Category: Advice on Headstones (page 1 of 2)

How funerals have been affected by Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic has presented an unprecedented set of challenges for bereaved families who are having to arrange funeral services for loved ones, as well as many mourners who wish to pay their final respects.

Whilst funerals are still able to go ahead, there have been some important changes. The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), alongside several other funeral related organisations, have formed the Deceased Management Advisory Group (DMAG), which is regularly liaising with government officials and cabinet members on the sector’s response to Covid-19.

Things have now been adapted so that a lot of the legal requirements can be done online, minimising the need for actual contact. The certificate needed to register a death (MCCD) and medical certificates from the hospital, coroner or your doctor are now transferred by email. There are, of course, stringent codes to adhere to in all of this, but the system is working well. Registering a death now cannot be done in person by attending a registry office either, but is instead done by telephone, with the required documentation then emailed to the necessary authorities.

Though government directives are changing all the time, churches and chapels are currently closed, along with all buildings used by the public, such as clubs, pubs and hotels. Graveside services and services at the crematorium are however allowed, albeit with reduced numbers and with everyone strictly observing the two metre social distancing guidelines for the safety of everyone involved.

At present, up to 10 people can attend funerals, which should be only the closest members of the family. In many cases, it is not the way families would like to say farewell and it is especially difficult if the family have not been able to visit their loved one in hospital or a care home. Family members – or very close friends if no family – can attend the service even if they are in the vulnerable category or are self-isolating as long as they do not have symptoms of Covid-19 themselves and that they strictly observe the social distancing rules.

Many families are intending to hold memorial services or celebrations of their loved ones’ lives when the current restrictions are lifted, and there are certainly plans being considered for special services of Remembrance and Thanksgiving for those who have died during this crisis, by the crematoriums, churches and chapels.

What makes an eco-friendly funeral?

An eco-friendly funeral can be particularly fitting for those who loved the great outdoors or were passionate about looking after the environment.

Funerals come in all different shapes and sizes now, and many people choose a funeral type that fits with the deceased’s passions or lifestyle as a tribute to their life and memory.

One type of funeral that is gaining in popularity is the eco-friendly funeral. Green funerals incorporate natural processes, eco-friendly arrangements and sustainable materials into the service.

Here are a few of our favourite ideas for giving your loved one an environmentally-friendly send-off.

  • Choose burial over cremation – Cremating a body releases around 400kg of CO2 into the air, the same as a 500 mile car journey.

 

 

  • Choose a coffin made from eco-friendly, biodegradable materials – Eco-friendly coffin materials include those made from cardboard, rattan, bamboo and willow.

 

  • Have the body refrigerated not embalmed – Embalming a body requires the use of harmful chemicals, which can then seep into the ground and the environment when the body is buried.

 

  • Reduce travel requirements – Hold the funeral somewhere close to home and suggest that those attending lift share to the service. Some people even choose to transport the body to the funeral themselves rather than hiring a hearse.

 

  • Decline funeral flowers – Many woodland burial sites prefer to keep the area looking natural and free of memorial flowers and urns. Cut funeral flowers come at a high environmental price so many people organising an eco-friendly funeral ask attendees to donate to an eco-friendly charity instead of buying flowers.

 

  • Hold a meat-free wake – The meat industry has a hugely negative impact on the environment, so catering a meat-free wake is an excellent way to reduce the event’s environmental impact. This can be a particularly fitting tribute if the deceased was vegetarian or vegan.

Dealing with grief over the festive period

If you’ve lost a loved one, the festive season can feel like it’s lost its joy and meaning, becoming a particularly difficult time of year that is fraught with memories.

Christmas is meant to be a wonderful time of year, but if you’re coping with grief you may be feeling far from festive.

Whilst coping with a recent bereavement can be particularly difficult, even those that lost a loved one many years ago can find that their grief intensifies during the festive season.

Memories of past Christmases with those that have passed away can be very painful and leave you feeling little reason to celebrate.

