28 episodes

Helping plan funerals with honor.
Pre-arranging & funeral arrangement guidance.

Good Grief Mike Oconnell

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

Helping plan funerals with honor.
Pre-arranging & funeral arrangement guidance.

    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
    Funeral Do's and Don'ts: Funeral Etiquette 101

    Funeral Do's and Don'ts: Funeral Etiquette 101

    In this ‘scintillating’ episode of the Good Grief podcast, Mike O'Connell and Amber Miller of O'Connell Funeral Homes join Pete Waggoner to discuss funeral etiquette. They get into the nitty-gritty of the do's and don'ts of attending a funeral--from the proper attire, to the conversation topics that may be off-limits or offending to the grieving family. The two also share about the real-life scenarios they have encountered in their years of experience and how to best handle each situation.

    The podcast offers an insightful and retrospective look into the essence of funerals and the proper way to honor the deceased while also providing comfort to the bereaved loved ones.

    Takeaways:


    Being respectful and considerate goes a long way when attending a funeral.
    There is no one right way to grieve.
    We can't assume what another person is going through, so it's important to be sensitive and compassionate.

    In this episode:

    [2:14] Host Pete Waggoner opens the discussion by asking if wearing black is a must at funerals. Mike O'Connell responds by sharing how the color has become a sign of showing reverence to the deceased and to those who are grieving. The guests also get into detail about the kinds of clothes that are and are not appropriate to wear to a funeral.

    [9:15] Mike talks about the conversational topics that may not be appropriate to discuss at a funeral and how using the deceased’s name can be a way to show that they are being remembered. Pete further dwells into the topic by asking whether referring to the deceased in the past tense may be a sign of disrespect.

    [13:33] Amber Miller discusses the different things to follow when attending a funeral such as being on time, where and when to enter when arriving late, and what to do when leaving early. Mike shares some ridiculous funeral stories he has encountered in his line of work to drive the point home.

    [24:10] Pete starts the conversation on what one should say to the grieving family. Mike puts emphasis on the importance of being mindful of the questions one asks and how they should be phrased.

    [35:56] The trio moves on to the topic of nonverbal communication and how body language can be interpreted by the grieving family. They also discuss what a memorial exactly is and the specifics of 'Thank You' cards.

    Resources:


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

    Quotes:


    "Grief is unique to every single person." - Amber Miller
    "Grief and love are essentially cut from the same cloth...The more we love someone, the more we grieve them. And it's okay to be sad, it's okay to grieve, it's okay to feel any emotion you feel with grief." - Amber Miller
    "Follow your heart, follow your gut." - Mike O'Connell

    • 44 min
    How Cemeteries Make Resting in Peace Possible

    How Cemeteries Make Resting in Peace Possible

    In this episode of The Good Grief podcast, Mike O'Connell and Amber Miller get into cemeteries' important role in providing a final resting place for people's loved ones. They discuss the process of creating these final resting places, from deciding on the type of burial to personalizing the space to create a meaningful and lasting tribute. They also dive into the details of securing a cemetery plot and what one can expect when visiting a loved one's final resting place. This episode provides listeners with an informative and compassionate look at the role of cemeteries in the grieving process.

    Takeaways:


    One's final resting place can be beneficial for the loved ones they have left behind, providing a space for grief and healing.
    Cemeteries aren't just about providing a space for the deceased, but also about memorializing and honoring them.

    In this episode

    [2:29] Host Pete Waggoner asks about the importance of cemeteries given the rise of other forms of memorialization, such as keeping the cremated remains at home. Mike O'Connell shares about his personal experience of finding peace and an opportunity to memorialize his loved ones at cemeteries and talks about the role that these spaces play in the grieving and healing journey.

    [5:49] Amber Miller talks about how finding peace in the daily hustle and bustle of life can be a challenge. She shares how the peace and solace that cemeteries offer is something that can be beneficial for people who are grieving or simply looking for a moment of respite.

    [10:33] Pete asks Mike O'Connell about the differences between columbarium, crypts, and other types of burial options available these days.

    [15:30] Amber talks about the different ways people can personalize their loved ones' markers and monuments, and how churches and cemeteries have different rules about what kind of items are allowed.

    [22:48] Mike and Amber get into the details of what people can leave on their loved one's resting place such as wind chimes, trinkets, and plant stands. Mike also mentions how there are cemetery flower companies nowadays that even help with the upkeep of fresh flowers on the site.

    Resources


    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    O’Connell Funeral Services 
    Mike O'Connell
    Amber Miller

    Quotes


    "It's a place we go to memorialize." -Mike O'Connell on cemeteries
    "Once you do something it's permanent. So give it thought, make sure it's meaningful." -Mike O'Connell

    • 25 min
    Memorializing Your Loved Ones with Tattoos

    Memorializing Your Loved Ones with Tattoos

    In this episode of The Good Grief podcast, host Pete Waggoner sits with Mike O'Connell and guest, Lori Christopherson to discuss how tattoos can be used as a form of memorializing and honoring a loved one. Mike shares how he discovered Everence, a company that creates personalized tattoo ink additives with a loved one's DNA. Lori talks about her own healing process after the loss of her son and how Mike's suggestion of a tattoo was instrumental in her finding peace and closure. The episode offers listeners vulnerable and honest insight into how tattoos can be therapeutic for those working through grief and how the process of memorializing a loved one can be different for everyone.

