Category Archives: Funerals

Easter is just around the corner…

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April 5, 2017 · 1:59 pm

So, what do you want to know?

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During the holidays, we had a party at our home with about 40 people in attendance. A few of the older folks got to talking about funerals and cremation, and since I am in “the business”, they wanted answers to their questions. So, I asked them want the wanted to know about. I thought they would ask about grieving and laws and what do you do when someone dies, and a couple of people did have such questions. However, most wanted to know how much a funeral cost now days, and how much would they have to spend to have a nice funeral.

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I told them a nice funeral, or a traditional funeral, is what takes place at the funeral home. When a person passes, they contact their funeral home of choice and give permission for the body to be picked up. In the business, this is called a removal. Then an arrangement conference is set, either the same day or the next day, with a funeral director (Calumet Park Funeral Chapel at 219-636-5840 or Rendina Funeral Home at 219-980-1141) where you will decide on what you would like your final goodbye to look like. You would provide the information necessary to have a death certificate issued, pick out a casket, register book and prayer cards, set up the obit, coordinate with the cemetery of record, clergy, vet groups etc. and set up the times and dates for visitation and for the funeral service followed by the committal to the final resting place.

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This usually runs, on average, around $8,000 to $10,000 depending on the casket choice. I told them that they could have a simple, direct cremation with no extras for around $2,000. And if that was what they wanted, three or four days later they would have to go back to the funeral home to pick up the ashes, or cremains. Heads were nodding their acknowledgement, with a couple exclaiming they can’t afford to die. “What else?” they asked.

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I told them there are the cemetery expenses to consider. I told them that Calumet Park has so many different choices, from simple ground burial in a single grave that is free on a pre-need basis up to estate lots and even private mausoleums. I explained community mausoleums, where groups of like-minded people share in the cost of building a large complex and then their investment gives them the right to be permanently entombed in a crypt there. “Sort of like a condo?” asked one of the party goers. (Fun Christmas party conversation, eh?) I explained that there are charges called opening and closing of the final resting place, and for ground burial, they would need an outer container called a vault in which to place the casket during the burial or interment, or for placing a loved one in the above ground crypt space. One of inquisitors was a veteran, so I mentioned that we have a lot of freebies and discounts for honorably discharged vets. He liked that idea.

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Opening and closing has a great deal that is involved it in order to ensure the proper grave is used, paperwork, computer entry, laying out the grave space with a triple check system, digging of the grave, setting up a tent and chairs when the weather permits, completing the burial after the gathering at the grave, and eventually, seeing to it that the grass is planted to bring the individual broken soil up to the standards of the beautiful grass covering that makes up the 160 developed acres at Calumet Park.

“What about gravestones? Are they included?”   I told them that there were different kinds of gravestones. The ones that stand up so you can see them from a distance are called monuments, and they run a pretty penny, depending on the size chosen. Then, there are flush granite and flush bronze on granite markers, so it all depends on what a person wants. My best answer to their money questions was that it runs around $12-$15,000 for everything, and that the best thing they could do for themselves would be to go to their funeral home or cemetery of choice and sit with someone. I told them that our Family Service Counselors are always available to answer questions and to help them design their funeral and that service is free. If they choose to prearrange, Calumet Park will finance with no credit checks, no turn-downs, and no interest payments with 10% down.

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“Would I have to do everything at once?” asked a sweet little lady. I told her and the rest of the group that the only time you have to do it all at once is when you wait til you die. And then, you won’t be doing any of it. You will just leave a mess for those you love to have to deal with, and if you or they don’t have the money, then there will be a lot of settling for less than you would have chosen if you had a say in it.

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Well, we went on to more fun things, but I will tell you, the reader, what I told them: “It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. It being your final wishes prearranged.   Call 219-769-8803 now to see how much it might cost for you?

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What happens when you meet with a funeral director to make funeral arrangements?

