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
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.
“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!”
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
From 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
Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville recently added a casket display area at the cemetery. There are so many people wishing to pre-arrange their cemetery and funeral needs that it has become a must to have a place that they can see the actual caskets and fabrics for the interior without having to go to a local funeral home.
You may click on any photo to enlarge it to see the detail of design and color. All the caskets shown are Batesville caskets made in the USA in Batesville, Indiana. Batesville is one of the oldest and biggest casket manufacturing companies in the country. They are highly respected and admired for the quality and variety of their products, from simple to “how much?” There is literally a design that meets all budgets.
Stop in for a free tour of the room and consider preplanning with Calumet Park using our interest free monthly payment plans, and do not forget to ask about our veteran program.
Call 219-769-8803, or stop by any of our locations as shown on our website http://calumetparkcemetery.com
Believe it or not, spring is just around the corner. Before you know it, the days will get longer, the sun will come up earlier and set later, and the warmth of the season will return. It will not be long before February teases us with Groundhog’s Day. Except for those who love the cold and snowy season, the hope for the rest of us is for a cloudy day so the groundhog will not see its shadow and we can have an early spring. Or, so goes the folklore.
Regardless, as sure as warm weather returns, families will return to the cemetery in great numbers. Flower planting in earnest begins after what is hoped to be the last frost of the season, and along with the beauty that grows from this annual process, also come the complaints. Most of the complaints come in the form of “why can’t I plant whatever I want to”, or “someone took the Teddy Bear off my child’s grave”, or “I demand to know why there is water on my lot”, or “someone stole my flag” and on and on.
There are two main areas of concern when cemeteries decide what they will allow and not allow regarding grave decorations: the appearance of the cemetery and the cost to maintain what is allowed. For instance, some cemeteries allow virtually anything. It does not take long for such cemeteries to start looking like a dump. A Teddy Bear that is placed on a grave on a nice sunny day has a special meaning to the person who placed it there. After the first rainfall and heavy winds, what was cute now looks like a clump of stuffed cloth that may have been blown far away from the original placement.
Flags, artificial flowers, concrete angels, shepherd’s poles holding baskets of flowers and more become hazards when the lawns are being maintained. A lawnmower that costs thousands of dollars can have serious damage to its blades when it meets up with wires from grave decorations or objects of endearment that are quickly turned into refuse with just one pass of a sharpened blade. Such objects can also present a danger to the grounds crew when a lawnmowers and weed eaters hit them with such force as to send projectiles in every direction.
It has been suggested that we have guards to keep items from being stolen. Go back to your high school math days and run an estimate of costs which would have to be passed on to the consumer and it becomes a frightening number. Forty sections (some sections would need many guards because of the contour of the grounds and the size of the sections) x three shifts of guards to cover the each 24 hour day x 365 days in a year x $20 per hour for each including benefits and taxes = approximately $876,000 per year. And without trying to seem overly simplistic or dismissive in this cost analysis, that is a lot of money spent to keep the 10 to 12 items per year that are reported as having been stolen from being stolen. As important as an item might be to the memory of a loved one, the best way to prevent items from being stolen is to not allow items of value that become an invitation to a thief.
We have 70,000 property owners and over the 88 years of our existence as a family owned enterprise, that translates into the millions of family and friends that are connected to Calumet Park Cemetery due to having loved ones buried here. It would be prohibitively expensive to try to tell them all what the rules are so we have maps with grave decoration rules available at the front desk that speak to such issues. We have staff available to answer any question about what is allowed on any given grave in the 160 developed acres of land, and when people invest in cemetery property, we give them clear guidelines on what is or is not allowed.
The point is that a decision was made in 1928 when this cemetery came into existence that it would always be maintained as a park-like parcel of land that would offer beauty and dignity to both the deceased and the families and loved ones of those cradled here for eternity. It is not always popular to tell a family that their choice of a meaningful tribute is not allowed. And today, with the use of the internet, people feel so brave as they make anonymous negative comments on company facebook pages and on websites. Freedom of speech is always welcome, but when that freedom infringes on the rights of others, it is sad. Each undeserved negative comment hurts the very entity that they attack. In the case of Calumet Park Cemetery, the staff does all that is possible to ensure the beauty of the cemetery while complying with applicable laws, rules and regulations.
So, bring on spring and summer. Bring on all the outdoor activities we love and the cookouts and the ice cream cones on a hot, summer’s night. And please, check with us before coming in to plant for the 2017 year so we can work together on a way to honor those you love in a way that meets the needs of the many…and that means keeping your cemetery’s reputation as being a beautiful memorial park.
John Glenn visited my Grandmother and Grandfather in 1975 at their house in Munster. The reason for the visit was my uncle Stephen Kovacik wanted to introduce John Glenn to his parents. Uncle Stephen was John Glenn’s campaign manager for the State of Ohio when he was running for Senator. Stephen Kovacik SR, was one of the founders of Calumet Park. (Carl Paunicka as a young boy meets astronaut John Glenn)