site image
phone local_florist

You can find our latest posts on this page. Click on the calendar to review postings from prior periods and remember to check back here often!

Facing the Loss of a Co-worker

Published: October 29, 2019 by Cortney Drake-Heck

site image

On Monday, September 23, 2019, life as we knew it at Helke Funeral Home changed. Our co-worker, friend, and mentor was gone. At the age of 46, Patrick Mayo’s life ended. The hole that his death has left us with is very tangible, and the grief is insurmountably real.

Many times, we consider our co-workers friends, and sometimes we even consider them to be a part of our family. And yet when we experience the death of a co-worker, we often don’t feel as if we have permission to grieve in the way we would grieve another friend or family member. There are many reasons why coping with the loss of a co-worker can present unique feelings and emotions that we might not know how to deal with. We don’t always realize the significant role they play in our lives. Because of this, we might not feel supported in our feelings of grief. People might assume that the sadness will pass quickly. It may be unclear or confusing how involved we should be in funerals, memorials, or other remembrance events. If we cannot grieve with our co-workers, we may feel completely alone. Our employers may not encourage us to grieve openly or together, leaving us to feel as if there is no one to turn to or to share our grief with.

Most, if not all, of us understand that there are steps in the grieving process, and while we are making our way through these steps, it might feel as if we are on a roller coaster of shifting emotions. There might be physical responses such as fatigue, sleep disruption, appetite changes, tenseness, aches and pains. There could be psychological symptoms of distractedness, forgetfulness, irritability, and feelings of confusion or disorientation. Though this is normal, we must also understand that there are methods and ways to cope with the feelings accompanied by loss.

It is important to acknowledge the loss and to give each other permission to talk about the impact the individual’s death had on us, rather than go on as if nothing happened. It may be helpful to allot time at staff meetings for checking in on how everyone is doing. Keep in mind that grief affects each person in a very different way. Some are deeply affected by the loss, while others are not. Some people want to talk about their feelings, while others want to deal with them in private. Some may take much longer than others to adjust to the loss. We must understand how each person reacts differently to a loss and be respectful of those differences. Remember to be gentle and understanding with one another.

We also need to take care of ourselves. Grief can be emotionally and physically exhausting; consider rest, relaxation, exercise, or diversions. Find ways to express thoughts and feelings. For some, it helps to write things down as a way to get feelings out. Professional assistance might be needed, so remember it is okay to ask for help.

Finally, consider honoring the loss of a co-worker in an appropriate way. Collect money for a charity, a memorial bench or a plaque in their name. Create a bulletin board in their memory. It is important that everyone is allowed to take part in honoring and memorializing the individual.

The loss of Patrick Mayo rushed over our funeral home like a giant wave washing over each one of us, as we were instantly aware that his physical presence was no longer here. Some of us have begun to drag ourselves to the shoreline, taking in air as we start our journey through the grieving process, while others are still feeling the weight of their personal loss. As each of us struggles to find our new normal, we know that Pat is here with us. We carry him in our hearts every day, and we will continue to honor his legacy by caring for each of our families as he did, with dignity, empathy, and professionalism.

In loving memory of our dear friend, Patrick Jason Mayo. May he forever be in the hearts and memories of all those who knew and loved him.

Funeral Etiquette Part 2: Common Questions

Published: October 24, 2019

site image

Who Should Attend

When an individual passes away, family, friends, and coworkers usually attend the funeral to pay their respects. At the same time, it is essential to remember that funerals are not only about the deceased; if you are close with the person’s loved ones, consider being present to offer condolences and show support.

Many people wonder whether or not it is appropriate to bring children to a funeral service. While it is important that a child doesn’t feel forced to attend, it is also important for them to have an opportunity to say goodbye and be a part of the tribute. Prepare children ahead of time by talking openly about the situation and what the service might be like.

What to Wear

The traditional attire for mourning is formal and black. However, families now often prefer that the service or gathering be seen as a celebration of their loved one’s life, so there is not necessarily a typical style anymore. Some families ask that guests dress according to a certain theme such as wearing camouflage for an avid hunter or purple for an enthusiastic Vikings fan. When in doubt, it is still safe to choose subdued colors and dress modestly.

What to Say

Knowing what to say to someone who is grieving might feel intimidating, but simply let the family know that you are sorry for their loss and that you are thinking of them during this time. If appropriate, introduce yourself and tell the family how you knew the individual who passed. You might consider sharing a favorite memory you have with the person or mentioning what you will miss the most about them. Avoid making any comments that minimize their loss or compare levels of sorrow. Also, don’t bring up the cause of death unless the family speaks freely about it.

What to Give

A sympathy card is a great way to share your condolences with the family, especially when your time interacting with them at the funeral or visitation might be very limited. Some people include a gift of money for the family or add a note that a donation was made to an organization in honor of the one who passed. Sending sympathy flowers to the funeral location prior to the service is also a very common option, as is bringing a meal to the family during the days or weeks following the service.

Funeral Etiquette Part 1: What to Expect

Published: October 16, 2019

site image

When an individual passes away, there is usually some type of gathering held, often accompanied by a funeral or memorial service. To avoid offending the family and to help you feel a bit more prepared, there are a few funeral etiquette factors to keep in mind. It helps to first have an understanding of what to expect.

For visitations, wakes, and other remembrance events, there will likely be displays of photos and memorabilia for you to quietly look at while waiting to visit with the family. If a viewing is involved, the embalmed body of the deceased person is present in an open casket so people can see the individual one last time and say their own goodbyes. While you are not required to participate in viewing the body, it is an important part of the grieving process. No matter the type of service or gathering, there is generally a registration book you should be sure to sign so that the family can look back later to see who attended.

Not everyone has a structured service, but for those who do, it can range from completely unique to highly traditional. Religious and non-religious preferences often influence specific selections, but you can expect readings, speeches, and music. If the seating area includes rows, the front will most likely be reserved for family. Choose a spot you are comfortable in, turn off your cell phone, and be sure to have tissues nearby.

Following the service, there may or may not be an immediate burial. If there is and if the family invites all guests to the cemetery, make sure you follow the vehicle procession and drive responsibly. Be aware of your volume at the cemetery, and always avoid sitting or walking on gravesites.

Many funeral services conclude with a meal or a more lighthearted gathering. This is an opportunity to visit with other friends and family and to share stories about the person who has passed. While the atmosphere will likely be more casual, keep in mind that many people are grieving.

© 2019 Helke Funeral Home and Cremation Services. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS