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Wages & Sons Announces Certification of Deana Porter

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA – January 26, 2018 –

Wages & Sons is pleased to announce that Deana Porter, one of our grief support group facilitators, has earned her Certification in Thanatology. Her official CT designation is Certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement, and we’re proud of her for this achievement. Deana is a valuable member of our grief support team and will continue to use her education and knowledge to benefit the families we serve.

A Certification in Thanatology requires not only education, but also experience and the regard of one’s peers. To take the certification test, an applicant must have either a bachelor’s degree and one year of experience, or a master’s degree or doctorate, with one year of experience. In addition, applicants must present letters of recommendation from supervisors or colleagues and have 60 documented contact hours in thanatology or related topics.

We appreciate all of Deana’s hard work, because it’s important to us that our staff continually strive to be at the top of their field, to better serve the community. As a locally owned family business, Wages and Sons is invested in reaching out to those in our community who are grieving, providing service that truly walks with people through their grief, to help them heal. That’s why we offer individual and group grief counseling at no cost, even to those who have never used our services for any other reason.

About Wages and Sons

For over 40 years, Wages & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematories has been dedicated to a tradition of professional, compassionate service and commitment to the metro Atlanta community. Their professional staff in Lawrenceville and Stone Mountain is focused on easing the process of decision making with reliable guidance, gentle counsel and offer grief support services.  For more information, visit http://wagesandsons.com.

Making It Through Christmas

What does Christmas mean to you? For many people, it’s a joyous time of year, a time to celebrate family and friends, and a time to be grateful for life’s blessings, remembering important days gone by and rejoicing in the present moment. For others, though, Christmas is painful season, when the vacant spaces left by lost loved ones make them wish the holidays would pass quickly. How do you celebrate Christmas, when you don’t feel like celebrating anything?

  • Don’t cancel Christmas. It may be tempting to hide away from the holiday, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice. Instead, decide how you want to celebrate it, and let your loved ones know about changes you plan to make. You may want to get away entirely, maybe taking a vacation this Christmas, or you may be comforted by familiar traditions. Everyone grieves differently, and how you choose to spend your holiday is yours to determine.

  • Keep the world out if that’s what you need. Even for people in good spirits, the commercialism and constant cheer of Christmas can be a bit wearing. If you’re grieving, it’s likely to be nearly unbearable. Take some quiet time, to do something you enjoy, without any interference from the outside world. Maybe that’s doing some holiday baking, maybe it’s reading a book and listening to your favorite music, or maybe it’s something completely unrelated to Christmas, like going for a pedicure or facial, taking a walk, or seeing a movie. The important thing is to find a way to relax and enjoy yourself.

  • Don’t expect perfection. You may have hosted a Pinterest worthy Christmas meal every year in your home, and your decorations may have been the best of anyone you know, but this year, it might be time to let some things go. Put up a tree, or don’t. Make a big meal, or delegate it to someone else, or don’t have it at all! Shop for the perfect gifts, or give everyone gift cards you ordered online. It may help you to do the things you’ve always done, or it may benefit you to go for whatever is easiest. There’s no wrong answer, but don’t put pressure on yourself to live up to the “perfect” Christmas.

  • Let people in. Talk to your friends and family members about how you’re feeling. Spend time with your favorite people, and accept offers of help and support. While it’s certainly fine to turn down invitations you think will be stressful or painful, it’s also important to feel connected with other people. Sharing your feelings and memories with those you love can help you begin to heal.

We hope that your Christmas this year will be meaningful. That’s why we offer assistance to those who have lost a loved one, through grief counseling, support groups, recommended reading, and services of remembrance. If there’s any way we can help you this Christmas, as you work your way through a difficult time, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

5 Tips for Dealing with Grief During the Holiday Season

It seems like every year the holiday season gets longer. Stores start putting out Christmas decorations before we’ve even moved past Halloween, and it seems like the holidays go on for months and months. For those who are grieving, it can feel like an eternity. How will you make it through the holidays this year? Decide on a course of action, and follow some simple guidelines.