    Takeaways:


    Every person grieves differently and there is no right or wrong way to do it.
    Tattoos can be a helpful part of the grieving and healing process as they offer a physical, tangible, and lasting way to keep a loved one's memory alive.
    The act of memorializing a loved one can be healing for both the person getting the tattoo as well as for those who see it and are reminded of the individual being honored.

    In this episode

    [1:25] Host, Pete Waggoner delves into the history of tattoos and how they were used as a form of protection from bad spirits and diseases, especially for pregnant women, thousands of years ago.

    [3:31] Mike talks about how the loss of a loved one can make people feel powerless and how getting a tattoo can be a way of regaining a sense of control.

    [8:46] Lori shares her experience in finding the perfect way to memorialize her son and how Mike has helped her in the process. She talks about the different options she's tried and considered such as a necklace pendant but ultimately decided that a tattoo would be the most meaningful for her.

    [18:16] Lori further talks about her healing process after the loss of her son and how getting the tattoo has been an integral part of that.

    [23:06] Pete Waggoner wraps up the show by asking Lori how grateful she is for the opportunity and what getting the tattoo has meant for her.

    Resources:


    O'Connell Funeral Homes
    Mike O'Connell
    Lori Christopherson
    Everence Jewelry & Tattoos

    • 24 min
    A day in the life of a funeral director

    A day in the life of a funeral director

    There is no other job like a funeral director. In celebration of National Funeral Director and Morticians Recognition Day on March 11th, we would like to honor what funeral directors do for us. You don’t want just anyone to care for your loved one when they have passed on, you want someone empathetic, reverent, kind, and reliable to be there for you and your family.

    Today's podcast highlights the team of funeral directors at O’Connell Family Funeral Homes. 

    You'll hear answers to the following questions from Abbie Pickerign, Amber Miller, Mike O'Connell, and Austin Mahanke. 


    What inspired you to become a funeral director? 
    Have you ever felt like you wanted to change careers? 
    What are the misconceptions in this industry? 
    Are there any ghost stories you've encountered? 
    What are your hours? 
    Would you advise your bf to go into the business? 
    Tell us how you feel after a service is over. 
    How does pre-planning help a family? 

    Listen now to learn more about the real lives of the funeral directors at O'Connell Family Funeral Homes and take a look at what a day in the life is like. 

    Blog

    Abbie Pickerign

    Amber Miller

    Mike O’Connell 

    Austin Mahanke

    Pre-planning 10 questions you need to think about before your funeral 

    #HugYourFuneralDirector 

    • 58 min
    Merging locations to better serve local communities

    Merging locations to better serve local communities

    To better accommodate Western Wisconsin communities, specifically Pierce County, as well as to offer a complete range of grief services, the locally owned and operated O’Connell Family Funeral Homes are merging their St. Croix and Pierce County locations in Hudson, Baldwin, Ellsworth, Prescott, and River Falls. The Pierce County funeral homes, previously owned by Tom & Mike O’Connell and a partner, will now be run solely by the O'Connell Family and their dedicated staff. Each site will remain open and, with their unification, will now have the benefit of streamlined operations and consistent offerings, including on-site cremation.

     

    “We aren’t trying to get bigger,” says funeral director Mike O’Connell, “only looking to assist the surrounding areas with more resources, while continuing to treat every family as if they were our own. We have great overlap between the families we serve in Hudson & Baldwin and with the communities of Pierce County. It only made sense to bring them all together so we can serve the communities even better.”


    The O’Connell family has a long and trusted relationship with Hudson, starting with Frank O’Connell back in 1926. One of the first graduates of the University of Minnesota Mortuary Science program, he opened a mortuary in Hudson that operated until the end of World War II.
     
    In 1985, Frank’s nephew, Thomas P. "Tucker" O'Connell, brought the family business back to Hudson. With the help of his two sons, Dan and Mike, they worked diligently to reconnect with the community and provide much-needed services. And, like the Irish Claddagh in their logo, they honor what's important to all of us - Love, Loyalty, and Friendship - when celebrating a life lived. Although Tom and Dan have since passed, their legacy lives on. Mike and his team continue their tradition of exemplary personal care and commitment to the families of St. Croix and Pierce Counties, as well the greater Western Wisconsin area and beyond, including Minnesota.


    One of the most important and significant results of the merger is the accessibility to the on-site crematory at the Baldwin location – a dignified option for all families working with any of the O’Connell locations. According to their website, “In response to our growing unease when using an off-site crematorium for our families, [we] opened our own state-of-the-art crematory in 2005.” “The result has been overwhelming. We control EVERY aspect of the process while offering an unparalleled customized service for each family at an affordable price.”


    A local crematory operated by a small funeral business reduces the need for sending the deceased increasingly far away or even out-of-state for cremations to be handled by untrained individuals. The cremations at Baldwin are operated solely by licensed funeral directors and those with Crematory Operator training, and even by the same staff who have walked with the families earlier during the funeral arranging process. This familiarity for families creates consistency and a commitment for exceptional care.

    Head to our website to read the full blog. 

    • 12 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Education

TED and PRX
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson
The Atlantic
Daily Stoic | Wondery
Lauryn Evarts & Michael Bosstick / Dear Media
Motiversity