The team at Swanborough Funerals understands that there will be difficult and uncharted times ahead for families and friends in our community. We want to reassure you that we are here for you and will continue to provide our high standards across all our services. We are extremely passionate about the care and grief that our families are going through and understand the need for alternative services at this time. Therefore, we will be offering solutions that will endeavour to properly farewell your loved ones. It is also our priority to ensure that we can provide as best as possible funeral care for your unique cultural beliefs.
To protect your families, the wider community and us, the alternative practices have been put in place for burials and cremations. They are as follows:
Following new regulations, a maximum of 100 family members and or friends for an indoor chapel (depending on the size of the location) and 100 family members and or friends for an outdoor service can attend whilst adhering to the 4m2 social distancing rule.
Viewings are still permitted; however, they too will be kept in accordance to the social distancing advised by the Government.
We will record and live stream ceremonies onto private Facebook groups and other live streaming services wherever possible. We encourage family and friends to leave messages of condolences in the comments section and to interact within the live streaming services. This service can also be put into place for viewings when required.
We are also encouraging people, who cannot attend the service, to send their condolences to the grieving families and friends through videos, letters, flowers, gifts and care packages; anything to show them that they are not alone during this time.
Please note all catering services are no longer available until current restrictions have been lifted.
Please note that our team is available 24/7 to care for your family and will not hesitate to help you come up with alternative measures to pay respect to your loved ones. We thank you for your patience at this time and send you our love and prayers.
When I am conducting a funeral, I often have people come up to me and say, “This is the only time I get to catch up with extended family or friends”. This is why a simple idea like name badges can be helpful.
Funeral name badges or stickers at a funeral service are easy to make and they are cost effective. I would recommend you go to the Avery website link below. Avery sticker products are available at most office supply outlets.
You can print funeral name badges up yourself or you can ask your funeral director to do this for you.
Choose a design or background that will reflect the person who has passed.
Put their name on the top i.e. Julia’s Memorial Service
Leave a line of space so the person attending can write their name
Ask a question i.e. How did you know Julia?
Leave a line of space so those in attendance can write a comment i.e (Sister or I knew her from bowls.)
These name tags are best placed where you will be signing the memorial book or where the service sheets will be handed out. Leave them with your funeral director on the memorial table with some pens so people can fill them in and wear them.
Name tags provide a great conversation opener after the funeral and at the wake. People in attendance will meet those that they may not recognise straight away. They will get to know something about the person you are remembering that they would not otherwise have discovered.
You may also learn something about your loved one that you may have never known had you not had name tags.
At Swanborough Funerals, we are always looking for special ways to create a unique and personal service to reflect your loved one. That is way we have put together this list of 20 Funeral Service Keepsake Ideas.
Provide a lovely memorial gift for those attending the funeral to take home.
1. Tea light candles
The first of 20 Funeral Service Keepsake Ideas is Tea light candle that can be taken home. It can be lit at significant dates like Christmas or a birthday as a reminder of how treasured the person they are remember is to them. Often it is nice to attach a message with this gift.Some ideas are below
In Loving Memory Of (person’s name)
Always in our thoughts – forever in our hearts
To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die
2. Packets of Seeds
This is a truly special funeral keepsake suited to reflect the person if they loved the garden. Hand out packs of seeds in remembrance of a truly treasured life. When the plants grow and flower, it will be a beautiful reminder of a much-treasured soul. Use little envelopes and have a special message printed on them. Some ideas are below
Plant a seed in loving memory of (person’s name)
Please sow these seed in memory of (person’s name)
There’s a very special garden where our memories grow – it is nurtured by love
This is a lovely funeral keepsake gesture. Provide a bowl or basket of hankies. These can be a collection of hankies that your loved one had. They can be beautifully folded and presented with a ribbon tied on them and a special note. Alternatively, you can purchase new hankies and even have them embroidered with a memorial motif or letter. Ideas on wording below.
Today as we dry our tears – we remember you
Tears are droplets of love
If tears could build a stairway to heaven, you would be in our arms
Another idea is to create a hankie angel.
4. Lolly Bags
We love this one out of the 20 Funeral Service Keepsake Ideas and have used it many times. Hand out a person’s favorite lollies. Present them in a little bag with a message attached. Ideas for messages are below
Grandma always loved her chocolates – enjoy her favorites as you remember her
Grandad always gave us a gift of lollies – we are passing on the legacy
Sweet treats in memory of a Sweet heart
This is a lovely and quite an old tradition of printing out a bookmark with the photo of your loved one, their date of birth, date of passing with a beautiful verse attached – use the link to our funeral poems to choose something special to print on the bookmark.
This is something a little different. Rather than handing out order of service sheets, postcards can be given to those attending the service. A lovely photo of the person you are remembering can be on the front and on the back in traditional postcard format a handwritten message can be printed. Ideas on messages are below
This can be a thank you message from the family of the deceased for those who have attended
This may be words written by the departed loved one
You may wish to choose a special verse, bible reading or poem
The postcard can be put into a photo frame or you can put a small magnet on the back so it will stick on their fridge. Postcards are much more versatile than orders of service booklets.
7. Give way a collection at the funeral.
If your loved one was a collector of things and there is no way you can keep all their collectables, why not have them at the service for people to take one as a remembrance. We have seen this done beautifully with collections of spoons, badges and broaches, teapots, matchbox cars, souvenirs, costume jewellery and other smaller collectable items. Place them in a basket and have a message. To remember (the person’s name) please take one.
8. Collection of Photos
This can be organised successfully a number of ways. You can use the postcard funeral keepsake idea from item 6 but print them out on a variety of different photos so the person attending can choose one special to them.
The other option is to have a box of photos to give out in memory of your special person. You can keep a digital copy of all of the photos and it is much easier to store. Let people look through photos and choose a few of their favorite ones to keep in memory of your loved one.
We have used number 9 out of the 20 Funeral Service Keepsake Ideas many time.s
Provide a small plant for everyone to take home as a funeral keepsake in memory of your precious loved one. This is a befitting tribute for someone who loved plants or was a keen gardener. Plants that work well are Australian natives tube stock, succulents, herbs, small indoor hardy plant and olive trees which are symbolic for the sign of peace.
Another option if they loved potted plant and you do not wish to keep these is to bring them to the service and invite people to take one to plant in their garden or keep in the pot as a living memory
Did mum or dad like to give people plant cuttings from the garden? Hand out cuttings. This is another lovely gesture – with a note telling them where the cutting camefrom.
This is truly a beautiful funeral keepsake. If your loved one was an avid bookworm and had stored up quite a collection over the years, you may want to bring their collection to give away along with a bookmark from idea 5 in each book. Those in attendance can choose their favorite book to take in memory of your loved one.
11. Cakes or cookies.
Did your loved one have a cake or cookie recipe that they loved to bake? Did they have a favorite cake or biscuit they had to have a morning or afternoon tea? Why not have these made and lovingly wrapped for each guest in attendance to take home?
This funeral keepsake idea is quite similar to the traditional wedding favours. Messages that can be attached include:
Made with love in memory of (person’s name)
Grandma’s favorite cake
12. Little book of favorite quotes and sayings
Some people are remembered for their quirky sayings or funny jokes, while others may have underlined the bible with verses of hope and comfort. Some loved to collect poetry. Why not create a funeral keepsake book in memory of your special loved one to hand out at the service? This is such a beautiful keepsake
13. Tea bags
This is such a simple gesture to remember your loved one. Provide teabags wrapped in something special with a note attached.
I may not be here to sit and chat over a cup of tea, so take some time to brew a pot and remember me
In loving memory of (the person’s name) enjoy the simple moments in life. They are the most profound.