We’ve put together a few ideas and advice about how to cope with grief over the festive season.

Only do as much as you’re comfortable with

Don’t feel pressured to do all the same things that you have in the past, or to attend big Christmas celebrations if you really don’t want to. Equally, if you still want to celebrate Christmas, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for doing so.

Create traditions to remember your loved one at Christmas

Creating new Christmas traditions that pay tribute to the person that has passed can be a wonderful way of still including them in the holiday season. Here are a few ideas for new traditions to remember those that have passed at Christmas:

  • Visit their grave and lay down flowers on a set day during the festive season each year.
  • Make it a tradition to visit a place that was special to you both during the Christmas period.
  • Light a candle in their memory during your Christmas dinner.
  • Visit a place of worship and light a candle in their memory.
  • Share favourite stories about the person with your loved ones.

Plan ahead

It can take some of the stress out of the festive season to discuss Christmas plans with friends and family in plenty of time of the big day.

Be kind to yourself

Listen to and accept your grief as it comes, if you need to cry, allow yourself the time to cry. Don’t beat yourself up over not being in the festive spirit.

Whatever your plans for Christmas day, make sure you leave time to treat yourself, whether that’s with your favourite festive film, a packet of indulgent biscuits, or a brisk walk on Christmas morning.

What is a humanist funeral?

If your loved one wasn’t religious, a humanist funeral may be a more fitting way to remember and celebrate their life.

A 2017 study found that 53% of the UK population identify as having no religion and as a result we are seeing a surge in the popularity of both non-religious weddings and funerals.

Traditionally, funerals have always been sombre affairs conducted in religious buildings by religious leaders. If your loved one was not religious though, a humanist funeral may be a more fitting and meaningful way of saying goodbye.

Who conducts the funeral?

Humanist funerals are usually led by funeral celebrants rather than priests, although they may also be led by a family member or friend if preferred.

What happens with the remains?

You can still choose either a cremation or burial, but a burial would need to take place at a natural or woodland burial site rather than a church.

Where are humanist funerals held?

Services for humanist funerals are usually held at either the crematorium or the natural burial ground. It is, however, possible to hold the funeral at any location you wish, providing that the relevant permissions have been granted.

The ceremony

The main purpose of a humanist ceremony is to celebrate the life of the deceased without hymns, prayers, or any other religious references.

The service for a humanist funeral doesn’t need to conform to any particular structure or order, but people often choose to incorporate many of the same elements used in traditional religious services including music, speeches, tributes, and a period of reflection.

The tone of a humanist ceremony can be light-hearted and celebratory or formal and sombre, depending on personal taste.

At Buckley Memorials our large range of attractive, high quality memorials act as an elegant and lasting tribute to your loved one. Browse our range of memorials online or get in touch with our team by calling us on 0800 093 6800 if you require help choosing a memorial.

5 popular flowers for laying on a memorial

Choosing memorial flowers that are a fitting tribute to your loved one’s memory can be difficult without some knowledge of the sentiments that flowers can express.

If you’re searching for a flower that not only looks beautiful, but that also carries a heartfelt message, then learning more about what the commonest memorial flowers symbolise may help to make your job a little easier.

Lilies

Elegant and fragrant lilies are popularly sent in sympathy and used as memorial flowers. Whilst lilies can be found in a whole spectrum of colours, white and pink are most traditionally lain on graves.

The lily is said represent purity and symbolises the soul of the deceased returning to a peaceful state of innocence.

Roses

Roses can be used to convey a variety of different messages when placed on a memorial depending on the colour chosen. White roses are said to represent innocence, yellow means strong ties and friendship, dark crimson is for deep grief and sorrow, and light pink signifies love and grace.

Adding a single red rose to a bouquet expresses your enduring love for the person who has passed away.

