‘More than a Mulligan’ golf scramble set for Sept. 23

Community Church Oxford will host its second annual “More Than a Mulligan” golf scramble on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Mallard Pointe Golf Course.

Money raised will go toward the church’s recovery ministries, one of the church’s many outreaches.

Tee time is 8 a.m. for the four-person scramble, and men and women players are invited. Registration is $100 per player.

To register a team or to be a sponsor, visit. www.communityoxford.com or call 662-380-5014. 

‘The Art of a Funeral’ – The Planning Process

Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford hosted the third session – “The Planning Process” – of its series, “The Art of a Funeral,” on Tuesday, August 15.

The first two sessions, held in June and July respectively, discussed the purposes and customs behind funerals and dispelled misconceptions about it.
Glenn Coleman, who owns the company in partnership with Dr. Tom Fowlkes, said the purpose of the series is educate consumers about funeral planning so they can make informed choices that both fulfill their wishes and meet their families’ needs.


Deciding before crisis

“There are two sides to the pre-planning process,” Coleman said. “One side is the financial aspects, and the other is what songs you want, who you want to officiate, what pictures you want to use in the video, and other details of your service.”

Glenn Coleman stressed the value of pre-planning one’s funeral. Choosing between burial or cremation is one of the biggest decisions, and then come details about music, officiants, pallbearers, and more.

“There can be around 125 different decisions when someone dies and no plans have been made ahead of time,” he said. “When I sit down to meet with families and am gathering information for the obituary, the death certificate, etc., lots of times I’m asking for information that surviving family members have no idea about. They wind up having a long list of homework to do on a day that’s already one of the most stressful days in their life. With pre-planning, you can make most decisions and secure most information ahead of time.”

Another value of pre-planning is being able to locate and store vital documents from Social Security cards and insurance policies to marriage licenses and military records.

“I talk to families all the time that say, ‘I know Mom had three insurance policies,’ but they don’t know where the policies are or even which companies they’re with,” Glenn Coleman said. “You can plan pretty much every detail out except the date of the service.”

Planning ahead can free survivors to grieve and support each other instead of stressing over seemingly endless details.

“Even if you don’t pay for a single thing, make sure that the funeral home that you wish to handle your services knows what you want,” he said. “When something happens, the kids are notified, and they come in and finalize the arrangements – dates, times, and logistical issues – and then allow the funeral home to get the word out to everybody through newspaper obituaries, social media, websites. Such a huge burden is lifted from them right then.”


Pre-paid planning

Many folks choose not just to leave instructions for their funeral services but also to pre-pay to eliminate a financial burden on their survivors. In previous times funeral homes usually kept pre-paid monies in trust, but to provide adequate oversight most are handled today as insurance policies or annuities.

“The insurance product is what I recommend people’s putting their funeral payments into,” Glenn Coleman said. “An insurance policy acts just like a life insurance policy. If you take out a policy and die a week later, the company covers your funeral expenses.”

With either an annuity or an insurance policy, one of the biggest advantages is locking in the cost of funeral services.

“If you pre-arrange, the cost is frozen at today’s costs,” he said, adding that Coleman Funeral Home usually offers credits toward urns, monuments or other related purchases for pre-paying in full.


Painless procedure

Glenn Coleman acknowledged that planning one’s own funeral requires facing one’s own mortality – an exercise many people would rather avoid.

“I don’t ask you to dwell on it, but I ask you to think about it long enough to make some decisions,” he said. “You may be a billionaire and your family won’t have any trouble paying for anything, but there are still things you have to decide for yourself.”

Another advantage of pre-planning, he said, is the ability to compare prices and services.

“I encourage you to shop. This is a relatively big purchase for most families,” Coleman said. “We’re one of the only funeral homes in the State of Mississippi that I know of that puts all our pricing on our website. We’re very transparent; we try to make our prices available as many ways as we can.”


Avoid guilt spending

Pre-planning also eliminates the temptation for survivors to assuage their guilt by purchasing more than their loved one might have wanted in their funeral.

“You don’t want your family to go through ‘emotional overspending,’” Glenn Coleman said. “What I see often is when things are not planned ahead. Mom or Dad have been in an extended care facility for 10 years, and the kids have all moved off and haven’t been able to visit as often as they wanted to. Some family members may feel guilt, and they equate that to, ‘The more I spend, the less guilt I’ll feel.’

