Cress Funeral Home

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Make a Conscious Choice this Thanksgiving

November 21, 2017

Sending you warm Thanksgiving wishes from home to home and from heart to heart~ The Cress Family

As you’re aware, this holiday is a seasonal expression of gratitude; a time when we’re to acknowledge the abundance in our nation and in our own lives. But for people who have experienced a significant loss, it can also be a time of mixed emotions brought on by a flood of (often) bittersweet memories.

As these folks watch the leaves fall from the trees and see others setting out seasonal decorations–pumpkins at Halloween, garden flags featuring a cornucopia reminding passers-by to ‘give thanks’ in November–their holiday enthusiasm diminishes. They ask themselves “How can I be expected to celebrate when my heart is so badly broken?”

In “Lifts to the Heart: Preparing for Thanksgiving”, bereaved parent Elaine Stillwell affirmed this internal struggle when she wrote, “Many of us who are grieving feel that Thanksgiving is a useless and painful holiday because we do not feel very thankful with our terribly hurting hearts.” (See Sources and Resources for the full citation).

So, in this situation, what can you do?

You’ve Really Got Three Options

You may not realize it, but this situation presents you with a valuable opportunity. When everyone around you is preparing to celebrate and you just don’t know why, or how, you should be involved, there are three options to choose from:

1. Adhere to traditional family practices, perhaps working to integrate meaningful “new” elements
2. Still acknowledge the event, while working to “change things up completely” in terms of ritual activities
3. Throw the whole holiday “out the window” and choose not to participate at all

It’s a very empowering moment. Carol Brody Fleet, author of the best-selling book Widows Wear Stilettos, concurred when she wrote; in a 2012 Huffington Post online article (see Sources and Resources for the full citation): “Taking control over your approach to Thanksgiving (and the holidays that follow) can help brighten your outlook and bring you a measure of peace.” Here are some valuable suggestions, from Ms. Fleet and other grief experts, which can help to ease this year’s holiday experience:

  • Prepare and eat your loved one’s favorite menu item. “You will be surprised at how much comfort something as simple as a favorite dish or dessert will bring to you,” wrote Ms. Fleet.
  • Prepare all new celebratory foods. Instead of being reminded of your loss through the preparation of the “old standards” shared with your loved one, find brand new menu items to try. Two highly-recommended food-related websites are listed in the Sources and Resources section of this email.
  • If your tradition involves going around the dinner table having each guest share something they’re thankful for; ask guests to also share a story about your deceased loved one.
  • To hold the special “place” your deceased family member held in the family, give them a place at the table just as you did when he or she was alive.
  • Arrange to have the Thanksgiving meal in a neutral location, such as a restaurant (if you choose your loved one’s favorite restaurant, it could become a tribute to him or her).
  • If it’s all “too much” for you, then get away from it all: take a mini-vacation. Next year you can choose to do something different but, if you feel this year it’s impossible to participate, go away.

There are other creative things you can do at this time of year, both in celebration of the holiday and as a tribute to your loved one:

Create a Keepsake Memory Box. A keepsake box or memory box is designed to store mementos, in this case, mementos of someone special. A keepsake memory box can be of significant help in the grieving process. If this sounds like an exciting Thanksgiving project, there are two inspiring web articles listed in the Sources and Resources section to help guide you.

Use collage to create a visual “portrait” of the deceased. Gather together snapshots, pictures of things she or he enjoyed, and images that represent great times you had together. If you’re tech-savvy, the Creative Bloq article listed in the Sources and Resources section, “The 18 best photo collage maker tools” is worth your review. However, if you’re “old school”, the WikiHow article, “How to Make a Collage”, offers step-by-step instructions (again, see the Sources and Resources section below for the citation).

Create a Shrine to Your Loved One. It would effectively be a dedicated, sacred space, where you can sit in quiet meditation and reflection. In “Creating Shrines and Altars for Healing from Grief”, Karla Helbert writes of their purpose: “Shrines and altars are ways of showing in tangible form what might be happening in our hearts and spirits. Creating shrines and altars gives us opportunities to remember, to reflect and to honor, as well as to help heal the pain of loss through the act of creating.” (See Sources and Resources for full citation.)

Craft a memorial quilt from your loved one’s clothing. This project may be too much for some; in that case, an expert quilter can be hired to complete the project. However, the publishers of “Memorial Quilts: Wrap Yourself in Loving Memories” noted “Just the gathering of women (and men!) for quilt making can provide much-needed emotional and social support in your time of bereavement.” They suggest using:

  • Old work shirts with name tags, patches or badges
  • Shirts or jackets with pockets that you remember getting candy out of as a child
  • Dad’s favorite old ties, suspenders, or even hats
  • Grandma’s aprons or gloves
  • Wedding or Honeymoon items
  • Old handkerchiefs, doilies, even beaded or cloth purses
  • Unfinished quilt tops or blocks someone was making
  • Items with buttons or any other types of embellishments
  • Old baby clothes

Find a Way to Feel Gratitude

“Though it may not feel like it right this minute, you do have reasons to be thankful”, wrote Ms. Fleet, who advises readers to “Stop and take a moment to think about that for which you are thankful — your health, your family, your loved ones, your home and whatever else you treasure in and about your life. Most of all, embrace and remember that you had the love of a wonderful person — whomever that person is — whose legacies of love and memories will be with you always.”

