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ALS Assoc. 7 Lincoln St. Wakefield 01880

Alzheimer's AssociationMassachusetts Chapter 311 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472

Alzheimers Support Group of the South Shore, P.O. Box 109 Hingham 02043

American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701

American Civil Liberties Union of Mass 99 Chauncey St. Suite 310, Boston 02111

American Diabetes Assoc., PO Box 31160, Hartford, CT. 06150

American Kidney Fund 6110 Executive Blvd. Rockville Md. 20852

American Liver Foundation 88 Winchester St. Newton 02461

American Lung Assoc., 480 Totten Pond Road, Waltham, MA 02451

American Diabetes Association, 1 Bromfield St., Boston, MA 02108

American Heart Assoc., 20 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701

American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund, American Red Cross 285 Columbus Avenue Boston, MA 02116 

Arthritis Foundation 29 Crafts St. Newton 02458

Beacon Hospice, 45 North Main Street, Fall River, MA 02722

Boston Catholic Television, 55 Chapel St. P.O. Box 9109, Newtonville, MA 02460

Boston Catholic TV Center 55 Chapel St. Box 56 Newton 02160

Boston EMS Relief Association PO Box 365695 Hyde Park 02136

Boston Police Memorial Fund c/o Dist 13, Capt. Robert Flaherty, 3347 Washington St. Boston , MA 02130 (JP)

Boston Shriners Hospital 51 Blossom St. Boston, MA 02114, 617-722-3000 Fax 617-523-1684 

Brain Tumor Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, 100 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114

Cancer Center of Boston, 125 Parker Hill Ave., Boston, 02120

Cancer Research, c/o American Cancer Society, 1115 West Chestnut St., Brockton MA 02130

Caritas Good Samaritan Hospice, 3 Edgewater Dr., Norwood, MA 02062

Carroll Center for the Blind 770 Centre St. Newton 02158

Catholic Charities 75 Kneeland St Boston 02111

Catholic Charities 55 Lynn Shore Dr. Lynn MA 01902

Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston MA 02115

Chrones & Colitis Foundation NE Chapter 280 Hillside Ave Needham 02494

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 220 N. Main St. Natick 01760

Dana/Farber's Jimmy Fund Tribute Program, 1 Harvard St., Brookline MA 02146-9795

Dana Farber Cancer Institute, 10 Brookline Place West, 6th Floor, Brookline, MA 02445

Dedham Visiting Nurses Assoc. 1100 High St. Dedham MA 02026

Dept. of Nursing, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, 736 Cambridge St., Brighton, MA 02135

Deutsches Altenheim Nursing Home 2222 Centre St. West Roxbury, MA 02132

Dialysis Dept, Beth Israel Deaconess Med. Ctr. 330 Brookline Ave. Boston 02215

Epilepsy Foundation, 4351 Garden City Drive, Landover MD 20785

Faulkner Hospital Oncology Dept. 1153 Centre St. Boston, (JP) 02130

Good Samaritan Hospice, 310 Allston St., Brighton, MA 02146

Home for Little Wanderers, 161 South Huntington Ave., Boston 02130

Hospice & Pallitave Care of Cape Cod, 923 Rt. 6A Yarmouthport, MA 02675

Hospice-Healthcare Dimensions, 764 Main St, Waltham, MA 02451-0603

Joslin Diabetes Center One Joslin Place Boston, MA 02215

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, MASS Chapter 495 Old Connecticut Path, Suite 220, Framingham 01701-4567 

MA Lions Eye Research Fund Inc., P.O. Box 6050, New Bedford, MA 02742-6050

MA SIDS Center , Boston Medical Center , 1 BMC Place, Boston 02118

Make a Wish Foundation, 1 Bulfinch Place, 2nd Floor, Boston, 02114

March of Dimes 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue White Plains, NY 10605

Mass Brain Injury Assoc. 484 Main St. #325 Worcester, MA 01608

Mass General Hospital Development Office, 100 Charles River Plaza, Suite 600 Boston 02114

N.E. Home for Little Wanderers, 271 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02115.

National Breast Cancer Foundation, One Hanover Park 16633 N. Dallas Pkwy, Suite 600 Addison TX 75001

New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans 17 Court St. Boston, MA 02108

Pine Street Inn Development Office 444 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02118 (617) 521-7629 

Port Authority Police's World Trade Disaster Survivors' Fund 611 Palisade AvenueEngelwood Cliffs, NJ 07632

Ronald MacDonald House, 229 Kent St. Brookline MA 02446

Rosies Place 889 Harrison Ave Boston 02118

Salvation Army 6 Baxter St. Quincy, MA 02169-6900

Shriners Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114

South Shore Visiting Nurse Association 100 Bay State Drive Braintree, MA 02184 

South Shore Visiting Nurses Association, 100 Bay State Dr., Braintree, MA 02185. 