Chrysanthemums

The chrysanthemum has different meanings around the world, but in Europe it is commonly used as a memorial flower symbolising sympathy and honour. Available in a wide array of colours and varieties, red chrysanthemums are said to signify love, white mean loyalty, and yellow are for sorrow.

Carnations

Carnations make excellent memorial flowers as they are beautifully fragrant and tend to last a long time.

Different coloured carnations have different meanings; white for innocence, pink for remembrance, and red for affection or admiration.

Orchid

These exotic and delicate flowers can be a particularly special and poignant addition to a loved one’s memorial. Orchids are said to represent eternal love, and whilst they are beautiful in any colour, pink and white orchids are most commonly associated with mourning and sympathy.

 

Signs that a memorial headstone requires renovation

Whilst memorial headstones are built to last, over the years, time will inevitably still take its toll.

Wind, rain, ice, and air pollution can all lead to the gradual deterioration of a memorial’s condition.

Whilst regular maintenance can keep a headstone looking good for longer, with time, most memorials will still require renovation to keep them looking beautiful.

At Buckley Memorials we provide a full renovation service to return memorials back to their former glory.

Here are the commonest signs that a memorial requires something more thorough than a wipe down with soapy water.

Writing is difficult to read– If the writing on a memorial is becoming worn away and difficult to read, then the letters will need to be professionally repainted, re-gilded, or otherwise repaired.

Discoloured– If general cleaning of your memorial isn’t removing the discolouration, then it will require attention from a professional. Trying to clean a memorial yourself with anything harsher than washing up liquid can do more damage than good. During a professional clean, safe chemicals are used to remove stubborn dirt and discolouration. The memorial may also be sanded to restore it to its former condition.

No NAMM fixture or feels unstable –All memorials are now required to be fitted with a NAMM fixing to ensure that they are safe and secure. If a memorial does not yet have a NAMM approved ground anchor, then this will need to be updated. An unstable, wobbly, or loose memorial is very dangerous and requires immediate renovation to prevent it causing anyone injury.

To find out more about how ourmemorial renovation servicecan revitalise your loved one’s headstone, get in touch by giving us a call on 0800 093 6800.

How are our memorials installed and secured to NAMM standards?

When you buy a memorial for a loved one there is an expectation that it will stand in place as an elegant tribute to their memory for many years to come.

To withstand the test of time, all memorials should be made from the highest quality hardwearing materials and securely fixed to the ground to prevent them from falling or being pushed over.

Here at Buckley Memorials our Memorials are made to last by skilled craftsmen using the highest quality materials.

Members of NAMM and BRAMM

We are members of both the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) and the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons (BRAMM) and comply with both organisation’s set standards of quality. You can trust that our products will always be both long-lasting and durable.

NAMM-approved ground anchors

The British Standard for memorials, as set out in BS8415, states that for safety reasons, all memorials should be installed using secure ground anchors.

For your peace of mind and safety, here at Buckley Memorials we only use NAMM-approved ground anchorsto secure our memorials.

Headstones are attached to the base of the memorial using stainless steel dowels. We then anchor them to the ground using a two foot stainless steel bar which goes through the entire base and concrete foundation and then into the ground.

According to NAMM, there has been no historical evidence of any injuries occurring from correctly installed NAMM Accredited ground anchors since their first introduction.

We are so confident in the quality of our products that we offer a 100% customer satisfaction assurance and ‘peace of mind’ service. Browse our range of beautiful memorialsand get in touch with our team of experts if you have any questions about designs, materials or fixings.

A quick guide to maintaining a loved one’s grave

A loved one’s grave can be a comforting place for friends and family to visit to pay their respects, remember them, or simply sit and feel close to them again.

Memorial headstones and graves require regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking at their best. A well maintained grave can be a peaceful place to go to remember your loved one as well as a beautiful tribute to their memory.

Here is a quick guide to maintaining a headstone and grave.

Cleaning

If the grave has a headstone memorialthis is likely to be the main focal point and should be kept clean and unobstructed. Memorials come in a wide range of elegant designs and beautiful natural stones that should be looked after carefully.