“As a business owner, I’d like to sell a bronze casket every time, but what I won’t do as a funeral home operator is to play on people’s emotions,” he said. “It is a business, but it is also a ministry and a community platform. It does the family no good when they already struggling to have me throw a $5,000 bill on top of everything else that they can’t pay. What alleviates the need is pre-planning.”


Olive Branch series

Coleman Funeral Home will repeat the entire “The Art of a Funeral” series at its new Olive Branch facility, hosting each with a light lunch buffet included. Session One – “Why Should One Have a Funeral?” – will be Tuesday, August 22, with “Myths vs. Facts” following on Tuesday, Sept. 12 and “The Planning Process” on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Each event is free to the public, but attendees are encouraged to RSVP for each session by noon on the day before by contacting Jeremy Roberts, Director of Operations and Event Services for Coleman Funeral Home, at [email protected] or (662) 893-3900.

“The Art of a Funeral: Myths vs. Facts”

Oxford-Lafayette residents were treated to an inside view of the funeral industry on July 18 when Coleman Funeral Home hosted the second presentation in its three-part series, “The Art of a Funeral.”

“I get questions almost on a daily basis about some topics,” said funeral director and embalmer Glenn Coleman, who co-owns the establishment with Tom Fowlkes. “We are trying to educate you, the consumer, about issues and misconceptions in the funeral industry. Some are legal, some technical, some about customs.”

In Mississippi, Coleman said, funeral establishments are required by law to have a suitable space to host funerals, space for viewings, a merchandise room with at least six full-size caskets available at any given time, and an embalming facility.

He explained that embalming replaces most of the body’s own fluids with liquid chemicals as one of several ways to enhance a deceased person’s appearance. More importantly, it preserves the person’s body, extending by several days the time available for funeral services or transporting.

In answer to an audience question, Coleman said embalming is not always required.

“It is required for public viewings,” he said. “It is not required simply for immediate family members to have a last look at their loved one.”

Embalming is also required for shipping a body by air or if the body will be transported across state lines.

“There’s some gray area on crossing state lines,” Glenn Coleman said. “A lot of North Mississippi people die in Memphis hospitals, for instance, and it’s understood it’s OK to transport them back to a Mississippi funeral home without embalming.”

Cremation reduces an adult body to a few pounds of minerals. A mobile population, land scarcity in some regions, and personal preferences drive nearly half of Americans to choose cremation.

“We’re more traditional around here, where a lot of folks still want to bury Grandmama in the family plot,” Glenn Coleman said. “Cremation rates in Mississippi and Alabama are around 12 percent.”

When most people think of cremation, he said, they’re probably thinking of “direct cremation” – usually the most cost-effective option – in which cremains are returned to survivors and no further services are involved.

“I think your family misses out on something if there’s no funeral service,” Coleman said. “You may not want to the ‘full meal deal,’ but they need some type of memorial service, in my opinion, to help them through the grieving process and the transition that a memorial service provides.”

Cremation can be done either before or after a funeral.

“You can choose cremation and the person can still be embalmed, have a traditional viewing and a full funeral with a casket,” Coleman said. “The difference is, we head to the crematory to start the cremation process instead of the cemetery for burial. Then we return the cremains to the family.”

Cremains can be buried, scattered, kept in an urn, or made into jewelry and glassware. Cremation also opens options for a person’s remains to be scattered – over mountains or an ocean, on a family farm, in a favorite hunting spot – that would not be practical for burial. (For prices starting at around $2,000 and skyrocketing from there, some companies will even send symbolic portions of cremains into outer space.)

Glenn Coleman told of one Boston Red Sox fan, most of whose cremains were interred at his wife’s grave. Survivors reserved a tiny portion, traveled together to Fenway Park, and dropped a pinch of him over the railing into the outfield during the seventh-inning stretch while other fans were singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

Coleman added, chuckling, “Now, as a funeral professional, I have to tell you, ‘You shouldn’t do that. You don’t need to scatter in public places.’”

Audience questions raised a host of other topics. Among other answers, Glenn Coleman gave these observations:

·         Whether grave vaults are required is up to individual cemeteries.

·         Gasketed metal caskets keep elements out longer than wood or non-gasketed metal caskets.

·         Many rural cemeteries must plan for funding long-term maintenance or face the likelihood of abandonment with a generation or two.

·         Organ donation depends not just on signing a card but on securing the agreement of close survivors; organ harvest from donors almost always happens in a hospital.

