Grief Counseling: Is It For You?

Posted by on Jun 18, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Grief Counseling: Is It For You?

Processing grief is a process that is unique to each individual. Some experience a large range of emotions when grieving including a sense of meaninglessness, anger, relief, confusion about missing a painful relationship, regret, guilt, sadness and much more. Grieving behaviors are also unique and can include: crying, laughter, talking a lot, not speaking at all, participating more in physical activities like running, and much more. Each person has their own stressors, an event or experience that can cause stress, that can bring their grief to the forefront. For example, hearing a song on the radio that takes you back to a particular memory.

If you ever feel like you are not coping with your stressors properly or your grief is getting more difficult to deal with, try reaching out to a grief counselor or a grief support group. If you are not sure if therapy is for you look over the following list. If any of the statements fit you, you might benefit from grief therapy.

  • Do you feel uncomfortable with yourself or find yourself unable to function normally?
  • Do you feel like you have no control over your reactions?
  • Do you wonder if your responses are normal, or if they’ve gone on too long?
  • Do feelings of guilt?
  • Did you feel no grief reaction at all after a major loss?
  • Do you have a history of mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse?
  • Do you have anyone to talk to?
  • Do you feel like suicide is your only option to move over grief?

A grief support group is generally a group of individuals who discuss their grief and tell stories about their lost loved ones. If you would like to meet others who understand what you are going through, a support group may be for you.  These groups help those who need to talk about their feelings and find relief in reciprocal sharing. If you give a support group a try, do go to more than one meeting. See if you feel comfortable with the facilitator and the group of mourners in your group. If that particular group is not your fit, it is okay to leave and join another one.

If are looking for individual guidance, then grief therapy is your route. You can seek a counselor who will listen and teach you coping mechanisms to handle your grief. It is important to deal with your grief to move forward in life.

Remember, grieving doesn’t mean to “learn to forget someone” but instead learn how to “continue living without them”.

Not Your Standard Funeral

Posted by on May 9, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Not Your Standard Funeral

We have all at one point in time heard or been part of the debate, cremation vs burial.

But have you heard about a green burial?

The purpose of a green or natural burial is to reach complete decomposition of the body, so the land can return to just soil.  To do so only biodegradable materials are used without a concrete burial vault. Not only can a green burial be cheaper, but it also helps reduce the amount of damage we cause to the earth.

By choosing a green burial we are helping decrease the number of resources we use for a typical funeral. Every year cemeteries bury over 30 million board feet of hardwood, 17,000 tons of steel and copper in vaults, 90,000 tons of steel in caskets and 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete in vaults.

Green funerals, depending on your area, can be cheaper than a standard funeral because no fancy caskets, concrete vaults or embalming is involved. Some families even supply their own coffin or shroud to further cut down on cost. Another route families choose is to opt out of using a cemetery. Some choose to bury their loved one on their own land. Each state and county have their own regulations for home burial, but it is possible.

Even though green burials are becoming more popular, it is important to remember that this option is not completely new. This is the way our ancestors used to bury their loved ones. In fact, some cultures still use “green” methods for their funerals.

What do you think, will you go green?

Digital Inheritance: Who Gets Your Facebook Account?

Posted by on Apr 18, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Digital Inheritance: Who Gets Your Facebook Account?

When you visit a financial planner, they help you plan your tangible assets like money, real estate, personal possession, etc. But what happens to digital assets like your online banking information, email and social media accounts?

The first thing you should do is make a list of every website and online accounts you have including PayPal, Netflix, Shutterfly and any other websites you visit.

Step two: decide how you want each site to be handled after your death. You should decide if your accounts will be deleted, forwarded to a loved one or memorialized, if available.

Step three: deciding who should handle your digital affairs.

Lastly, make sure to keep your list of accounts in a safe place and make sure it stays updated. If your electronic devices like laptops or phones are locked, make sure at least one person you trust knows the password.

If you are unsure what you want to happen to your online accounts, read each site’s policy. Google allows you to set a timeframe of inactivity before your information deletes or is transferred to someone of your choosing. Facebook also allows you to decide what happens to your account.