When cleaning the headstone, it’s important to use a soft sponge and a gentle cleaning solution, a simple solution of warm water and washing up liquid should be effective at removing most dirt. Take care to only use mild and gentle cleaning solutions and never use acidic cleaning products as these could damage natural stone.

Brush or wipe way excess dirt before using your sponge and soapy water to gently wash the headstone. For headstones with inscriptions or detail, use a cotton bud to gently clean dirt from any narrow spaces. Finally, use a clean, dry cloth to buff the headstone and remove any streaks.

Weeding

Keep the grave looking neat, tidy, and well cared for with regular weeding and by trimming back any grass or overhanging plants.  You may wish to put down a layer of decorative stones or chippings to help keep weeds at bay.

Decorative items

Adding personal touches and decorative items to a grave can act as a tribute to the person’s character. To avoid disappointment, it’s best to check if the cemetery or burial ground has any rules, regulations or restrictions surrounding decorative items prior to buying anything.

Restoration

If you’ve cleaned and spruced the grave but it’s still looking a little sad, old, or rundown then it may be that the headstone requires professional renovation.

Get in touch with our team at Buckley Memorials by giving us a call for free on 0800 093 6800 to find out more about our memorial renovation service.

Organisations that offer support after a bereavement

No matter what the circumstances, dealing with the death of a loved one can be an excruciatingly painful, difficult, and confusing time.

Nobody should feel alone in their grief, and there are plenty of charities and organisations in the UK dedicated to supporting people after a bereavement.

Just some of the ways that these organisations may be able to help you include:

  • Guidance and support.
  • Telephone helpline.
  • Meet people going through the same thing.

We’ve put together some information about the top organisations.

Cruse Bereavement Care– The UK’s leading bereavement charity. Cruse provides advice and help to anyone in need of support after a bereavement. As well as a national helpline, Cruse also offer local services up and down the country including face-to-face support and groups.

Winston’s Wish– Helping children and young people to deal with the death of a parent or sibling.  Winston’s Wish offers children therapeutic help and support services to help them to deal with their grief. This includes professional support via a freephone helpline, online chat, email service and face-to-face.

Child Bereavement UK– Supports families when a baby or child passes away. As well as providing professional information and support to families, Child Bereavement UK also provide specialist support to bereaved children. Support can be gained via a telephone helpline, peer support groups, counselling, and online support.

Sands – Stillbirth and neonatal death charity– Supporting anyone who has been affected by the death of a baby. Sands offer information, advice and support through their website, app, freephone helpline, and local and online support groups.

Speaking to someone about your bereavement can help you to work through your feelings, get advice about how to cope with your grief, and help with adjusting to life without the person who has died.

3 Reasons To Choose Your Own Headstone

Choosing our own headstone is not something most of us think about or even care about but there are lots of advantages to choosing how you would like to be remembered after death rather than leave it up to relatives. With this in mind here are three of the main reasons why you should consider choosing your own headstone.

Leaving it up to relatives can place an additional burden
Relatives and loved ones will often be so caught up in the funeral arrangements they will sometimes forget about details such as headstones. Even when they do remember, they may not provide the kind of memorial you would have chosen to be remembered by. It’s far better to ease their burden and take away some of the hard work of coming up with fitting verses, choosing designs and so on.

There can be disagreements over what the deceased would have wanted
Like anything else in life, people will tend to choose things based on their own taste so there can be family disagreements over what’s best. Choosing your own grave stone or memorial will ensure this doesn’t happen.

You can ease the financial burden
Saving up for your own funeral much like choosing your own gravestone is not something you are likely to be thinking about now. However, funerals are expensive and the cost is rising well above inflation. At least when you choose your gravestone, you will be able to gain an idea of what it will cost and prepare accordingly for when the end comes. Most of us would like to have at least some kind of memorial for people to remember us by.

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