33 episodes

Helping plan funerals with honor. O'Connell funeral homes staff, along with guests, give guidance on topics like, how to write an obituary, preplanning for your funeral, funeral arrangements, as well as how to personalize funeral services. The podcasts also include advice on how to manage grief, what you can do for loved ones who are grieving, and what additional resources are available to you, including self care. Welcome to the Good Grief Podcast.

Good Grief O'Connell Funeral Homes

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

Helping plan funerals with honor. O'Connell funeral homes staff, along with guests, give guidance on topics like, how to write an obituary, preplanning for your funeral, funeral arrangements, as well as how to personalize funeral services. The podcasts also include advice on how to manage grief, what you can do for loved ones who are grieving, and what additional resources are available to you, including self care. Welcome to the Good Grief Podcast.

    Honoring a Loved One through Funeral Personalization

    Honoring a Loved One through Funeral Personalization

    In this episode of the Good Grief podcast, Amber Miller sits with host Pete Waggoner to discuss the topic of funeral personalization and how it can help people grieve. They explore why personalizing a funeral—from the flowers and decorations to the food after church service—can help the bereaved be reminded of their connection to their loved one, and how it can memorialize the legacies of those who have passed away. They discuss the different personalization options for funerals, and how to determine which elements are most meaningful. The episode also shares some tips on how to plan a personalized service that can provide a sense of comfort and closure.

    Takeaways:

    It's in the meanings behind the elements of a funeral where personalization comes into play.
    Grieving can be a creative and meaningful process.

    In this episode:
    [0:40] Pete brings up the question of using "are" versus "were" when referring to the deceased. Amber explains how using the present or past tense depends on what the loved ones are comfortable with but that the passing of someone does not take away who they have always been as a person.

    [2:33] Amber and Pete go into the topic of funeral personalization and how it can help provide comfort to the bereaved. Amber shares how the unique parts of a funeral can bring healing and hope to the grieving family.

    [7:44] The two talk about how flowers and decorations can be a major part of the personalization process and set the scene for the visitors during the service.

    [13:51] Pete and Amber discuss how food can also be incorporated into the funeral and how it can be used to create a meaningful experience for the community. From having food trucks at the service to having a traditional dinner afterward, they explore how the food can be used to honor the life of their loved ones.

    [19:01] Pete shares a story about how his sister's friends and family contributed to the personalization of her funeral. The two talk about how creativity and resources can be used to make a special service that reflects the personality of the deceased and engages the grieving loved ones.

    Resources:

    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    Amber Miller
    Patriot Guard
    Read Show Transcript

    Quotes

    "That's how they are. They'll always be that way for us." - Amber Miller on referring to a deceased loved one
    "Oftentimes, if a funeral doesn't feel meaningful or personalized, it sometimes doesn't feel real. It doesn't feel like it's something that I can move forward from." - Amber Miller

    • 24 min
    Funeral Preplanning Expectations With Amber Miller

    Funeral Preplanning Expectations With Amber Miller

    O'Connell Funeral Homes' Amber Miller and host Pete Waggoner welcome the new year by discussing preplanning expectations in this episode of Good Grief. Amber shares her first-hand funeral experience with families whose deceased loved ones made it easier to prepare by taking the time to plan ahead of time. The two go into detail about the different aspects of prearranging—from the frequency and length of the sessions to the prepayment process and the specifics being discussed during the meetings. They also talk about how funeral pre-arrangement can be done in the comfort of home and how families can benefit greatly from this process.

    This episode is a must-listen for those considering preplanning their funeral, as well as those who are already in the process of doing so. Because “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” as said by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

    Takeaways:


    Funeral pre-arranging lightens the load and grief of the mourning family.
    Talking about death and funerals does not have to be uncomfortable.

    In this episode:

    [1:20] Pete Waggoner opens the discussion by asking Amber Miller what makes prearranging so important. Amber shares how she has encountered family members at funerals who are grateful that their deceased loved one or a relative has taken the time to plan ahead of time.

    [4:29] Amber and Pete talk about where pre-arranging meetings usually take place. Amber also gives insight on how the conversation begins with the help of a deck of cards they have prepared for the purpose of guiding families throughout their discussion.

    [8:23] Amber discusses the length of prearranging sessions and how frequent they should be. She mentions how it differs from family to family and that some clients finish their funeral preplanning in one meeting while others might require more.

    [11:55] The two talk about the prepayment process and installment plans available. Amber reiterates that the prearranging process itself is 100% free and that it’s completely up to the family if they choose to pay for their funeral services in advance.

    [14:06] Amber shares about O'Connell Funeral Homes' advance preplanning guide which may serve as a workbook that will walk families and individuals through the process of pre-arranging their funeral.

