Funeral Home and Grief Resources

A resource page for funeral home topics
Protecting Your Deceased Loved One From The Risk of Identity Theft

The grief of losing a loved one is a very tumultuous and heartbreaking experience for everyone involved. Unfortunately, in the world that we live in, some people disregard this pain entirely and are willing to capitalize on the identity of the deceased. Frequently, individuals engage in such behaviour because they are trying to escape past convictions or outstanding debts. Even after your loved one dies, it is imperative to keep his or her identity safe to avoid the possibility of identity theft. Here are a few steps you can take to secure the identity of your loved one:

Never Disclose Sensitive Information

Thieves can be very crafty in how they conduct their crime and often use publicly known information from social media accounts to gain access to private knowledge. Contact the social media platforms and inform them that a user on their platform has passed away, and that should effectively lock their account or remove it.

Advise Financial Organizations / Government Organizations

The chances are that your loved one has ties with multiple corporations involving financial interactions, which can include banks, credit unions, insurance companies or investment companies, and they all must be notified about the passing of your loved one. Begin with giving them a phone call and make sure you send them proof of death. Ensure that you are keeping documentation about which organizations you’ve reached out to, the date on which you contacted them, and the representative with whom you were in contact. Other relevant documents such as drivers licenses, passports, or social insurance numbers should be handled with extreme caution. Inform government institutions about the death of your relative, and they should effectively make all existing documents null and void.

Routinely Check On Your Loved One’s Credit/ Bank Statements.

Often, identity theft of a deceased person can go unnoticed because there is nobody routinely checking his or her banking and credit statements. This form of theft, often referred to as “ghosting,” can occur for a year or longer before any indication of robbery has taken place. Therefore, it is imperative to check these statements for months after your loved one has passed, and report any suspicious activity to the police.

Stealing the identity of a dead person is a lucrative idea for thieves because they predict that not everyone has taken the necessary precaution to protect their identity from future attacks. When a loved one passes away, family members will try their best to secure all critical certificates and documents from falling into the wrong hands, but cannot guarantee that security. It is important to concern yourself with the protection of yourand your family's private information immediately to save you from dealing with this heinous crime.

How to Cope Following the Death of a Loved One

When someone very close to you passes away, your initial reaction will very likely be disbelief, sadness and anger. You may feel the need to get in contact with other friends & family to console one another & begin the healing process together. For you, there is no set timetable for how long it should take for you to come to terms with the situation; in fact, placing a timetable on your recovery can make it harder for you to reflect on your relationship fully and emotional connection with your deceased loved one. However, it is imperative to monitor your physical and mental health and take care of yourself. Here are three ways to help you manage yourself following the death of a loved one:

Enlist the Services of a Support Worker

Enlisting the assistance of a support worker, such as a therapist or social worker, to speak about the feelings and emotions that are bothering you can be an important first step in the healing process. Many people refuse to seek out help because they don’t want to rehash their thoughts which tend to irritate and sadden them. Speaking to a therapist or social support worker can help you see new perspectives and connect with methods of coping that you didn’t know previously. Therapists are excellent for individuals dealing with invasive thoughts as well as anxiety disorders & depression.

Start Focusing on Your Hobbies and Interests

Forcing yourself to feel better is a near improbability as healing takes an indefinite amount of time. Truthfully, one of the more elegant ways to encourage yourself to feel better is to focus on yourself and the things that you like doing. Hobbies and interests help distract you and take your mind off unfortunate circumstances. Use your hobbies and interests as a creative outlet; focus your energy, emotions and true thoughts on artistic or inventive enterprises. Take some time off your regularly scheduled life, including work or school, and sincerely focus on you; exercise, eat healthily, read a book, do something that will help you ease your mind.

Connect with Friends and Family

At this time, you need to be with the people that mean the most to you and your loved one that recently passed. Just being there for physical support or being a listening ear, can help your friends & family heal as well. Being able to recall memories and good times has been known to promote serotonin levels in individuals in distress. Losing someone you love dearly can make you see everything in tunnel vision which could cause you to ignore everyone else’s emotions. Take care of your friends and family and begin the healing process together.