Special Olympics, 450 Maple St., Danvers, MA 01923

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN 38105-1905.

St. Vincent DePaul Society 18 Canton St. Stoughton MA 02072

Stanley R. Tippett Hospice House, 920 South St., Needham, MA 02492

The Hospice Care Inc. 41 Montvale Ave., Stoneham 02180

The Leary Firefighters Foundation 1697 Broadway, Suite 906 New York, NY 10019

The Hebrew Rehabilitation Ctr., 1200 Centre St., Roslindale MA 02131

The New York City Police Foundation, Inc. Heroes Fund 345 Park Avenue New York, NY 10154 Tel: (212) 751-8170 Fax: (212) 750-7616

Walpole Area VNA, PO Box 252, Walpole, MA 02081.

Contact the Veterans Service Officer for G.I. Insurance, 1-800-669-8477.

Here is a link which gives suggestions for locating insurance policies as well as a referral to a company, which will locate policies for a charge. American Council Of Life Insurers

Estate Settlement

Here are some of the items that may affect probate procedures in settling the estate of the deceased:

  • Will, letter of instruction, or estate record
  • Real estate holdings
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Securities Safe deposit boxes
  • Business assets and other holdings
  • Federal estate tax, inheritance tax, and personal income tax

During The Funeral Services

Although funeral ceremonies are designed to honor the life of the deceased, they are also a means of helping survivors begin to deal with the reality of the loss. During the days and events which constitute the formal funeral services, you may want to consider the following suggestions:

  • Share your feelings and memories with family and friends.
  • Include children in the funeral services.
  • Be patient, and take things slowly.
  • Allow extra time to get ready for each event.
  • Get as much rest as possible.
  • Try to eat balanced meals.
  • Select helpful reading material. Your funeral director can suggest several good booklets.

Etiquette of Acknowledgments

The following suggestions are provided to help you in acknowledging those who participated in the funeral and expressed their sympathy. Within two weeks of the funeral . . .

  • Send a personal note thanking the clergy for spiritual help.
  • If a gratuity is offered, it may be included with the note.
  • Send a note of thanks to casket bearers and friends who volunteered services, sent flowers, made offerings, contributed memorials, gave money, or provided food.
  • Reply to letters with a brief note. Sympathy cards do not require a reply. Use your best judgement for situations not listed above. In general, an acknowledgement card with a few personal words added is sufficient to express your gratitude.

After The Funeral

The process of grieving and adjusting to life without the deceased does not end when the ceremonies are concluded. The days and weeks ahead will bring new challenges and adjustments. Here are some of the things you will want to consider as you move on with your own life:

  • Inquire about available bereavement services and support groups. Your funeral director can assist you with this.
  • Make necessary changes to bank, charge, investment, and mortgage accounts.
  • Update insurance policies.
  • Update personal property and motor vehicle records.
  • Update your will.
  • Consider pre-arranging and pre-funding your funeral
  • Be alert to people who may try to defraud you during your recovery period.
  • Postpone making important decisions for at least a year if possible.
  • Understand that life is a series of changes, and you are going through one of the most difficult. Give yourself the time and opportunity to express your grief and move toward recovery.

If you are someone who has to plan a funeral due to the loss of a loved one, or perhaps you are attending a service for a family member or friend, here are some explanations of terms and situations you may find yourself having to address.

The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect, grief and appreciation for a life that has been lived. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis the death presents. Through the funeral the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss. This information has been prepared as a convenient reference for modern funeral practices and customs.

The Funeral Service
The type of service conducted for the deceased is specified by the family. Funeral directors are trained to assist families in arranging whatever type of service they desire. The service, held either at a place of worship or at the funeral home with the deceased present, varies in ritual according to denomination. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgement of friendship and support. It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held.

Private Service
This service is by invitation only and may be held at a place of worship, a funeral home or a family home. Usually, selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. Often public visitation is held, condolences are sent, and the body is viewed.

Memorial Service
A memorial service is a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Some families prefer public visitations followed by a private or graveside service with a memorial service later at the church or funeral home.

Friends, relatives, church members or business associates may be asked to serve as pallbearers. The funeral director will secure pallbearers if requested to do so by the family.

