Nuts and Bolts of End of Life
Anticipatory Grief and Action- Working through Discouragement
Living Wills and Power of Attorney
Choosing a Funeral Home
- services needed
4000 BC- The art of Embalming was originated by the Egyptians
– Tumuli, or burial mounds, are often seen solitary, many ancient sites had 100’s and
3300 BC- Egyptian mummies’ levels of mummification differed according to rank and cost.
More expensive techniques resulted in a better looking corpse.
353 BC- The first true Mausoleum was built, for the Carian ruler Mausolus. Begun before his death in 353 B.C., construction of the Mausoleum was continued by his wife It ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
1500- Aztecs were known to be celebrating the Day of the Dead
-Caskets were originally quite plain and simple, but people quickly began to carve,
paint, and festoon them according to resources and financial means.
1632- Building of the Taj Mahal
1800- Draping of a coffin with a National Flag during the Napoleonic Wars (1796-1815)
1860’s- U.S. Embalming began during the Civil War
2000- Ecopods made of biodegradable paper and other fibers, the sleek ecopods can be customized just like caskets, but are designed to be used in “green” cemeteries.
History of Cremation
Scholars today quite generally agree that cremation probably began in any real sense during the early Stone Age — around 3000 B.C. — and most likely in Europe and the Near East.
During the late Stone Age cremation began to spread across northern Europe, as evidenced by particularly informative finds of decorative pottery urns in western Russia among the Slavic peoples.
With the advent of the Bronze Age — 2500 to 1000 B.C. — cremation moved into the British Isles and into what is now Spain and Portugal. Cemeteries for cremation developed in Hungary and northern Italy, spreading to northern Europe and even Ireland.
In the Mycenaean Age — circa 1000 B.C. — cremation became an integral part of the elaborate Grecian burial custom. In fact, it became the dominant mode of disposition by the time of Homer in 800 B.C. and was actually encouraged for reasons of health and expedient burial of slain warriors in this battle-ravaged country.
Following this Grecian trend, the early Romans probably embraced cremation some time around 600 B.C. and it apparently became so prevalent that an official decree had to be issued in the mid 5th Century against the cremation of bodies within the city.
By the time of the Roman Empire — 27 B.C. to 395 A.D. — it was widely practiced, and cremated remains were generally stored in elaborate urns, often within columbarium-like buildings.
Prevalent though the practice was among the Romans, cremation was rare with the early Christians who considered it pagan and in the Jewish culture where traditional sepulcher entombment was preferred.
However, by 400 A.D., as a result of Constantine’s Christianization of the Empire, earth burial had completely replaced cremation except for rare instances of plague or war, and for the next 1,500 years remained the accepted mode of disposition throughout Europe.
Modern cremation, as we know it, actually began only a little over a century ago, after years of experimentation into the development of a dependable chamber. When Professor Brunetti of Italy finally perfected his model and displayed it at the 1873 Vienna Exposition, the cremation movement started almost simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the British Isles, the movement was fostered by Queen Victoria’s surgeon, Sir Henry Thompson. Concerned with hazardous health conditions, Sir Henry and his colleagues founded the Cremation Society of England in 1874. The first crematories in Europe were built in 1878 in Woking, England and Gotha, Germany.
Meanwhile in North America, although there had been two recorded instances of cremation before 1800, the real start began in 1876 when Dr. Julius LeMoyne built the first crematory in Washington, Pennsylvania.
In 1884 the second crematory opened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and, as was true of many of the early crematories, it was owned and operated by a cremation society. Other forces behind early crematory openings were Protestant clergy who desired to reform burial practices and the medical profession concerned with health conditions around early cemeteries.
Crematories soon sprang up in Buffalo, New York, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit and Los Angeles. By 1900, there were already 20 crematories in operation, and by the time that Dr. Hugo Erichsen founded the Cremation Association of America in 1913, there were 52 crematories in North America and over 10,000 cremations took place in that year.
In 1975, the name was changed to the Cremation Association of North America to be more indicative of the membership composition of the United States and Canada. At that time, there were over 425 crematories and nearly 150,000 cremations.
In 1999, there were 1,468 crematories and 595,617 cremations, a percentage of 25.39% of all deaths in the United States. By 2009, there were over 2,100 crematories and over 900,000 cremations…and 36.84% of deaths in the United States were handled through cremation, a percentage that is expected to grow to over half of deaths by 2018.
- memorial ceremonies
Biblical responses to grief
- Denial- the woman and Elisha. Jesus disciples not accepting of his coming death
- Anger- Naomi,
- Bargaining- David bargains for the baby’s life
- Depression- Abraham’s father, Terah. “the Loiterer” named for his stationary life life after the death of his son.
- Acceptance- David. After mourning his son
- Hope- Lazurus comes out. We have the same hope
Discouragement- The New Testament uses three Greek words to carry the idea of being disheartened, dispirited, or discouraged.
a. We always translate them as “to faint” or “to grow weary.”
b. Discouragement is a very common problem for all people, even Christians.
c. The Bible has a long list of ‘great’ men and women who became discouraged at times.
1. Jeremiah was a great prophet who wanted to give up preaching, but could not.
2. Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Peter, and a host of other Bible heroes faced discouragement.
A. Seek God’s Help
1. Seek God’s help FIRST!
a. Most of us wait until we’ve exhausted all other alternatives
before appealing to God
as a last resort.
b. When discouragement comes, start at the top!
1. Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my
God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry
came before him, into his ears.
2. Psalm 121
c. Go to the Lord and ask Him to help you sort through all the
2. When we talk to God about our discouragements…
a. We bring it out of the anxiety closet and out into the open.
b. Sometimes in the light of God’s Word, things are not quite like
we have come to think of them.
3. Jesus brings up the subject in the context of prayer.
a. Luke 18:1 tells us, “that men always ought to pray and not lose
b. We must live and breathe and take up residence in prayer, or
we’re sure to faint, to grow weary, to lose heart.
Holidays are tough- instead of togetherness we feel sadness
Society wants you to be happy
- Talk about your grief
- Understand your limits
- Eliminate Unnecessary stress
- Be with comforting, supportive people
- Talk about your loved one
- Do what is best for YOU for the holidays
- Plan ahead for gatherings
- Renew your will to live
- Express your faith
Grief is both a necessity and a privilege
Don’t let others take it away
Love yourself- Be patient with yourselves and others