Memorial Service Ideas for Veterans
The rush of emotions you feel while organizing a memorial service can be quite overwhelming, it can be difficult to think clearly and ensure you’re hitting all your bases. Overall, the end goal is for you to correctly honour the life and work of your deceased loved one and convey your admiration for them during the funeral procession. If your deceased loved one was a Canadian military veteran it is especially important for you to honour their commitment, dedication and bravery in a way that would make them proud. Here are some memorial service ideas for your deceased loved one:
Visual Tributes
A common way to recognize the sacrifices that your military loved one made is to honour them through a visual tribute. If video footage exists of them in their military fatigues, you can put together a memorial video of them when they were young, as well as them in their older years with their grandchildren. A wonderful idea is to find fellow soldiers that served alongside your loved one and interview them to find out compelling stories & tales that you may not have heard before. Another symbolic honour would be to invite a Canadian military ceremonial guard to gift the closest relative with a Canadian flag. 
Extend Their Legacy Through Donations/Scholarships
Making the commitment to serve this amazing country is not a commitment that should fall to the waist-side- they’ve cemented a legacy of heroism and courage that has made all of us thankful to live in a free country. If you are presented with the means to do so, a great idea to honour your loved one’s life is to donate money to a charitable cause or bestow a scholarship reserve to a deserving individual each year. The parameters of the scholarship are ultimately up to the next-of-kin, but many that we’ve seen include honouring an individual that has gone above and beyond in their community. 
Send Care Packages to Canadian Soldier Overseas
Speaking about carrying on their legacy, one way to help transcend their legacy would be to contribute to the cause that they so graciously dedicated their life too. Traditionally, attendees of a funeral memorial service will bring consolation cards and flowers to the loved ones of the deceased, but there are other things that attendees can do that may mean more to the family than flowers or cards. One thing you should know about military families is that they have a deep admiration and respect for other service members & their families; ask the individuals attending the memorial service to prepare a care package for Canadian troops, to honour their service to this country and its citizens.
Your loved one served honourably and heroically, asking for nothing but a safe and happy country. Their memorial service should surpass the procession itself and leave a lasting impression on all that attend. Prepare a visual tribute with videos and music, extend their legacy with a scholarship or charitable donation, or ask funeral home attendees to prepare a care package to honour the life of your deceased loved one.

Should I Crowdfund My Loved One’s Funeral?

 When a loved one passes away, the disbelief and an overwhelming sense of grief are often the first things that come to mind. Taking care of one’s mental and physical health follows next in the grieving process. What is often underthought of in the aftermath of a loved one’s death is planning funeral arrangements and corralling the finances to pay for the service.  Being held financially responsible for your loved one’s funeral can add stress to your already conflicting situation, should money be an issue, let us discuss the possibilities of a crowdfunded funeral procession.

 Defining What Crowdfunding Is

Crowdfunding, commonly referred to as crowdsourcing, is a method in which everyday people can raise money from friends, acquaintances and strangers to financially support their cause or assist them in times of need. A crowdfunding campaign relies on small contributions made by several individuals to fulfill a large total. Although many popular websites, including, have made it easy to host a campaign online, it can also be done offline.

How Crowdfunding Relates to Funerals

Crowdfunding for a funeral can be set up differently than traditional crowdfunding efforts, as there is typically not one thing that the deceased’s family needs. Crowdfunding funeral efforts are especially prominent in familial situations where the deceased didn’t have a lot of money to their name, and therefore, are unable to access substantial funds needed to cover funeral and burial costs. Crowdfunding for funerals helps to cover the funeral procession, casket purchase, cremation services, and other costly expenditures.

If you do plan on hosting an online campaign, you will be required to create an account. From there, you can post the story behind the crowdfunding campaign, provide a time frame in which donations or gifts will be accepted, and offer banking information so you can retrieve your donations at the end of the campaign.

Should I Crowdfund My Loved One’s Funeral

 Crowdfunding is not typically the ideal solution - but sometimes unexpected events and a lack of savings can make it difficult for expenses to be paid for. Social media has made it easy to share your personal story, and because many people are kind-hearted, they will often find a way to lend $5, $10 or $15 to assist you in your time of need. If money is an issue, we highly recommend you attempt a crowdfunding campaign, as you have nothing to lose. Keep in mind, posting photos of yourself and your deceased loved one, as well as writing a coherent and readable story to go along with your campaign, are the best ways to raise contributions for your loved one’s funeral expenses.

3 Reasons Funerals Are Essential

When you lose a loved one, it’s an irreconcilable feeling and nobody wants to fast forward to the funeral procession, and they want more time with their loved one. Historically speaking, honour the death of a loved one has been practiced for thousands of years, and today, funerals remain a symbol of remembrance, love and solidarity with all parties affected by the loss. Inquisitive children often ask us. 