It is important to start to think about how you want your digital presence to handle after your passing because a lot of our personal information is now online.

Who do you trust to handle your digital affairs?

Continuing your Family Legacy through Food

Posted by on Mar 20, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

What is the meaning behind a family legacy? When close friends, family and loved ones pass away they leave with us gifts that remind us of them even after they’ve passed. From photos, journals, and even handwritten recipes passed down through generations.

The tradition of food has always brought people together; during the best of times, and the worst of times. Often some of our strongest memories revolve around food – whether it be homemade biscuits and gravy that you made alongside with your Grandma on a Sunday morning or enjoying any number of homecooked meals growing up.

Saving old family recipes can sometimes be a daunting task. All depending on the quality of saved recipes. If you’re gathering recipes, and planning on making them into a book, check out these resources to get you started:

While there’s a lot to be said about converting recipes into digital form it’s important to pay tribute to all the originals; like adding in ‘pinches’, ‘dashes’, and ‘scoops’ to make the perfect nostalgic meal from your childhood.  Bringing your family recipes to the digital age is important as well. To ensure they are saved and can be enjoyed by future generations to come.

How To Prepare Your Loved Ones For An Inheritance

Posted by on Feb 20, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Dealing with the loss of a parent is already a confusing and an emotional time. Real life isn’t like the movies as when you die you take all your worries with you and your kids easily receive your inheritance. There are fees, taxes and much more your child will have to deal and sort through. Help make the process easy for them by preparing your finances and talking to your children.

Schedule a meeting with a financial advisor and begin the process of choosing your beneficiaries. Your advisor will explain to you what exactly are your options. Once you have made your decisions set up another meeting with your advisor and your children. It will be extremely helpful if they exchange information because your advisor will be able to walk your children through the process once you are gone. They will be able to explain IRA rollover and be updated on any new changes that might have occurred.

Your advisor might suggest for you to visit with a lawyer to set up a will. A will isn’t necessary but it will make everything go much smoother after you have passed. You will be able to decide how your family will handle your properties and belongings. If there is a special painting you want a niece or cousin to have, you can put that in your will and they will be able to receive it. You can add any funeral preplanning details you have done into your will. A will saves your family from arguing over how to handle your affairs.

Talking to your loved ones about how to handle your estate after you are gone, isn’t signing your death certificate. It is alleviating them from having stress and arguing with loved ones in the future. If you have any questions about preplanning give our office a call, 405-872-3466.

Dealing with the Unexpected Holiday Grief

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

The holiday season may not be so jolly for most. At any time, grief can sneak up and magnify your emotions. The realization of your loved one not being there for another part of your life is difficult; it sucks. The question of “should you hide your grief or let it out” is one that needs to be answered.

How you choose to grieve during the holidays is up to you.

It is healthy to speak about the loved one who died.

It is healthy to lose your motivation to put on a cheery face.

It is also healthy to reminisce about the good times.

If you ever feel your way of dealing with grief isn’t healthy, talk to someone. Understand that if you need a day apart from everyone, take it. Just be careful to not completely miss the chance of creating new memories with others.

If it is painful to do old traditions, change them a little bit. You will not be dishonoring your loved one. In fact, you can add a new tradition to honor them. Adding or creating a new tradition has helped many to deal with grief during the holidays.

If you are grieving during the holidays, know that you are not alone. It is okay to feel weird going through the holidays without that special someone. After a loved one dies, everything changes. It is up to us to rebuild our lives and live through the holidays.

Grief in the Silver Screen

Posted by on May 15, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

What grief looks and feels like varies from person to person. One way to understand grief from different perspectives is by watching movies. Movies always mirror real life, some better than others. There are movies about preparing for the death of a loved ones, the journey on the final days of a loved one, or the journey after the death of a loved one. Have some tissues ready because here is a list of movies who capture grief perfectly:


  1. Up (2009)

This animated film stirred up more feelings in the first 15 minutes than any other movie at the time. If you had a chance to watch it in theatres you probably heard a lot of sniffles. This story is about how Carl, an old widow, refuses to leave his home he shared with his beloved wife. The adventure he takes helps him grieve for his wife. This film teaches different lessons about life.

