1.) Make your funeral more personal.
You are a special and unique person, you have made your mark on the world and the people close to you. Your funeral is a celebration of your life. Who better to plan it than you? Pre-planning your funeral gives you the ability to connect with your loved ones through the service. Your family & friends will notice and be moved by your presence. The personalization of your funeral requires some thought. What music represents you best? Who do you want to be your pallbearers? Who should deliver eulogies? What poems, quotes or particular philosophies would you like included? There are many ways to personalize your funeral. Meeting with one of our knowledgeable staff is a great way to start the process and make sure nothing is overlooked.
2.) Make sure no one is left out.
Without making a list of everyone you want to be notified about your funeral, your family could overlook people they might not know. During pre-planning you get to decide who you want to be notified of your funeral. Think about the groups, organizations, distant relatives and co-workers your family might not think about inviting. Individuals who have pre-planned their funeral have the peace of mind knowing that no one will be left out.
3.) Lock in the price.
Pre-planning your funeral is a smart financial decision. Prices are constantly changing and, unfortunately, the change usually goes up, not down. By pre-planning a funeral and paying sooner rather than later, you lock in the current prices that are almost guaranteed to be lower than if you wait. This also relieves your family of the burden of paying for your funeral. There are many different ways to pay. You can usually get a discount if you pay in full, or you can break up the cost into monthly, quarterly or annual payments. Choosing the best payment plan for you is part of the pre-planning process and we are here to help.
4.) Make sure the religious and cultural traditions that are important to you are followed.
Culture and religion are a central element of one’s identity. Pre-planning ensures that your religion or culture is properly recognized. You may have cultural traditions you want followed that your family may be unaware of. You may be religious, but your family isn’t or maybe you aren’t religious, but your family is. Pre-planning will give you the comfort of knowing that your beliefs will be considered. If you are religious, talking with your religious leader about the funeral traditions can help you decide what to include.
5.) Make sure your wishes to have a burial or cremation are fulfilled.
This is a big one: cremation or burial? This is an important question that requires some reflection. Once you have your answer, make sure your family and friends are aware of your wishes through pre-planning. This give guidance for disagreeing family members.
6.) As a gift to your family.
Just like planning a wedding, planning a funeral requires a lot of thought. Major decisions have to be made in a very short period of time. It can be extremely stressful for family. A pre-planned funeral is a great gift to give your family, it allows them to work through their grief and gives them some peace during a trying time. They are able to grieve the way that they need and experience a celebration of your life that was planned by you.
Thank you for reading MeadowLawn’s article, “6 Reasons why you should pre-plan your funeral.”
MeadowLawn Funeral Home, Crematory and Cemetery is located in San Antonio Texas.
Sit back, relax, and imagine. It’s August 3, 1965 in San Antonio, Texas. You just finished a hard day’s work at the Atkinson Candy Company and you are ready to unwind. You head home, put on a clean suit, hop in your Ford pickup and find yourself driving down St. Hedwig Road.
Where are you going? Well, you are on your way to see the illustrpious B. B. King play at the local Eastwood Country Club. Amazing, right?
How did San Antonio, Texas (so far away from New York or Los Angeles) attract one of the most incredible musicians of the 1960s?
A Historic Venue
Opening the Eastwood Country club in 1954, Johnnie Phillips pulled out all the stops booking huge names like; Dizzy Gillespie, Nat “King” Cole, B. B. King, Ike & Tina Turner, T-Bone Walker, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Chubby Checker, Della Reese, Big Joe Turner, Etta James and so many more noteworthy musicians.
Eastwood provided a great opportunity for aspiring musicians like Fats Martin Band, Shake Snyder’s Band, Spot Barnett’s Band, Curley Mays’s band and many more iconic local bands.
Eastwood also had acts like comedian Redd Foxx, who would bartend after his performances, and Miss Wiggles, a renowned contortionist of the day.
Eastwood Country Club was part of the “Chitlin Circuit,” a group of venues in the eastern, southern and northern Midwest that were secure for African American musicians and entertainers to perform in during the period of racial segregation in the U.S. Other famous venues in the “Chitlin Circuit” were; the Carver Theatre in Birmingham, Alabama; the Cotton Club, Smalls Paradise and the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York; Robert’s Show Lounge, Club Delisa and the Regal Theatre in Chicago; the Fox Theatre in Detroit; the Victory Grill in Austin, Texas and many more.
Eastwood Country Club supported a progressive attitude concerning racial integration. San Antonio’s venues on the “Chitlin Circuit” were racially integrated by the 1950s, a decade ahead of other large cities at the time. Eastwood was a place where everyone could get together in a high energy atmosphere, dance, drink and have a good time watching incredible musicians and performers. As Phillips once said, “The Eastwood was one of the few places where people, no matter what color they were, were always welcome. Everyone from gamblers to politicians and Texas Rangers came there. We had the most mixed audience of any club.”