1. Make your own plans. You get to decide whether to keep holiday traditions or create new ones, and you can do as much or as little as you want to do. Be assertive about events held in your own home, letting your loved ones know ahead of time what changes you are making to the holiday celebrations. If you’re going somewhere else to celebrate, make sure to take your own car so that you aren’t stuck waiting for someone else to be ready to leave. You need to be able to leave if you become uncomfortable or just want to be home.

2. Allow yourself to feel. It’s ok to be sad when everyone else is celebrating. Don’t resist joy if it presents itself, but don’t feel guilty for experiencing negative emotions. Your grief experience is your own, and whatever you feel, be it sadness, guilt, anger, or joy, is part of that unique experience.

3. Accept support. This may mean surrounding yourself with friends and family, or it may mean talking about your feelings with one trusted person. It can also mean reaching out for professional help, whether that means attending a support group or a service of remembrance, or seeking counseling.

4. Make room for memories. The holidays can be a nostalgic time, even for those who haven’t suffered a loss. If you allow them to, your memories may be a helpful part of your healing process. Share your memories of your loved one with others by telling stories and looking at photo albums. You can also make a memory box with photos of the person you’ve lost, and notes from family and friends. Consider memorializing your loved one in your holiday celebration, perhaps by setting an extra place at the table or lighting a special candle.

5. Reach out to others. Sometimes it can be very healing to help someone else. Find ways to connect with those around you by giving of your time, talents and resources. You might invite a guest to dinner who might otherwise be alone, or you might “adopt” a needy family for the holiday. You could also give a donation in memory of your loved one, or provide flowers or other decorations to your place of worship. Being generous with others helps you as you’re helping them, and can ease the pain of your grief.

If you need help dealing with grief this holiday season, we are here to help. We can provide resources, from recommended reading, to support groups, to counseling, to help you find your way through the grief and onto the path toward healing. Contact us today to learn more about what we have to offer. And above all, we hope you have a meaningful holiday season.

Wages and Sons Welcomes a New Director of Post Care Services

Wages and Sons is excited to announce the addition of R. Tony Price to our team. Price is coming aboard as the Director of Post Care Services, bringing with him over 25 years of funeral care experience. In his new position, he’ll have the opportunity to continue to support families served by Wages and Sons following the funeral, helping them navigate the business side of loss.

A longtime Georgia resident, Tony Price studied business at Clayton State College before beginning his funeral career at Winkenhofer Pine Ridge Funeral Home in Kennesaw in 1991. He is certified by the National Funeral Directors Association as a Pre-Need Consultant (CPC), as well as being a licensed Life Insurance Agent with the state of Georgia. An expert in business matters, he conducts seminars with veterans, to help them receive benefits to which they’re entitled, as well as leading workshops for social workers and Certified Nursing Assistants.

Price is an honorary member of the Gwinnett County Veterans Museum and Quilts of Valor committees, and a past president and board member of the Monroe Rotary Club, District 6910. He served two terms as a board member for the Walton County Chamber of Commerce and is an executive member of the Walton County Veterans Memorial, a non-profit created to honor the veterans of Walton County. He’s also the vice chair of the City of Braselton’s Planning and Zoning Commission, serving the 3rd District.

Making his home in Braselton Georgia, Price lives with his wife Missi and their two children, Sophie and Tyler. They attend 12Stone Church at the Flowery Branch Campus. In addition, Tony Price volunteers with the American Legion Riders Post 233 Ride for America, Operation Toy Soldier, Backpacks for Vets, the National Police Officers Memorial Day Ceremonies with Gwinnett County Police, and the Reality Check Program at Walton County Schools.

We are thrilled to welcome such an involved member of the community, and someone so well-qualified to help the families we serve. We know Mr. Price is a valuable addition to our team, and we look forward to working with him for many years to come.

Facing Thanksgiving When Someone You Love Has Died

Thanksgiving is traditionally a family holiday when loved ones gather from far and near to count their blessings and spend quality time together. For someone who has suffered a loss, though, this holiday can feel very different. When you’re grieving, it can be hard to get into the holiday spirit, and even worse if you worry about living up to others’ expectations for your behavior. If you’ve suffered a loss, make it easy on yourself, by being proactive about your Thanksgiving.