 Helps A Grieving Family Accept Reality

 One part of the grieving process is the stage of denial, where family members and friends are unable to accept the gravity of the situation. Denial is understandable; the deceased had spent their lifetime building connections and relationships with people that meant so much to him or her that it may seem implausible that they’re no longer around. A funeral is as much of a symbolic ceremony as it is an emotional one, where people can begin to come to terms with their new reality and find new ways to cope with the void the deceased left.  

Permits the Flow of Memories 

As mentioned previously, funerals can be an incredibly emotional time for all parties involved. Friends, families, coworkers, neighbours that come together in solidarity of the deceased make it hard for loved ones to escape the flow of memories. Memories are tricky, they can be a source of enjoyment and laughter, but at the same time, can induce sadness at what can no longer be. Funerals promote the recollection of pleasant memories and encourage affect family members and friends to express their emotions. Whether it be crying or laughing, there are self-healing qualities to all of these emotional reactions.

 Builds a Network of Support

Families are an interesting social institution, and it is one that continues to experience change and evolution. There may be times where certain family members are not talking to each other, whether it be due to familial conflict or disagreement. Still, if there’s one occasion where grudges and other disparagements can be forgiven, it’s at a funeral service honouring the life of a family member. Peer support and conciliation can help an aching heart deal with their feelings, and Family members are supposed to be there for each other because, in the end, they only really have each other to rely on. Funerals & memorial services connect the immediate and distant family to honour the life of their loved one.

Funerals, while they may not be a source of happiness, are very much needed in the social context of grieving. It assists those dealing with denial to begin their healing process. Funerals allow mourning family members to think of pleasant memories and build a network of support with other grieving family members. 

What to Do When A Loved One Passes Away

A death in the family is always a shocking and confusing situation to deal with. Even when a sickly individual is expected to pass away, the flood of emotions can be overwhelming. In the end, losing someone you truly love and care for is never going to be easy. However, there is no time to be wasted following the death of a loved one, and there are certain things that must take place to ensure they are comfortably laid to rest. Here is what to do when a loved one of yours passes away.

 Contact Necessary Authorities

 If your loved one is residing in a nursing home or an old-age retirement centre, the nurses and health care practitioners on hand will take care of contacting your family and the lawful authorities. However, deaths in the family can occur anywhere, including in one’s home, in one’s workplace or a public setting. If your loved one suddenly passes away, you will need to call 911 and get in touch with police & paramedics and have them assess the situation thoroughly.

Additionally, you should reach out to immediate family members and the close friends of the deceased. While this is not a legally binding recommendation, it’s a thoughtful and caring thing to do as they would rather hear it from you than from a stranger or social media post.

 Contact the Funeral Home

 The next thing you need to do is begin arranging the details of your loved one’s funeral with a funeral director. Be sure to contact the funeral home, which your loved one had pre-arrangements with; if your loved one did not pre-arrange their funeral procession, you would be asked for personal information regarding the deceased. You may be asked whether the deceased’s wishes were to be embalmed.

 Introduce Yourself to Funeral Director and Staff

You will need to meet, in-person, with a funeral director and funeral home staff to ensure that you choose the proper care package. You will then be asked a series of emotional questions that may require a thoughtful decision-making process, such as if your loved one preferred a cremation or burial process. Other information such as the choice of casket, the time & date that the funeral procession will take place, and pallbearer selection may all be inquired by the funeral director.

 When a loved one dies, you need to remain calm and reach out to the necessary authorities. Additionally, you will need to get in contact with your deceased loved one’s preferential funeral home to organize the funeral process. For more information on what to do following the death of a loved one, contact us today.

Why You Should Pre-Plan Your Funeral

It’s often not the first thing people think of doing when they wake up in the morning, but pre-planning for your funeral has its advantages. Death is not something that people like to talk about, but just as you wouldn’t leave the organizing of your wedding day to the last minute, the same principle should be followed for funeral planning. If you’ve experienced a death in the family, you understand just how overwhelming the entire situation can be for your parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, etc. Therefore, to reduce complications for your family when you pass, here are a few reasons to consider pre-planning your funeral. 

