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A Tradition of Caring
Hultgren Funeral Home is family owned and operated and continues a tradition which began at our present location in 1943 by Paul Hanerhoff and continued after Paul's death in 1976 by Vern Hultgren. The Hultgren's devotion to caring has always been backed by a loving family and faithful staff. The funeral home is now owned by Tim Hultgren, Vern's son, a 34 year licensed funeral director. The other licensed directors on staff are Vern Hultgren and Scott Macy, the managing director of the funeral home. Andrew Schaefer joined the full time staff over a year ago.
Hultgren Funeral Home is committed to serving families well in advance of need as well as following the funeral service. Mr. Darcy Kolschefski is our Family Services Advisor and directs our Pre-Need and After-Care Services. Darcy is state licensed and a Certified Preplanning Consultant by the NFDA.
By providing compassionate care for those who have been touched by death, we seek to honor God, in whom lies our strength.
In contrast to the impersonal world around us, we firmly believe that those we serve deserve and benefit by the highest level of personal care and attentiveness.
A non-threatening homelike environment enables a community the opportunity to honor, remember and process loss in the most meaningful and effective way.
We are committed to providing the very best in facilities and resources to each person we serve.
We are committed to fair, ethical pricing that conforms to all legal requirements. We maintain a membership in the Funeral Ethics Association and the IL and National Funeral Directors Association.
What To Expect
When someone you love has died, not only is there much to cope with emotionally, but there are also several logistical concerns which can weigh you down. What kind of service should there be? What options do we have?
We at Hultgren Funeral Home understand that these issues can be especially hard to handle in a time of mourning, so that is why we are here to help. Below are a few helpful steps that may assist you during the difficult time following a loved one's death.
First Step--Call Your Funeral Director and Clergy
First and foremost, when someone you love has died, you and your family need comforting attention. You need time to mourn and grieve, so set aside and protect that time. During this time, you may want to call your pastor, who can help in your healing process. You should also contact your funeral director. If there's not already a family-preferred funeral director, you might ask for recommendations from those in whom you have confidence. Your pastor is a good person you could turn to for his recommendation.
When a person dies away from home, it is good practice for the survivors to immediately contact the funeral director in the area where the deceased resided. Your funeral director can properly advise the best approach to take in having your loved one returned to the local area in the most suitable manner.
Second Step--Notify Family, Friends, and Associates
After contacting your clergy and funeral director, you will want to let others know of your loved one's death. This can be a healthy part of the grieving process.
Third Step--Consult With Your Funeral Director
Next, you should have a consultation with the funeral director. In this meeting, you will give personal information to fill out the death certificate and prepare the obituary. Some of these facts may be difficult to obtain, so you may want to locate the necessary information before the consultation. The information usually needed includes: name of deceased, date and place of birth, date and place of death, age, marital status, name of surviving spouse (maiden name, if wife), social security number, usual occupation, kind of business or industry, U.S. war veteran (if veteran, the dates of service), usual residence, father's full name, mother's full maiden name, place of burial or cremation, and date of burial or cremation. In addition, there are several other informational items to be completed for the death certificate by the physician or coroner as well as the funeral director.
Once completed by the funeral director, he will obtain the certified copies of the death certificate. These certificates are needed to process insurance policies, social security and veterans benefits, selling of stocks or bonds containing the name of your deceased love one, selling of real estate, transferring bank accounts, and processing the will. In any instance that legal proof of death is required, you will be asked to submit a copy of the death certificate. We at Hultgren will make sure that the process of obtaining these certificates is a smooth one. We also provide each family with a checklist to ensure that every detail is considered.
Fourth Step--Decide the Time, Place, and Type of Funeral Service
After your consultation with the funeral director, you should plan the time, place, and type of service with the assistance of the funeral director and your pastor. Many times funeral services are held at the funeral home, while other times they are held at the local church. We can help you to prepare any number of service styles. If you desire to have a non-traditional service, we at Hultgren can also suggest alternatives that maintain the positive values and dignity of the funeral for the family.
Fifth Step--Choose the Appropriate Casket and Vault
With the counsel of the funeral director, you will next select the casket and vault you desire. We at Hultgren have a wide variety of styles and features aiming to make it easier for families to choose a casket that is most appropriate. Also, like many families, you will most likely need a burial container, which is used at the cemetery to contain the casket. Cemeteries usually require this type of hard container to structurally support and protect the grave site. We also have a wide selection of containers so that you may choose one that is best.
