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    A Brief History of Dia de los Muertos

    Last updated 9 months ago

    Dia de los Muertos, otherwise known as the Day of the Dead, is a holiday celebrated throughout Latin America and most notably in Mexico. It is celebrated on the first and second of November. During the holiday, families visit cemeteries to honor their deceased loved ones.

    History of Dia de los Muertos

    The indigenous people of central Mexico have been celebrating Dia de los Muertos for at least 3,000 years. It had been celebrated throughout the month of August, which was the ninth month on the Aztec Solar Calendar. Hundreds of years ago, the Spanish conquistadors attempted to eradicate the tradition because they believed it was an abomination that dishonored the dead. Their attempts were unsuccessful, and today the holiday of Dia de los Muertos is widely celebrated in various forms throughout Latin America and parts of the U.S.

    Perceptions of Death

    Dia de los Muertos had been born of the belief that life does not end at death; instead, it is merely a transformation to be embraced. Those who celebrate Dia de los Muertos believe that the dead are still part of their cherished community, and that mourning them would be insulting. Instead, the dead are celebrated and honored on this holiday.

    Symbols of Dia de los Muertos

    While Dia de los Muertos may take on slightly different forms depending on where it is celebrated, the basic elements generally remain the same. Celebrants wear calacas, which are wooden skull masks. Other familiar symbols are calaveras, or skeletons.

    Activities to Honor the Dead

    On Dia de los Muertos, families visit cemeteries to care for the gravesites, and to decorate them with candles and marigolds. Families have picnics next to the graves, eating the favorite foods of the deceased loved one. The calacas may be placed on altars. Some families have sugar skulls engraved with the name of the deceased. These sugar skulls are then consumed by relatives and friends.

    At Chapel of the Chimes, our funeral home professionals personalize your loved one’s end-of-life services to fit his or her cultural and religious background. We encourage Hayward-area families to visit our beautiful grounds and speak with one of our caring staff members about funeral service options, cremation services, and memorialization choices. Contact us at (510) 471-3363 and let us know how we can help you honor your loved one.

    Comforting a Friend Who Is Grieving

    Last updated 9 months ago

    It’s often difficult to know how to comfort the bereaved. Everyone experiences grief in different ways; adjust your actions and words to your friend’s needs. For example, your friend may not want to talk a great deal in the initial days after the death. However, he or she may appreciate your simple physical presence. Give your friend a shoulder to cry on. When your friend is ready to talk, try to avoid platitudes. Instead, mention how much you admired the lost loved one and express your sympathy. When you watch this video, you’ll learn about the importance of staying connected with your friend long after the funeral. 

    Remember special dates, such as birthdays and holidays, and check in on your friend during those times. This video also explains how you can help your friend in practical ways, such as by offering to do chores.

    When you choose Chapel of the Chimes for funeral planning, cremation services, and memorialization, you’re never alone in your grief. Reach out to our community and access our online counseling services 24/7. Residents of the Hayward area can learn more about our grief resources by calling (510) 471-3363.

    Tips for Communicating with Someone Who Is Grieving

    Last updated 10 months ago

    Since each person grieves in his or her own way, it’s important to adjust the way in which you communicate to that individual’s experience and needs. Often, there’s no need to say a great deal to one who is grieving. Many people who have suffered a loss can derive comfort from your mere presence. You might offer to sit with your friend for a while and offer a hug or a shoulder to cry on, before and after the funeral service. When your friend is ready to talk about his or her loss, consider using the following tips for communication.

    Avoid Directives and Opinions

    When you’re speaking with a bereaved friend, you are no doubt trying to offer words of comfort to him or her. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to say something that inadvertently causes hurt or minimizes the grief experience. You can avoid these missteps by refraining from providing opinionated statements, such as “I know exactly how you feel,” and “Your loved one is in a better place now,” and “It was simply your loved one’s time to go.” Instead, share cherished memories of the loved one with your friend; mention a funny story involving the loved one or discuss how much he or she meant to you. Additionally, avoid giving directives or advice, such as “You need to be strong for your family,” and “It’s time to move on with your life.” There is simply no way to “fix” the loss of a loved one.

    Offer Support and Show Love

    Instead of offering advice, let your friend know that you care about him or her. Tell your friend that you’re available any time he or she needs to talk and to let you know if he or she needs anything. You could also tell your friend that words cannot express how sorry you are for the loss and that your friend’s family will be in your thoughts.

    For more than 140 years, Chapel of the Chimes has offered compassionate, personalized end-of-life services to families of a diverse range of backgrounds, and religious and cultural traditions. The professionals at our funeral home in Hayward are always available to answer any questions you may have about our funeral services, cremation services, and pre-planning options. You can reach our funeral home at (510) 471-3363 for more information.

    Common Misconceptions About Grief and Grieving

    Last updated 10 months ago

    Many of the misconceptions regarding loss and the grieving process involve the five stages of grief. The five stages are: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is often thought that a person will naturally move through each of these five stages in order from denial to acceptance. In fact, each person is unique in his or her grieving process. While it is indeed common to experience these five stages, a person may move from denial to acceptance and then to anger—or in some other order. It’s common to feel a little better one day, yet suffer from devastating sadness the next.

    Another common misconception is that every bereaved person will experience all five stages. In fact, many people never find acceptance, just as many never go through the bargaining stage or the isolation stage. Yet another misconception about grief is that the five stages are to be taken only at face value. In other words, a person will only experience depression during that particular stage. In actuality, emotions are as complex as an individual’s personality. Depression may encompass numerous emotions ranging from despair to a feeling of emptiness.

    Grieving is often a lonely process. At Chapel of the Chimes, we’re here to help you in any way we can. You can sign up for our daily affirmations or other grief support services, and you can honor the cherished memories of your loved one with a funeral service and burial or cremation. Please call our funeral home in Hayward at (510) 471-3363 to learn more.

    Veteran Honors for Deceased Heroes

    Last updated 10 months ago

    At Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward, we’re privileged to provide a final resting place to our nation’s veterans and to be a source of comfort to their families. We offer a range of services to our veterans, designed to honor their memories and to make the funeral process easier for their family members.

    Veterans who were honorably discharged from the military are eligible to receive a free bronze memorial on behalf of the Veterans Administration. A U.S. flag to drape the casket or urn is also available upon request. There is a range of benefits for family members provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to help cover the cost of funeral expenses. Immediate family members of a deceased veteran may be eligible for discounts from Chapel of the Chimes.

    Another way we serve veterans at Chapel of the Chimes is with funeral pre-planning services. Let us answer your questions about funeral services by calling us at (510) 471-3363.   

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