  1. Lullaby (2014)

Lullaby shows the journey of a family who has to come to terms that their father has chosen to die after a long battle with cancer. This film sparks the conversation of assisted death and how it affects everyone around you.

  1. The Descendants (2011)

George Clooney plays a father who has to make some tough life choices after his wife ends in a coma after a horrible accident. He faces the challenges of trying to connect with his daughters who are also coping with their mother’s possible death. He goes through anger and sadness.

  1. A Monster Calls (2016)

This movie shows the coping mechanisms a child uses to cope with the possible death of a loved one. A Monster Calls is an adaptation of the novel of the same name.  This movie gives the perspective of what a looming death looks like to a child.

  1. My Sister’s Keeper (2009)

Watching this film makes you wonder if it is based on a true story. This movie tells the story of a young girl who wants to become emancipated from her parents who conceived her to be a bone marrow donor for her older sister. This movie demonstrates how hard death can be when you see it knocking at your door.

  1. P.S. I Love You (2007)

P.S. I Love You shows the long journey of grieving. This movie does a great job showing how grieving can take longer than a year for some. It also shows that sometimes just pushing yourself outside your comfort zone can help.

  1. Ghost (1990)

Even though this movie is more of a thriller drama, it has a very strong character who is grieving. Demi Moore plays a women who handles the death of her loved one strongly. When the movie is over you are left feeling that she will be okay.

  1. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011)

This is another movie about grieving through the eyes of a child. This movie resonates with many Americans because the child lost a parent during the 9-11 attacks. During the 9-11 attacks it wasn’t just New York families who were grieving but the entire nation.

  1. Taking Chance (2009)

Taking Chance is a movie about a soldier, Chance, who is taken home after dying overseas. The movie follows the impact Chance’s death had on people in his hometown. This movie does a great job on highlighting how death affects everyone around. It also shows what a lot of small towns go through when a local men join the military.

  1. Marley & Me (2008)

If you have ever owned a pet, this movie will bring up a lot of feelings. You will relive how it felt to lose your pet who eventually became your family. This movie shows that even a death of a pet takes time to grieve.


There are so many movies that deal with grief. Hollywood is always making new movies but I couldn’t end this list without some honorable mentions. The first one is a Robin Williams classic, What Dreams May Come (1998). This movie combines fantasy with grief. A real tear-jerker is The Fault in our Stars (2014). This movie did not leave a dry eye in the audience. The last two honorable mentions are two recent Oscar nominated films: Jackie (2016) and Manchester by the Sea (2016). Both of these films death with the aftermath of a death of a beloved loved one.

Advance Funeral Planning

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

The thought of walking into a funeral home is terrifying. Most of the time you only set foot in a
funeral home after someone you know has passed. The days following a death of a loved one are
chaotic. There is a lot of planning that needs to be done for the funeral. Money must be gathered and
decisions need to be made within a few days. Often these decisions are driven by grief and guilt rather
than a sound mind and rationalization.
Advance funeral planning helps cut down the stress and pressure a loved one goes through when
planning a funeral. The best part about prearranging is that you get to pick everything for your own
funeral. From the music, to the clothing even the verses you want read and who to invite.
Prearranging is simple and truly lifts a burden from you family. Your loved ones will be able to focus
on you and your life. The pressure of worrying if the decisions made for you about your funeral
arrangements would please you, will be gone. By prearranging your funeral, you would also eliminate
the financial burden for the ones left behind and in most cases, save a significant amount of money as
The first step in planning your ceremony is setting an appointment with a funeral director. You do not
have to start planning right away, but this initial meeting will help guide you through the process and
look at your options.
The next step is deciding how much you want to preplan. You can decide everything from the music
playing and programs to flowers arrangements. Or you can just choose the most common items like a
casket. Overall you have final say on what exactly you would like to prearrange.
Advance funeral planning is beneficial for you and your family. Help your loves by contacting
McMahan’s Funeral Home to set up an Advance Funeral Planning meeting.

