5 ways to comfort someone who is grieving

Grieving is an extremely painful and difficult process. The death of a loved one can turn the world upside down, leaving people emotionally upset, confused, and exhausted. As Catholics, we are called to comfort the grieving, which is no simple task. Comforting people can be a challenging experience, and calls for much strength and divine grace. There are some guidelines that can help you through the consoling process. Keep reading to learn about 5 ways to comfort someone who is grieving.

bereavement.jpg

1. Be perceptive

We have all experienced grief in some form. It’s easy, when comforting someone who is grieving, to compare or draw on our own experiences in an effort to empathize. However, it’s important that you remember each person is different in the way they grieve, for how long, etc. People feel grief in different ways. Coping methods that worked for you may not work for others—do not get upset or impatient if someone doesn’t grieve the same way you do. Meet them where they are and try to understand them the best you can.

2. Be genuine (avoid vague assurances and common clichés)

It’s a natural tendency to try and comfort someone who’s grieving by saying “I’m sure they are in a better place now” or “everything happens for a reason.” While these statements may be true, they aren’t very helpful to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. Instead, speak the facts. Let them know that yes– grieving is a painful experience, but you will be with them every step of the way. Also, be as specific as possible when talking about someone who has passed away. Instead of saying “We will all miss Jane” or “Bob touched so many lives” talk about a specific memory you had with the person, or elaborate on how they impacted your life specifically.

3. Be present

After the loss of a loved one, life can become overwhelming. There are so many final arrangements to take care of, not to mention managing family, work, and other personal obligations. People who experience the loss of a loved one may need help and not even realize it, or might not know how to ask. Some common areas that people need additional help with include meal preparation, shopping for toiletries and other necessities, financial advice (perhaps a referral to a trusted financial advisor), yard work, transportation, etc. Instead of asking someone if they “need help”, offer to do one of these tasks specifically. It’s important to remember, however, the fine line between helping someone and being in the way. Some people may prefer to handle things on their own, or they might just want to keep their home private. In this case, dropping off a care package on their front door is a nice gesture, letting the person know you care without imposing on their grieving process. Also- never forget the power behind a quick phone call or handwritten note to let the person know they are in your thoughts and prayers.

 

4. Be a good listener

The truth is, most people are in the habit of ignoring or hiding sadness and other unhappy emotions. However, it’s important that people express their grief and sadness in order to move on in a healthy way. Therefore, do not try to “fix” someone, or distract them from their grief. Instead, listen. Listen to their favorite story about their loved one, even if they tell the same story over and over again. Encourage them to talk about their loved one, including saying the loved one’s name out loud. This can help keep the memory of the deceased alive, and lets the person grieving know that you are comfortable talking about the death. Acknowledging the deceased and the life they lived is much healthier than trying to distract the person and forcing them to move on too quickly.

 

5. Be smart

It’s important to be understanding and patient with someone who is grieving. They may do or say confusing or even hurtful things. It’s important to remember the different stages of grief, and that people handle those stages differently. However, if you notice that the individual is turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive medication, self-harm, uncontrolled rage or depression, or complete denial of the death— it’s time to reach out for professional help (listed below). In less severe cases, you can also reach out to close family or your local clergy for additional help. There is no shame or failure in turning for more help, it simply means you are wise enough to understand what you are able to handle and what should be brought to someone else’s attention.

 

Emergency numbers and organizations
United Way: dial 211
Catholic Charities: 216-334-2978
Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255
Addiction Services: 877-896-5143

FOR ALL IMMEDIATE EMERGENCIES DIAL 911  

 

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

 

Fun times at the FEST 2017

The Catholic Cemeteries Association was very excited to return to the FEST this year! Having sponsored the event for over 15 years, the Catholic Cemeteries Association is known for our delicious snow cones, so much so that our tent was attracting visitors as early as 9:30am! One of our CCA  volunteers snapped a quick picture before the events began saying: “the calm before the storm.” Boy was he right!