    Resources


    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    Amber Miller
    Advance Planning Guide
    Pre-planning Tools
    Read Transcript Here

    Quotes


    "I think they can expect a comfortable environment...because we follow your lead." - Amber Miller, on what people can expect when they come to the funeral home
    "When you go back and look at this, it can be a very empowering thing for all." - Pete Waggoner on funeral prearranging

    • 16 min
    How We Can Help Those Who Grieve

    How We Can Help Those Who Grieve

    In this episode, Mike O'Connell and Amber Miller sit down with Pete Waggoner to discuss how one can be of assistance to those who are grieving. They explore the different ways a grieving person may behave and how we as outsiders can help support them through their journey. They also talk about the things one should avoid saying or doing when interacting with a person who just lost a loved one, particularly if the death was sudden or traumatic.

    From the words of wisdom that can be shared, to the simple act of just being present, this podcast episode provides valuable tips for those who want to show they care.

    Takeaways:


    Sometimes, giving unsolicited advice and trying to fix the problem is not helpful for those who grieve. It is more important to be present, listen, and offer support in whatever way the grieving person needs it.
    People move through their grief at different speeds and in different ways. It is important to be patient and understanding.

    In this episode:

    [2:25] Host Pete Waggoner starts the discussion by asking Mike and Amber about the important things a supporter or friend should know when helping someone through grief. Amber emphasizes how grief lasts longer beyond the funeral and how important it is for people to realize that the grieving process is different for everyone.

    [6:07] The three talk about the importance of mentioning the name of the deceased to the grieving person. They share how important it is to keep the memory of the deceased alive and how saying their name can bring comfort.

    [8:31] Pete asks Mike and Amber how they have gotten the wealth of knowledge they have in helping others through grief. The two mention how working closely with the families they serve has helped them gain a deep understanding of the grieving process.

    [10:25] Amber talks about honoring the grieving person's wishes and being honest about what one can offer in terms of support.

    [14:13] Amber answers Pete's question on how one can help a loved one facing imminent death. Mike shares some tips and insights on how one can help a person who is grieving a sudden or traumatic death.

    Resources:


    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    Mike O'Connell
    Amber Miller
    Read Show Transcript
    Grief & the Holidays
    OCFH Resources

    Quotes:


    "Remember that grief lasts for a lot longer than the duration of the funeral." - Amber Miller
    "Sometimes the best medicine for people is just the silent presence. That's more meaningful (to people) than filling (you know) those painful moments with words." - Amber Miller

    • 18 min
    My Health, My Decisions: A Discussion on Advance Directives with Mike O'Connell & Dr. Kirsten Severson

    My Health, My Decisions: A Discussion on Advance Directives with Mike O'Connell & Dr. Kirsten Severson

    In this episode, Dr. Kirsten Severson along with Mike O'Connell and host Pete Waggoner explores the concept of advance directives and how they work. Dr. Severson provides a thorough explanation of the whole process and how these documents allow a person to make the tough decisions about their healthcare beforehand in case they are ever unable to do so. Mike O'Connell also gets candid about his own experiences and shares some insights on how advance directives can lift the burden off of families during difficult times.

    This episode is a must-listen for anyone who wants to learn more about advance directives and how they can protect you and your loved ones.

    Takeaways:


    Planning your health care in advance can not only allow you to make your own decisions but also ease the burden on your loved ones during tough times.
    Facing the reality of our own mortality can be scary, but having these conversations with our loved ones and healthcare providers is important.

    In this episode:

    [1:34] Pete Waggoner opens the discussion by asking Dr. Severson to define what an advance directive is. The doctor explains the two types of advance directives: the living will and the power of attorney for healthcare.

    [10:02] Dr. Severson talks about how and where a person can get an advance directive. She also shares some specific websites and online platforms which a patient can download and print the necessary documents from.

    [21:37] The three talk about how a person's advance directives will be used in the event that an unfortunate incident should happen outside of a hospital setting and where the first responders are not aware of the patient's written wishes.

    [24:49] Pete asks Dr. Severson how the conversation typically begins when a person wants to start thinking about their advance directives.

    [35:34] Mike and Dr. Severson share some final thoughts and advice for those who are thinking about making their own advance directives. They put emphasis on how these documents can help people lift the burden off of their loved ones in the event that they are unable to make their own decisions.

