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Compassionate Professional Jennifer McBride

Jennifer McBride, MA, FT, DM is a Vice President at Horan and McConaty. She attended Parsons School of Design and St. Thomas Theological Seminary.  Jennifer has a Masters in Pastoral Ministry and is a Fellow in Thanatology, an advanced practice distinction from the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She has been in funeral service for 17 years.

What does “Live Well” mean to you?  Enjoying our granddaughters, camping, hiking, getting “grounded” in the beauty of nature and the beautiful state of Colorado, live music and cooking!

What is the most important thing families should know about you? What a privilege it is to be invited into such sacred times in their lives.

What is the most important thing families should know about Horan & McConaty?We have the most caring, capable and compassionate staff family of any funeral service company.

Why should families choose Horan & McConaty? They will receive the best care possible, at the time of services and long after.

Tips for Helping You Cope During the Holiday Season

Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of someone loved. Rather than being times of family togetherness, sharing and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness.

Love Does Not End With Death

Since love does not end with death, holidays may result in a renewed sense of personal grief-a feeling of loss unlike that experienced in the routine of daily living. Society encourages you to join in the holiday spirit, but all around you the sounds, sights and smells trigger memories of the one you love who has died.

No simple guidelines exist that will take away the hurt you are feeling. We hope, however, the following suggestions will help you better cope with your grief during this joyful, yet painful, time of the year. As you read through this article, remember that by being tolerant and compassionate with yourself.

#1 Talk About Your Grief

During the holiday season, don’t be afraid to express your feelings of grief. Ignoring your grief won’t make the pain go away and talking about it openly often makes you feel better. Find caring friends and relatives who will listen-without judging you. They will help make you feel understood.

#2 Be tolerant of Your Physical and Psychological Limits

Feelings of loss will probably leave you fatigued. Your low energy level may naturally slow you down. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. And lower your own expectations about being at your peak during the holiday season.

#3 Eliminate Unnecessary Stress

You may already feel stressed, so don’t overextend yourself. Avoid isolating yourself, but be sure to recognize the need to have special time for yourself. Realize also that merely “keeping busy” won’t distract you from your grief, but may actually increase stress and postpone the need to talk out thoughts and feelings related to your grief.

#4 Be With Supportive, Comforting People

Identify those friends and relatives who understand that the holiday season can increase your sense of loss and who will allow you to talk openly about your feelings. Find those persons who encourage you to be yourself and accept your feelings-both happy and sad.

#5 Talk About the Person Who Has Died

Include the person’s name in your holiday conversation. If you are able to talk candidly, other people are more likely to recognize your need to remember that special person who was an important part of your life.

#6 Do What Is Right for You During the Holidays

Well-meaning friends and family often try to prescribe what is good for you during the holidays. Instead of going along with their plans, focus on what you want to do. Discuss your wishes with a caring, trusted friend.

Talking about these wishes will help you clarify what it is you want to do during the holidays. As you become aware of your needs, share them with your friends and family.

#7 Plan Ahead for Family Gatherings

Decide which family traditions you want to continue and which new ones you would like to begin. Structure your holiday time. This will help you anticipate activities, rather than just reacting to whatever happens. Getting caught off guard can create feelings of panic, fear and anxiety during the time of the year when your feelings of grief are already heightened. As you make your plans, however, leave room to change them if you feel it is appropriate.

#8 Embrace Your Treasure of Memories

Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. And holidays always make you think about times past. Instead of ignoring these memories, share them with your family and friends. Keep in mind that memories are tinged with both happiness and sadness. If your memories bring laughter, smile. If your memories bring sadness, then it’s alright to cry. Memories that were made in love-no one can ever take them away from you.

#9 Renew Your Resources for Living

Spend time thinking about the meaning and purpose of your life. The death of someone loved created opportunities for taking inventory of your life-past, present and future. The combination of a holiday and a loss naturally results in looking inward and assessing your individual situation. Make the best use of this time to define the positive things in life that surround you.

#10 Express Your Faith

During the holidays, you may find a renewed sense of faith or discover a new set of beliefs. Associate with people who understand and respect your need to talk about these beliefs. If your faith is important, you may want to attend a holiday service or special religious ceremony.

As you approach the holidays, remember: grief is both a necessity and a privilege. It comes as a result of giving and receiving love. Don’t let anyone take your grief away.

Love yourself. Be patient with yourself. And allow yourself to be surrounded by loving, caring people.

by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Copyright 2007-2013, Center for Loss and Life Transition

Compassionate Professional Lyman Wheeler

Lyman Wheeler is the Location Manager & Funeral Director at our South Denver location. He is a graduate of Wichita State University in Wichita, KS and Central State University in Edmond, OK.  Lyman is a Kansas Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer and has been in funeral service for 30 years.

What does “Live Well” mean to you? I spend a great deal of time with my dogs and my friends (in that order.) I invest a lot of time at the gym, biking, and running.

What is the most important thing families should know about you? As a former funeral home owner, my commitment to each family’s overall experience, and to their wishes, is greater than they would expect.

What is the most important thing families should know about Horan & McConaty? Families should know that Horan & McConaty is a place where the “right thing” is always done, without question. Making a difference in people’s lives is much more than just a motto here.

Why should families choose Horan & McConaty? A funeral experience is one that cannot be repeated or later improved upon, and we understand the importance of getting it perfect the first time. Most people go through a significant death very few times in their lives, and those moments should have a purposeful, profound impact. We understand that.

Compasionate Professional Lisa Baer

Lisa Baer is the Office Manager at our Northwest / Arvada location. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho.  Lisa has been in funeral service for three years.

What does “Live Well” mean to you? I live well by smiling and laughing every day with my family and friends. I enjoy singing and playing the piano and guitar. I love outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and snowboarding and feel at home in the mountains. I also enjoy playing sports such as volleyball, football and ultimate frisbee.

What is the most important thing families should know about you? I love what I do and truly care about others. I will do everything in my power to help them, especially during some of the hardest times of their lives.

What is the most important thing families should know about Horan & McConaty? Horan & McConaty is the best there is. I have never met a more capable and loving group of individuals who come together in so many ways to serve families.

Why should families choose Horan & McConaty? I recommend all of my family and friends to Horan & McConaty because I know they will receive the best care possible. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.


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