Category Archives: veterans at calumet Park cemetery

A prayer…

A Prayer

There are men and women from these great United States serving in the armed forces today who will need to be remembered for having given up their lives when this holiday rolls around again this weekend.  And sadly, as long as there are evil, crazy, power-hungry people habiting the planet, soldiers will die.  How many of our fine young men and women have to be killed before peace can truly erupt around the world?

There was a song out when I was young entitled “Where have all the flowers gone?”  by the Kingston Trio.   It had a very repetitive beat played beneath a poem that I only now realize was probably meant  to be that way as the story is the same today as it was when it first hit the charts.

Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Gone to young girls, every one!
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn?

The next verse changed to young men, then soldiers, then graveyards until the graveyards went back to flowers…”and the beat goes on, and the beat goes on” sang Sonny and Cher.  Vietnam, the Middle East and hopefully never… but looking scarier and scarier…Korea.

In cemeteries across the nation flowers will be planted and placed next to flags on the graves of so many innocent and lost souls.  I believe the fallen soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and women and reserves who gave their all are all in heaven as they gave their last breath for our freedom.  That is a wonderful thought, and one day we will meet again.

However, in the middle of the night, when a parent or spouse or son or daughter finds they cannot sleep over their loss, heaven is far away.  They need strength now…today…tonight, when they are alone with their thoughts.  All the hopes and dreams and plans and fun, the tears and laughter that can no longer be shared with their guy or gal who died bleeding red, white and blue, they are the truly forgotten ones.

So, in this small space on the internet, I offer my prayers and the prayers of so many for all who have been left behind.  God is good and all-knowing and always present which means some of our prayer energy needs to be offered for understanding and faith.  I pray that a child can move though life with one parent gone forever, while a piece of the remaining parent does their best to do their best in all things.  A wife or husband who hugged their honey goodbye and finds they will never be together again lives a pain that others who did not suffer such a loss will never know.

So, God…in Jesus name, I pray that you will give strength to those who are truly vested in Memorial Day.  I pray that you will shelter them with your love.  I pray that you will help them in their most alone moments as they live in but a shadow of their “coupled” life.  I pray that you help them through this life, and that you accept their pain as their penance and forgive them if they may turn from you a little.  I pray, God that you let them remember all the great times with their lost loves, and to cherish the little moments that brought them together in the first place.  Thank you God, for the beauty that you will bless them with in the days ahead, and let their remaining time here on earth be lived in honor of their fallen soldier.  Finally, I pray that you help mankind find a way to discontinue adding to the rolls of those we salute on Memorial Day.  Amen

Come to our free fireworks show on next Saturday night at around 7:00 (May 27) at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville.  Call 769-8803 for directions and visit our webside for more info at calumetparkcemetery.com

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Happy Mother’s Day…

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers.  It is one of the most thankless jobs and at the same time, most rewarding.  Being a Mother is one of God’s most loving gifts to the universe.  Dads…while special in their own way…Mothers are the glue that holds all of life together.  Call or visit your Mom today and let her know how much she  means to you.  For many, their Moms are already in heaven.  Offer a prayer of thanks that you were lucky enough to have her as your Mom.  Enjoy this sunny day and praise the Lord for Mother’s everywhere.

The men and women that you see at the entrances to Calumet Park Cemetery on Mothe’rs Day are passing out flowers and a newsletter with the Memorial Weekend activities.  If you are looking for something to do on May 27, bring the family out for a fun evening of free fireworks, hayrides, and horse and buggy rides.  Bring a blanket to sit on or a comfortable beach chair.  You will have a fun evening.  Starts at sevenish.

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Memorial Weekend Events at Calumet Park Cemetery….

We hope to see you all at the cemetery over Memorial Weekend.  Following is a list of scheduled events:

May 27, Saturday at 7:00 p.m. – free fireworks show with free hayrides and horse and buggy rides

May 28, Sunday at 1:00 p.m. – veterans memorial service with the American Legion 1st District, Rep. Visclosky to speak

May 29, Monday at 10:00 there will be a Catholic Service, a St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Service, and a Bethel church in Hobart-Portage service

May 29, Monday at 11:30 there will be a SS Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Service

Sale:  20% off all pre-need graves, 15% off all monuments and markers and 25% off the Veteran Memorial Columbarium niches

The sale runs through May 31 so if you are in need of any of these sales items, stop in and see how much you can save by acting now.  Zero interest payment plans available

For directions or if you have any questions, call 219-769-8803

Hope to see you over the weekend.  Be safe and enjoy the unofficial beginning of summer.