Funeral Services Etiquette

Posted by on Nov 9, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Do you ever have questions about the do’s and don’ts of a funeral service? Well each religion and culture have different customs. Here are the most common ones that will help you feel more at ease when attending a funeral.
Isn’t a funeral and a memorial service the same thing?
A funeral service has the body of the deceased present. While a memorial does not have the body present. Sometimes a memorial is just a service remembering the deceased. In some cultures it is accustomed to hold memorial services every year on the birthday of the deceased.
Do you have to go to the viewing?
No. You are welcomed to attend to show respect but you are not forced to. If you still want to attend but don’t want to see the body there a simple solution. When you arrive you can either go to another room or sit in the back. The viewing in some cultures is the time when people pray in silence for the deceased.
Do I sign the register/guestbook? Do I sign it twice?
The register/guestbook is for everyone who attended the viewing or the funeral. It is not limited to just family. There is only one guestbook so if you signed it at the viewing it is recommend not to sign it again at the funeral. The guestbook is for the family to look back and see who all attended. Sometimes families send out thank you cards based on who signed the book.
What if the funeral service is at a church and I’m not religious, can I go?
Yes! A funeral service is not just for religion. A funeral service is the time where people gather to celebrate the life of the deceased. You don’t have to participate in the customs of the church because you are there. Remember everyone is there for the same reason.
Where do I sit?
Typically the first two rows are for the immediate and extended family. The closer the person was to the deceased the closer they tend to sit. If you don’t feel like it’s your place to sit close you don’t have to.
Do I bring a gift?
Gifts are always welcomed especially if the family asked for one. A common gift is flowers. If they are sent before the service they can be used to decorate the viewing, funeral and/or memorial. Sometimes the family will list an organization they wish people will donate to and that is acceptable as well.
What if the burial is at a different location?
If there is a secondary site, guest will drive to the location by following a hearse. Remember to turn on your lights so it signals that you are part of the procession.
What do I do at the burial?
At the burial site there will usually be a handful of seats available. Those seats are for immediate family only. Everyone else will stand behind them or around the casket.

When a Friend Loses a Loved One: What to Say and What Not to Say

Posted by on Aug 9, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

When someone goes through a loss, it can be very difficult to know the right thing to say. You know you can’t end their pain, and you can’t quite understand what exactly they are going through. You may have endured a similar or even the same loss, but no two people experience pain or loss in the exact same way. One thing that everyone needs when they are going through a difficulty like this is love and support from the people around them.

Here is what you should say to someone experiencing loss:

  • Although it can feel awkward, acknowledge the situation: “I heard about your ___ dying.” Using the word “dying” or “died” shows the person that you are open to talk to about how they really feel, rather than tip-toeing around the situation.
  • Express your concern. Always include something like, “I am so sorry this happened to you.”
  • Offer your support. “Is there anything I can do for you?” or better, “please let me know what I can do.”
  • Ask how he or she feels. Like we said before, even if you have experienced something similar, never assume you know how the bereaved person feels on any given day.


And just as importantly, here are examples of what to avoid saying to a grieving person:

  • “I know how you feel.” It can seem natural to say this because typically it can be comforting to know that someone understands you. But in this case, especially if the loss is fresh or recent, it can be counterproductive. Even if you each lost the same family member or something to that effect, you can never quite know what that person may be going through.
  • “It’s part of God’s plan.” No matter how religious, this can make people very angry. Even if they believe it is true, it’s not what they want to hear right now.
  • “Look at what you have to be thankful for.” Being thankful for other things in their life does not negate the severity of this particular thing.
  • “He’s in a better place now.” The person may or may not believe this. It is safer to keep your views to yourself unless asked. And again, even if they do believe it, they would still prefer that the person had remained right here, in this place.
  • “This is behind you now; it’s time to move on with your life.” This can come off as very insensitive, because everyone “moves on” at their own pace. Grief has a mind of its own and can hold someone hostage for a longer time than others. Additionally, people can be very resistant to this because they don’t want to “forget” his or her loved one.
  • Statements that begin with “you should” or “you will.” These statements are too directive. Instead, begin your comments with: “Have you thought about…” or “you might….”