FEST 2

FEST 1
“The calm before the storm”

 

 

As the day progressed, the line for CCA snow cones grew longer and longer. Luckily for us, we had an amazing team comprised of our Catholic Cemeteries Association employees and their families. With everyone’s help, we were able to keep the line moving quickly while having a great time!

 

 

FEST 4
Look at that line! 

 

 

 

FEST 3
Our snow cone machine hard at work! 

 

After being open for nearly 5 hours, we were able to pass out over 3,000 snow cones, which served as a nice cool down for all of those people sitting out in the sun. It was an amazing way to spend a Sunday afternoon- complete with faith-filled music, a holy atmosphere, and great people. Thank you to everyone who stopped by, as your Catholic Cemeteries Association, we are very happy to be an active member of the Catholic faith community. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Do you have a favorite FEST memory? Let us know in the comments!

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

3 things you should know about Catholic cemeteries

When it comes to making a burial decision, the amount of options can be overwhelming. Not only are you expected to decide how you’d like to be buried, what type of service you prefer, and other personal arrangement preferences; but you also must decide where you want to buried. These are all topics you should discuss while preplanning your funeral and burial arrangements. (For more information about preplanning, please visit our previous blog post Preplanning: What is it?).  As a Catholic, it’s very important that you consider burial in a Catholic cemetery. There are differences between Catholic and non-Catholic cemeteries that you need to know before making your decision. Below are 3 things you should know about Catholic cemeteries that can help you make an educated decision on your final resting place.

 

cemetery pic

 

1.Catholic cemeteries are BLESSED 

Unlike secular cemeteries, Catholic cemeteries are considered to be an extension of the Church itself and are therefore considered consecrated grounds. By being buried in a Catholic cemetery, you are assuring that your body or cremated remains will eternally rest on blessed land.

 

2. Catholic cemeteries are MERCIFUL  

As one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy, Catholic cemeteries offer prayers for the deceased members of the Catholic community. Catholic cemeteries also celebrate Mass on the grounds as a form of prayer and worship to offer intentions for the dearly departed.

 

3. Catholic cemeteries are FORGIVING  

It is the belief of the Catholic church that reconciliation and forgiveness can be achieved after death, providing all members of the Catholic family the opportunity to be buried on sacred ground.

To learn more about your local Catholic cemeteries and how you can start planning, please visit clecem.org or call 855-852-PLAN(7526).

 

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

 

 

Preplanning: What is it?

Death is not something anyone enjoys thinking about. It is a very somber and difficult experience to lose a loved one, or think about one’s own mortality. However, as Catholics we know that death is not the final destination, but rather a transition into God’s eternal kingdom. Therefore, death should not be seen as a permanent condition, but rather a necessary evolution on our journey to come home to Christ. Like any other sacred tradition, such as a marriage or a baptism, one’s burial also requires planning and consideration to assure that it follows the teachings of the Catholic Church and the preferences of the individual.

This article addresses some common questions regarding preplanning, Catholic teaching, and how you can get started!

preplanning

1. What is preplanning?

ANSWER: Preplanning is the process and careful deliberation of your end of life arrangements. Preplanning can include anything from your funeral arrangements to your burial preferences. Preplanning is very helpful, and can prevent families from experiencing added emotional and financial stress following the death of a loved one. Normally, preplanning involves the help of a Family Service Representative who will walk you through the process and explain difference choices you have for your burial arrangements.

2. Who needs preplanning?

ANSWER: Nearly everyone can benefit from preplanning, especially those who are reaching middle age and wish to ensure that their final arrangements are taken care of before death. It is never too early to begin preplanning!

3. What are the benefits of preplanning?

ANSWER: There are several benefits to preplanning your final arrangements. First, preplanning your arrangements will prevent your family from experiencing additional stress. Often when a loved one passes away without having their arrangements taken care of in advance, family members are left to make quick and difficult decisions regarding their loved one’s burial. Not only does preplanning prevent this added stress on your family, but it also assures that your wishes are carried out to the fullest extent. Another benefit of preplanning is that you can save you and your family money by purchasing your cemetery products and services such as grave, vault, crypt opening and desired memorial at today’s prices.