Sixth Step--Contact the Cemetery to Make Arrangements
Your funeral director can make all the cemetery arrangements. If there is no cemetery plot available, we at Hultgren can arrange for purchasing a lot in the cemetery of your choice.
If cremation was chosen, your funeral director can advise you about any local regulations concerning this procedure.
Seventh Step--Write the Obituary
With your assistance, the funeral director will prepare the obituary for publication in the newspapers. This notifies people of the time and place for visitation and the funeral services. If a memorial fund is to be established, it is suggested that this be included in the newspaper notices.
Eighth Step--Details of the Service
Together, the clergy, funeral director and family work out the details of the funeral or memorial service. Music, scripture, poetry readings, eulogies and other pieces come together for a meaningful experience. Pallbearers may be chosen if desired. Once selected, these individuals should then be contacted by a member of the family.
Final Step--Continue Fostering an Atmosphere of Support
Finally, continue to cradle your crushed spirit and encourage a realistic approach amongst the family and friends that were close to the recently departed as you all continue to grapple with your grief. You must each face the reality that someone you love has died, and you must make the needed adjustments to this fact of life. There is a real need for mutual support in this time of sorrow. Respect each other. Love each other. And, continue to foster hope within your spirit. Through the support of others and the experience of the funeral service, you can come to a place of bidding your loved one "farewell" and take a closer step toward inner healing.
When someone you love has died, you will have to face the difficult need to mourn. This can be an extremely hard thing to do, especially if you also must handle the logistics of planning for the funeral. But, it is essential that you do not ignore your emotional health and subvert your pain. Coping with your grief is an essential part of healing. Below, some tips are described that may help you better handle your pain.
Understand That Everyone Grieves Differently
Not everyone grieves the same way. Your means of dealing with your pain may be very different from even another member in your family. These differences depend upon a number of conditions spanning from your relationship with your deceased loved one to your cultural and religious heritage. So, don't try to compare your means of grief with those of other people. Just take one day at a time and be patient as you deal with the reality of the death of your loved one. Your means of dealing with this tragic event is unique and personal.
Be Prepared for Emotional Numbness
Often, in the early stages of grief, people experience a sense of numbness. This is normal. And, it serves a good purpose -- allowing your emotions to catch up with what your mind has told you about the reality of the death. This feeling of insensibility helps give you protection from the reality of the death until you are more able bear what you don't want to believe.
Talk About Your Sorrow
It is often helpful to talk about your inner suffering concerning the death. By talking about your grief, you can often find a sense of catharsis and solace. It makes you feel better. Through sharing, the walls that hold in the insidious pain are broken down, allowing room for your pain to escape and for a fresh breeze to blow in. Also, by sharing your grief, you allow others to hear how you are doing and give them a better understanding of your needs.
When you choose those with whom you want to share, look for friends who will listen without judging -- people who will care about your heart and won't try to gloss over everything with simple comments like, "the sun will always shine again" or "put on a happy face". Remember, you have the right to grieve. Don't let anyone try to take that from you.
Expect an Emotional Roller coaster
Experiencing a loss of someone loved affects you to the core. Your entire head, heart, and spirit are affected. Confusion, anger, and remorse may hit you at unexpected moments and you may not be able to explain what wrought them at a particular time. This is a normal stage and response to the death of a loved one. While normal, these unexpected emotional breakdowns can still leave you feeling overwhelmed. In effort to alleviate this pain, find someone with whom you can speak that can understand and comfort you.
Struggling with grief is not only emotionally draining, but is also physically exhausting. With lower energy, you may find that your ability to think clearly and make decisions is detrimentally affected. Listen to your body and take care of it. Create boundaries for yourself by lightening up your schedule. Set aside time to rest and heal. Eat well balanced meals. By caring for yourself, you are not being selfish, but doing what is right for survival and proper health.
Form a Supportive Network
Reaching out to others and asking for support during a time of need is often not easy, particularly when you hurt so much; but it is extremely necessary. One of the most caring things you can do for personal healing is to extend yourself to supportive family and friends. Surround yourself with people who understand your needs and who encourage you to be real--whether happy or sad.
Care for Your Spirit
If you are a person with a religious faith, hold fast to your spirituality during your times of struggle. Surround yourself with people of similar religious beliefs and let them be a support to you. If you doubt God and his goodness because of the death, realize that this reaction is not bizarre, but normal. Find people who can walk with you through this time of anger, confusion, and doubt.