  • Keep it simple. This may not be the year for a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, and that’s fine. We all have an image of the “perfect” Thanksgiving celebration, but when you’re grieving, perfection should not be the goal. A simple meal, shared with people you love, may be the perfect salve for your tender spirit.
  • Allow yourself to honor the memory of your loved one. Sometimes, we try not to think about the person we’ve lost, but that can make the ache even worse. Don’t resist the memory of the person you love, but honor it by talking about favorite memories you shared. Especially if you’re celebrating Thanksgiving with others who loved that person, this can be a wonderful way to lessen your shared grief. You might remember your loved one in a prayer before a meal, light a candle in his honor, or set an extra place at the table. Whatever feels comfortable for you, that’s a good way to honor the memory of the person who has died.
  • Create new traditions. Maybe you’ve always entertained a huge crowd at Thanksgiving each year, and now that feels uncomfortable and wrong. Maybe there are traditions that you’re dreading because they’ll be too painful after your loss. This is the perfect time to create new traditions. It’s important to remember that life always changes and that you can allow yourself some fluidity in the way you celebrate important dates.
  • Know your limitations. Don’t push yourself to do more than you’re able to handle. If you’re normally the one who hosts, this may be the year to let someone else do it. Even if you’re not hosting, have an escape plan in mind, so that you can leave if it all becomes too much. It’s ok to cancel or abbreviate your Thanksgiving celebrations if that’s what you need to do to take care of yourself.

If you’ve suffered a loss, we want to help you find your path to peace. At our funeral home, we have a compassionate and caring staff, well-equipped to help you as you learn to cope with your loss. Whether you need suggestions for reading material that may help, or you’d like to know about community events and classes that deal with grief, we can point you in the right direction to get the help you need. Visit our website, call or stop by, to learn more about all we have to offer. And from all of us, we want to wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.

Make this Veterans Day Meaningful by Respecting and Honoring Veterans

On Veterans Day, we honor our heroes. We celebrate the brave men and women who have given so much to ensure our freedom and protect our way of life. Unlike Memorial Day, which was created to memorialize those who died in service, Veterans Day honors the living veterans, those who have served and those who continue to serve. For many veterans, though, Veterans Day is a time of great sadness. While we’re celebrating their triumphs, we must also recognize the tragedy of war, and the impact it can have on the lives of service members and their families.

Some veterans return from their time in service with physical issues that are difficult to overcome. Aside from physical pain, some feel emotional pain, perhaps conflicted about their role in combat. Others feel deep grief over friends who died “over there”. No matter the reason for the pain, it should be respected. You may have a soldier in your life, or you may just feel a sense of appreciation for all the troops have done for our country. Whatever your motivation, there are some things you can do this year to make Veterans Day better for a veteran.

  • Listen to their stories. If you have veterans in your life, ask questions about time spent in service, including specifics about jobs and stations. Don’t push, because some veterans aren’t comfortable sharing, but make yourself available to hear anything that needs to be said.
  • Volunteer to help a veteran. Maybe you don’t know any veterans, but you’d like to find a way to express your gratitude through an act of kindness. There are many programs available to facilitate this, whether you want to volunteer in a VA hospital, drive disabled vets to doctor’s appointments, or visit homebound vets. Check with your local VA for information about opportunities to help.
  • Write a letter to a serviceperson. There are men and women in the service who risk their lives every day, to protect our freedoms. Operation Gratitude provides opportunities to reach out to these heroes, by sending a care package or letter.

 

  • Don’t forget the families. The men and women who serve in our armed forces make many sacrifices for the greater good of our country, but so do their families. If you know a military family, reach out. Sometimes, just inviting them over for dinner is an act of kindness they’ll remember forever. If you don’t know where to start, Operation Gratitude is once again a good resource. The organization donates stuffed animals to children with deployed parents, provides care packages to caregivers of wounded veterans, and offers support in many other ways as well. You can also help families by donating your frequent flier miles, to help them travel to be with a wounded loved one.
  • Do something meaningful for Veterans Day. Instead of just having a day off, or celebrating with your family and friends, go to a parade, or another event held to honor veterans. At home, talk about why Veterans Day is important, and teach your children to respect veterans. Get your child to draw a picture or write a letter, thanking a veteran for his or her service.
  • Do something meaningful when it isn’t Veterans Day. Veterans are among us every day, not just on Veterans Day. When you reach out on an ordinary day, you can make a real impact on a veteran’s life, and enriching your own life in the process.