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What the…..

 

     “What the….?”

I was finishing up a hot, salted pretzel with melted cheese at Subway recently.  My wife was doing some shopping at Walmart, and I was along for the ride.  But the salted, baked dough drew me away from the sock isle, so God bless the little things in life.  That is when he came in.  And that is when I learned a little about prejudging people without knowing anything about them except how they look.

As I dipped my last piece of pretzel in the cheese, a man came into the Subway space.  His hair was not so long as it was frazzled…windblown in a not so attractive way.  His beard appeared to be a blotchy three day growth and his mustache was long and drooping over his mouth.  He had on a camouflage shirt and sweat pants with no-name gym shoes on.   If I had to guess his age, he might have been anywhere between 60 to 70 years old.

In an instant, he pulled a chair right up to the counter and sat down right in front of the register.  He stared at the teenage girl working the counter that evening for what was to me an uncomfortable amount of time.  The first thing that came to my mind was “What the….?”  As in many trips to Walmart, I felt I was going to see something that I never saw before so I cupped my ear to better hear where this was going, if and when he should speak.  I was seated about 10 feet from the action and was ready to rescue the girl if things went bad.

Of course, with my own aged knees, it would have taken me some time to leap into action, but that is another story.  Sixty-eight year old legs do not respond quickly to messages from the brain.  It was then that he bent down, pulled up his left pant leg, and removed his artificial limb.  He rubbed the stump for a minute or two, then put the leg (from the knee down) back on, returned his pant leg back into place, stood up, and pulled a note from his pocket.

I was embarrassed by my quick reaction that trouble just sat down.  He spoke softly, slowly, and almost bashfully as he placed his order for four foot-longs.  Reading from the note, he completed his order.  I was into the moment by this time, and I approached him.  Politely I told him I saw that he lost a limb, and asked if he would mind sharing what happened to him.  Keep in mind that I have never gone up to a stranger and asked such personal questions before, but I was drawn to this man.

His answer hit me in the gut.  I am sure that my face got red as my own emotions regarding his answer brought up some long suppressed memories of my own.  “Lost it in Viet Nam,” he answered simply.  Just then the teen rang up his order and asked how he wanted to pay for it.  I told her that I would get it which opened up a small debate between myself and the stranger.  I said it was the least I could do as he paid so much on the battlefield.  I won the argument as I told him that I spent a couple of tours in Nam myself.  He was a marine and we joked about who needed who the most…the marines needing the Special Forces or vice versa.

After we talked about when, and where and the why’s of how we spent our time so many years ago in a jungle on the other side of the world, I found out that he was my age, was a “region rat”, now lived in Vegas and liked to come back to NW Indiana once a year to go fishing and visit with old friends.  I thanked him for his service and he turned and started to walk away.  I sat back down and finished my cold drink, lost in thought.

It was shortly after that I felt someone standing beside me on my blind side.  I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to see this walking-wounded veteran looking down at me.  I no longer saw the mismatched clothes, or the straggly hair or the answer to my “what the?” from minutes before.  I saw clarity in his eyes and a smile.  His hand was outstretched waiting for a traditional handshake.  I extended my hand and he spoke softly, slowly and clearly.

“Thanks for the sandwiches.  It has been 45 years since I got home and you are the first person who has ever done anything like this for me.  Just wanted you to know that meeting you was special.”  I could barely hold back my own tears and mumbled  “no problem, sir” as we both felt a little weird, but in a good way.  He turned and walked away, and I spotted my wife at the checkout counter.  She asked who was the guy I was talking with since she knows I am not a talk-to-strangers kind of person.

