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Helping Kids Grieve

Published: April 25, 2019 by Sesame Street in Communities

Coping with the death of a loved one brings enormous challenges for the whole family. Grieving may never completely end, but working through the difficult feelings can become easier with time. Through support, open conversations, and finding ways to keep the person’s memory alive, families can begin healing together.

How can I help the grieving family?

Published: April 23, 2019 by Brandy Stockton

When someone you care about loses a loved one, your first instinct is to do something for them — anything. You think to yourself, “What do I have to offer my friend that will make what they’re going through a little easier?” For me, the answer is food.

If you’re close enough to a friend or relative who has lost a loved one, and you want to drop off food, I have some suggestions here for foods that will give the family something to offer to people who stop by to give their condolences.

1. A tray of cut up vegetables and fruit. Do the work and cut up the fruit or produce in advance. After all, the purpose of the gift is to make it easier on the grieving family.
2. Bagels and cream cheese. Fresh bagels and cream cheese are a quick breakfast or snack for both adults and kids.
3. Coffee and creamer. Find out what type of coffee maker they have and buy a few bags of good coffee (or single-use coffee cups, if that’s what they use) as well as a regular creamer and one flavored creamer. With extra guests dropping in, coffee will go quickly.
4. Homemade fillings for sandwiches. Lunch meats, chicken, tuna, or egg salad, or Sloppy Joe meat. Provide some sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and bread or rolls, too.
5. Soup or stew. In colder months, these can be reheated easily and are quite hardy. Add a good loaf of crusty bread with it.
6. A complete dinner. Lasagna, casseroles, or a pot roast/ham with all the fixings.
7. A sweet treat. Bake a cake, make a plate of brownies, or chocolate chip cookies. Something sweet can be comforting at this time.
8. Water and Soda. Try to select a variety of sodas, both diet and regular.

A few tips and reminders

• Try to take food on plates and containers that you won’t need back.
• Understand that the food you’re bringing is a gift and don’t expect anything in return. If you do not receive a thank you note always remember when people are going through grief, sometimes things get overlooked.

If We Had Never Loved - We Would Not Need to Grieve

Published: April 22, 2019 by 365 Days of Healing/Posted By Brandy Stockton

Early in my days of grieving the untimely death of my husband, someone said to me, “Isn’t it great that you are grieving?” Of course, I wanted to walk away after telling him what I thought of his insensitive comment; but before I could he continued to explain. He said, "Grief is not the result of having experienced loss, it is the result of having experienced love!"

As I pondered his interpretation of grief, I felt he summarized it very well. I would not have exchanged my time with my husband even though I thought the pain in my heart would never stop. It really meant that I had loved and was loved in return.
No matter what your relationship was with your loved one, the loss can be so overwhelming that we lose sight of the love and only feel the pain. In the end aren't we fortunate to have loved someone so dearly that with their passing there is an emotional and physical void?

As you journey through your loss, continue to remind yourself that the pain you experience is in direct proportion to loving someone and being loved back. Even if the life was taken too soon, you still had the opportunity to embrace love.

Pre-Arrangments and You

Published: April 18, 2019 by Brandy Stockton

When it comes to your final arrangements, shouldn’t you be in charge?  Pre-arranging your own service will not only ease the burden on your family but will allow you to have your exact wishes carried out.
Items you can select in advance:

  • Pre-write your obituary
  • Prepare your veteran paperwork
  • Choose location for services
  • Choose clergy
  • Select pallbearers
  • Select memorial/charities
  • Choose cremation or burial
  • Select music and poems for services
  • Choose your outfit for funeral services
  • Select a hairdresser

Arrangements can be as detailed as you like.  With our online pre-arrangement form, you can make your selections from the comfort of your own home by visiting  If you prefer, you may come into Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory and speak with our Pre-Arrangement Specialist, Kathleen.  To make an appointment you may call (309) 944-1415.

Personalized Memory Boards

Published: April 16, 2019 by Brandy Stockton

The increasing presence of memory boards during visitations, funerals, and memorial services have symbolized interest in end of life personalization.  Many believe the act of making a memory board with family and friends assists in the grief process.  They believe going through the pictures trigger memories that can be shared and assist in finding acceptance in the tragedy of their loss.
The great thing about a memory board is there is no wrong way to do one.  They are personalized based on your family members personality, hobbies, and beliefs.  You can create boards that are elaborate, simple, or somewhere in between.
Here are a few items that will assist you in making the perfect memory board:

  • Display boards - Standard size used in approximately 48 x 36.  Other options are foam, tri-fold, or cork boards.
  • Adhesive – tape, craft glue, Elmer’s, craft glue spray
  • Labels and Stickers – Found at most hobby stores, personalize based on hobbies, interests, etc.  Adding a name to the board with a goodbye message and/or poem is a great addition to a board.
  • Personal Mementos – You can add ribbons, awards, ticket stubs, matchbooks, etc.  Anything that triggers great memories or has personal meaning can be shared.
  • Photographs – Photos can be downloaded from smartphones, digital cameras, and social media accounts.  If using older photos, you may want to make copies of them to be used on the board.  Any color copier will do the trick.

The key to making great boards is selecting a theme.  By doing this you are drawing the guests into a story and motivating them to view all the boards on display.

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Frequent Questions

Grief Support

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