Dan White at Evergreen Washelli talks about religious preferences and memorial services.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And Welcome back to the program everyone. We are here with Mr. Dan White, who is the Northwest Territory Manager for Evergreen Washelli, located at Abbey View Memorial Park and Briar and Dan, welcome to the program. Thanks, Suzanne. Glad to be here. Well, I’m glad you’re here and we have very important topic to talk about today and that is obviously about celebrations, because we all think about, you know, when I pass away. You know it doesn’t really matter, but it really does matter, doesn’t it? Yes, it does, and in fact it matters a lot to those who come to celebrate, those that come to celebrate someone whom they’ve lost. You know, we don’t typically see a lot of the traditional funerals anymore like we used to it one time, and with cremation currently at an all time high at about seventy five percent here in the northwest, we take a look at at having the flexibility to be able to schedule different lifetime celebration. So what I wanted to share with you today was just some of those unique ways that we encourage people to celebrate a life well lived. What a great idea because obviously you know, I know, I remember when my father was still alive. He said, you know, I don’t want anything special done when I die, and of course I’m sure that that’s really common for especially men, because they don’t like to be necessarily but it is a big deal, isn’t it? It’s a big deal for your loved ones. Yes, it is. It’s a very big deal. So, in talking about that, you know people go through and they’ll have a meeting with the funeral director and talk about the cremation and talk about the service some different ways that we encourage people to do. We always encourage them to bring personal items of the person, of their loved one, things of their hobbies that they had. I know you shared a story with me earlier. If you want to go ahead and use that, let’s start with that one. Oh, you mean about my mother’s my mother’s service. Well, yes, that the one, and the one with the hats. Oh, I love that one. Yeah, well, I went to a funeral not too long ago where the loved one that passed. He was an avid baseball cap collector and he probably had a hundred and fifty baseball caps hanging around and circle in his garage that he, you know, put up on a nail and when he passed away, the family actually brought them all to the the services as celebration and passed them all out and then when they had the song, a song, they asked everybody put the baseball cap on and of course the neat thing was as they all had a memento when they left because they were allowed to keep the hats and that was kind of a cool thing. Well, that’s kind of cool because that’s important because those baseball hats keep his memory alive and so whenever they’d sure whenever those people put that hat on, they think about him. Absolutely really what we’re looking and obviously there’s a lot of memories about, you know, things that he gathered. You know, where did you get that hat? You know if it was a Seahawks hat or mariners hat, and the fact that the friends, you know, the closest friends to that individual, they probably shared some of those memories, which made it even more special. So that’s very cool. So some of the other things that we’ve had. We’ve actually had a Harley motorcycle present during the service in one of our chapels and then from there, that particular individual was cremated, had a motorcycle that he built himself and one of his riding buddies actually placed his urn on the front part of the motorcycle and drove it out to Abbey View Memorial Park and we probably had close to fifty motorcycles in procession that came out there for that, which was very cool. I have the goosebumps over that. That is incredible. Me and his wife, you know, she had the opportunity and the strength to go ahead to sing a song during the placements. So that was pretty amazing and very heartfelt. Absolutely, absolutely and so incredibly honoring of the person. Yeah, obviously they were an avid motorcycle you know. Yes, it is yes and so fact he has he was young men in his S and was well looked to by the other people that were in the writing club kind of as a mentor, and to this day we still have people who come out to the cemetery and ask where he’s plays because they weren’t able to make it to the sermon, the ceremony and Oh my God, they go up and they’ll sit and spend some time just reflecting. That is awesome. That is awesome. So tell us a little bit about how. I know you say you bring special items, but to well, how do you counsel families to, you know, pull out something unique, but just simply by asking about hobbies perhaps that they were involved with? I mean we’ve done some things as far as that make it different, like an unusual guest book. We’ve had people who were great Seahawks fans actually have a Seahawks jersey and all the guests that came would sign onto the Jersey. Now the family was able to take that. We’ve had another one who was an avid boater fisherman and we’ve taken one of those huge buoys and blow it up and that was signed. As far as the guests oh well, and so there’s lots of different things that you can do that way. So we discourage and we tried to to really emphasize if you can do something that has a memento or increases the the person’s memory, then do that. So when we set up the room will encourage