14. Puzzle pieces
This is a unique funeral keepsake. Buy a puzzle and write a message on the back of each piece. Put each piece in a little organza bag.
Thank you for being a piece of —–‘s life
You are a part of the puzzle that touched our mother’s heart
15. Soaps or scented bags
Smell is one of our strongest memory tools. Providing a funeral keepsake in memory of a person’s favourite perfume, soap or lavender bag can bring such comfort.
We will remember you and your love of roses (rose scented soap)
Scented lavender bag or soap – As lavender represent grace and compassion we will remember you.
16. Recipe book
If your loved one was a wonderful cook who collected many recipes why not have a little book printed with his or her recipes enclosed. You might like to retitle some of the recipes to remember the person.
Grandma’s Christmas desert
Peter’s secret BBQ marinade
Anne’s perfect sponge cake recipe
Julie’s cocktail surprise
17. Handy hints book
If your loved one was a Mr Fix it or would keep a book or list of handy hints and ideas create a little handy hints book in memory of them
Create a beautiful memorial gift that people can hang on the key rack. Purchase some old keys (bulk replicas can be found at online craft shops) and attach an ornamental key tag to them with a special message.
Love is the key that opens the heart – in loving memory of ——
19. A little sewing kit
Did Mum or Grandma like to sew or mend? Hand out a little sewing kit to everyone that is in attendance. This is a handy little item to have in one’s bag and put a small message with it.
The last of 20 Funeral Service Keepsake Ideas.
Did your loved one like to write letters or journal? Have a pen printed with their name or a treasured saying on there. This is a gift that people will keep in their bag or jacket pocket for years to come and every time they pull out this pen they will remember your precious loved one.
We hope that the 20 funeral service keepsake ideas will assist you in creating a truly befitting tribute for your loved one.
We would love to hear from you. If you have any other beautiful keepsake ideas please share them in the comments below.
We have put together some of the funeral poems collected over the years. Here are some of the most popular poems read and shared and funeral ceremonies. Just some of the 10 best funeral poems for Dad.
Our Loving Father
God took the strength of a mountain & the majesty of a tree.
The warmth of a summer sun, the calm of a quiet sea.
The generous soul of nature & the comforting arm of night.
The wisdom of the ages and the power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring & the faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity & the depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it … ‘DAD!’
Memories of Dad
We do not need a special day to bring you to our minds.
The days we do not think of you are very hard to find.
Each morning when we awake we know that you are gone.
And no one knows the heartache as we try to carry on.
Our hearts still ache with sadness and secret tears still flow.
What it meant to lose you no one will ever know.
Our thoughts are always with you, your place no one can fill.
In life we loved you dearly; in death we love you still.
There will always to be a heartache, and often a silent tear.
But always a precious memory of the days when you were here.
If tears would make a staircase, and heartaches make a lane,
We’d walk the path to heaven and bring you home again.
We hold you close within our hearts; and there you will remain,
To walk with us throughout our lives until we meet again.
Our family chain is broken now, and nothing seems the same,
But as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.
God looked around his garden- And found an empty place,
He then looked down upon the earth- And saw your tired face.
He put his arms around you -And lifted you to rest.
God’s garden must be beautiful -He always takes the best.
He knew that you were suffering -He knew you were in pain.
He knew that you would never – Get well on earth again.
He saw the road was getting rough – And the hills were hard to climb.
So he closed your weary eyelids – And whispered, ‘Peace be thine’.
It broke our hearts to lose you – But you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you – The day God called you home.
Our Father’s Garden
Our Father kept a garden.
A garden of the heart;
He planted all the good things,
That gave our lives their start.
He turned us to the sunshine,
And encouraged us to dream:
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rain came,
He protected us enough;
But not too much because he knew
We would stand up strong and tough.
His constant good example,
Always taught us right from wrong;
Markers for our pathway that will last a lifetime long.
We are our Fathers garden,
We are his legacy.