So, what is the point, Dan?  The point is that Memorial Weekend will soon be upon us.  The point is not a stranger buying a stranger a sandwich.  The point is that there are so many walking wounded men and women that cross all of our paths every day who wore the uniform of the U.S. armed forces.  Much of their pain and injuries are mental.  It is easy to see a man’s artificial limb in one hand while massaging a stump of a leg with the other and think, “Oh, let me buy him a sandwich”.  What about all the survivors who have been in all the wars we have been involved in that walk around each day struggling to just maintain.  There are ghosts that fill the dreams of so many, ghosts of horrors that few can ever comprehend unless you too walked in their shoes.

Memorial Weekend is a time to honor these people.  To realize and appreciate the sacrifices that they and their families made to keep us safe and free.  Whether one’s leg is torn away in a firefight in the jungles of Vietnam, or a soul is twisted and crushed from man’s inhumanity to man during times of combat in the Mideast, men and women come home from war changed.  They need love and patience and understanding and space.  They need to be acknowledged, even if only on Veteran’s Day or Memorial Weekend.  It is in the power of every person that reads this story to buy a sandwich for a vet, or cut the grass for an old timer who helped to secure your rights as a U.S. citizen…and say thanks.

Nobody who has seen the things our military has seen, or been called upon to do the things that they are called upon to do should ever sit alone and wonder what it was all for.  Oh, we will be embarrassed when you say thanks for your service…we will not want you to buy us lunch…we will try to refuse your help even though it may truly be needed.  Extend yourself, and appreciate those brave men and women who have given so much.  A good place to start is visiting Calumet Park cemetery over Memorial Weekend.  Find time to share an hour of your life in showing you care.  The official Memorial Day Service at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville will be May 28 at 1:00 p.m.  Invite your friends and take the opportunity to show you care.

Call 219-769-8803 for information on prearranging for your cemetery and funeral needs

 

 

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2017 Spring Newsletter

Family enjoying a day of fishing at previous Catch and Release events that happen every Spring at Calumet Park Cemetery. Click on newsletter link for more information.

2017 Spring Newsletter  Click here to see the newsletter.  A complete schedule of the Memorial Weekend events are listed.  Also, there are a number of other community oriented activities that you may want to save the date for that are shown in the newsletter.  Thank you for following us on facebook.  If you have any needs or questions about the cemetery, our funeral homes or prearranging, feel free to call.  Visit our website at www.calumetparkcemetery.com

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Easter is just around the corner…

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April 5, 2017 · 1:59 pm

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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Lets go shopping for graves and caskets…

“Let’s go grave and casket shopping.”

Did you ever wake up on a bright, warm sunny spring day and turn to your husband or wife and say “What a nice day.  Let’s go grave and casket shopping.”?

Probably never is my guess.  Nobody likes to think about death in general, and specifically, their own death.  For many families, discussing one’s own mortality would not show up on a list of their top 100 things to talk about this week.  Until a death occurs.  Then, making cemetery and funeral arrangements jumps sorrowfully to number one on the list.

By pre-planning for your funeral and cemetery needs, you can relieve your family of having to make important financial decisions during a period of great stress and grief…a time when people aren’t thinking very clearly and may not know what to do because you never made your wishes known.

It’s easy to say, “Throw me in a bag in bury me in the woods,” which is a direct quote I heard once from a husband who was dragged by his wife to the cemetery to look into prearranging for their final wishes.  It was good for a laugh, but even he knew that his comment had zero merit.  But it is important to realize that the ritual of a funeral and/or memorial service isn’t for the deceased but for the living. It is a time when friends and family can gather together to grieve openly and to provide support for one another.

Pre-planning your funeral may be very informal, and as simple as filling out a Family Estate Planning Kit that is free from Calumet Park for the asking, and sharing your wishes with a family member. More formal arrangements in the form of a preneed contract can be set up with a Family Service Counselor or funeral director at Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Hobart or Merrillville, or Rendina Funeral Home in Gary.  You can design exactly what meets your needs and financial situation.

And for those who want to relieve their family of the financial burden that goes along with making cemetery and funeral arrangements, you can take advantage of Calumet Park’s no interest payment plan that allows one to freeze the price and have their money trusted until needed at 1st Source Bank in Valparaiso.