    Resources


    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    Mike O'Connell
    Dr. Kirsten Severson
    The Conversation Project
    Wisconsin DPOA Healthcare Forms - Advance Directives
    Read Show Transcript

    Quotes


    "It's my body, it's my life. And I want to direct what happens when things look not so very (maybe) good." - Dr. Kirsten Severson
    "We've got a long way to go yet, but it should be just a part of your general healthcare." - Dr. Kirsten Severson on starting the conversation about advance directives
    "Don't put that burden on your loved ones." - Mike O'Connell

    • 38 min
    How Preplanning Your Funeral Can Benefit You and Your Family

    How Preplanning Your Funeral Can Benefit You and Your Family

    In this episode hosted by Pete Waggoner, Mike O'Connell and Amber Miller discuss the process of preplanning one's funeral and its multiple benefits. They go in-depth about the different aspects of funeral preplanning, from the finances to how the actual meetings are done with family members. They also talk about how death and grief can significantly impact those left behind, and how this process can help alleviate some of the burden. This episode provides listeners with a comprehensive look at funeral prearranging, and is an excellent resource for anyone considering this option.

    Takeaways:


    Preplanning is a great way to lighten the load for your loved ones after you're gone.
    Grief and death can bring significant changes and challenges to families.
    While having conversations about death can be difficult, talking about your wishes ahead of time can make things much easier for everyone involved.

    In this episode:

    [2:23] Pete opens the discussion by asking why people prearrange their funerals. Mike provides different reasons such as being forced to do so due to a terminal illness, wanting to have more control over their own funeral, or simply having the desire to relieve the burden from their loved ones.

    [6:25] The three talk about the significant changes death can bring to a family and the challenges that usually arise. They also begin to discuss the financial aspects of prearranging and how it can lessen the burden on those left behind.

    [11:35] Amber shares how funeral trust can be a great gift, both for oneself and their loved ones. They also talk about the two different ways to set up an irrevocable funeral policy.

    [14:11] Pete asks about how families receive the information when it comes to funeral prearranging and how much detail is usually given. Mike and Amber talk about how the process and benefits are explained to the family, as well as how the meeting is set up and conducted.

    [22:37] Amber and Mike discuss the different meeting setups they do with people who are willing to prearrange their funerals. They share how they sometimes visit homes and care facilities to make the process as convenient as possible for those who need their services.

    Resources


    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    Mike O'Connell
    Amber Miller
    Read Show Transcript

    Quotes


    "When grief starts getting put into the equation, that can change things in an instant." - Amber Miller on how family dynamics can change after someone's death
    "Huge. You're taking away the subjectivity of kids going against each other...you're just setting them up to heal." - Mike O'Connell on the benefits of prearranging and prefunding to families.

    • 27 min
    Coping with Secondary Loss & Caregiver Grief with Kathleen Helgeson & Amber Miller

    Coping with Secondary Loss & Caregiver Grief with Kathleen Helgeson & Amber Miller

    In this episode, host Pete Waggoner goes in-depth with Kathleen Helgeson and Amber Miller about the topic of secondary loss and caregiver grief. They discuss the smaller subsequent losses that happen after the death of a loved one, and how a loss can impact one's roles and routines. They also delve into how to cope with the challenges that come with being a caregiver, as well as the grief it can bring before and after the death of the patient.

    This episode is full of helpful tips and resources for those struggling with loss, as well as for those supporting someone through their grief journey.

    Takeaways:


    As a caregiver, having compassion for yourself is as important as having compassion for the person you are caring for.
    Loss can come in many forms, and each one can have a significant impact on our lives.
    It's important to allow yourself to grieve in whatever way feels right for you.
    If you are struggling to cope with loss or grief, reach out for help from a friend, a professional, or a support group.

    In this episode

    [3:23] Amber begins the discussion by defining what secondary loss is and explaining how death encompasses more than just the physical loss of a loved one. Kathleen further elaborates on this concept by sharing how she has seen different forms of secondary loss play out in her work as a funeral celebrant.

    [7:40] Pete Waggoner transitions the conversation to the topic of how loss can impact one's roles and routines. They all share their insights on how the death of a loved one can cause ripple effects that touch every aspect of our lives.

    [13:02] Pete Waggoner asks about how a person can build a new support system after experiencing loss. Kathleen and Amber share their thoughts on the importance of seeking out help and being open to receiving support from others.

    [23:50] The three talk about how caregivers can often experience their own grief journey while caring for someone else. They discuss the challenges that come with being a caregiver and how to find compassion for oneself to rediscover a sense of balance.

    [34:48] Pete Waggoner wraps up the conversation by asking Kathleen and Amber to share some final tips to caregivers who might be struggling with their own grief. They both emphasize the importance of being patient and compassionate with oneself, as well as taking the time to feed one's own soul.

    Resources


    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    Kathleen Helgeson
    Amber Miller
    Read Show Transcript

    Quotes


    "Healthy relationships lean on each other's strengths and allow for one another's weaknesses without thought." - Kathleen Helgeson
    "It takes courage to face our losses and our changes." - Kathleen Helgeson
    "We can't give if our gas tank is empty." - Amber Miller

    • 39 min

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