·         If cremains are not buried, having a permanent marker or a favorite symbolically to “visit” the loved one can be a help to surviving family members.

Both sessions of the informal seminar ended with a visit to Coleman Funeral Home’s casket display room and, for a few adventurous souls, its clinic-like prep room.

“I hope you have learned something worthwhile today,” Glenn Coleman saidOn August 15, Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford will host the third session in its “The Art of a Funeral” series at noon and 6 p.m.

The sessions – “Why Should One Have a Funeral?” “Myths vs. Facts,” and “The Planning Process” – will be repeated at the new Coleman Funeral Home facility in Olive Branch (6815 Parkview Boulevard, across from the YMCA) at noon on Aug. 22, Sept. 12, and Oct. 5. A light lunch will be served.

RSVPs are encouraged and can be made by either calling the facility (Oxford – 662-234-3900 – or Olive Branch – 662-893-3900) or emailing Jeremy Roberts, Director of Operations & Event Services ([email protected]) by noon the day before the event.

Support groups helpful to grieving folks

A support group can be invaluable to folks in the grip of grief. Here are a few available in Oxford currently or soon:


Sponsor: Wright Counseling Group

Location: 224 Old Taylor Road

Time: Thursdays, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Curriculum: Wright Counseling Group’s custom program (stages of grief; early days of grief; understanding and coping with emotions; self-care while grieving; reflecting on your loved one’s life; coping with anniversaries and holidays; adjusting to a new journey in life)

Entry: Any session

Cost: $35 per session or $200 for all seven weeks

For more information: 662-202-7332 or www.wrightcounselinggroup.com


Sponsor: Camellia Hospice

Location: Brookdale Assisted Living, 100 Azalea Drive (game room on 2nd floor)

Time: Thursdays, 10 a.m.

Curriculum: “Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essentials for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart” by Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D.

Entry: Any session

Cost: No charge

For more information: Rev. Marjorie Buckley, Camellia Hospice, 662-238-7771


Sponsor: Wellspring Community Church (current session ending June 29; new session starting late summer)

Location: 119 County Road 303 (Old Taylor Road)

Time: Thursdays, 6-8 p.m.

Curriculum: GriefShare (video presentations by experts; support group discussion; personal study and reflection)

Entry: Any session

Cost: $20 for materials

For more information: Jennifer Neal, Wellspring Community Church, 601-937-1919

When the calls and visits taper off

In the shock of the loss of a loved one, it seems impossible to believe that the world keeps moving.

You see people driving along the highway to jobs, classes, ball games, and social events, and you wonder how their worlds could remain so normal while yours has fallen apart.

You flinch at the realization that a few pages over from your loved one’s obituary, people are still seeking out the comics, baseball scores, and advice columns as usual.

Early support

One upside of the first few days after a death is that emotional support and practical help are often plentiful: Family and friends are close at hand, and even casual acquaintances who know of your loss will be solicitous about your feelings and needs.

Then, it changes. A few days after the funeral you may find yourself in a quiet house, wondering how to live in a space that seems strangely unfamiliar. Within a month, the calls and cards may have tapered off. Eventually, most people stop mentioning your loved one. It may even seem the world has forgotten you. So, what do you do now?

Ongoing helps

No one has all the answers, but here are a few suggestions:

·         Join a grief support group. (Call Coleman Funeral Home at 662-234-3900 for some meeting times and places, or read this blog.) People going through agony together can bring comfort to each other that “normal” people cannot. Support groups also provide practical advice that help you see your loss in new and helpful ways.

·         Spend time with someone who’s ahead of you in recovering from grief. Friends who have rebuilt their lives after similar losses may have insights and encouragements that will help you.

·         Let others know you’re still hurting. When friends ask how you are, don’t try to wear a smiley face that belies your pain.

·         Keep a journal. For some people, working out their feelings in writing offers a kind of healing different from talking to others.

·         Don’t be a hermit. Give yourself private time to grieve, certainly, but don’t cut yourself off from other people. Friends may be unsure about when you want company, so take the initiative if necessary.

·         Part of that initiative-taking may be resuming activities that gave you pleasure and purpose – church, social activities, athletics, arts, volunteering, family gatherings, etc. – before your loss.

Don’t be forced into something before you’re ready: Grieving has no defined timeline, route, or destination. Nevertheless, it is a journey that requires forward motion to make progress.