 

We are pleased to be able to help the families of veterans, working to ensure that their loved ones receive the full honors to which they are entitled. If your loved one was a veteran, we can help you through the entire process, from filling out important paperwork to planning a memorial that honors not just a life, but also the service of an American hero.

Grief on Grandparents Day: Grieving a Grandchild

Grandparents Day is a wonderful holiday, meant to honor grandparents and help to strengthen intergenerational bonds. For some, though, it’s a reminder of loss, and a time of sadness. It’s not unusual for a child to lose a grandparent, but what about when the loss goes the other way? Grieving grandparents are often overlooked, but their sadness is just as real as anyone mourning the loss of a loved one.When a child dies, the parents are, understandably, the primary focus of sympathy and comfort. Losing a child brings intense pain, and can even be a difficult time in a marriage. If you’re a grandparent suffering a loss, you may feel lost in the shuffle. It’s a different kind of pain, when your own child has lost a child, because you’re not just mourning the loss of a grandchild, you’re also suffering the pain of not being able to protect your own child from pain. While these feelings are natural, there is a way through them, especially if you take some steps to help yourself deal with all the feelings.

Talk to your child. Your feelings are complicated, and so are your child’s feelings. Be gentle with each other, and appreciate that everyone experiences grief differently. Avoid making any judgments or giving unsolicited advice. The best thing to do is just be there for each other.

  • Do what you can to help. Offer to bring meals, or grocery shop, or watch the other children, if there are any. Be aware that the grieving parents may not even know what they need, and try to think about it objectively, to think of helpful things to offer. It’s also important to be aware that they may want some time alone; don’t be offended if your offers of assistance are refused. If there’s nothing they need right now, just wait and offer again later, without allowing yourself to have hurt feelings or feel rejected.
  • Take care of yourself. It’s important to make sure you’re eating well, as well as getting enough rest and exercise. Especially when you’re concerned about your family members, the tendency may be to push your own needs to the bottom of your priority list. However, you have to take care of yourself in order to be helpful to others.
  • Spend time with loved ones. If you have other grandchildren, be sure to spend time having fun with them. No matter what, spend time doing things you enjoy, with people you love. Life is precious, and nurturing relationships is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself.
  • Do something to honor your grandchild’s memory. It could be something symbolic, like planting a tree, or it could be something practical, like volunteering at an elementary school. The important thing is to find a way to use your grief in a positive way, to help you find your own path.
  • Be gentle with yourself on holidays. For a while, holidays like Grandparents Day, as well as birthdays and anniversaries of the death, may be painful and difficult. This is to be expected, so be patient and give yourself some time to heal. Do something special for yourself on these challenging days, whether this means participating in an activity that brings you joy, or simply spending time alone.

Whether your grandchild was an infant, a child, or an adult, your loss is a loss of future hopes and dreams, and it’s a loss you share with your own child and your child’s partner. Together, you’ll grieve, and together you can find a path to renewed hope. We want to provide the support you need along the way, so please contact us if you need help. We’ve got resources to make the journey smoother. Visit our website for more information, or call and speak to a member of our caring and compassionate staff.

 

Overdose Awareness Day Shines Light on a Dark Subject

International Overdose Awareness Day, established in Australia in 2001, is coming up on August 31st. Are you aware of this annual commemoration? It originated as a local event, conceived by Sally J. Finn and Peter Streker as a day in which members of their community could wear ribbons to commemorate a loved one who had succumbed to an overdose, or to offer condolences to those who had suffered the loss of a loved one from an overdose. This idea quickly spread, and today International Overdose Awareness Day is observed in the U.K. and U.S. as well as in Australia and New Zealand, with community organizations, government and non-government organizations, hospitals, health centers, and other groups holding events to raise awareness and to remember those who have been lost.

Do you know someone whose life has been impacted by an overdose? Have you, personally, been affected? If so, you’re not alone. There’s an epidemic of drug addiction ravaging the world today, and families across the globe have suffered the devastation of watching a loved one slide into the grips of addiction.