4. How is the Catholic faith incorporated into preplanning?

ANSWER: Preplanning your final arrangements guarantees that your burial will be carried out following the teachings of the Catholic church. Also, by preplanning and securing a cemetery plot in a Catholic cemetery, you are reserving a final resting place that is on sacred ground, something secular cemeteries do not offer.

5. How can I start preplanning?

ANSWER: You can get started today by reaching out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate, and experienced Family Service Representatives at 855-85-2PLAN (7526) or by visiting the Catholic Cemeteries Association website at https://www.clecem.org/Information/BeginPrePlanning.aspx

 

Don’t forget to follow the Catholic Cemeteries Association on Facebook!

Post written by Katie Karpinski

What you need to know about disposing of an American flag

 

14712-american-flags-in-a-cemetery-pv.jpg

As our country celebrates the great patriotic holidays of the summer months, such as Memorial Day and Independence Day, it is the great honor of the Cleveland Catholic Cemeteries to facilitate the placement of American flags on the graves of those who have served this country. Hundreds of flags are displayed each holiday, and it is truly inspiring to see just how many dedicated American citizens served their country. However, many people don’t realize what the process is for disposing of these American flags displayed at our cemeteries:

 

The flags are collected by our groundskeepers and placed inside well protected tarps or otherwise acceptable and protected containers. They are then stored until proper disposal can be arranged. At no point does any flag face any sort of damage or disrespect. Once all flags are collected and ready for disposal, they are shipped to one of our cemetery locations to be burned with dignity, which is the most commonly accepted and encouraged method of flag disposal. The ashes are then buried in keeping with proper public teaching on the disposal of the American flag.

 

Catholic Cemeteries Association considers the disposal of American flags as an honor and a privilege, and we are humbled that we are able to perform this service with the very upmost standards

 

Post written by Katie Karpinski

Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park, after heavy rain last week.

Holy Cross Cemetery, Brook Park, after heavy rain last week.

Sharing a nice note we received about our staff at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron…

Sharing a nice note we received about our staff at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron…

Winter scene at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park.

Winter scene at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brook Park.

Fr. McCann celebrates Cemetery Sunday Mass at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron

Fr. McCann celebrates Cemetery Sunday Mass at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron.

Am I Strong Enough to Handle This?

After the death of a loved one, life can seem so overwhelming.  We may want to scream, “Why is everyone acting as if nothing happened? I am experiencing the greatest pain of my life! My world has been turned upside down!” We then realize that life does go on and we must continue to function. We are tired, we can’t sleep, we have no appetite, or we are forgetful.  We may be angry, impatient and may burst into tears at the drop of a hat. We then ask ourselves, “How am I going to get through this? I don’t think I am strong enough.”

Do you remember when you were younger and you could not reach something? You would ask your mom or dad for help.  Even now when I can’t open that pickle jar, I have to ask my husband for help.  As we all know, it is easy to get lost in an unfamiliar area and eventually we have to ask for directions.  In order for many of us to get through our grief, we have to ask for help.  It is very difficult to get through this journey alone.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Through the assistance from loved ones, friends, support groups and other bereavement services, you can gain the strength necessary to work through your grief.  Our Lord is our greatest source of that strength.  The Lord is waiting with open arms to comfort you and sit with you.

              The next time you feel overwhelmed, afraid, lonely or sad, find a quiet place in your home or yard; close your eyes and take a deep breath.  Ask that the Lord come sit with you or walk with you and pour out your concerns and troubles to Him. Imagine the Lord with his arms around you, holding you or maybe evening carrying you.  He wants nothing more than to do that for you during this difficult time.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

Nancy Romaine

Bereavement Coordinator

Catholic Cemetery Association