 Reduce Stress for Your Family

When you pass, you leave your family with so much more than your absence. While they’re already dealing with their sorrow and grief, they will then have to arrange the details of your funeral including tough decisions like choosing between burial or cremation, whether there will be an open casket at your funeral service, and how much money they will have to raise to pay for your funeral. Pre-planning for your funeral will reduce some of the burden left on your family and give them time to process their emotions fully,

Allows You to Financially Support Your Funeral

 One of the biggest concerns that families are burdened with when a relative pass away the financial cost of a funeral service is. In some cases, even if you do put aside money for your end of life ceremonies, will your family have the legal permission to access it? If you plan on putting some money down to support the cost of your funeral procession, be sure that you look into funeral insurance plans and funeral trusts, that will allow your next of kin to access it after you pass.

A Meaningful Ceremony

Funerals are meant to bring the friends and family together to reminisce and celebrate the life of a loved one. It is a ceremony that gives friends and family a chance to let their guard down and get in touch with their emotions. By pre-planning your funeral, you will take tremendous responsibility off the backs of your loved ones who may need a meaningful and personal ceremony to help them come to terms with this situation. Furthermore, what better way to make your funeral a meaningful ceremony than to add a personal touch to it. Pre-planning your funeral will allow you to specify the exact passages you want to read aloud at your procession, as well as music choices and your choice between an opened or closed casket. 

 For more information on the importance of pre-planning for your funeral, click here.

3 Tips for Writing A Good Eulogy

Trying to find the right words to say about a deceased loved one isn’t easy. Picking the phrases and memories, you feel best to represent your relationship with them can be difficult. While eulogies can be intimidating and overwhelming for some, being chosen to speak at their funeral service is a great honour, and it serves as an opportunity to say goodbye. If you’ve been chosen to read a eulogy, but are having trouble organizing your thoughts, here are a few tips to help you write a good eulogy.

Recite Cheerful Stories

Eulogies can be authored in several different ways, and while many fills them with platitudes and list off the deceased’s best qualities, eulogies should contain a few cheerful stories. Pick out a few memorable moments from your loved one’s life and touch upon how those moments showcased the deceased’s finest characteristics. Stories that can make people laugh and smile - even if it’s only for a moment - can aid in the healing process for many grieving individuals.

 Understand Your Audience

 When writing a eulogy for your loved one, it’s important to author something that would respectfully honour the life of the deceased. It’s important to understand your audience and make adjustments based on who will be attending the funeral service. For example, a eulogist that loses their close friend may find it funny to talk about the events of a wild night they had back in college. Still, if the deceased’s young children or parents will be attending the memorial service, it might be wise to save slightly inappropriate moments for your recollection. 

 Edit and Practice

A eulogy takes time to craft and should be written with the utmost thoughtfulness and precision. Consider writing a few versions of the eulogy; start with a rough draft and then edit it to ensure its fluid and readable. Additionally, it would be smart to have it proofread and edited by another person to catch any mistakes that might have missed.

The reason that editing is so important is that not everyone excels at public speaking. Even if it is a speech in front of familiar faces, one grammatical mistake can lead to a eulogist tripping over their words and losing confidence. Be sure to practice the speech at least three times before reading it aloud!

Being chosen to read a eulogy at an individual’s memorial service is a big honour, so don’t overcomplicate it or work yourself up over it. The admiration for your deceased loved one will instill you with the confidence to get up and pay homage to their life.

3 Etiquette Tips to Follow When Attending A Funeral Service

When it comes to attending a funeral service, it’s important to present yourself in a caring yet professional manner. At a funeral service, some unwritten rules are commonly followed to show reverence to the life and legacy of the deceased. While these rules are not typically enforced, abiding by them will ensure that you do your part in maintaining the integrity of the service. Here are three etiquette tips to follow when attending a funeral service.

Dark, Formal Clothing

Presenting yourself in a uniformed fashion reinforces the mindset that the funeral service is about the life and legacy of the deceased, and no one else. Ensure that you wear formal clothing to the service, and refrain from wearing bling jewelry. Traditionally, black has been the colour for visitors to wear to a funeral/memorial service; however, any dark coloured formalwear is suitable for the occasion.

Be on Time and Be Cordial

If you’ve been asked to attend a funeral visitation, it’s important to be respectful and show up to the service on time. Not only does showing up late reflect poorly on you, but it can also disrupt the memorial service. If you happen to arrive late, you must remain as quiet as possible and sit at the back of the service to refrain from distracting other attendees from the ceremony at-hand. 

