived. At Evergreen Cemetery and Mortuary, we understand the importance of a life-honoring memorial that respects the legacy of the person who has died and helps friends and family members begin to heal. Call (520) 399-6652 today to learn how we can help you honor your loved one.

  • Remembering on Special Days

    The loss of a loved one can be extremely painful, especially if you were very close. Sometimes holidays and other special days can deepen the pain of that loss. Birthdays, anniversaries and any other days that were significant to you and your loved one can be difficult. How can you manage the pain and promote healing?

    Not only can you manage your own pain, you can turn that pain into something positive by doing something to mark the occasion and acknowledge your grief. There are many different options:

    • Pamper yourself. A day that you used to spend creating happy memories with a person you cared about is a perfect day for treating yourself well. Whether it’s a day at the spa or just some time with the phone off and reading a book in the bath, some sort of self-care can remind you of the care your loved one had for you.

    • Cook the person’s favorite meal. When you do something you used to do for your loved one, you’re honoring the memory and reminding yourself of happy times.
    • Plant a tree or a memory garden. A growing plant is a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one. It also provides a tangible space where you can reflect and remember.
    • Go through photos and remember the good times. You might just look at them and think about your history together or you might do something more proactive, such as making a scrapbook or digital slideshow. You might also consider inviting a friend or family member to go through the photos with you so you can share this meaningful time.
    • Light a candle in honor of your loved one . Sometimes, a little light can be a healing force. If you make a point to light a candle every year on the anniversary of a special date, the ritual can be comforting.

    Sometimes the best way to alleviate pain is to focus outwardly, thinking of others. You may be able to find ways to honor your loved one by reaching out to others, and you can use your experience of mourning to help others work through their grief.

    • Donate to charity in your loved one’s name . Did the person have strong feelings about a particular cause? By donating to a meaningful charity, you’ll be furthering your loved one’s legacy.
    • Spend the day volunteering for a worthy cause. Work at a food pantry, read to children at a local library, run a 5k for charity or find another way to put your values into action. It feels good to give back, and you’ll be helping others in a concrete way.
    • Reach out to someone else who is grieving. Whether it’s through a support group, a ministry or a mentor program, you can find ways to use your experience to help someone else.

    At Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery, we know the importance of remembering. We can help you plan a meaningful service to honor the life your loved one lived, and we have grief support services to help you work through your own pain. Call (520) 399-6652 to learn more about all the ways we provide support, comfort, and care.

  • 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.