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Support During This Difficult Time

Now more then ever we need to be mindful of caring for ourselves and for others around us. We have all been deeply affected by this tragedy. HeartLight Center is a place for grief education and support. The most powerful gift we can offer is a place of community where people are welcomed, honored, and cared for as they integrate what has happened.

Please remember…

Give expression to your thoughts and feelings- verbally, in writing, through exercise and movement.

Be kind to yourself and tolerant of fluctuations in energy and emotions.

Others may express their feelings in very different ways than we do. Seek to understand.

Being outdoors and connecting with nature can help to literally ground us.

There will be two events taking place at the HeartLight Center:
The Labyrinth at HeartLight Center

Walking with our Grief
Monday, July 30, 2012 7pm

“Life is a constant traveling in the labyrinth, arriving and moving on, finding one’s way to the center and then leaving it, proceeding into the path ahead.” Another writer says, “The labyrinth is a sacred place, set aside for reflections, beginning a healing process, bringing comfort in times of grief.” Come and spend time walking with others who are grieving and use the HeartLight Center labyrinth as a source of guidance through the community’s pain and your own personal grief journey.

Coping With Sudden, Traumatic Loss
August 6 and 20 at 7pm

For more information please visit the HeartLight Center’s website:
HeartLight Center- Parker Rd. & Dartmouth Ave. 720.748.9908 www.heartlightcenter.org

Open Door Support Groups Formed To Help Individuals Affected By Shootings

A consortium of hospices and grief centers are joining together to host a series of open door support groups next week at the Heartlight Center, 11150 East Dartmouth Ave. in Aurora in the wake of the theater shootings in Aurora.

The group support sessions will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and be led by counselors from The Heartlight Center, The Denver Hospice Grief Center, Colorado Hospice/Saturday Partners, Porter Hospice and Exempla Collier Hospice.

The sessions are free and open to the public. In addition to offering grief support, the drop-in sessions will offer literature and leaders will be available to offer other resources and support groups.

For information, call HeartLight Center at 720-748-9908 or visit www.heartlightcenter.org

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the horrific Aurora movie theater shooting. The victims, their families, friends and loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers. “ – says CEO and President of Horan & McConaty, John Horan.


The Irony of the Life and Death of Andy Griffith

Today we are sharing a blog post written by a friend of ours, Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

How ironic that a man who was a “symbol of values” was buried with no ceremony just five hours after his recent death. The family noted that this was “just the way he wanted it.” Sadly, as more and more people plan to do it “Andy’s way,” we are reminded that if the profession of funeral service does not educate the public about why we have funerals, nobody else will.

Close your eyes and remember the Andy Griffith Show: the little post office, the fishing hole, the general store, the barbershop, the jail—and the funeral home where people gathered when a member of the community died. Everyone knew and looked out for each other. Kids could play in the street (even though Barney would sometimes ticket people for jaywalking), and there were white picket fences. People gathered on front porches, and there was no Facebook, cell phones, or instant cheeseburgers to be found anywhere in Mayberry.

While even in its prime the show was a step backward in time, the Griffith family’s decision about Andy’s funeral is a glimpse into the potentially tragic future of funeral service. As people are reflecting on the Andy Griffith that they knew and loved, they are describing him as the emblem of the 20th century values they often say they prize most. During the run of the Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968), we observed the very best of humanity—people who cared, people who cried, people who included children in important life events, people who gathered together for meaningful funerals when someone died.

Decades later the spirit of Mayberry lives on in Andy’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Again, how ironic that Mount Airy’s annual fall festival, Mayberry Days, attracts thousands of people who come together to honor the memories that Andy and his cast of characters inspired—yet there was no opportunity to gather and pay tribute to the man who made it all possible.

Yes, change is a constant, but I suggest not all change is good. While we as Americans profess to want friendly communities anchored in excellent core values, we also want funerals that are easy, fast, and cheap—if we want them at all. I don’t suspect the folks in Mayberry would approve of how Andy was “laid to rest within five hours” with no public gathering. You see, those folks understood that you always have to say hello before you say goodbye. They understood that darkness was the chair upon which light sits. They understood the need to have authentic funerals, not to quickly dispose of the dead body.