Some people may say, "There is no need to grieve with faith." This is just not true. There is a time for everything, including a time to grieve. Having a personal faith doesn't deny you the need to talk about and express your inner pain resulting from the death of a loved one. Do not ignore your grief. Rather, use your family, friends, and faith to cope with your grief in a very real, honest way.
The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge your deceased loved one; it also helps you say 'goodbye' and to express your sorrow. Plus, it gives you the chance to surround yourself with caring people and to receive their support. If you fail to have the funeral ritual, you rob yourself of this important means toward healing and you cheat everyone who cares to pay tribute to the dearly departed loved one.
Be Open for Questions
In a time of grief, you may find yourself burdened with questions like, "Why did he die?" "Why this way?" "Why now?" This quest for understanding and meaning is yet another normal process of grief. Some of these questions have answers. Some of them do not. But, the act of posing these questions is an important step toward catharsis and healing.
Memories are the best legacies that remain after a person dies. Hold on to these memories and reflect upon them. Share them with family and friends. These memories may make you laugh or cry, but they are something to be cherished as they are the lasting part of the relationship that you had with someone you loved.
In Conclusion, Take Care of Your Heart
In summary, give yourself time to mourn. Allow yourself the chance to feel and respond to the reality of your loved one's death. Then, express your feelings to caring friends and family in efforts to come to terms with this reality and to find a supportive group in which to find solace.
Help a Grieving Friend
Helping a friend who is struggling with the death of a loved one requires the skill of attentive listening. Your physical presence and listening ear can be a soothing salve to their emotional wounds. Your friend may relate the story of the death again and again, but be patient and listen actively each time. Through each presentation of the story, your friend is taken a further step towards coming to terms with the reality of the death. And, your listening presence is a comforting tool for your friend to reach that reality.
When relating with your friend who is dealing with a recent death, be sure that you are acting with compassion. Don't ever say, "I know just how you're feeling." You don't. It is better to just listen and be there as means for comfort.
Try asking your friend for ways in which you can help them. If there isn't anything immediately pressing that you can do, just being present is always a gift. Allow your friend to share his or her feelings about the death and recognize that tears are a natural and appropriate expression of their pain.
One thing to avoid is trying to assuage your friend with trite phrases. Avoid phrases like, "Time will heal all wounds," or "Just keep your chin up; the sun will shine again." These phrases hurt more than they help. They tend to trivialize your friend's experience of grief and don't respect their need to mourn.
Know that Grief is Personal
Recognize that your friend's grief is personal. No one responds to death in the same way. While it may be possible to refer to general phases which people go through during a period of grief, everyone is different and may grieve differently. People may also take different lengths of time to mourn, so don't put a timetable on your friend's grief.
Offer Practical Assistance
Your friend may need some real help with daily responsibilities. You can help alleviate some of these responsibilities by making meals, washing clothes, mowing the lawn, or doing any other common task for your friend. By handling some of life's daily chores, you will free up time for your friend to adjust and cope with the recent death. Through practical assistance, you can be a true help to the well-being your friend's soul.
Keep in Touch
Your attendance at the funeral is significant. The funeral is an important ritual which provides you the opportunity to express your concern and love for your hurting friend. When expressing your concern, a touch of the hand or making eye contact can sometimes communicate much more than words.
After the funeral, be sure not to lose touch with your friend. The time after the funeral can often be a difficult time for those who have lost a loved one. It's during that time that things slow down and they have more time to focus on the pain in their heart. So, during this difficult time, be sure to give your friend a phone call or stop by to visit. Your friend may need you more during the weeks and months following the funeral than at the time of death.
Send a Personal Note
Sympathy cards can be nice, but there is just no substitute for a personally written note. But, what should you write? Write about a favorite memory you have of the person who has died or express the characteristics of that person that you will miss. When writing or calling your friend, make sure to use the departed one's name. Hearing the name can be a comfort to your friend and it shows that you have not forgotten the special person who was so much a part of your friend's life.
Be Aware of Holidays and Anniversaries
Far after the funeral, holidays and anniversaries may bring up strong emotions for your friend, for they emphasize the loved one's absence. Be sensitive to this and remain to a comfort during this time.
In Summary, Be Caring and Supportive
To sum up, just be sensitive to your friend who is experiencing the loss. Be a good listener, find practical ways of assistance, write caring notes, and express your love and concern. This is a time that your friend is weak and needs someone to lean on. Be available and open to love boldly.
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