Pre-planning, when done properly, can provide you with peace of mind because you know that your arrangements are ready when needed, and pre-funded, which means no worries about getting what you want if a death occurs unexpectedly and your bank account is not sufficient to meet the costs of even a simple funeral.  As with nearly all products and services, inflation drives the cost of funerals up yearly.  Preplanning and prefunding your final wishes ensures that your funeral is paid for at today’s prices.

While many people assume savings or life insurance will cover their final expenses, funerals must be paid for upfront, while many life insurance policies or bank accounts are not accessible to families until well after the funeral services are rendered.

 

 

By pre-planning your final wishes, you can:

  • make all the arrangements during a time of peace and not leave them to your family during their time of grief
  • make your wishes known
  • control the cost of your funeral and protect from inflation
  • ensure that personal records are organized and easy for your survivors to locate
  • protect your insurance so that it provides for your survivors and not for funeral expenses
  • provide protection in case the need arises before it is expected

Most people are not aware that over 150 decisions and tasks must be completed within the first 24-48 hours after an individual’s passing.  By arranging ahead of time, you can ensure that your loved ones will not have to wrestle over those details and decisions during their time of emotional upheaval.   The opportunity to know that everything is taken care of will allow proper remembrance and the first steps of healing.

All of your arrangements are guaranteed with Calumet Park and Affiliates preneed program and will be carried out just as you have directed.  You and your family will feel comfortable knowing that, when the need arises, all is taken care of and they can spend time celebrating a life that was lived and leave the grieving to the future.  Few people ever get over the loss of a loved one but a funeral helps to transition from life with a loved one to life after a loved one passes.

Pick up your phone today and call 219-769-8803 to speak to one of our professional and caring Family Service Counselors or funeral directors.  You have nothing to lose by at least allowing yourself a little time to have your questions answered, and if the answers meet your needs, you can make it possible for you and your loved ones to never have to talk about the subject again…until a death forces you to face the issue.  Be like so many of your neighbors who say “It is better to have it taken care of and not need it than to need it and not have it!”

 

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Please see me…

cardboard-wheelchair-668x288

Since the late 90’s, my M.S. had progressed to the point that I needed a power chair.   Needing a wheel chair does not define a person.

Experiencing people’s reaction to me in a chair has been a study in human behavior.  While eating out with my family recently, I went to get a refill of my drink and a woman asked me “How can you be so happy?” I was baffled and asked her what she meant. “Well, you’re in a wheelchair, so how can you be happy?” I was absolutely flabbergasted.  I think of these encounters as opportunities to educate so I explained the chair simply took the place of my legs. I am happy by choice.

On another occasion I was waiting for my ride after work in a doctor’s office. Many people going in and out would ignore me, even after I said hello. I felt invisible. One day I forgot to take off my stethoscope and EVERYONE responded to my greetings!

Did being a doctor or nurse make me more approachable or somehow less handicapped?  In crowded stores I am often bumped into or tripped over, again giving me the feeling of being invisible. Experimenting, I wore my stethoscope the next time I went shopping and not only was I not bumped into but people were would ask me if I needed any help! Many people either smiled or nodded at me as I shopped.

Was it possible that looking like a professional somehow altered people’s perception of me from being a disabled person to being “one of them”?  Was a stethoscope like a magic wand that suddenly made me visible?

My question is what perceptions do you have when seeing someone in a chair;  or of a different skin color, nationality or religion?

Article written by Laura Conant, freelance writer for Calumet Park

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From the archives….

2017-02-03-20-18-22Found in the archives, the invitation that was sent out for the dedication of the Catholic Sections from back in 1933.  Calumet Park, always and still family owned and operated.

2017-02-03-20-18-47 2017-02-03-20-18-54From its humble beginnings in 1928, Calumet Park has grown to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country.  Besides the cemetery, Calumet Park now owns and operates two crematories and three funeral homes:  Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville, Rendina Funeral Home in Gary and Calumet Park Funeral Chapel and Crematory in Hobart.

For information on pre-planning your cemetery and funeral arrangements, call 219-769-8803 or stop in for a tour of any of our facilities.  Find out more about us by reading some of the posts in this blog or go to http://calumetparkcemetery.com

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