Thank you Dad we love you
A Love Like No Other
By Paula M. Newman
From the time I was born I guess you would know
Ten perfect fingers and Ten little toes
When you first put your finger in my tiny hand that’s when I first knew
You were my papa no one else would do
As I grow older and reach for the sky
My Papa is still there to keep that twinkle in my eye
When I need someone to hold me you never say I’m too big
You pick me up and squeeze me and whisper you’re my little kid
Most other people don’t understand me or maybe just not as well
That’s why you’re the one I run to when I have something to tell
I love you Papa as you can see
I’m so glad that you’re a part of me
My Dad Answered the Call
When duty called, my dad answered
Without hesitation or fear.
He didn’t ask what it would cost him,
He just saw a need that was clear.
A need to defend his country,
No matter what anyone else thought.
So he headed off to a far away land
And there he stood and he fought.
He fought to preserve our freedom,
Our right to govern ourselves here,
Unencumbered by some foreign nation,
Trying to erase the beliefs we hold dear.
So my dad is a hero in my eyes,
And I hope he’s one in your eyes, too.
He gave up his life and all that he loved,
To ensure that freedom for you.
by Joanna Fuchs
You may have thought I didn’t see,
Or that I hadn’t heard,
Life lessons that you taught to me,
But I got every word.
Perhaps you thought I missed it all,
And that we’d grow apart,
But Dad, I picked up everything,
It’s written on my heart.
Without you, Dad, I wouldn’t be
The (woman)(man) I am today;
You built a strong foundation
No one can take away.
I’ve grown up with your values,
And I’m very glad I did;
So here’s to you, dear father,
From your forever grateful kid
We’ll always remember
That special smile,
That caring heart,
That warm embrace,
You always gave us.
You being there
For Mom and us
Through good and bad times,
No matter what.
We’ll always remember
You Dad because
There will never be another one
To replace you in our hearts,
And the love we will always
Have for you
You held my hand when I was small
You caught me when I fell
You are the hero of my childhood
And my later years as well
And every time I think of you
My heart still fills with pride
Though I will always miss you Dad
I know you’re by my side
In laughter and in sorrow
In sunshine and in rain
I know you’re watching over me
Until we meet again.
A limb has fallen from the family tree
I hear a voice that whispers, ‘Grieve not for me’
Remember the best times, the laughter, the songs
The good I lived while I was strong
Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you
Keep on smiling, the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest
Remembering all…how I was truly blessed
Continue traditions, no matter how small
Go on with your lives, don’t stare at the wall
I miss you all dearly so keep up your chin
Until that fine day we’re together again.
Cremation Process – What Happens at the Crematorium
It is often important to understand the cremation process. It provides comfort knowing the person is well cared for during this time. To know that this final act of caring for a loved one has been carried out with the upmost of dignity and respect, is so important.
The cremation process has several stages. Crematorium Staff are guided by strict government legislation put in place to protect both the crematorium, the family of the deceased and the deceased.
1. Funeral Service
Often a funeral service, celebration of life or gathering of some form takes place prior to cremation. However, modern culture is changing their beliefs around this tradition of holding a service with the coffin or casket present a people are opting for a direct cremation with no service.
If the service takes place at the crematorium chapel, the curtains are closed at the committal and the coffin is removed from the chapel to where the cremator is.
A service has taken place at another venue like a church, then the coffin is transported in the hearse to the crematorium and removed from the hearse to where the cremator is
You choose not to have a service, the coffin is transported directly to the crematorium by the funeral home.
2. Verifying your loved one
This is where the transfer of care of your loved one from the funeral director to the cremator operator takes place. There are several identification checks that are required in this transitional stage.
The nameplate affixed to the coffin or casket is checked to ensure it matches the documentation required by law for cremation to take place.