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Meet with your funeral director to plan the funeral.

– Your funeral director will gather information to help you design a final good-bye in keeping with both

your needs and your emotional and financial well-being.

– Your funeral director will gather personal information to help process all the legal requirements for the

funeral to proceed, including a burial permit and death certificates.

– Arrange for the date and times for visitation and final committal service with the cemetery and church.

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– Prepare and place obituary and death notices and help in applying for death benefits from social

security, the veterans, insurance etc. as applicable.

– Arrange for clergy, pallbearers, personnel for a military funeral, and other participants in the funeral

service, along with producing car lists etc.

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– Explain merchandise options to help you select merchandise, such as a casket, vault, and paper goods,

such as a register book and prayer cards.

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– Arrange flowers, whether from our elegant silk rental flower inventory or from a florist. Advise you

on personalization of the funeral service, from photo boards, memory tables, music to food/drink ideas.

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vet funeral set up

– Help you decide on the best payment option for your circumstances.

A clear explanation of what to expect during the next few days:

– When to arrive for the first viewing.

– What to expect during the public visitation.

– What will be done after the service with flowers, cards, the photo blanket, the DVD, etc.

that are received.

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– Any items of information you will need to bring to the funeral home, including clothing

for the deceased.

– Inventory of personal possessions of the deceased, along with what is to remain with them

and what is to be returned to you.

– You will be given an explanation of the parting ceremony, the closing of the casket, the funeral

procession, church service if desired, and what will take place at the graveside committal

service up to and including the dismissal at the end of the ceremony.

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– You will be asked to go to your cemetery of choice to verify the grave to be used when you have property, or to select a final resting place.  The cemetery will have some papers for you to sign that ensures the interment, entombment or inurnment is handled with respect and within the laws of the State of Indiana.  They will establish two important protocols:  who has the right of disposition and who has the right to allow a grave, crypt or niche to be used for final placement of mortal remains.

Calumet Park Main Office at the corner of 73rd Avenue and Taft Street in Merrillville

Calumet Park Main Office at the corner of 73rd Avenue and Taft Street in Merrillville

Let our kind and caring funeral staff at both Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Rendina Funeral Home help you through your time of need.

Let our kind and caring funeral staff at both Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Rendina Funeral Home help you through your time of need.

For more information, go to calumetparkcemetery.com or call 736-5840 for Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and 980-1141 for Rendina Funeral Home.

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Any way you look it her, she is beautiful…

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Weather permitting, a family may choose the traditional funeral coach (hearse) or the new Harley Hearse when you elect to have your funeral service through Calumet Park Funeral Chapel (our funeral home).  Not just for bikers!  Call 769-8803 for more information.

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Veterans Benefits…a simple site for getting answers…

it is the veteran

Click on the above photo to enlarge for easy reading.

Go to your search engine and enter Explore VA to find information on memorial benefits, dependents and survivors, disability compensation, education and training, employment service, health care, home loans and housing, life insurance and pensions.  You will have the world of governments benefits at your fingertips by going to this one, simple site.

veteran branch logoFor information on the programs sponsored by Calumet Park Cemetery and Funeral Chapel that enhance those of the government, page through the many articles in this blog or call 219-769-8803 to arrange for a private,  no-obligation look at how you can save over $5000 on a complete cemetery and funeral package by simply presenting your DD214 to a Family Service Counselor at the cemetery.

