Category Archives: Grieving

Celebrating your love…

Kim Jones (on left) with Darrel and Mrs. McNeal at official grand opening of Rendina Funeral Home. Kim is a Certified Celebrant and can help you at any of our facilities. Darrel is our liaison with Batesville casket company.

It may sound strange to celebrate the life of a loved one that just died.   Yet, think of the last funeral you attended and what much of your conversation was about.  You shared memories of the good times with that person, and the good things about that person that helped to create the good times.  Grief will come.  There will be plenty of time to grieve.  But for the moments when you gathered to say goodbye to the person who passed and hello to so many others that you had not seen for so long, a celebration of a life that was lived helps with the healing process.

To have a fitting, respectful and beautiful goodbye is part of the reason that we carry on the ritual of the funeral.  At Calumet Park Funeral Chapels in Merrillville and Hobart, and Rendina Funeral Home in Gary, the services of a Certified Funeral Celebrant are available for families who are charged with the duties of final arrangements.  Calumet Park’s Celebrant is a  funeral director with special training to help produce a final goodbye that leaves a warm place in the hearts of those who cared enough to attend the funeral of your loved one.

What is a Celebrant?  A Celebrant is a person who is trained and certified to meet the needs of families during their time of loss.  A Celebrant serves by providing a funeral service that is personalized to reflect the personality and life-style of the deceased.  A Celebrant offers an alternative to a service provided by a clergy person for those families who are not affiliated with a church or who do not wish to have a traditional religious funeral service.

A Celebrant has been specifically trained to design a service that is completely personal.  They incorporate those unique stories, songs and experiences that defined the loved one.  A  Celebrant will schedule a special family time for the family to share memories, anecdotes, and special moments in the loved one’s life.  The essence of the service will be based upon the remembrances of the family.

A Celebrant has a library of resources available for readings, music, ceremonies and personal touches.  The Celebrant will consult with the family to help design a service that best reflects and memorializes the life of their loved one.

A Celebrant is bound by a code of ethics for complete confidentiality in all dealings with the family.  He or she will provide a special unique committal service at the cemetery with balloon releases, dove releases, special music, friends and families leaving special notes on the loved one’s casket, and much more.

Kim Jones, funeral director and  manager of all three funeral homes, is a Certified Celebrant.  She will sit down with the entire family and let the family share stories and reminisce about their loved one.  During this time, which can last an hour or two, she will listen carefully and ask questions to gain a better understanding of your loved one during your grieving process.

Everyone grieves differently and it is healthy to express your feelings, tell stories and remember the beauty that was your loved one.  According to Doug Manning of IN-SIGHT BOOKS, INC., “Your loved one are never gone if you keep their memories alive.”   A Certified Celebrant is trained to seek and provide the most comprehensive and sensitive training available for people wishing to develop their knowledge and skills of this profession of funeral directing.  It is important that a family knows they are being served by someone who understands the process and is prepared to offer the very best and most personal funeral possible.

Call Kim at 219-736-5840 for more information regarding Certified Funeral Celebrants.  Find out if including a Celebrant as part of your funeral is right for you.

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Why have a passion for helping people preplan their funeral and cemetery arrangements…

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Megan Coyle Stamos, from Coyle Funeral Homes in Toledo, Ohio states:  “I want to tell you why I have a passion for helping people plan and pay for their funeral arrangements in advance.  I grew up right behind the funeral home on Reynolds Road and was around often, playing in the parking lot, behind the scenes.  I saw so many families overwhelmed with grief, confused, scared, in shock, because of the loss of a loved one.  I witnessed distress and arguing over who would pay the bill, over what kind of service or casket their mom wanted.  I knew I wanted to help…”

Call us at 219-769-8803 and visit us at

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So very sad…

Nickolaus Schultz…a true American hero.  May God bless your family.


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What can I do with the ashes?

stolen ashes

Arthur Robinson, a New Jersey widower, is pleading with burglars to return the wooden box containing ashes of his wife.

I was recently reading about a home burglary where the bad guys made off with flat screen TV’s, computers, ipads and other valuables; all of which are replaceable.   They also took something that is irreplaceable…they stole the victim’s mother’s ashes.  The cremains were in an urn that was originally selected because of its beauty and the thieves probably thought it was worth something to his “buyer”.

Horrible!  That was the first thought that came to my mind.  Then, sadness as the urn and mom could have been placed in a permanent resting place at Calumet Park Cemetery.  There are many choices at Calumet for ashes (cremains), from glass front niches at the original mausoleum, to ground burial in any section of the cemetery.  For veterans, besides being interred in the ground, there is a new columbarium with kneeling soldier on top praying before a cross.  There is a back to nature section that meets the needs of the outdoorsy type of family and a second columbarium for non-vets.  In the mausoleums, there are niches, and there are even some in-ground niches called cremorials that many be chosen.

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The point is to consider a permanent, safe placement of those you love who wanted cremation.  Have a place to visit, and remember the good times and not live forever in pain should the cremains be lost or stolen.  It is a nice notion to have your loved one’s ashes at home, but what happens when the second and third generation comes along?  What happens to the ashes then?  For many, it is a sad trip to the garbage or tossed away as though the person never lived.


Call us (769-8803) for an appointment to visit Calumet Park and explore the possibilities, or stop in.  Find out more on our website by going to

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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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Oh, so very sad…..

photo from

    She stood on the beach with the tall grass blowing in the warm, summer breeze.  No movement, no looking up and down the dunes.  She would come on Sundays and look out at the water of Lake Michigan.
     The first time she came, she knocked on Rosie’s door and timidly asked if she could park her car for a few minutes because she needed to walk over the dunes and all the beach parking was full.  She held a small cardboard box, and looked at Rosie with so much sadness in her eyes that Rosie quickly granted her permission to park.
     True to her word, she returned within 15 minutes, got in her car and drove off.  Rosie didn’t give it much thought, until the young lady came the next week, and the next and the next after that.  Each time she politely knocked on the door of the big red house, and each time Rosie let her park there. 

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What do you say when someone dies? What not to say!

Overheard at just about every funeral service is, “I know how your feel,” or its close cousin, “I know what you are going through.”

Guess what?   You do not.  You do not even really know how you would feel if you just lost your child or parent, or anybody you cared about for that matter.   And if you lost your child, or parent or anybody you care about, that experience is your own – and it is unique to only you.

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Spring 2009 newsletter – takes a little time to download but worth it.

2009 CPC Spring Newsletter

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