Ms. Stillwell is equally confident in the value of counting your blessings and feeling gratitude.  “Maybe we could prepare our hearts for Thanksgiving by peeking into them to find at least one and maybe even more blessings that we could count at this special time of the year.”

Sources & Resources:

Memoir by local veteran, A Lucky, Lucky Man x 12

November 11, 2017

Announcing the book release of local veteran, Jim Foseid’s memoir, A Lucky, Lucky Man x 12.

We received our copy today, right in time for Veteran’s Day.

Inspiration to document his own story came to Foseid after attending our Veteran’s Day Brunch last year.

An except from the forward,

“We were all brought up being very patriotic. Our country was at war at the time, and we did what we thought was the right thing to do: stick up for your country. My brother Tom was a radio operator in Da Nang. My brother Mark was in the Marine Corps Reserves. Mike had been in the Navy for Bay of Pigs, too … I went into the service on September 17, 1967.” 

To download the memoir (as a pdf) simply click on the following link: http://www.cressfuneralservice.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/20/files/2017/11/LuckyLuckyManX12.-5docx.pdf

Please enjoy the work of this beautiful memoir.  Thank you!

Carey Cress Fose

Thanking Our Veterans with Free Brunch and Fellowship

October 30, 2017

Please join us in supporting our local veterans by attending a free Veterans Day Appreciation Brunch at the Cress Center, on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 6021 University Avenue, Madison, WI.

All are welcome…Veterans, active and non-active duty personnel, family, friends, neighbors and community members!

All attendees will be served with a warm meal, friendship and a time to gather around the flag.  Meal time begins at 8:30am; Mail Call at 10:00am; assembling for the Flag Raising Ceremony, at 10:30am.

The Flag Raising Ceremony is a special time of respect and honor.  Celebrate our wonderful flag and the Veterans who endured so much while defending freedom at home and around the globe.  The ceremony will be conducted by the Waunakee American Legion Post 360.

How can we show appreciation on or around Veterans Day? 

Attend an event in your area, like the Cress Veterans Appreciation Brunch!

Fly a flag or attend the Flag Raising Ceremony at the Cress Veterans Appreciation Brunch!

Ask someone about their service, possibly, while you enjoy a hot brunch with Veterans at the Cress Veterans Appreciation Brunch!

Write a note or email that recognizes their service to our country that can be shared with a Veteran at the Cress Veterans Appreciation Brunch!

Let’s make it a great day of recognition for those special people and their family’s, who served honorably in the military and answered the call for duty to our country, the United States of America! 

Please attend and RSVP at 608-238-8406; Space is limited so call by Friday, November 10th.  Thank you!

Carey Cress Fose

For an extra treat this Veteran’s Day, check out the beautiful memoir, Lucky, Lucky Man x 12, written by local veteran, Jim Foseid, about his time serving in Vietnam.

Memorable Moments from Summer

September 29, 2017


On July 22, 2017 the William “Sonny” Simon Post 8216 dedicated the Middleton Community Veterans Tribute to the people of Middleton, Wisconsin.

 

Reprinted:

MIDDLETON (WKOW) — The Middleton community has a new place to honor our local veterans.

VFW Post 8216 unveiled the new Middleton Community Veterans’ Tribute Saturday morning at Lakeview Park. The memorial was built as a thank you to those who have served our country.

Service members say it’s the perfect place to quietly honor our local heroes.

“This is a moving tribute for those who already have a deep connection to the sacrifices of military service and for them this is a place of solitude, quiet reflection, a place they can be alone with their thoughts,” says Lt. John Hall, with the U.S. Army Reserve.

You can buy a brick to pay tribute to a service member and help pay for the memorial.  http://middletoncommunityveteranstribute.org/index.html

Gathering Your Family Still Matters

August 22, 2017

Create A Meaningful Experience For Your Family

July 27, 2017

Green Burial Options With Cress

June 2, 2017

What are our options for a green burial?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Know A Child Who’s Grieving?

April 27, 2017

Agrace offering free grief support groups for children 5 to 18. 

Kids Grief Support Group is a five-week support group series for children 5 through 18 who are grieving a death.

Children are resilient, but they need opportunities to discuss their feelings and talk about the person who died. This group gives them the chance to find comfort through meeting other kids who have been through a similar loss. They also participate in activities and projects that encourage self-expression.

All are welcome:  Children are welcome to join this free grief support group even if the person who died was not an Agrace patient.

MADISON Campus:  Agrace HospiceCare, 5395 E. Cheryl Parkway, Fitchburg

Thursdays, May 25 – June 22, 2017; 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

If you are interested in registering, call Madison – Jessie (608) 327-7135  or visit their website, agrace.org/grief-support/griefgroups/grief-support-inquiry/

 

 

Let’s Get The Conversation Started

April 20, 2017

Be Our Guest to Learn More about Advance Planning

for Funeral and Cremation Services

Tuesday, April 25 at 12:00pm at 5100 Bar & Grill,  5100 Erling Ave, McFarland, WI

OR

Thursday, April 27 at 11:30am at Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub, 1262 John Q. Hammons Dr, Madison, WI

 

 

Please call to reserve your meal, at no cost to you.  Seating and reservations are limited.

RSVP by calling 608-238-3434 or email: info@cressfuneralservice.com

 

Darrin Kolka and Heather Holy

Advance Planning Specialists

 

Waunakee Coffee Invitation

March 23, 2017

2017 April Coffee

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