May 2022

Page A4 MAY 2022 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A By Nancy Weil The people file into the service. Their faces show the sadness that is in their hearts as they come to remember and honor their loved ones. Many stop to tell me how grateful they are for this service, this opportunity to come together in grief and to recognize their loss. The service is filled with song, poems and stories. It is only when the names begin to be read that the difference between this and our other memorial services becomes apparent. Solemnly we recite: Pumpkin, Cocoa, Tinker, Peanuts and Scooter. As each person rises the tears flow. Many have come to remember multiple losses. Our pets live such short lives, but their impact upon our hearts is profound. The emotions in the room are different than at our other human-focused remembrance services. Perhaps it stems from this being an unrecognized loss. People are not given bereavement leave from work when their cat dies. There are no dinners brought over or flowers sent. For many this is a disenfranchised grief. That is why we receive such heartfelt gratitude from those who attend. We are recognizing their loss and allowing them a safe space to grieve. I encourage you to plan your own pet remembrance service this year. Having run them for so long, I can make it simple for you to plan a program. From invitation to marketing to the service itself, I have information you can use. There is one key difference when planning this service versus your usual remembrance program and that is inviting in community partners. Fill your cemetery chapel or funeral home with informational tables hosted by local pet stores, doggie daycares, groomers, pet rescues and others who work with pets. The event will become part remembrance program and part “pet fair.” So, what’s in it for you? Where is the benefit to your business to host these events? There are several reasons why it makes sense for you to extend yourself to the pet community, whether or not you have a pet cemetery or pet funeral home. • Community Outreach – Sales are based upon relationships and you can build upon your reputation as the cemetery or funeral home that cares. By hosting this event, you continue to meet people you may not otherwise get the chance to know. More importantly, they get to know a name and a face from your organization and know that you are available, if they ever need your services. • Building Awareness – You will be raising awareness of your beautiful facility. Hundreds of people may drive by your building every day, yet never stop in. By giving them a reason to come through your doors, you have the opportunity to show off your building and answer questions they may have about funerals, cremation, burial or other end-of-life decisions they may have wanted to ask, but never did. • Grief Support – If you offer other grief support programs, you can share informational pamphlets about the other programs you run. Attendees will experience the healing atmosphere that occurs, as your pet memorial service is held with the same reverence that all of your services contain. The support and healing that takes place is evident. • Build Bridges with Your Local Professional Community – Through these services you can forge a good relationship with business owners who work with animals. Ask a local florist to donate the floral arrangements for this service, especially if they can create a dog and cat out of chrysanthemums. Visit veterinarian offices and request that they allow you to put up an invitation poster in their waiting rooms. • Stay in Touch with the Families You Serve – Send invitations to the people you have already served at your cemetery or funeral home. Many of these families have had a pet and will appreciate this added grief support program. This touchpoint allows you to reconnect and continue to forge a lasting relationship. • Free Publicity – Radio, television and newspaper may all cover your event. Perhaps your local drive time radio DJ is an animal lover, like ours was, and will have you on their show. Even a short story on the local news is free publicity for your company and raises community awareness that differentiates you from your comConnecting with the Pet Community Serving as Member Resources Director at the International Order of the Golden Rule, Nancy Weil brings her years of experience working in the funeral industry to funeral directors across the globe. Her professional experience includes serving as Director of Grief Support and Community Outreach at Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, FL and at eleven cemeteries in Western New York. Nancy travels throughout the country offering presentations on how to reduce stress, combat compassion fatigue and offer support for those who are grieving through her company, The Laugh Academy. With certifications as a Grief Services Provider and Grief ManagementSpecialist, FuneralCelebrant, Soul InjuryAmbassador and Laughter Leader, Nancy is uniquely qualified to bring new perspectives into how to best meet the needs of the families you serve. For more information on how Nancy can help you and your company grow, visit her website: or email F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at petition. Any time you can get your name out into the community in a positive light without charge is a plus. These programs will allow you to harness the power of the press to spread the word. • Build a Database – Retain contact information from all attendees so that you can invite them to future events that you host. Over the years, our list grew to over 600 families that had come through our door for this event. That’s 600 families we met and that had met our staff and visited our facilities. Pet lovers are passionate about their fur friends – in life and in death. The industry for pet loss is growing and we must cater to this population. To not outreach to this demographic is a mistake, whether or not you can bury their pet. So, hold a memorial service and begin to build bridges to this community. Your business will benefit from it. Ready to get started? Contact me at NWeil@OGR. org for a pet remembrance service template and other details to help make your planning simpler. World’s Largest Human Body Composting Facility Makes History with First Death Tech Equity Crowdfunding Campaign Vessel with Flowers and Clothing SEATTLE,WA— Return Home, the world’s only large-scale Terramation facility, has launched the first equity crowdfunding campaign in the death-tech space and has raised over $250,000 from investors in its first weekend online. Terramation, otherwise known as natural organic reduction, utilizes a combination of sensors, software, and specially constructed vessels to gently transform human remains into fertile soil in only 60 days. The soil is given to loved ones to use as they wish. In Terramation, bodies are placed into custom-engineered vessels filled with organic materials (like straw) and inside of which air, moisture, and temperature are computer-regulated to rapidly accelerate the decomposition process. Naturally occurring microbes turn bodies into soil without chemicals or other pollutive additives. Modern burial methods pollute the earth with toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, and a single cremation emits 550 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere while burning 30 gallons of fuel. Return Home’s natural Terramation process provides a sustainable, earth-friendly alternative that allows every person to pay the gift of life forward, ensuring our last act on this planet is to give back to it. Return Home’s $3,000,000 initial facility has already helped 40 families and is capable of Terramating 74 bodies per month. Funds raised in the Start Engine crowdfunding campaign will be used to expand operations in Washington and later into a number of states which have already legalized natural organic reduction. Funerals and related services are a $20 billion industry, and Return Home believes that 5 years from now at least 5 percent of all Americans who die will choose Terramation as their end-of-life option. Founder and CEO Micah Truman said, “We at Return Home are incredibly excited to offer the first crowdfunding investment opportunity in the death technology space. There have been only two highly polluting options - burial or cremation- for far too long. The processes we’ve invented at Return Home over the last couple of years appeal to anyone who wishes to leave an environmental legacy while giving their loved ones the gift of fertile soil to use as they see fit. It has been incredibly gratifying to offer help to families during some of the most difficult times in our lives. We can’t wait until every family in America has access to death care services that enable them to make their last act on earth one that gives back to the planet.” For more information, visit Random Musings