Form 9 medical cause of death certificate or coroner’s form
The form 1 permission for cremation to take place signed by the applicant
The form 4 signed by a second doctor giving permission for cremation to take place or the form 3 permission to cremate from the coroner
Ashes instruction form (who is permitted to collect the ashes)
The form 9, 1, 4 and 3 ensure that the deceased does not pose a cremation rise. The Human remains pose a cremation risk if the remains contain something that, if cremated, might expose someone to the risk of death, injury or illness (for example, a cardiac pacemaker or radioactive implant: section 6(7) of the Cremations Act 2003). This is put in place to protect the safety of the cremator operator.
3. Preparing for the Cremation Process
Once all documentation is in place, preparation for the cremation commences. The mechanics of each cremator is slightly different. But generally, this is the commencement of the preparation for the cremation process.
The coffin is transferred onto a trolley specifically designed to insert the coffin or casket into the cremator
Items that would interfere with the cremation are removed. This sometimes includes the handles, especially if they are metal. These cremation handles tend to be made from plastic dipped in silver or gold and suitable for cremation.
The cremator is checked to ensure it is the correct temperature for cremation to take place.
The name place is removed and placed by the cremator. This is important as this the form of identification required to stay with the deceased during and after the cremation.
The coffin is inserted into the cremator. The deceased is not removed from the coffin. The coffin is needed as part of the cremation process and for safe handling by the cremator operator.
4. The Cremation Process
The majority of cremators are designed with two chambers and a cooling tray. Only one cremation at a time can take place. This is legislation. The temperature of the cremator can range from 800°C – 1000°C and depending on several factors including what the coffin is made of, the size of the deceased and the type of cremator, the cremation takes approximately 90 minutes.
The cremated remains go into the second chamber. Once the cremation is complete the remains are removed into a cooling tray and left to cool. The name plate is placed with the cooling tray as identification. A magnet is placed over the remains to remove any metal products like nails and staples from the coffin. Any titanium prosthetics are also removed and buried within the crematorium grounds.
5. The Ashes
The remains (bone fragments) need to be refined and are placed through a processing machine to provide ashes. Cremains are then placed in the plastic reciprocal. The nameplate is affixed to the outside of the container and as per regulation the container is required by law to be labelled.
The label must include the following
the deceased person’s name
The date of death
The date of cremation
Name and address of crematorium
If more than one container is required, the containers need to be numbered accordingly.
6. Returning the Ashes
At the time of the funeral arrangement your funeral director would have documented your requests on the ashes instruction form.
These instructions state who has permission to collect the ashes and often what is to happen with the ashes. If you are the nominated person to collect the ashes you will be required to show some form photo id. The person collecting the ashes will also sign that they have received them.
What Not To Do At A Funeral – From the Funeral Director.
Trust me we have seen it all, so we thought you might like to know what not to do at a funeral. If you are reading this, we know you are not “One of those” people.
So here goes – the top ten funeral No-Nos!
1. Turn Off Your Mobile Phone
This is the first of the Top Ten Funeral No-Nos. Turn off your mobile phone – Or at least put it on silent. It is just straight out, plain rude for your phone to ring while the grieving are reading the eulogy, in the middle of a prayer or as the coffin is being lowered. Let me tell you, some ring tones are just shocking, from the antiquated polka tune to the latest “Baby Baby I want you” song on iTunes. Not good.
And in addition…
Don’t go checking Facebook, messages, snapchat, emails or playing games on your phone while you are in the service. Seriously, if you can’t control the urge, and you think you have better things to do, you probably should not be there. And… put a lid on the SELFIES!
2. Do Not Turn Up Late
It is far better to be early. There is nothing worse that walking into a funeral service just as it is about to finish. You are paying your respects and attending to share your condolences with the family. As a sign of respect, turn up on time.
3. Do Not Race To Sit In The Front Row
The front pews are for immediate family. If you are not the next of kin please leave the front rows of the ceremony for the next of kin. If there is a reserved sign on the seat, it is there for a reason.