Honorary Pallbearers
When the deceased has been active in political, business, church or civic circles, it may be appropriate for the family to request close associates of the deceased to serve as honorary pallbearers. They do not actively carry the casket.

A eulogy may be given by a member of the family, clergy, a close personal friend or a business associate of the deceased. The eulogy is not to be lengthy, but should offer praise and commendation and reflect the life of the person who has died.

Wearing colorful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends. Persons attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste so as to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion.

Funeral Procession / Cortege
When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives may accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of worship. The funeral director can advise you of the traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession.

The time of death is a very confusing time for family members. No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family.

Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person's continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.

Mass Cards
Mass cards can be sent either by Catholic or non-Catholic friends. The offering of prayers is a valued expression of sympathy to a Catholic family. A card indicating that a Mass for the deceased has been arranged may be obtained from any Catholic parish. In some areas it is possible to obtain Mass cards at the funeral home. The Mass offering card or envelope is given to the family as an indication of understanding, faith and compassion. Make sure that your name and address is legible and that you list your postal code. This will make it easier for the family to acknowledge your gift.

Memorial Donations
A memorial contribution, to a specific cause or charity, can be appreciated as flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available, however the family may have expressed a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects. If recognized as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes. Your funeral director is familiar with them and can explain each option, as well as furnish the donor with "In Memoriam" cards, which are given to the family.

Sympathy Cards
Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.

Personal Note
A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as "I'm sorry to learn of your personal loss" is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.

Telephone Calls
Speaking to a family member gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them feel you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don't hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased. Be a good listener. Sending a telegram expressing your sympathy is also appropriate.

Your presence at the visitation demonstrates that although someone has died, friends still remain. Your presence is an eloquent statement that you care.

Visitation provides a time and place for friends to offer their expression of sorrow and sympathy, rather than awkwardly approaching the subject at the office, supermarket or social activities. The obituary/death notice will designate the hours of visitation when the family will be present and will also designate the times when special services such as lodge services or prayer services may be held. Persons may call at the funeral home at any time during suggested hours of the day or evening to pay respects, even though the family is not present. Friends and relatives are requested to sign the register book. A person's full name should be listed e.g. "Mrs. John Doe". If the person is a business associate, it is proper to list their affiliation as the family may not be familiar with their relationship to the deceased.

Friends should use their own judgement on how long they should remain at the funeral home or place of visitation. If they feel their presence is needed, they should offer to stay.

When the funeral service is over, the survivors often feel very alone in dealing with their feelings. It is important that they know you are still there. Keep in touch.

Sympathy Expressions
When a person calls at the funeral home, sympathy can be expressed by clasping hands, an embrace, or a simple statement of condolence, such as: 

"I'm sorry."
"My sympathy to you."
"It was good to know John."
"John was a fine person and a friend of mine. He will be missed."
"My sympathy to your mother."
The family member in return may say:"Thanks for coming."
"John talked about you often."
"I didn't realize so many people cared."
"Come see me when you can."

Encourage the bereaved to express their feelings and thoughts, but don't overwhelm them.

The family should acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts also should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers. The funeral director may have available printed acknowledgement cards which can be used by the family. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgment card expressing appreciation for a contribution or personal service received. The note can be short, such as: 

"Thank you for the beautiful roses. The arrangement was lovely."
"The food you sent was so enjoyed by our family. Your kindness is deeply appreciated."

In some communities it is a practice to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with this. 

Children at Funerals
At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. The funeral director can advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and can provide you with additional information and literature.

Grief Recovery
It is healthy to recognize death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Your local funeral director can help family and friends locate available resources and grief recovery programs in your area.

Help a Grieving Friend
Be a listener

Grieving people often find they need to talk about what's happened and how they feel about it. You don't have to fix their grief or cheer them up, but you can share the load just by being there to listen.

It's all right to cry.

There's no need to say "be brave" or "be strong." Crying helps emotions to be released so they won't get bottled up. To give permission for tears, anger or any other emotions will let your friend know you aren't uncomfortable with their grief.

Stay in touch
Remember that grief doesn't go away in a few short weeks. Even one year may not be long enough to adjust to changes in your life. So, a friend who calls in 3, 6, or 12 months time may be one of the few who still asks how things are going. Special days like birthdays or Christmas may be just the time to pick up the phone and say, "I was thinking of you today."