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Some things to know about grief…

hands For a lot of interesting thoughts on grief, go to What’s My Grief on facebook.  You may find some helpful information and some comforting thoughts from two young ladies who have made grief their area of focus.  Borrowed from their Blog and titled “64 things I wish someone had told me about grief”, a sampling follows: 1.  No matter how prepared you think you are for a death, you can never be fully prepared for the loss and the grief. 2.  Dying is not like you see on TV or in the movies.  It is not peaceful or prepared.  You may not have a spiritual or meaningful moment…it’s too real. 3.  There will be pressure from others to move on, even minutes or hours after a death, and this can lead to regrets. 4.  Death and grief make people uncomfortable, so be prepared for awkward encounters. 5.  When people offer support, take them up on it. 6.  People will bring you food because they don’t know what else to do.  Don’t feel bad throwing it away.  Their love and concern was shown in the giving. 7.  Death brings out the best and the worst in families, so be prepared.  There is no timeline for grieving.  You cannot rush it.  You will grieve, in some form, forever. 8.  Guilt is a normal part of grief; as is anger. 9.  Grief can make you question your faith. 10.  Grief makes you feel like you are going crazy. girl 11.  We all grieve differently, which can create strain and confusion between family members and friends. 12.  You may find comfort in very unexpected places and with people who you would never have suspected as being caring. 13.  Trying to protect children from death and the emotions of grief is not helpful. 14.  You grieve your past, present and future that will never be with that person. 15.  Holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays will be hard forever. 16.  People will tell you what you should and shouldn’t feel and how you should and shouldn’t grieve.  Ignore them. 17.  Grief triggeres are everywhere.  You will see things that remind you of your loved one all over the place, and it may lead to sudden outbursts of emotion.  And that is OK. 18.  Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. tear 19.  You cannot compare grief or compare losses, though people will try.  Nobody can know how you feel. 20.  There are many days when you will feel totally and completely alone, whether you are or not. 21.  Grief counseling does not mean you are crazy or weak. 22.  It is okay to cry sometimes and it okay not to cry sometimes. 23.  Grief can re-write your address book.  Sometimes the people you thought would be there for you were not and people you never would have expected will become your biggest supporters. 24.  Watch you drinking or drugs…they can quickly become an unhealthy friend. 25.  Talking isn’t the only way to express and process emotions. 26.  Talking to God is a great way to  grieve and it is okay to be mad at Him.  He understands. man in shadow 27.  You will never go back to being your old self.  Grief changes you and you are never the same person. 28.  Nothing you do in the future will change your love for the person who died. 29.  Eventually you will begin to enjoy life again, date again, have another child, seek new experiences or what have you.  None of these things will diminish your love for the person you lost. 30.  Grieve your way and the heck with everyone else. couple_fog_trees_270

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Are you kidding me? Who’s gonna do that?

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Imagine this scenario.  You go into a new car dealership tomorrow.  You sit down with a salesman and you tell him or her that you want to buy a car and you have $25,000 cash in an envelope.  You will agree to give them the cash now but your condition is that you don’t want to take delivery on your new car for ten years. And, you want the current model at the time you choose to take possession.  For instance, you want to give them $25,000 today and when you walk into their door in the year 2023, you will want to be able to pick up a 2023 car, not a 2013 model.

Thus, “Are you kidding me?  Who’s gonna do that?” or something less polite will be your answer to such a proposition.

Well, there’s your first reason why you should consider pre-arranging for your cemetery and funeral needs.  We will do exactly that…we will help you arrange exactly what you want as your final goodbye and you can pay for it in 2013 dollars.  If you don’t need to make use of your arrangements for 10 years, or 20 or 50, you will never pay another dollar and the savings to your family will get bigger and bigger the longer you live.

Reason number two as to why you should pre-arrange is that you can make arrangements with Calumet Park for a small down payment and monthly payments for up to 60 months with zero interest.   Who is going to lend you money for free?  Seriously, who?   When you wait until you need it, cemetery and funeral arrangements must be paid for on a cash basis.  After all, a cemetery or funeral home can’t send mom or dad back to you if you don’t “pay up”.  Don’t pay your house or car payments, they take your house and car back and don’t refund a penny of your money.

A third reason for considering pre-arrangements is the opportunity to make cemetery and funeral arrangements together.  As a married person, think of all the decisions you have made together throughout your lifetime.  I can’t tell you how many times the following phrase has been overheard at a funeral luncheon:  do you think she would have liked the service (or casket etc.)?  The only one that can tell you what they like or would have wanted is the person you are married to.  Give each other the chance to do that by deciding together.

