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Financial Aspects of Pre-Planning A Funeral

There are many benefits to pre-planning funeral arrangements. It provides peace of mind and can greatly reduce stress for your family, and costs of the funeral can be controlled, allowing you to make decisions based on your budget.

We are often asked about payment options when pre-planning. Payment in full guarantees the price of the funeral service and merchandise you have selected.

Pre-funding through life insurance is becoming a growing trend. Funding with insurance coverage or a trust are two ways pre-funding is handled.

Most importantly, you are protected. Funding of your pre-planned services is backed by a national industry leader in preneed insurance.

In addition, there are also tax benefits. Our plan provides life insurance benefits that are exempt from federal income tax when paid to a named beneficiary. Neither the increasing value of the coverage nor the total benefits paid at the time of death are taxable on a federal income tax level.

Do you have questions about pre-planning or the financial options available? Leave us a comment.

I Want To Cry, But Instead I Laugh

Have you ever felt like crying, but ended up laughing instead? Has this ever happened at a moment that may have seemed inappropriate? If you answered yes to these questions, rest assured that you are not alone.

Even though it may seem inappropriate, psychologists say that uncontrollable nervous laughter is normal. It is typically a physiological response to a tragedy or event, such as a funeral.

So why is it sometimes people cry to the point that they laugh, or laugh so hard they cry? Because laughing and crying provide the same kind of physiological stress release. It can often be a defense mechanism when feeling uncomfortable in a situation, or when one is overwhelmed. Holding back tears hinders the body from relieving the anxiety that is building, so the human body discharges the energy by causing laughter instead. In these situations we usually laugh in a subconscious attempt to reduce stress and calm down. However, it often works otherwise. Nervous laughter is typically perceived not to be genuine, and can ultimately heighten the awkwardness of the situation.

If you see someone laughing during a stressful or tragic situation, please keep in mind that they probably cannot control it. They are simply overwhelmed to the point where the body needs to release it. If you find yourself laughing instead of crying, take deep breaths and try to calm down. It is a common reaction, and with the exception of a bit of embarrassment, everything will be fine.

The Cremation Process

It’s very important to all of us at Horan & McConaty that all your questions are answered on all topics pertaining to death, funerals and cremation. Often times, we are asked about cremation, so we’d like to share some information to help you with questions you may have.

Starting with what cremation is, it is a process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. The equipment used for cremation operates between 1500 and 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the cremation is complete, all organic bone fragments, are collected and placed in a cooling pan. All non-consumed items, like metal are separated from the cremated remains. Remaining bone fragments are then processed to a fine size and placed either into an urn, selected by the family or a basic container, if an urn is not selected. Cremated remains have a coarse sand-like consistency and are light grey, almost white in color.

There are many ways to handle the cremated remains. They can be buried in a cemetery or cremation garden, kept at home, or scattered on private property. In more recent years, there have been more unique ways in handling remains, such as incorporating them into paintings and jewelry.

If you are considering cremation, we encourage you to carefully select a cremation service provider, as Colorado does not require licensure of its funeral homes and crematories.

At Horan & McConaty Funeral homes we have developed the most rigorous set of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize our level of quality. Positive identification of the deceased is assured throughout each stage of the cremation process. We only allow certified professionals to operate our cremation equipment.

If you would like more information on cremation, please visit our website: http://www.horancares.com/_mgxroot/page_10752.php or call (303)745-4418.

Help In Times Of Grief

Working through grief takes time, and one can only work through it at their own pace. A positive first step in the grieving process is to participate in the funeral or memorial service. This will give you a chance to say goodbye, and share your feelings with others who are experiencing the same emotions. In the days following the service, you may feel the need to lean on others (and others on you) for understanding, encouragement and guidance.

When someone you know is going through the grieving process, there are many things that you can do to help him or her. Supporting a loved one as they grieve can make a positive impact on that person, and truly make a difference in their life.

Here are a few suggestions:

•    Call or stop by to make sure that your loved one is okay, and offer a listening ear.

•    Help your loved one put together a memory book with pictures of the person that has passed away.

•    Take him or her out for a cup of coffee or help with daily tasks. Sometimes just having the company of another goes a long way.

•    Send a card or gift letting him or her know that you are thinking of them.

In addition to what you can do to help a loved one through their grieving process, there are also many local and national support groups available to help with grief. Bereavement support groups can provide support to your loved one, as well as retreats, counselors, workshops, recommended readings and information about grief.

Grief During the Fall Season & As We Remember 9/11

We all know that weather affects our mood, so it is no surprise that the fall season affects our feelings of grief. Whether your loved one passed away in the fall, the cooler air and shorter days are bringing with them a sense of loss or sorrow, or the memories of those we lost on September 11th are affecting your mood, it is important to realize you are not alone.

This coming weekend, the media will be covering the events paying tribute to those who lost their lives on 9/11. During this time, it is important to realize that there are many people still grieving today, ten years later, and that this coverage will be difficult for many to watch.

If you start feeling sad, or if you have a sense of grief, first try to find comfort in small things, such as warming up with a special sweater or cuddling up in a soft blanket. Many times, a small but positive activity, or shared seasonal meal or cup of coffee with a friend can go a long way towards stemming grief or sadness early. But please be aware that for some, grief will not be soothed by a small act or comfort. If you or someone you know is having trouble grieving their loss, whether past or present, we encourage you to find a grief support group or counselor.

Fall can often be a difficult time for many. This weekend in particular can be especially hard to deal with. Please take the time to take care of yourself emotionally. Recognize and accept that your feelings are not only normal, but are being shared by a great number of people throughout the country. Then do the things that will not only give you comfort, but bring emotional support and happiness into your life.

Answer Our Trivia Question and Help Support the Charity You Believe In Most

Horan & McConaty Funeral Homes is supporting non-profit organizations within Denver and the surrounding communities through a new program “Horan Cares for the Community”, driven by your interaction with us on Twitter and FaceBook.

Every month, a trivia question will be posted on the Horan & McConaty FaceBook page and Twitter Feed. For every individual providing the correct answer to the question, $1 will be added to the donation account.

At the end of the month, we’ll ask you to post a suggestion for a non-profit organization in need of donations. The non-profit organization must be non-denominational and Colorado-based. We encourage you to either suggest an organization or “like” a suggestion made by another fan. The suggestion with the most “likes” on the deadline will receive the donation for that month.

Each month there will be a new trivia question and a chance for a non-profit organization to win the money in the fund. If you’d like to participate in the “Horan Cares for the Community” program, make sure to become a fan on FaceBook. And remember to invite your friends and/or fellow non-profit organization members to ensure you get the votes needed to win the donation for your preferred organization.

In Attendance… Virtually

Imagine attending birthdays, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, baptisms and funerals “virtually.” It is said that grief shared is grief diminished and joy shared is joy multiplied. Do you believe that?

Under what circumstances is it appropriate to attend an event via webcast? How would you feel about your guests attending your birthday virtually instead of attending in person?

One might say that if a special person couldn’t make it, due to distances, or other circumstances, they’d rather they be present virtually than not at all, which is a very valid point. But who decides which reasons are “acceptable” or not, and at what point does it feel lonely, with more people attending virtually than in person.

As technology advances, human interaction and communication seems to be decreasing. Texting has eliminated many “two-minute” phone conversations, and more and more people are emailing messages as well.

With all the great advantages technology brings, it has created a disconnection in interpersonal daily activities. But, we must acknowledge that the significant events in life have a need for some level of personal touch, interaction and camaraderie.

Life’s most significant events, hellos and goodbyes, celebrations and consolations, can be addressed in a variety of ways. How do you feel about webcasting in this context? When is the convenience of webcasting the enemy of genuine and meaningful human interaction and when is it necessary and/or appropriate?

What Happens To A FaceBook Account Upon Death?

While social networking has brought together long-lost friends and connected distant relatives, Facebook has filled yet another role- a memorial board for those who have passed.

We’d like to share the process of converting a FaceBook account into a memorialized account. It’s important to take these steps to ensure that the account remains active, if the family chooses to do so.

According to FaceBook support, “Facebook does not grant access to a deceased person’s account. Instead, FaceBook has a memorial status that turns the individual’s user page to a memorial page. Upon status change, friends can view and post their condolences or sympathy messages on the wall. “

Additionally, “The memorial page can be customized by close relatives upon approval by Facebook, but certain features like joining groups and posting status updates are disabled in this state. Should the family wish to have the page taken down and the account deleted, a request to FaceBook accompanied by a copy of the death certificate is required.”

Facebook already hosts thousands of memorialized accounts for deceased users. Many families are finding keeping their loved one’s FaceBook account active and placing it in memorial status allows them to share stories and memories and connect with others whose lives have also been touched by that person.

For many, FaceBook has helped support them through the holidays and other difficult times. Whenever one wants to remember or reflect on the deceased person’s life, there is now a place where comments have been left and memories shared.

To learn more about how to memorialize accounts or for the form to create a memorialized account, please go to: http://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=163091042130.

Are you living your life to the fullest?

With today’s economic recession, there are many people trudging through life, living in their roles, living week-to-week, always looking for “someday” and forgetting to live life to the fullest today.

We challenge you to evaluate your life. How would you describe your life today? If a book or movie was written based on your life, would it be an adventure? Comedy? Romance? More likely than not, it’s probably a mix of a few different types.

As you are living life today think of years from now. When you look back, will you feel as though you truly lived life to the fullest, taking every experience in life and fully living it? Or will you think back with some regret, wishing you had done more, and possibly risked more.

Living life doesn’t require risk or action, but instead about the experience it creates, even if the activity is conservative and safe. Live in the moment, not in the future. Start living your life more fully today!

Unique Ways to Handle Cremains

As cremation becomes an increasingly popular choice for many, there is an increase in new and unique ways to handle cremains, also known as cremation remains.

Traditionally, cremains are handled by placing them in an urn. Urns are made from a wide variety of material and come in many different styles, designs, shapes and sizes, allowing families to select one that has significance to their deceased loved one.

But placing and keeping cremains in an urn is not the only choice families have; Scattering them at sea is another common way for handling the ashes. In the US, this is not allowed, so the ashes would have to be scattered over international waters.

Other less-traditional ways to handle cremains include placing them in keepsake urns, such as pendants, or incorporating them into paintings, tattoos, or beads.

An artist in Pennsylvania has dedicated his artistic abilities to incorporating cremains into his artwork. He creates custom paintings based on something that is meaningful to the family. He is among several artists across the country focusing on “memorial art” using cremains.

Embraced Jewelry in New Hampshire has also found a way to incorporate cremains into unique keepsakes. Using cremains, they create beads that can be incorporated into bracelets, necklaces and rosaries.

The choice on how you handle the cremains of your loved one is based on what you feel is best. We hope you find closure and peace in making that decision.


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