Things to Consider

When a loved one dies, it can be a very disturbing time for the survivors. They are faced with a myriad of tasks before, during, and after the funeral service. We at Grondin’s are trained to provide thoughtful assistance during these challenging times. In an effort to be of greater help, we have developed the following checklist of important things you may wish to consider in preparing for the tasks that lie ahead.

When A Death Occurs

The very first thing you will want to do is contact us at (978) 372-1534. If this is long distance, please call us collect. We will immediately go to work to care for the deceased and help you arrange funeral services. At your convenience, we will want to discuss the following information. Filling out the accompanying Individual Service Profile form will help facilitate this discussion:

  • Vital statistics about the deceased such as full name, address, social security number, birth date, marital status, etc.
  • Personal history of the deceased such as education, employment, military service, memberships and affiliations, general biographical information, etc.
  • Clergy to be contacted
  • Immediate family and friends to be contacted
  • Notices in newspaper and other media
  • Type of funeral service desired
  • Type of casket, vault, urn
  • Musical selections
  • Scriptural selections, poetry, readings
  • Floral requests
  • Clothing and jewelry requests
  • Casket bearers
  • Type of disposition: earth burial, entombment, cremation, etc.
  • Organ and tissue donation preferences

When A Loved One Dies
Preparing yourself for the inevitable

Grief is a normal response to any loss and affects the grieving person physically, emotionally, and spiritually often causing the person to think and act in ways different from their previous "normal" behavior.

You may have heard something to the effect of "just give it time and you will eventually feel better. Time is necessary to the healing process, but it is only one aspect of effective grieving.

In addition to taking time, grief requires intentional "work" by the bereaved in order to achieve a healthy outcome from the process. Similar to someone taking action to seek medical help to set a broken leg so that it might heal properly, the bereaved must take action to move through grief.

The intentional "work" of grief can be summarized in five basic tasks, which involve specific behaviors (things to do to help yourself work through grief). These five basic tasks facing a bereaved person are: 

  • Recognize and accept that your loved one has died and is unable to return. 
  • Although this task may sound obvious, many bereaved have a difficult time accepting the reality of a loved one’s death and facing the harsh fact that the person is not coming back. 
  • Experience all the emotions associated with the death of your loved one. 
  • Rather than attempting to suppress emotions only to have them come to expression later in more detrimental ways, a bereaved person achieves a healthier state more quickly by giving full expression to all the emotions they are experiencing (as long as they do not express themselves in destructive ways). 
  • Identify, summarize, and find a place to store memories of the deceased person which will honor the memories of that person and make room for the bereaved to eventually move on to a new volume in their life. Resolution of grief never means forgetting the loved one. Memories are precious possessions, but appropriate memories do not control our emotions on a daily basis. We are free to live life fully again in the present and remember the deceased when we chose to. 
  • Identify who you are now, independent of your prior connection with the deceased person. Basically we are all individuals – that is how we were born and that is how we die. In order to truly live a full and complete life, especially following the death of a loved one, we must once again (re)discover who we are individually and independent of the relationship we had with the deceased. 
  • Reinvest in life as an individual without the deceased person. We must learn to accept that all of life is marked by change. Each day calls for a new form of investment. A bereaved person has experienced a deep trauma, but eventually this can be seen as an opportunity to "begin again" in a new and fresh way. 

The grieving process usually takes at least one year in order to experience all the "firsts". The grief process may take as long as two or three years, but the intensity of the emotional pain should decrease during that period of time. It is important not to make important decisions too quickly because you will feel differently about things as you move through the grief process.

A sudden or unexpected death may cause significant initial shock or numbness and may also lengthen the grieving process.

Knowing in some way that a person is going to die (anticipating the death) does not reduce the intensity of the grief or pain. Anticipating the death may help motivate you to engage in some planning (e.g., concerning financial, funeral, and relationships matters) which might make the grief process less cumbersome.

The grieving process is also affected by many other factors, including the personalities of the people involved, the type of relationship someone had with the deceased, and the present circumstances of one s life (e.g., age, family structures, finances, health, employment, children, etc.).

A person can "resolve" their grief and move again into a happy, healthy and satisfying life. "Resolution" means that the emotional pain of the death no longer controls your day to day activities and that you are once again able to develop a perspective on your life which is positive and future-oriented. Moments may arise which trigger a temporary emotional response to the death in the same way that emotions are associated with other past events in our lives, but resolved grief means that you have been able to (re)construct a new "normal" lifestyle which is fulfilling and purposeful without holding on to the deceased person.

©Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. DeVries, 2000. Authors of Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company, 1998) ISBN: 0-8010-5821-X

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