Assuming you arrive on time, you must offer your sympathies and condolences to the deceased’s family members. There might be a line of people waiting to talk to the family, so please be patient. When you get to the front of the line, offer them a short message of love and then move aside to allow other visitors time to do the same.

Sit Down for A Short Time and Reflect

Many visitors that attend funeral services will visit with the family, sign the guestbook and then leave. In many cases, guests will stay for less than 5 minutes. You’ll never understand how grateful the family of the deceased will be if you sit down for a couple of minutes and reflect about the time you spent with their loved one. This also allows you to reflect on the importance of your loved ones and how much they mean to you. Unfortunately, we sometimes take our friends and family for granted, expecting them always to be there. Use this as an opportunity to recall all of the important people in your life and how you can improve or strengthen your relationships with them.

Please contact us today if you have any questions regarding funeral home etiquette and check out our other blog articles for more information.

Ways That a Funeral Director Can Assist Me?

A common misconception regarding funeral directors is that they’re only doing their job and that they’re not interested in the life and memory of the deceased. That is not the case; funeral directors have dedicated themselves to ensuring that the deceased’s family is looked after and that all their requests are exceeded. All our funeral directors are trained to deal with clients on an empathetic level and are willing to go the extra mile to help you during these difficult times. Here is what you should come to expect from your funeral director.

 Assistance with The Planning

 If your deceased loved one did not have a pre-planned funeral, the planning process can be intimidating and overwhelming. Funeral directors will walk you through each step of the process and allow you to discuss the options with other members of the deceased’s family. They will explain the steps you will need to take before, during and after the funeral so that there are no hidden surprises.

 Additionally, funerals require services from different people. For example, if your deceased loved one wanted to have their funeral hosted at the bowling alley where they spent much of their time, the funeral director would be responsible for arranging the time and date. Furthermore, if your loved one was religious, the funeral director would need to book a priest, rabbi, preacher, or Imam for their ceremony.

 Assistance Gathering Proper Documentation

 There are many things that a funeral home will need access to before the funeral procession. Your funeral home director will need access to legal documents, including the death certificate and authorization for cremation services. Your funeral director will know exactly who to contact for this information, so it’s important to communicate with your funeral director daily and provide them with any information they may need.

 Emotional Assistance

Finally, your funeral director is there for you. They are there to listen and offer you all of the advice and support in the world. An effective funeral director appreciates your openness and wants you to come to him or her when you need help dealing with your emotions. Understandably, this approach doesn’t work for every client, and your funeral home director will be able to tell if you’re open to their emotional support. 

 Being able to trust and rely on your funeral director will make the entire process run smoothly. While we all understand that death is a part of life, we’re human at the end of the day, and we all need someone to be there to help us and support us in difficult times. For more information, please contact us today

3 Ways to Help A Newly Widowed Friend

Losing a spouse is not an easy thing to experience, whether it was expected or not. If your friend has recently lost their husband or wife, it’s important for you to respect their privacy and give them some time to talk with their children and immediate family.

As a friend, you want to be there for them in any way possible. While it can be difficult to gauge their personal timeline during such a stressful and trying time, simply letting them know you’re around is a great way to start. When they are ready to accept your help, here are some things you can do. 

Offer Them Help Around the House

It’s natural for a newly widowed person to lack the energy and strength needed to take care of their home. It’s likely the last thing on their mind. One way to show your support for your friend would be to offer housekeeping assistance. The cleaning doesn’t have to be intensive - offer to do their laundry, sweep their floors, cut their grass, or cook them dinner. Your friend may just need to be surrounded by the people they love and offering to help with chores will accomplish that.


Unless you’ve lost a spouse, it’s hard to understand how your friend feels truly. Your friend has likely been thinking about their partner non-stop since the day they passed away. When you’re in conversation with your friend, don’t shower them with sympathy because they already feel those sentiments. Instead, be a listening ear for them, and be a shoulder to cry on. Don’t pretend to know how they feel or what they’re going through but acknowledge their feelings as valid.

Furthermore, try your best not to make every conversation about the passing of their spouse. Your friend is likely dealing with sadness all day, so it may be refreshing for them to talk about something off-topic. 

Remember Important Dates 

The best way to show your love and support for your friend is to check on them on important dates. For example, on the date of their wedding anniversary, reach out to your friend and ask them how they’re doing. Remember other important dates like their spouse’s birthday. Their healing process isn’t over in the weeks and months following their spouse’s passing, so being there for your friend into the future is a kind and thoughtful gesture.

