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Live Well. Leave Well.

We are proud to announce our adoption of a new theme, “Live Well. Leave Well.”, and we’d like to share more information regarding it.

Denver families are living life well—and our goal is to remind them to plan ahead so they can also leave well. Not only does planning ahead make things easier for the people you love, but it also gives you peace of mind. At Horan & McConaty, we value our reputation and go the extra mile to help families celebrate a life lived well. We think our new ‘Live Well. Leave Well.’ campaign is the perfect fit for our community.

“For more than 100 years, my family has helped other families with the most difficult goodbye of all—saying goodbye to someone they love,” says John Horan.

The Horan & McConaty staff is specially selected and trained to help families and their loved ones through these painful final farewells. When you and your loved ones are facing some of the most difficult times of your lives, don’t settle for anything less than the best.

There are billboards, television spots and radio ads being featured across Denver supporting our approach and new theme. We’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

Here are some of the radio spots:

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Live Well. Leave Well. Radio Spot 1
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Live Well. Leave Well. Radio Spot 2
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Live Well. Leave Well. Radio Spot 3
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7 Unique & Interesting Ways to Handle Cremation Ashes

Although placing cremation ashes in an urn, is traditionally how cremation remains are handled, recently several unique options have become available to personalize how you handle your loved one’s remains. Today, we are sharing these unique options, with the 7 we found to be the most unique and interesting.

1. Star Treatment: Celestis Memorial Spaceflights offers a variety of options for a space burial. Their process allows for a symbolic portion of cremated remains to be placed into Earth orbit, onto the lunar surface, and into deep space. Missions into space that return the cremated remains to Earth are also available. Your loved one will venture into space as part of a real space mission, riding alongside a commercial or scientific satellite. Pricing for these flights start at $999 and can exceed $12,000.

2. Diamonds & Jewels: LifeGems, among other service providers, offer to turn cremation remains into diamonds. LifeGems are a certified, high-quality diamond created from a lock of hair or the cremated ashes of your loved one as a memorial to their unique life. The gems are available in colorless, blue, red, yellow and green. Pricing on LifeGems start at $2600. Other vendors provide diamonds and gems as well, while others can incorporate cremains into beads or other jewelry.

3. Fireworks: A UK-based company, Heavens Above Fireworks, will use cremation ashes in fireworks and provide a display similar in style to the spectacular shows seen at some public events. The fireworks they use are big professional fireworks, not available to the public, with some of the fireworks being unique, including the cremation ashes. Prices for this service start at 2000 euros. We’d expect that this option will eventually make it’s way to the US.

4. Ocean Reefs: Eternal Reefs offers a memorial choice that replaces cremation urns and ash scattering with a permanent environmental living legacy. The reefs are made of environmentally safe cast concrete that is used to create new marine habitats for fish and other forms of sea life. Eternal Reefs takes the cremated remains and incorporates them into an environmentally safe cement mixture designed to create artificial reef formations. The memorial reefs are taken to a curing area and then placed in the permitted ocean location selected by the individual, friend or family member.

5. Glass: By suspending cremated remains within solid glass globes and pendants, Memory Glass provides a unique method of memorializing your family, friends and pets. They offer several different glass shapes, including hearts, orbs and pendants.

6. A work of art: Artists are now incorporating ashes into their paint and making portraits or other works of art. These paintings are a beautiful way to memorialize a loved one, incorporating their interests or likes within the work of art. Oil paintings through Art in Ashes start at around $550.

7. My teddy bear: Huggables Collection offers a line of teddy bears and other keepsakes stuffed with cremation ashes. Pricing of these bears are around $250.

With all of these trends, come more unique options, including ashes being made into Hour Glasses, or releasing cremains into the sky within a balloon. There will always continue to be more unique ways to handle cremation remains. All of these unique options help families create a special memory for their loved one. How will you memorialize your loved one? How would you want your cremation remains be handled?

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.

Online Account Wishes

With the growth of the Internet, a whole new world of banking and interactions has formed. With this, more rigid security measures have been created to protect one’s confidential information.

Security measures on many websites are no longer limited to only a username and password, but also a second level of security, in the form of a security question or pin. These security measures are to keep hackers away, but they also may make it difficult for a family member of someone who has recently passed away to access these accounts.

Although this issue was non-existent a couple decades ago, today families are finding themselves struggling with accessing, managing and closing online accounts of loved one’s who have passed.

Requesting online account access has also become a difficult process. Even email services and social media websites require proof of death, proof of relationship to the deceased, and copies of the will. These requirements and processes may take several weeks or months to process, before access is granted.

If you haven’t already done so, we urge you to consider adding a digital executor to your will, granting permission to control the online accounts, including specific details on how you would like the accounts handled. A list of all accounts, usernames and passwords should either be included in the will or stored in a safe place, whether online or offline.

If you have passwords that are changed often, it may be more appropriate to store passwords with a password service, or in a place other than the will, as it could be costly to continuously make updates to your will.

We encourage you to take these steps in helping make the process of accessing, managing and closing accounts easier on your loved ones.

Honoring Officer Jeremy Bitner

Today marks the service of Police Officer Jeremy Bitner, who was struck by a drunk driver while making a traffic stop early on May 28, 2012, and passed away.

We are honoring Officer Bitner’s dedication to protecting others and the service he provided to our community. He will always be remembered. Our hearts go out to all of his friends and family.

We are sharing the thin blue line in his honor today. The Thin Blue Line is a symbol of support for law enforcement officers and is used among fellow officers. The blue represents officers and the courage they have when facing insurmountable odds. The black background is a constant reminder of all officers who have fallen. The line is what police officers protect; it’s the barrier between order and chaos. Together, they symbolize the camaraderie law enforcement officers all share, the brotherhood like no other. Today, please share this photo with the Thin Blue Line in honor of Police Officer Jeremy Bitner. May he rest in peace.

Read Officer Jeremy Bitner’s Obituary

“Final Resting Place”- a 60 Minute investigative report reveals corruption at corporate-owned cemeteries with locations in Denver

On May 20, 2012, 60 Minutes, reported about improper conduct, dumping of human remains, mishandling records, and corruption at cemeteries owned by, Service Corp International, a company listed on the NYSE.

Denver residents may not be aware that this corporation also owns many locations in Denver: Olinger Crown Hill, Olinger Hampden, Olinger Highland Chapel, Olinger Eastlawn, Advantage Aurora Stevenson, and Trevino Funerals/Cremation, Moore Howard Chapel, Advantage Runyan, and Advantage Aurora Chase Chapel.

Bereaved families may think they are dealing with family businesses, but many of the funeral homes and cemeteries in Denver are actually owned by large corporations.

John Horan, owner of Horan and McConaty and Denver’s largest family owned funeral home, issued the following statement.
“We would like to express our deep condolences to all families whose deceased loved ones have experienced poor treatment at such cemeteries. During some of the most difficult and painful times of people’s lives, they need and deserve to be treated with integrity, genuine professionalism and compassion. We encourage families to choose a locally owned company with a reputation for honesty and quality. ”

Colorado is the only state without licensing or inspections of funeral homes or crematories. With unregulated and non-traditional sellers offering consumers many options for purchasing burial goods or services – consumers face risk.

“We encourage the public to ask who is caring for their family member, if the company is locally owned and operated, where their crematory is located and if the deceased ever leaves their care,” Horan stated.

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