End of an Era
Phillips retired in 1978 due to health issues and later closed the Eastwood. He rented out the space to Douglas and Emma Lott, who had plans to revamp the club. Mrs. Lott said, “Eastwood was a place where everyone could be entertained by the best stars in the recording industry. We wanted those stars and others to return to Eastwood.” Sadly their dream never came true, the club burned down in a horrible fire in 1986. The damages totaled at over $450,000. The fire department labeled the fire as arson, due to patterns where the flames originated and a flammable liquid found onsite. Firefighters fought the fire for two hours before getting it under control. Now the Eastwood Country club is a ghost of its former self, broken walls and rubble fill the space where greatness once was. The club may have been destroyed, but I think everyone who knew The Eastwood would agree that its legacy lives on through the hearts and memories of the people of San Antonio.
The entrance of the Eastwood in 2017
Thank you for reading Meadowlawn’s blog.
MeadowLawn’s Helpful Funeral Etiquette Guide
Funerals should be a time of remembering and honoring your deceased loved one. Learning some basic Funeral Etiquette can help you and others get the best experience possible from attending a funeral. Many behaviors and traditions are common knowledge among those who are acquainted with the deceased, but not everyone is well-versed enough to feel comfortable when they walk through the doors of the funeral parlor. Although funeral etiquette isn’t an exact science, and not every rule has to be followed to the letter, there are general behaviors that should be observed when you are planning or attending a funeral.
When You Arrive
Many times, the family of the deceased will have an album or billboard of pictures commemorating the life and times of their loved one. If you arrive early, don’t be afraid to peruse the photos and take some happy memories away from them. You should, however, be seated before the funeral service starts. Have a seat in the chapel at least two rows back, or farther if there are more rows reserved for the family.
What To Wear
Most people think of funerals having a strict “wear black” dress code. This isn’t the case at all. Although you should never wear bright, loud colors unless you are given permission by the family, you can wear conservative colors like grey, brown, black, navy blue, and so on. As long as your outfit isn’t a distraction to others, you should be fine.
Specific funeral etiquette for men’s and women’s dress is as follows:
- Women – Modest dress is a must. A simple grey dress with a black cardigan would be an appropriate outfit. Only wear a hat if it doesn’t block someone else’s view during the chapel or graveside service.
- Men – Suits, dress trousers and dress shirts are standard. Hats may be worn when outside, but not indoors.
Both men and women are allowed to wear military uniforms to a funeral if the occasion calls for it.
Bringing Your Children
If your child knows the person who died or is a family member, it is acceptable to bring them to the funeral. Explain to your child beforehand what has happened and why you are attending, your children will be less likely to interrupt the service with questions. If your child fails to behave in most social situations, or you are worried they may disrupt the service, make other arrangements for the children, such as a babysitter or staying with a friend/family member for the day.
Sympathy cards are a highly appropriate way to express your regrets about the death of family member, friend or loved one. Simple one-sentence notes in a card such as “I’m sorry for your loss” are best if you weren’t close to the deceased, but cards for loved ones or family members can be longer. Happy memories and humorous stories are appropriate to share, as they are remembering a positive experience you had with the deceased. Stay away from any negative or depressing talk in your sympathy card; it will just end up upsetting the person you’re sending it to. See our blog post on writing the perfect sympathy card here.
If you would like to send flowers to the funeral parlor or family of the deceased, there are some general rules to follow for proper funeral etiquette:
- Funeral Flowers – Unless the family has specifically requested donations instead, it’s alright for you to send flower arrangements for the funeral service. Make sure to have the arrangement on a stand that is easily transportable, as they may need to be moved around.
- Flowers For The Family – Flowers sent directly to the home of the deceased’s family should be smaller arrangements, such as those that can be placed as a table centerpiece or in the entryway. Sending flowers for the funeral service to the family should be avoided at all costs, as it may upset them.
- Casket Flowers – Only those arranging the funeral should purchase casket flowers. If you would like a flower added to the arrangement, you can ask the family for permission to include it.
The type of flower you send can depend on the type of funeral. Different religions and cultures have certain types of flowers that have significant meaning, so make sure you do your research before you purchase an arrangement. You can also read MeadowLawn’s more in-depth blog post on Funeral Flower Etiquette.
The family of the deceased most likely doesn’t feel like cooking, so bringing dishes of food is appropriate. They will appreciate the gesture. Since they’ll be busy planning the funeral and making arrangements, clearly label your dish if you want it returned. It’s also a good idea to ask beforehand if any family member has food allergies or dietary restrictions. Casseroles and side dishes are what most people bring, but you can also bring a favorite food of theirs for some much needed comfort.