At this time, being the best friend, you can possibly be is the most important thing. We understand that every friendship is unique, so there may be more personal ways to show your care to your friend.

3 Reasons to Have a Will

Death is a natural part of life, but nobody wants to think about it or discuss their end of life plans. The truth is, you need to organize your end-of-life plans in a legally-recognized will.

 Avalon Surrey Funeral Home strongly encourages you to draft a will of your own to ensure that your wishes are fulfilled following your death. We have encountered a number of families who have had to deal with stress following the passing of a loved one without a will, so we want to ensure you are protecting yours and your family’s best intentions.


Prevent Government Intervention


One of the biggest reasons to create a will is to ensure that the government doesn’t oversee the distribution of your estate. This is particularly important if you have children and intend on giving them the majority of your inheritance. Without a will, the Canadian government will default the bulk of your inheritance to your spouse. If you intend on passing down your wealth and possessions to your children or parents, be sure to state that in your will.


Protect Your Children’s Future


If you’re the parent of a child under 18, writing a will ensures that you have a say in who their guardian(s) will be if you pass away. If you were to pass before your children turn 18, the Canadian government would select guardians to look after your children. This is something that many Canadians are unaware of, and the prospect of having no control over their kid’s guardianship can be quite unsettling. We recommend that you write down a trusting friend or family member to look after your children if you are to pass away before they turn 18 years old.


Change Your Will Based On Life Changes


The purpose of your will is to ensure that intended beneficiaries inherit your estate. As your life changes, you may also need to change your will or your beneficiaries’ contents. For example, if you get divorced from your current spouse, you can completely remove him or her from your will.


Furthermore, your possessions list will grow over time. The contents in your will right now may not even be a fraction of the items you wish to include in your inheritance 20 or 30 years down the line. Editing your will ensures that the right beneficiaries receive what they are entitled to.


After reading this article, we hope that you have a greater understanding of the importance of writing a will. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to contact Avalon Surrey Funeral Home t

What To Know When Writing A Condolence Letter

When someone you know loses a loved one, reaching out to them and offering them your sympathy and compassion. If you’re unable to visit your friend or family as they deal with the loss of their loved one for whatever reason, consider writing them a condolence letter.

 Writing a condolence letter for your friend or family member is not only a thoughtful way of showing you care, but it's personal and gives you time to think about and carefully craft a message of love and support. Here are a few things to consider when writing a condolence letter for your friend or family member.

 Reason To Write a Condolence Letter

As previously stated, writing a condolence letter is a personalized and heartfelt way to express grace and benevolence. Additionally, writing a letter gives you more space to say how you feel. Rather than going and picking out a standard sympathy card, a personal, hand-written condolence letter will mean a lot more to your loved one.

 Elements Of A Condolence Letter

 First and foremost, it’s important for you to acknowledge the individual that passed away. Make sure that you mention the deceased by name, but refrain from talking too much about the cause of death or the circumstances surrounding it.

 Next, be sure to let your friend or relative know that you’re thinking about or praying for them and their family. You can start off this section of your letter with something like this, “My heart is broken for you and your family, I can’t even begin to fathom the pain that you feel at this time, but know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers.”

 The next part of your letter should be personal. You should invoke the qualities and characteristics that made the deceased special or unique. You can even bring up memories that you and the deceased shared. If you weren't particularly close to the deceased but understand how much they meant to your loved one, mention how you’ll always admire how they touched everyone’s heart and soul throughout their lifetime.

 Moving on, it’s important to mention that you’re willing to help them any way that you can. This is a very stressful time for your loved one, so it’s important to tell them that if they ever need a shoulder to lean or if they need some help financially.

 The last part of your letter should wrap up the conversation. You should restate how they are in your thoughts and that you are willing to help in any way possible. However, you decide to phrase the last paragraph, make sure that you fill it with love and support.

Helping a Child Grieve

Grieving is personal and different for everyone. That’s why empathy and consideration for someone who’s lost a loved one is needed, even if they insist they’re fine. When children are grieving, helping them cope can be especially complicated. There are many variables that affect how you should support them including their age, their relationship with the deceased, and the support they’ve received so far.

Just like their parents, children deal with loss in many ways. The team at Avalon have been there as parents struggle to help them through it. That’s what compelled us to create this guide to help a child grieve.