In the United States alone, there were an estimated 59,000 drug-related deaths in 2016, which is a jump of almost 20% over the previous year. This is devastating to families, who are often helpless to intervene successfully, and who have to face the shattering reality of losing that loved one to their addiction.

Whether the person lost was a child, sibling, spouse, or friend, it’s hard for survivors to cope with their feelings of guilt. Most feel responsible in some way for the death,  and feel that they failed as a parent, sibling, spouse, or friend. Because of all these negative emotions, and because of societal stigmas regarding addiction, it can be difficult for people to come forward and share their stories. Those who are brave enough to (come forward and) share the story of losing their loved one, first to the addictive allure of the drugs, and then to death, can hopefully use their grief and loss to help prevent further senseless tragedy from affecting others. Telling these stories helps chip away at the stigma, and provides support to others who are grieving.

What can you do to lend a hand on International Overdose Awareness Day?

  • Wear silver, to show support. You might also consider purchasing a bracelet or badge from overdoseday.com, to help raise money for the cause.
  • Bring #OverdoseAware2017 to social media. Tweet about it, post on Facebook, go to Instagram or Snapchat, wherever you’re most comfortable, and talk about overdose awareness.
  • Attend an event. Visit overdoseday.com to find events near you.
  • Host an event or a Twitter chat. If you are part of a community organization or non-profit, you can use your influence to reach others in the community. To learn how, visit overdoseday.com, where they offer tips and resources to assist in your planning.

 

Spreading overdose awareness and removing the stigma from addiction is necessary if we as a society are going to get to the root of the problem, and find real solutions.  It’s important for those who have lived through the trauma of a drug overdose to share their stories, to help others who are trying to learn how to cope with the same pain. This is why International Overdose Awareness Day is so important.

 

For those who have been touched by the addiction epidemic, though, the struggle to find help and healing can be very personal. If you’re dealing with this kind of grief, Wages and Sons wants to help. We offer grief support services that include grief counseling, support groups, special events, and helpful literature. If you’re looking for a speaker for an event, we can also provide that, as our staff is well-versed in a variety of grief-related topics. Sadly, we have firsthand experience in helping families cope with the pain of an overdose, and can use that knowledge to help educate and inform. Contact us today, to see how our compassionate and caring staff can help you find a path to healing, find your voice, and perhaps find a way to use a terrible tragedy for good, creating meaning out of loss.

4 Tips for Memory Making on the 4th of July

What do you think of when you think of 4th of July? There are fireworks and parades, patriotic songs and speeches, parties and picnics, but what’s the underlying element in all of it? For most people, it’s family. Maybe your favorite Independence Day memory is that time your uncles were shooting off fireworks, and one of them was so big and loud that all the moms and little kids ran inside to hide. Or maybe you remember eating watermelon with your grandfather, seeing how far you could spit the seeds. Whether it’s making an apple pie with Grandma or watching the parade with all the cousins, for most of us the 4th of July will always bring fond memories of childhood fun with family.

Today, things are a little different than they were a generation ago. Families are more spread out and insulated, and it’s likely that your children don’t spend as much time with the extended family as you remember spending when you were a child. This deficit can be painfully driven home when the family experiences a loss. Maybe, as you start making plans for 4th of July this year, you can start to think about those connections, strengthening family bonds while there’s still time, and honoring those you’ve lost by making new memories together.

1. Reach out to family. If you have family nearby, make plans to get together. Maybe you’ll host a barbecue at your house, or a picnic in the park, or maybe you’ll all just plan to meet together for the local parade. The togetherness is the point, so it doesn’t have to be elaborate. If your family lives too far away to get together, send a card or note to commemorate the day. Maybe you can enclose an old photo to remind them of fun times together, or maybe your children can draw pictures to send along. If you’ve recently experienced a loss, that’s an even better reason to reach out to each other, because sharing each other’s sadness can make it more bearable.

2. While talking about our nation’s history, talk to your kids about family history. Every American family has a story to tell about the heroes within it. Maybe your grandfather served in World War 2, or maybe you can trace your roots back further, maybe even to the Revolutionary War! Talk about family members who have passed away, sharing memories of times spent with them. Keep your family’s stories alive by sharing them with your children, and you’ll help them develop a connection to and pride in their family ties.