For single people, who will take care of things when you are gone?  If you don’t tend to them yourself, then you are shifting the responsibility to someone else.  Sure, they will handle things, and sure, they will help out of love for you, but is it their responsibility?  And could they afford to pay for a funeral.  Ask the person who would be in charge if they could write a check right now for $10,000 for your funeral.  In fact, could you write a check right now for your funeral?

Reality checks hurt, don’t they?

A fourth reason to consider preplanning is to conserve your insurance and let it be used for the reasons you bought it for in the first place.  Life insurance is actually for those left behind.  It’s not called death insurance.  Insurance is meant to replace lost income and let those you love continue their lives in the style and manner that you helped them be accustomed to while you were alive.

One of the most important reasons for planning ahead is to avoid emotional overspending.  Sometimes out of guilt, but mostly out of love, people tend to overspend on funerals when they must meet with a funeral director immediately following the loss of a loved one.  By having things arranged, your survivors will accept all of your decisions at face value as you are the one that picked out the casket.  You are the one that decided on the kind of funeral service you wanted.  You are the one who decided on cremation, or burial, or entombment.  Pre-arranging amounts to a declaration of your right to have exactly what you want.

Peace of mind has a great deal of merit.  To feel the peace that one experiences knowing that everything is done in the manner desired and at the price you want to pay is worth a great deal.  Leaving your loved ones with the knowledge that you got exactly what you wanted is worth overcoming your fears or superstition.  It is a wonderful gift to leave behind…a gift that won’t be appreciated until the time of need is upon your family.

If you have any questions or wish to learn more about pre-planning, call 769-8803 and remember to find us on facebook at mycalumetpark, and if you are a veteran, Calumet Park Cemetery and Funeral Chapel has a very special program designed just for you that may save you over $5000.

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Calumet Park Funeral Chapel’s Sherry Williams wins coveted runner-up spot as funeral director of the year

Sherry Williams, Managing Funeral Director at Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville, Indiana was voted runner-up as the funeral director of the year by American Funeral Director magazine for 2012.  American Funeral Director is a 135 year old national trade magazine specializing in stories and educational pieces for funeral directors around the world.

      The photo of Sherry above is at Calumet Park’s annual hayride, a community event held each fall for kids 10 and under.  The hayride and the annual angel tree lighting ceremony, coming up on December 1, are just a couple of examples of Sherry’s hand in organizing community events that serve as both fun and healing for the families in the region who have suffered a loss, whether they used Calumet Park or not.

The second insert show above is from the magazine as they put into words what Sherry’s families already know…Calumet Park and Sherry Williams are synonomous with perfection when it comes to helping families through one of life’s most difficult challenges…the loss of a loved one.

For more info, go to calumetparkcemetery.com or call 219-769-8803.

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Funeral options info booklet now available…

Calumet Park Funeral Chapel will be introducing some funeral options packages in the near future.   An informative booklet will be made available to all who wish to have an “in your hands hard copy” of the booklet that will be used by our funeral directors.  You may click on the slide show below to see the entire booklet.  By reviewing this information before going to your funeral home, you will be better prepared to have your questions answered.

Funeral Options Book final version 3 7 2012

(you may have to click the minus sign to reduce the page to fit your screen)

Call 219-769-8803 to meet with a family service counselor who will answer all of your questions, or call 219-736-5840 to speak with a funeral director.

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Catholics and cremation…

     In the Spring of 1997, Rome approved an Appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals which deals with cremation.  It reiterates the normative suggestion that the cremation take place after the funeral liturgy, but also permits, for the first time in Catholic history, a funeral liturgy (mass) to be celebrated with the “ashes” (cremains) in a place of honor at the church during the service.

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