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Celebrating a Life

Published: December 18, 2017

“We Can Complain Because Rose Bushes Have Thorns, or Rejoice Because Thorn Bushes Have Roses” –Alphonse Karr

Funerals have always had an obvious negative connotation.  While we mourn the passing of a loved one, it is a rightfully sad occasion for any family, and while the memories live on, so does the sadness.  But the service does not have to be this way.  At Bellows Funeral Chapel, we believe in the opposite.  It has long been our belief that a life lived should be celebrated, and the service should be personalized to reflect that life, to create a meaningful and uplifting experience, and we take care of the details to make that happen.  Some funeral homes believe in “cookie-cutter” funerals, in which everything is the same for every person – stock music, stock memorial stationery, the same old routine.  This routine allows for great service on the part of the funeral director, because the routine is old hat, without much deviation, but this doesn’t necessarily give the bereaved all they need.  Going out of one’s way to celebrate a life lived, and making each service unique is important, because everyone is different.  That is where we come in.  In the past we have set up funerals that have included things such as:

  • Playing Frank Sinatra, or Cowboy Country music on our state of the art sound system
  • Orchestrated balloon, dove and butterfly releases
  • Arranged to have a pianist play on our chapel’s baby grand piano, or a harp and cellist add a more unique atmosphere during visiting hours
  • Provided unique mementos for attendees such as recipe cards, with the chocolate chip cookie recipe the deceased always baked around the holidays, or items such as personalized golf balls, for people to take home with them, instead of traditional prayer cards
  • Provided memory cards to encourage attendees to write a memory of the deceased for the family to reminisce
  • Used the deceased’s favorite classic car to lead the funeral procession
  • We have held visiting hours away from our facilities at various churches, and other meaningful places, such as the Museum of Work & Culture in Woonsocket for a noted historian
  • We have had our chapel space set up without chairs to encourage more socializing, like a mixer, because the deceased loved parties
  • We’ve even had it used as for a wine and cheese get-together as opposed to a more somber wake. 
  • And much, much more

We encourage this, and offer suggestions to increase the creativity of the services we provide, so that it becomes more meaningful to anyone who attends, most importantly family and close friends.  The acknowledgment of the end of a life is important, as it allows a community to gather and share with the family, and it also promotes the start of healthy grieving.  Any type of a service that can be tailored to best reflect the life of a loved one is a meaningful celebration, and we are happy to help make that happen.  Don’t mourn a death, but rather celebrate a life.  Much like anything else, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Planning Ahead Makes Sense

Published: December 12, 2017

Every one of us plans ahead for many different things in our lives.  It’s only human nature.  We plan ahead when we want a vacation, mapping out the destination we travel to, where we’ll stay, and how we’ll get there.  We plan ahead when we host parties, choosing when to hold it, what meal is served, who’s on the guest list.  We plan ahead for significant life events, such as weddings, coordinating with the celebrant, arranging the music, selecting the reception site, and choosing the menu.  We plan ahead when we look retirement, setting up retirement accounts and IRAs, writing up wills, and even taking out life insurance policies to make sure all the bills get paid should a death occur.  And all the while we do this, many people seem reluctant to plan ahead for the services that they would like to have once a death does in fact occur.  But when you really think about it, planning ahead for funeral and memorial services does make sense.

The death of a loved one can be a stressful and difficult time for many families, particularly when the deceased has not left any indication as to how they would like their lives celebrated.  Maybe it’s because many of us are humble and modest, not wanting anyone to make a big fuss.  Or maybe it’s because sitting down and planning a funeral or a memorial service with a funeral director is an acknowledgement that we are all mortal and will not live forever.  At BELLOWS FUNERAL CHAPEL, we believe the primary responsibility of our funeral home is to make the difficult time following a death easier for the families we serve, so that they are able to focus on celebrating the life that has been lived, honoring their passing of their loved one, and remembering the many memories they share.  That is why we wholeheartedly advocate people to put their wishes to paper and plan ahead for something that is unfortunately inevitable. 

Planning ahead makes sense for many different reasons.  For one, it allows you to have the service you want, how you want it, and it is safely kept on file for when the service of our funeral home is needed.  Second, it relieves many of the burdens that face survivors, because they can be assured that the difficult decisions have already been made.  Lastly, it allows you to save money in the process, by paying today’s prices for services held in the future.  With BELLOWS FUNERAL CHAPEL, the pre-planned funeral and cremation plans that are paid in advance through our funeral home are securely placed in escrow in accounts that accumulate interest or growth, which in turn, offsets the effects of inflation between when payment is made and when services are needed.  For example, assuming typical inflation of 3%, a service that costs $8,000.00 today, would cost $9,274.19 five years from now.  By paying the $8,000.00, with interest keeping pace with inflation, you would be able to save $1,274.19.* Depending on the type of escrow account used, the $1,274.19 of growth accrued in this example, can be tax-free, and the entire plan is protected from Medicaid’s asset limitations.  This means that even if the person for whom the plan is written for goes onto long-term or permanent care in a nursing facility, the plan, and the monies designated to pay for the plan, are secure.  But don’t think that planning ahead means that you have to pay for everything in advance.  If you wish to just have a plan put in place, but wish to pay at a later time, we will keep your wishes safely on file at no cost to you.

Getting the service you want, having the opportunity to relieve the emotional and financial burdens on loved ones, and saving money in the process makes a lot of sense, just as planning ahead.

If you would like more information on Pre-Planned Funeral & Cremation Services, or if you would like to meet with a funeral director to set up a plan today, or to discuss your options further, please feel free to give us a call anytime at 401-723-9792.  We would be more than happy to help you.

*Savings in this example are based on the historical 3% rate of inflation.  As inflation fluctuates yearly, the amount of savings may vary from year to year. 

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