3. On Independence Day, remember that relying on each other is important, too. In our modern culture, we’re all so independent that we sometimes forget the importance of having people on whom to depend. Teach your children the importance of family, because connections between family members are the bonds that sustain us in the darker times of life. Our nation’s independence couldn’t have been won if people didn’t work together, and families don’t thrive if they don’t nurture their connections.

4. Make something, to make memories. Get the kids to make place cards in red, white and blue. Get them into the kitchen to help layer pound cake with whipped cream and berries. Let them “help” Daddy or Grandpa set up for fireworks or grill the burgers. The best way to make memories with children is to pull them close to you and involve them in what you’re doing. If you’ve recently lost someone dear, remember that person by making their favorite dish or participating in an activity they always loved.

We know that family is important. That’s why we offer resources to help support families, whether they’re grieving a loss or just trying to find ways to connect. Visit our website today, to learn more about how we can help your family. In the meantime, we wish you a meaningful July 4th!

 

Fathers’ Day

Fathers’ Day for the Grieving
Fathers’ Day, like so many other special dates, are very family-centered. It’s a time to show appreciation to the men who gave us life and shaped us. But for some, Fathers’ Day is difficult. For those people who have lost their fathers, or those fathers who have lost a child, we offer some suggestions to make this holiday a little bit easier.
If you’ve lost your father
Losing your father is traumatic, whatever your age. You may feel like you didn’t get enough time with him, and wish you could still call him for advice. Alternately, you may have had a strained relationship, and wish you had been better able to mend fences when there was still the opportunity. Whatever the relationship was, Father’s Day can dredge up emotions that are painful and sad.
• A card or a letter can help you work through your emotions. It may be that you were close to your father, and miss him every day. A card to say “I love you, I remember you, and I miss you” can be healing, even if there’s nowhere to mail it. On the other hand, if your relationship with your dad was difficult, a letter can be cathartic, helping you say all the things you wish you’d been able to say. You can leave a card or letter at your father’s gravesite, or you can put it somewhere safe, to look at later.
• Reaching out to a father figure can be beneficial to both of you. You’ve lost your father, but maybe you know a father who has lost a son, or an older gentleman who was never blessed with children. Spending time with someone who can fill that “father” role in your life will not ever make up for the loss of your dad, but it may bring a new, enriching relationship into your life and his.
• Share your father with others. Whether it’s telling stories to your children, reminiscing with your siblings, or watching Dad’s favorite sporting event or movie with people close to you, sharing happy memories of your father can make you feel closer to him. Consider making a donation to an organization in his name related to his life interests.
• Visit the gravesite. It might make you feel better to be near your father’s resting place, because it can be a good place to be quiet and feel communion with him. Father’s Day is a good time to bring flowers, too, perhaps in the colors of his alma mater or favorite sports team.
If you’re a father grieving a loss
The loss of a child is something no father even wants to think could happen to him. The pain can be intense, and what’s worse, you may feel that you need to be stoic for your family, showing strength so that they can mourn.
• Allow yourself to grieve. It’s healthy for your spouse and children to see that you feel the loss. It’s natural to be sad over the death of a child, and it might help to talk about it with other people who are sad, too.
• Spend time with children. If you have other children, make sure to give them your attention on Father’s Day. It’s ok to say that you miss the child who was lost, but be clear in your happiness that your other children are still in your life. If you don’t have other children of your own, you may want to reach out to other children in your life, like a niece or nephew, or the child of a friend. Sometimes, just playing catch or a simple game like hide and seek can make you smile and take away a little bit of pain. You’ll be doing something good for another child, too, which is a great way to honor the memory of your lost son or daughter.
• Acknowledge your loss. Maybe your family can say a prayer together, in honor of your missing family member, or maybe a moment of silence in tribute would be more appropriate. You may find that playing your child’s favorite game is a good way to honor that life, or telling funny, happy stories to each other to help ease each other’s burdens.
• Spend time with friends or family. It’s natural to want to pull back in times of sadness, not wanting others to be burdened by our grief. The people closest to you, however, want to be able to help, and may not know how. Doing something fun this Fathers’ Day, with people who care about you, can make you feel a little bit better.
These special days/holidays are never going to be easy when you’re grieving, but feeling that sadness is a natural part of the healing process. If you feel like you’re having trouble navigating your own path to healing, and you need a little bit of help, we’re here for you. From books to recommend, to support groups and referrals, we have the resources needed to support those who are grieving. Contact us today, to see how we can help you.