You may think you should not have to educate people in your community about the value of funerals. But the truth is that people just like Andy Griffith’s family all across these United States are questioning the very need for funerals. So, I challenge you to consider: What is your funeral home’s cause? Why do you do what you do? And if your why is grounded in the essential healing reasons we as people have had funerals since the beginning of time, remind yourself that even as you face your day-to-day work challenges, you must also keep inspiring the people you come in contact with to learn the value of funerals. If you need help, consider checking out my recent collaboration on the new website meaningfulfunerals.com, which teaches about the importance of the elements of death ceremonies. Or, see my new poster titled “Why We Have Had Funerals Since the Beginning of Time,” available at centerforloss.com

Dr. Alan Wolfelt is the director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Colorado. He teaches and writes about the importance of creating meaningful funeral ceremonies and is the author of numerous books on death, grief, and life transitions. He can be reached at DrWolfelt@Centerforloss.com, or, 970-217-7069.

Join us for the 2012 Denver Senior Law Day

Horan & McConaty is a proud sponsor of the 2012 Denver Senior Law Day to be held on July 28, 2012 at the Merchandise Mart in Denver, CO.

This annual educational seminar presents programs specifically for seniors in the Colorado community. It provides attendees with important and useful information on many issues facing our growing senior citizen population. If you are a senior, an adult child with a senior parent, or a caregiver, this is one day you cannot afford to miss. Mark your calendar today for this excellent and informative event.

To Register, please go to: http://denverseniorlawday.ettend.com/. Every participant will receive a copy of the 2012 Senior Law Handbook!

Funeral Etiquette

Today, we’d like to share tips on funeral etiquette. You may find yourself unsure of what is acceptable. Here are answers to some of the most common etiquette questions that have come up.

What to do upon hearing the news:
It can be very difficult to cope with the news of an immediate family member passing away. Those that are closest to the deceased will be grieving and trying to cope with their loss. The best thing that you could do for someone that experiences such a loss is to reach out to them and offer your condolences and assistance.

The family may need some help, whether it be with children, running a quick errand, or needing a listening ear. Offer to help. Often times, creating a dish or two for the family can go a long way. The family may be very busy with funeral planning and arrangements, so a nice hot meal or something they can easily reheat is usually more than welcome.

If you find yourself trying to contact the family, but getting a voicemail, it is acceptable to leave a message. In your message, express your sympathy and state your intentions. Let them know that you are available to help.

Who should attend:
If you are close to the deceased or to someone who is close to the deceased, you should attend the services. It is often acceptable to attend just the wake, and not the funeral, if you are not close to the deceased or the family of the deceased.

As for children, in most cases, it is best that you do not bring children to the services, if you are not family. It is at the discretion of the family whether or not children who were close to the deceased should attend. The child’s grieving process should be taken into consideration when making this decision, as often times, just as with adults, attending the service may help them with closure.

It is customary at a wake, to approach the casket and take a moment of silence or prayer. A wake is a time to honor and recognize the deceased, and a final viewing of the body is seen as a sign of respect. It is not mandatory to view the body, but it is often expected. However, if you feel that you won’t be able to do this calmly, you should consider foregoing this.

There is often a receiving line near the casket. The people in this line are the closest loved ones to the deceased. It is often expected that you will express sympathy to each of those people.

Sending Flowers:
Flowers are a symbol of sympathy towards the family, and is a way of honoring the deceased. Many florists offer arrangements specifically for funerals. If you are unsure of where you should purchase the flowers, check the funeral home’s website, often times there is a link to the florist they recommend.

It is almost always acceptable to send flowers, unless the notice specifically says not to. Some families wish to receive donations to a charity, in lieu of flowers. If you are ordering flowers, be sure to order flowers as soon as possible so that they arrive in time for the service.

What to wear:
For many people, wearing black to a funeral is a symbol of grieving and sympathy. Although the strict black attire is not as common today, one should show respect for the family by dressing in subdued colors and clothing that is conservative (not too loud or revealing). For men, a suit is often the best option. A polo shirt and slacks can be acceptable, too. For women, dressing in a skirt at about knee level or slacks, and shirts with conservative neck lines are appropriate. The key is to wear clothing that does not draw attention to you.

Some colors and styles are culturally inappropriate for certain traditions, so if you are attending a service of a faith or ethnicity you are not familiar with, ask family members or friends if the family follows the traditions of their faith/ethnicity, and then research or ask about clothing that is culturally acceptable.

Knowing what to say:
At the service, you are going to be expressing sympathy to the family. Do not worry about choosing the “right” words. Simply say what you feel. If you are having difficulty in communicating your feelings, saying something such as “sorry for your loss”, is acceptable. Try to say something from the heart. Keep in mind that during this time your presence is what the family really appreciates.


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