people to bring artifacts or things that others would appreciate that knew the person who is who has recently passed. Examples of that. We have an artist who made things out of driftwood and we probably had eight or ten tables up around and they had their own art and their driftwood pieces. We’ve had others where they’ve been an artist and we had several of the artists pieces that were there. We’ve also done some things where we’ve taken a little refrigerator magnet. A couple of them that come to come to mind are we took and took a painting and scale it down to that size of that little magnet. The people could take that home. Had others that that was. He was a very avid poker player. Was One of his one of his great past times and Hobby. So we took a royal flesh on there and the family put all in. So that was something that very, very good ways to do that and keep him in your hearts forever. So we are talking to Mr. Dan White. He is the Northwest Territory Manager of Evergreen Washelli, located at Abbey View Memorial Park in Briar and of course, for those of you that are not familiar with Briar, that is kind of in a little key hole area between Lake Forest Park and Ken Moore and Lynnwood and both Ale. Yeah, it isn’t it? Yeah, so you’re really what the other thing that I know because I got a chance to meet you guys. Is You have a wonderful place in bothel. When you’re talking about celebrations, you have a special building or you know, facility in downtown bothel that does those kinds of celebrations. Yes, that’s you. Tell me a little bit about your that location. Sure, that location actually is the original bothel funeral home. It’s been there for over one hundred years, Evergreen Washelli did purchase a back in one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine. But the name is lifetime celebrations, so it really speaks to what we’re trying to do because we really want to celebrate a life well lived. That’s really the purpose of that. So we do have a room there and we can stage it for people who want to eat and have a reception, have a nice memorial service. All kinds of different ways to do that. So we encourage people to stop by and take a look at the facility and talk with us well, and it’s a preplan it’s really nice because it’s easy access off of four or five, very convenient for people to get to. Plenty of parking, so you know, and it’s very very it’s a great location and of course, not too far from abbyview. Know, what is it like? About fifteen minutes? That’s it. Yeah, about it. So it’s great and obviously to have a procession or something thereafter. So Dan, tell me about you know, obviously you probably deal with a lot of families at need, but what about pre need? How do you how do you counsel families that are are, you know, individuals, maybe a couple, that are pre planning? How do you do that to assure that their lives are going to be remembered? Well, that’s a very good question and thank you for asking that. Sus in what we do is we have what’s called a no planning guide. So when we sit and we meet with an individual or we do meet with a couple, this this guide has a lot of questions in it and as a lot of pages that really act like a road map for whomever would be coming to visit our funeral home or another funeral home so that it will speak for the couple or the person when they’re no longer able to. So there are specific pages that will address what would you like to have as far as your service, kind of like I kind of share with people. It’s kind of like when you get married, you pick out the venue. Sure, then you have all those other decisions to make. So decided what people are going to wear, what songs are going to be played, the dancing, the catering, etc. Will you can do the same thing for a celebration of life as well and make it very special so that it’s very memorable for the the people that have been left behind. That is so important and you know, truly with with a when you’re planning your you know your own celebration at you know it when it’s time. Obviously you’re planning that celebration because of your loved ones, and so getting their feedbook back to I think is is important. As how do you remember me? What are the things that you remember most about me? Yes, that would be something, obviously to have a conversation with with you know, your parents are with you, know, with your children, yes, and even with your significant other or your spouse, because it’s hard to believe. I mean you know, I heard somebody say that we all know that we’re going to die at one time. Correct, but at the same time we don’t believe it very true. So it’s good to have those talks of a lifetime with your with the important people in your life so that at least they know, so that they can truly honor your wishes the right way and understanding that they may not always be aligned. You know, you may be doing as a married couple. In my case we’re doing two separate things and that’s okay. We’ve just had’s okay, absolutely so. Yeah, so, Dan, how can we reach you? Well, you can reach me at our main office in at Abbey View Memorial Park at four two, five, four and eighty three five, five, five, or you can certainly email me as well, or just check out our Facebook page. And this is really an important issue that every single person should be looking into in their future. So thank you for so much for being here, Dan. Thank you, Susanne.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.