4. Do Not Ask What They Died Of
Why do you need to know that anyway. If you are not the next of kin, quite frankly, it is none of your business. We will not tell you, we cannot tell you, mind your own business and don’t ask us.
5. What Not To Wear
A funeral service is not the time to make a bold fashion statement and be the centre of attention. Unless a certain type of attire is requested, like “wear bright colours” – wear something tasteful, neat and tidy. And yes – Please wear something if you get my drift! I know we shouldn’t have to say that, but, from experience, sadly, we do.
6. Don’t Forget To Sign The Memorial Book
This is one we probably have all been guilty of. We understand that sometimes you get distracted, but please remember to sign the condolence or memorial book. The family have purchased a memorial signing book because they want to know the names of the people who attended the service. They may not get the opportunity to see everyone that attended the service. Just to know that you were there brings them great comfort.
7. Don’t Waffle On
Aside from the main eulogy and personal remembrances from the next of kin, often there is a time of tributes. If you have been asked to speak at the service or there is an open time of tributes, take a moment to think about what you want to say. Mention the deceased name, how you know them, a character quality that connected you to them and finally your condolences to the family. Keep it brief, as there are others that would also like to share. If you have been asked to speak, write it down. This will help.
8. No Fighting
The funeral service is not the time to have a slinging match or fist fight. Keep your jacket on boys. Hold your tongue ladies. You may have some long lasting family feud, but please keep a lid on it until after the funeral. Also, keep in mind we are funeral directors, not security guards or the armed forces. Our job is to provide funeral care.
9. Do not say these things to the grieving
They are in a better place now – I know how you feel – It was meant to be
Sayings like these cliches do not bring comfort.
A simple hug – I am thinking of you – My sincere condolences
These are better choices.
10. Do Not Disrupt Another Service
If you are at the cemetery or crematorium, there will be other services booked in during the day. Respect their booking time. Don’t talk loudly outside the chapel or around the graveside if another service is running. Give them the respect and dignity they deserve.
Wicker Coffins Caskets – The environmentally friendly choice. Swanborough Funerals are proud to offer wicker coffins caskets. Made completely from natural fibres, these handwoven coffins and caskets are environmentally friendly, sustainable and affordable alternative to the traditional MDF or hardwood coffins and caskets.
All of our Wicker Coffins Caskets are completely natural and biodegradable.
Willow plants are grown sustainably being very easy to harvest and requiring no fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides.
The plants can replenish fertility in degraded and marginal soils and also provide habitat for birds and insects. Willow coffins are woven and therefore do not depend on toxic glues, varnish, plastics, or metals.
In the right soil conditions willow tends to decompose much more quickly than traditional materials such as MDF, hardwoods and metal. Willow is a carbon neutral material and when burnt only gives off the same amount of carbon that it consumes within it’s lifetime.
Eco friendly wicker coffins caskets are a beautiful and natural solution to a difficult problem. They are natural fibre coffins. They are used in Green funeral care and natural burial grounds
Do not hesitate to contact Swanborough Funerals if you have any questions on our wicker coffins and caskets
Greek Orthodox Funeral Service – The passing of a loved one from this life to the next, no matter how well prepared you are brings grief and sorrow. Often, the role of the next-of-kin is to organise the funeral arrangements.
The Greek Orthodox faith is deeply rich in symbolism and tradition in and around the death of a loved one with the focus being on resurrection and new life, often describe by the Greek Orthodox Church as sorrowful joy. The strong belief around resurrection to everlasting life brings hope and peace to the grieving community.
Burial traditions are an important part of the funeral service. The Greek Orthodox Church do not practice Cremation as it is not mentioned in Scripture. Cremation is seen as disrespecting the body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The meanings around the Greek Orthodox Burial Customs are as follows:
TRISAGION: Also known as the prayer to the 3-times Holy (God as Trinity) is often prayed by the priest prior to the funeral in the place where the deceased is resting. The Trisagion is a succession of prayers preceded by the exclamation of the Angels as recorded in the Book of Isaiah. The dearly departed is now being met by the Angels and guided to the resting place.