What To Say
It can be difficult to come up with the right words for grieving family members in their time of sorrow. However difficult you may find it to speak to the family; you should at least offer brief words of sympathy and condolences. Avoid negative comments or jokes. You don’t have to come up with anything clever. Simply say that you’re sorry for their loss and, if you’re comfortable, offer a listening ear should they need to talk.
Thank you for reading MeadowLawn’s article Helpful Funeral Etiquette Guide.
MeadowLawn Funeral Home, Crematory and Cemetery is located in San Antonio Texas.
It can be difficult to find the right words to express to someone who’s grieving. Their relative may have been diagnosed with serious illness or died, and you want to express your condolences without upsetting them with the wrong words. Writing a sympathy card doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Here are five tips on what to write in a sympathy card so it will bring the recipient comfort.
Writing The Perfect Sympathy Card
First things first: you need to physically write on a card or personal note. A more convenient trend is sending sympathy cards through email, but this doesn’t have the personal touch it needs to evoke emotion from the recipient.
When you start off your card, offer your condolences. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy story about how the person’s diagnosis or death was a horrible tragedy, and that you can’t begin to imagine, etc. etc., and so on. Keep it short, sweet and heartfelt (e.g. “I’m terribly sorry for your loss.”).
The best thing that the family of the loved one could hear is your appreciation for them. Everyone acts differently around family, friends and coworkers, and it’s a relief for the family to know that others loved them and are sad at their passing. This is a great time to mention your relationship with the deceased for family members who may not know you.
If at all possible, offer to help in any way you can. The responsibility of caring for a terminally ill patient or planning a funeral takes its toll on the family members. They may kindly refuse your offer and state that they’re thankful, but that they’d rather take care of it themselves. Don’t be offended if this happens; remember, they’re still grieving and may want some privacy.
Follow up with a separate card later with a message of hope for the grieving family. You can once again offer assistance should they need it in the coming weeks. A great way to do this is to say something like “I’m here for you” or “don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything”. That way, they know you care about them and will be thinking of them as they go through the motions of loss and grief.
What Not To Write In A Sympathy Card
We as human beings tend to think that expressing empathy, rather than sympathy, is preferable in times of grieving. However, telling the person who’s grieving that you “know how [they] feel” can sometimes upset them. No one knows exactly how they feel, and they certainly don’t want to hear painful reminders of their loss like “what a horrible way to go”. Keep references to pain and death out of your sympathy card to avoid upsetting the person who’s grieving and stick to the above steps.
Thank you for reading. Come visit MeadowLawn, Funeral Home, Crematory and Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
Hearses have long been an ominous, yet solemn presence driving along city streets and country roads. The slow progression along the route to the funeral site demands respect as other drivers give way to the hearse and its parade of mourners. This vehicle has an interesting history that not many people are aware of.
The Early Hearse
Hearses were originally horse-drawn carriages. A framework was built around the coffin and placed on a flat cart, secured and decorated with epitaphs. One could easily argue that hearses actually began with biers, flat carts on which remains were placed and drawn by hand to a burial site, but the term hearse wasn’t officially used to describe a vehicle until the 17th century. Before that, ‘hearse’ (from the word ‘herse’) referred to a candelabra placed atop a casket at a funeral.
The Hearse Becomes Motorized
In the very early years of the 20th century, hearses became motorized. Despite the fact that motorized vehicles were still in their infancy, the first motorized hearse did not use an internal combustion engine – it was electric. In 1909, the first motorized engine hearse was made by fastening the framework of the original hearse onto the chassis of a bus. Although crude when compared to today’s hearses, it was the start of a new era in funeral practices.
The New Norm
By the 1920s, gas-powered hearses started being used regularly for transporting the body of the deceased. Even with the high cost of purchasing a hearse for use, the ability to transport a higher rate of bodies per day was enough for funeral directors to bite the bullet in order to service more customers, thus hiking their profits. Hearses were first mass-produced by Crane & Breed Co., and many companies followed suit.
The Landau Hearse
The 1930s brought with them a longer, sleeker style of hearse called the Landau hearse, manufactured by Sayers & Scovill. This style got its name from the S-shaped bars on the back of the vehicle. The Landau style was also used on other vehicles, but it only remained popular with the hearse and is still used today. It wasn’t uncommon in the early 20th century for hearses to be used as both transportation for the deceased and an ambulance when the occasion called for it. The latter part of the 20th century, with its stricter regulations for ambulances, effectively removed the second function of the hearse.
The Modern Hearse
A photo of MeadowLawn’s Hearse, photo taken at our new chapel
at our Funeral Home, Crematory and Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.
Today’s hearses are typically found in the limousine style in the United States, usually with unobstructed or semi-obstructed views of the interior due to its numerous windows. Features of modern hearses sometimes include track lighting, skylights and frosted windows, and these sleek vehicles have an average cost of around $80,000. That’s one expensive vehicle!