How Can I Survive those “Special Days”?

Traditionally, we think of “the Holidays” as those special days occurring between the first of November and the first of the New Year, but for those grieving the loss of someone dear to them, “holidays” also encompass all the special occasions all year long when the loved one’s absence is most palpably felt.

It seems impossible that the pain of grief and the joy of these special days can co-exist in the deep sadness and sorrow of loss. The loneliness of loss is in sharp contrast to the joy and celebrating going on around us. So how do we somehow merge the two?

First: Identify the days that are special to you or to the one you lost. If you know these days are coming, you won’t be caught off guard by a strong and unexpected reaction.

Second: Prepare for them. Do you want to celebrate or even acknowledge these days or simply let them pass for this year?  If you do decide to celebrate – what can you reasonably handle? Do you need to make a change for this year or keep it as much the same as possible?

If the mere thought of an approaching holiday or special day causes anxiety to well up within you, maybe you do need to do something different…even VERY different.: That may be a geographic change – like a cruise or trip, or it may be a change in a tradition like a different house, or meal, activity, or even people with whom to spend it – some homeless or needy for example.

Third: Talk to others involved and share your feelings, concerns, and needs for this year. If you decide to celebrate with others, have an “escape plan” when and if you find it is too much for you: Park on the street so you can quietly slip away or have a cohost or two, so you can escape to the privacy of your room if need be.

Fourth: For the major holidays, keep it as simple and stress free as possible. Eliminate the things that cause you the most stress (cards – parties- baking – cooking). Simplify gift giving; omit or give gift cards, cash, or checks. Consider memorial gifts for your loved one, and attend candle lighting remembrance services. For the religious holidays, focus on the spiritual rather than the secular ways of observing them.

Fifth: Be gentle with yourself, and understanding of your limitations. Whether you chose to observe, change, or ignore them remember each of these special days is just 24 hours – the same as every other day. Very often the anticipation of a day proves to be worse than the actual day.

Though it seems hard to believe, especially in the first year or two after a loss, but these dreaded special days will one day hold joy for you as the years pass, and you will come to treasure and enjoy again the memories made with your loved one. This year you may just “get through” the holidays, but do watch for special moments, and if they should present themselves, don’t feel guilty if you enjoy them.

– Barb Kennedy

Barb Kennedy

Barb Kennedy

Staff Grief Professional

(678) 427-4116

kennedyba@mindspring.com

 

2016 IMPACT Regional Business FINALIST

Wages & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematories is a finalist

for Gwinnett Chamber’s IMPACT Regional Business Awards

 

Gwinnett County (METRO ATLANTA) GA – WAGES & SONS FUNERAL HOMES & CREMATORIES has been recognized as one of the leading organizations in metro Atlanta as a finalist for the 2016 IMPACT Regional Business Award, presented by BB&T.

The Gwinnett Chamber will honor exemplary organizations located in Gwinnett and across the metro Atlanta area at the IMPACT Regional Business Awards, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18 at the Infinite Energy Forum.

“We are lifelong residents of Gwinnett County. We are honored to be of service to so many families in the community and to be a finalist for the Gwinnett Chambers’ IMPACT award.” Jeffrey Wages, Owner.

“The IMPACT Regional Business Awards recognize premier organizations in critical industries that are driving economic development and job creation, while enhancing our quality of life,” said Dr. Dan Kaufman, President & CEO of the Gwinnett Chamber. “In 2015, we launched this pivotal program and received a great response with nearly 500 nominations. Bringing together leaders across these important industries is another example of how the Gwinnett Chamber can fulfill its mission to serve as a community forum.”

 

How Your Family Can Learn From Prince’s Mistake

“Without a plan, you are planning to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

The sad news of the musical legend Prince, and his untimely death, has been all over the news.  There have been many career highlight reels, notable performance videos, and tributes to his strong influence on many singers and musicians.