SAVANO (THE BURIAL SHROUD): In the same way that Christ was buried some in the Orthodox faith place a burial shroud over the body of the deceased. This is an option. Embroidered on the shroud can be found the icons of Christ’s Crucifixion & Resurrection.
DIRECTION OF THE COFFIN: It is traditional practice within the Orthodox faith for the deceased to face towards the east, following the belief that in the second coming Christ will appear in the east who will be the first to meet Him.
OPEN COFFIN: An open coffin is common predominantly practised within Orthodox countries. It is the choice of the family of the deceased whether or not to have an open or closed coffin. Some feel being able to view the deceased brings comfort in their time of grief.
ITEMS IN THE COFFIN: Loved ones have the opportunity to place memorial symbols into the coffin. This may be an icon of the Resurrection, a precious photo or even a written letter. This is done with deep meaning and respect.
RESSURECTION ICON: During the funeral service the icon of the Resurrection of Christ is placed either in or on the coffin .
FINAL FAREWELL: The congregation are invited to come forward and to kiss (venerate the icon) on the coffin at the conclusion of the funeral service. The hymn chanted invites all to come and bid their final farewell.
AT THE GRAVESIDE:
– The oil is poured into the grave by the priest as a sign of healing from the transition of death.
– The dirt or the sand are placed by the priest, family and friends into the grave as a symbol of the final act of love. The Greek Orthodox faith believe that from the earth we have come and to the earth we return.
– Kollyva is boiled wheat made for Memorial Services and some faithful place a bowl of Kollyva under the coffin during the service. At the graveside the bowl is broken on the coffin to commemorate Christ’s victory over death
– A white grave marker is placed on grave until the headstone is organised.
MEMORIAL SERVICES: These take place at significant times in the Greek Orthodox Church after the person has passed away, including 9 days, 3 months, 6 months and annually.
Below is a list and links to the following Greek Orthodox Communities
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”
Some practical advice on journeying with your friend
Just be present. Be there to listen. It may be a hug or a squeeze of the hand. There may be silence but you being there is all that matters. They are not alone.
Be the friend that creates the safe space where the griever can go, where the person grieving does not have to be aware of others expectations. They do not need to worry how they look or how they feel.
Educate yourself on the signs of grief and the emotions to expect. Be aware and conscious of how your friend is feeling. Allow them space to travel through these emotions. The five common stages of grief being denial, anger, bargaining, depression & acceptance. (not in any order). Our journey is not linear but more circular in its display.
Remember that Grief is unavoidable and is the deep expression of loss of someone you love, because and love and intertwined
Offer practical help. Rather than say “Call me if you need anything” offer to do something specific. A simple gesture like doing the dishes, cleaning the floors, sorting washing is all that is sometimes needed.
In early grief the phone can ring off the hook and there can be a flow of people coming and going. This is often overwhelming and exhausting. Create a quiet place in the home for the bereaved away from the busyness. People genuinely want to offer the condolences and support. Rather than locking up the house and turning off the phones, have a designated person answer the phones to take down condolence messages and create a public space in the home where people can come with their sympathy gifts. Your grieving friend does not always need to be present there.
Do not be afraid to say the deceased’s name. By mentioning their name, you are continuing to remember to them. Share the memories and the photos.
Our physical body reacts to grief. Physical signs to be aware of include loss of appetite, inability to sleep, tears, exhaustion, lack of energy, feeling sick in the tummy, headaches to name just a few.
Don’t just be present in the first few days or weeks of loss. As a good friend, be present in the longer term. Often the harsh reality of grief does not always set in till the phone calsl stop and others move on back to their everyday lives. Remember, for the person grieving life will not go back to how it used to be. Life will never be the same.
Suggest counselling. You cannot move over, around, or under grief. One must travel through. A professional counsellor is skilled at assisting your friend.