Planning what to say before breaking such bad news to anyone is a good way to start. This is especially important when talking to a child. Your words should be caring, but direct. Pausing in between sentences or thoughts will allow the child to process the information. For example: “I have something sad to tell you”. Pause for a few seconds, allowing them to focus, then continue “Grandpa died today”. Pause again to allow time for your child to understand. If the child is young, it’s usually helpful to ask them if they understand what death means. This will tell you how much they know and how they’re currently processing the news.



Not all children will cry. Many will have questions but it’s also possible they won’t react at all. What’s important is that you’re there to listen. You may not have answers to all their questions, and that’s ok. Be honest about not knowing. At that point you can offer them comfort, which is what they usually need most. Reassurance to let them know it’s ok to feel what they’re feeling is also comforting.



Some families choose to keep their kids at home during the funeral, but sometimes it’s worth asking if they want to attend.  Inviting children to be a part of family traditions such as memorials or sitting Shiva during this time can be reassuring.

Let your child know in advance what to expect. This includes info about the tradition itself, and a heads-up that you and your family might act differently than normal. Tell them it’s ok to cry, that they’ll probably be hugged a lot throughout the day. It’s also helpful to warn them that many people might ask how they’re feeling. This prompts them to take the initiative and think about their feelings.



Playing a small role during the funeral can help a child by giving them something to focus on. Depending on their age you can ask them to read a poem, draw a picture, or pick a song for after. Not only are they now a part of what’s happening, but it’s likely they’ll feel better connected to the deceased. It’s never wise to force them into taking part, but let them know the option is there for them.



We all need time to heal after a loss, a child is no different. In fact, the grieving process can be confusing, especially if it’s their first loss. Initiate conversations throughout the following weeks to check in with their feelings. Let them know you’re still sad as well, that healing doesn’t happen overnight. Show your child that healing means remembering loved ones fondly and living a life they would be proud of.

Building a Bucket List

In a way, a bucket list is a clever (and fun) way to organize/prioritize your life. It helps you focus on, and work toward your dreams. While you might share your bucket list with friends and family, it’s still personal. It should be created and structured based on your goals. It also doesn’t matter if you’re a college grad, just embarking on life, or someone in their sunset years. A bucket list is meant to inspire, give hope, feel grateful, and give you something to work towards. This article will help you build your bucket list.


Some people like to arrange their bucket list into different categories. This could include travel destinations, new skills like learning a language, hobbies such as raising funds for a local charity, or tasks such as building a new kitchen table for your kids and their young family. Multiple lists help you to focus on what’s important, and what you’re excited about. You may also find that some categories such as hobbies are easier to check off than travel destinations.


Many of us have visions of grandeur when we hear the term “bucket list”. We think about climbing mountains on the other side of the world. While that’s great, and definitely worth having on your list, so is exploring our own backyard. Here in Surrey, it’s much easier to explore Whistler and Jasper than the Andes (and trust me, they’re just as beautiful). Having some realistic goals to check off is motivating. It inspires us to push ourselves to see and do more. Being able to check off goals also gives us the opportunity to be grateful.


Did you want to be a firefighter when you grew up? Consider joining the local fire department as a volunteer. Did you love playing in the woods and climbing trees? Find a brag-worthy hike to do during your next vacation. Reflecting on the things you loved and the goals you had as a child can help give you some truly unique, and personal ideas.


Someone who loves jewelry, may want to learn to make their own. Or they might like to collect unique pieces from trips they’ve taken. Both options are great for a bucket list, it’s just important to find which is best for you.


There are times when our friends or family know us better than we know ourselves. They might remember how much fun you had during a shared experience, or dreams you used to talk about together. Their memories might be what your list is missing. Loved ones might also have their own bucket list with ideas you can “borrow”. You are, after all, connected for a reason, let their goals be your inspiration.


There is no shame in listing common goals on your bucket list, such as a hot air balloon ride over and African Safari. There’s a reason why they’re cliché; they’re awesome! Just because your bucket list is personal, doesn’t mean it can’t have common characteristics.


Whatever you end up choosing for your list, write it down. Sure, you might be able to remember some of your items, but writing it down ensures you won’t forget. It also helps motivate us, and as we mentioned earlier, checking items off brings us joy and gratitude. The written list is also a reminder that time is a gift.

 Another humbling and hopeful thought is leaving your bucket list with the executor of your will. Sharing your completed bucket list with friends and family may help them grieve, and inspire your loved ones to create their own list.