Something many fans found when looking for his music on sites like YouTube, and others, was that there was little to be found.  Prince was extremely protective of his work and the unauthorized use of it.  He managed it very, very tightly; So tightly, there was even the infamous 2007 lawsuit forcing the takedown of a personal video showing a baby dancing to “Let’s Go Crazy,” for unauthorized use of his music.

So, how could a person so protective of his work, his legacy, and a net worth estimated to be over $300 million have no will?  What does this mean for his family?  Will it be a legal battle to get this all straightened out?  There are many other issues that come about with the lack of planning.  Let’s take a look at planning ahead and the free resources that are available to help you and your family.

A question we should all ask ourselves is:  Would my family know what to do if something happened to me?  This is not something that we like to think about or discuss over dinner but pre-planning does not have to be intimidating.  In fact, pre-planning is a smart, effective way to ensure that you and your family are covered.  Pre-planning provides peace of mind and allows you and your family time to research your options and make well-informed decisions.  Having a documented plan in place will reflect your wishes and protect your family and your estate.

How can we help you?  Here at Wages & Sons we offer our Personal Record Guide at no charge.  This free guide is an extremely beneficial tool that will help you in this critical planning process.  Having a plan in place is critical and our caring staff can help you get your guide today.

Do you have questions or want to talk with our staff about pre-planning options?  Call us today at (770) 277-4550 or complete the request form here on our website:  www.wagesandsons.com/personal-record-guide

4 Tips for Coping with Stress

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The month of February calls for awareness about heart health and heart disease.  Managing stress in your life is good for your heart and for your emotional well-being.  The American Heart Association notes that “stress may affect behaviors and factors that increase heart disease risk.”  Here are 4 tips that can be a good start to coping with and reducing your stress.

1)      Take care of yourself.  This is easy to overlook, our lives are busy and we don’t always take the time to slow down and get the rest we need.  Try eating healthy, well balanced meals and try exercising on a regular basis.

2)      Take a break.  This could be as simple as sitting quietly for 5 or 10 minutes.  Turn off the news, step away from electronics and take some time to slow down and relax.  Try listening to some quiet classical music which can be an effective stress management tool.

3)      Do one thing each day that you enjoy.  This could be as simple as taking 15 minutes to find enjoyment in a hobby, art project or reading a book.  Call a friend or make plans to meet for lunch.

4)      Talk to someone about your stress.  Let it out, this can help put your stress into perspective and is a way to receive feedback and advice from loved ones in your life.

Next grief support group session begins January 19th

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Wages and Sons offers three 8 week sessions of grief support groups each year, occurring in September, January, and April. Meetings are Tuesday evenings at 7:00PM.

Wages and Sons next 8 week grief support group session begins Tuesday January 19, 2016 7:00PM at St. Lawrence Church, Lawrenceville.  You can pre-register until January 19th.  To register or for more information, please call Barb Kennedy, group facilitator at 678-427-4116.

Tips for Dealing with Grief During the Holiday Season

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At Wages and Sons, we realize the holidays are a particularly difficult time for anyone who has lost a loved one.  Here are some grief support tips to help you deal with this difficult time:

Express Your Grief – The number one way you can ease your burden during this difficult time is to discuss your feelings of grief with others. This is an easy first step to recovery. Do not lock away your feelings—they will only grow.

Know Your Limits – You will naturally feel “down” both physically and emotionally during this time. Don’t feel obligated to get back to your normal routine. Learn to say no when you need more time.

Rely on Fond Memories – The holidays are certain to bring memories of your loved one rushing back to you. Some will make you happy, others will make you sad. It’s not only okay but necessary to experience both of these emotions.

Lean on Your Spirituality – If you consider yourself faithful or spiritual, the holidays are probably a significant time for you. Lean on the comfort of your spirituality and use this time to reflect and grow.

Our Chaplain Dr. Lamar Holley is always available to talk. If you are struggling with grief this holiday season, don’t hesitate to call us with questions or concerns. Gwinnett Chapel (770) 277-4550 or Stone Mountain Chapel (770) 469-9811.

~ Your Friends at Wages & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematories

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