Guidance from Jennings Funeral Directors
That first Christmas after we lose someone close to us can be particularly painful but we don’t have to struggle alone in this even if we choose to withdraw a little from seasonal cheer.
Arranging funerals here in Dublin, Jennings Funeral Directors, like all undertakers, are well-placed to understand the value of good communication during and after a funeral – we know the cost and the impact of bereavement – and not just the financial sense. The cost of a funeral – helping families by offering low cost funeral options with high quality service – that remains an important part of our service to you.
But Jennings Funeral Directors also understand how a death in the family can almost take the shape of a body-blow, all but knocking any of us out of our standing. And the ghost of Christmas coming up can feel difficult for a vulnerable family in mourning. A woman in Amiens St who had buried her mother in September was in buying a Christmas Ponsietta plant from the Jennings florist and she put it best:
‘I’ve just been battling the crowds in Smyths Toyshop to buy my grand-daughter one of those Hatchimals. I’d actually like to cancel Christmas altogether – it feels like Mam’s funeral was only yesterday – but for the sake of the family I have to make some bit of an effort’.
Jennings take seriously their place at the core of community life – even after a funeral, links with the family are maintained. People are given space to air what’s going on with them. Somebody might have simply popped in with a query about a death certificate, or to collect a fresh floral wreath before visiting a grave.
Sharing Our Concerns
At any branch of Jennings Funeral Directors, as people call in and out, it’s often in the everyday encounters that questions arise. And as often happens in matters of life, (and death!) it’s in the middle of an ordinary task like waiting for flowers, or an extra copy of a funeral invoice to be printed, or talking about the Dublin weather, that the recently bereaved person will share with their Jennings Funeral Director about how they’re getting on with the painful challenges of loss and grief, day by day, what works for them, and what proves difficult to cope with.
Christmas time comes up again and again.
As Funeral Directors, Jennings convey a relaxed open-door policy – and that seems to free people to open up – whether that’s Jennings of Amiens St at the Five Lamps, Jennings of Raheny on the Springdale Road, Jennings in Blanchardstown Village, or our spacious Funeral Home at Oscar Traynor Road.
The Funeral Arrangements – The Importance of Support.
Unless the death occurs in December, Christmas doesn’t really arise during the funeral itself. That’s because a significant feature of Irish funerals is the deep level of community support in the immediate wake of bereavement. And during those first days of shock and loss after somebody dies, the family are kept busy. Even though the Funeral Director makes the arrangements, at Jennings, we place the family at the heart of it all in creating a meaningful tribute. And that’s before you consider friends and neighbours who rally around.
When you think about it – in a real sense the typical Irish funeral procession can be said to literally carry the grieving family through the early days – supporting them through the funeral services and all the attending rituals of departure.
Christmas In Difficult Times Of Loss And Bereavement:
But what about the weeks and months after you’ve suffered bereavement? Birthdays and anniversaries are challenging, but Christmas above all can evoke so much emotion and trigger all our connection with the person we miss so much.
I was reminded of this the other day at work – our Coolock branch of Jennings Funeral Directors on the Oscar Traynor Rd. Paul came in to settle the account for his Mum’s funeral. A quiet reflective young man in his 30s, he was deeply appreciative of how much meaning and care had gone into the planning of his Mum’s funeral.
One particular aspect of Jennings funeral service proved very comforting.
‘You let us know that we didn’t have to ‘rush’ to the church. Mam died on the Monday and we had the Funeral Mass on Thursday to give people a chance to get home from the UK’.
Paul went on to explain that it wasn’t just the emigrants that benefitted. The longer Reposal time in our Chapel of Rest gave the extended family great solace – just more time to gather and connect and support each other.
‘I wish Christmas was as simple and clear as our funeral arrangements’. Stephen’s problem was he had boxed himself into a Christmas Day invitation that involved a big family gathering with all the trimmings including many small children – normally good fun – but not directly after losing his Mum. Trying not to offend anyone was starting to feel as complicated as building a Lego Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster.
His friends Mark and Anne in Raheny said they’d love to have Stephen for Christmas at their place – but they did point out that they liked a more alternative Christmas – chicken curry instead of turkey, board games instead of boring TV repeats, a stencilled wall tree instead of the real thing. After talking to us in Jennings – Stephen was way more relaxed.
“I’d actually love a different type of Christmas. It means I won’t be reminded of my Mum’s potato stuffing out of the Aga cooker she loved.”
A memory as warm as the Aga itself, but the cost was a bit too unbearable for Stephen when it’s only been a few months since his Mum’s funeral. Stephen came to realise that his family would not mind a bit as long as his Christmas plans felt right for the occasion. His sister wondered if he wouldn’t just book a Ryanair ticket, get right away from funerals and cemeteries and Christmas sadness. Again – that felt like a bridge too soon for Stephen. “I can just about cope with Raheny, but a low cost flight to the Costa-Del-Whatever almost feels more stressful than the funeral itself.”
Grief Moves On, Things Become Lighter.
Stephen was all the better for having called into the funeral home at Oscar Traynor Road. But talking is a two-way street – and client feedback also helps the Funeral Director. Improved funeral standards is what Jennings is all about – Stephen reminding me how we need to let people know of good service ethos already in place. Jennings offer all sorts of choices to families – from low cost funerals to a wide variety of gathering spaces and floral options. But also funeral schedules that suit.
Families often don’t realise that they don’t have to charge full tilt at the Funeral Arrangements. We make a point of letting you know that you have time to breathe and choose your Funeral day that suits and Jennings work with you to ensure it doesn’t have to cost any more. Stephen’s family really liked the longer Reposal time.
Other people may have a deep need to move things along quickly. At Jennings Funeral Directors, we remain respectfully led by what feels right for the family after a dearly loved person passes away.
Like that very first Christmas and how you might, or might not, mark an occasion that evokes so much. And it’s worth remembering too that as time goes on, Christmas becomes a happier time where those deeply cherished memories of our beloved departed relatives can bring pleasure and warmth again.