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AN ADVERTISING SECTION OF THE STATE NEWSPAPER | FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2017


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FRIDAY JULY 21 2017

...........................................................................................................THE STATE

How to handle death? Cry, hospice pastor says BY MARK BREDHOLT

Special to The State

“Tears are the noble language of the eye.” – Robert Herrick (1591-1674), English poet and cleric

Death, loss and pain have been three of my closest companions throughout my 64 years. In my last two years of high school and my first two years of college, I worked for a small, country funeral home. Later, the twists and turns of life brought me into the unique world of hospice care, where I spent 34 Bredholt years as a chaplain. I have concluded my formal ties to hospice and have transitioned into being on-call to local funeral homes when a family needs help and guidance with a funeral or memorial service. On hundreds of occasions, I have been asked the same question over and over again. How do you handle all that death? The answer is a fairly short one. I cry. My tears have been a healing balm and the gift of restoring balance and understanding for the world I must navigate. I am not sure when this gift arrived. I remember crying from watching movies like “Old Yeller,” “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” in my childhood. President Kennedy’s death and funeral was so sad and scary to my brief 10 years of life, but the gift of my tears connected me to all the other people who were crying, and I felt better that I was not alone in my grief. I have a question that I have been

working on for many years now. Have you ever noticed that when people cry they almost always apologize to the people who are present in that holy moment. Why? Part of the answer is that people keep telling other people to be strong when they are feeling everything but strong. A big part of our culture believes that crying is weakness. I have learned to tell people it is better to be healthy than to be strong. Tears keep us healthy and human. Tears connect us to other special gifts as well. Tears honor truth and love in our relationships, and I am pretty sure the world could use more of those two virtues. I still cry for a little boy I served in my early years of being a hospice chaplain. He was 8 years old and was dying of

AIDS. He was living in a foster home with a God-sent loving and wise mother. One day he asked me to help him plan his funeral. It was a hard moment – and a task I was not ready for. He insisted; he was not going to let the matter go. We talked about what he knew of funerals and what he wanted in his service.

He knew the song he wanted (“Jesus Loves Me”), the three people he wanted to speak and the Bible story of Jesus holding and blessing children (Mark 10). I kept looking at his beautiful eyes and listening to the childlike voice who spoke with such grace about the service we were planning. I was exhausted and felt the planning was over, but he had one more question for me. He wanted to know if I could get him a white suit to be buried in. I knew that I could probably get him 10 white suits. At that moment the inner child who lived in me wanted to know what was so important about having a white suit. He told me of his losses – which included the death of his mother, an absentee father, and other people who stopped coming around because he had AIDS. He then explained to me that he wanted a white suit because everyone in heaven wears white, and for once, he just going to be like everyone else and have a place to belong. I nodded without words, gave him a hug and told him not to worry. The mist of tears began to form, and by the time I reached my car, the baptism was complete. I cried at the funeral. I cried at the burial. I cry 29 years later, every time I pay respects at his grave or tell his story. And every tear is my way of remembering that I am grateful for all the love he shared with me and that his complete spirit travels with me every single day. May all people live their life in such a way to be worthy of tears from the hearts that love us best. Bredholt is a longtime hospice pastor who has helped more than 25,000 patients and their family members deal with death.

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PEACE OF MIND An advertising section of The State | SARA JOHNSON BORTON President and Publisher

BERNIE HELLER Vice President of Advertising

July 21, 2017

REBEKAH LEWIS HALL Special Projects Coordinator

ON THE COVER Cover design by Louie Lanford.

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FRIDAY JULY 21 2017

THE STATE.....................................................................................................

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ADVERTORIAL

Shives Funeral Home offers comfort, reverence in difficult time

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hen a loved one dies, family and friends need to gather in a place where they can honor their loved one’s memory and begin healing. We offer compassion and support at this difficult time. We live in Columbia, and being family-owned makes us unique, responsive, and flexible. We listen to what families feel is best for the loved ones and their needs. We offer choices to honor your loved one’s life. By design, our Trenholm Road Chapel, built in 2015, doesn’t feel like a funeral home. Nineteen-foot ceilings, distinctive flooring, soothing colors, and a serene atmosphere offer loved ones an elegant, modern setting. Those who value a more traditional venue may choose our Colonial Chapel for its early 20th-century atmosphere. When life’s most difficult time arrives, we’re here to provide comfort and reverence. You’ll find that we’re adaptable when it comes to your wishes and requirements. Shives Funeral Home will guide you through a path to healing where memories of your loved one remain an indelible part of your life.

BRIAN DRESSLER provided photo

RICK SMOAK provided photo


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...........................................................................................................THE STATE

FRIDAY JULY 21 2017


FRIDAY JULY 21 2017

THE STATE.....................................................................................................

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...........................................................................................................THE STATE

FRIDAY JULY 21 2017


FRIDAY JULY 21 2017

THE STATE.....................................................................................................

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ADVERTORIAL

Best time to plan final arrangements: before you need them

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our daughter comes to you saying that she is getting married in three days. Can you imagine planning a wedding in just a few days? Then, why leave the planning of your ultimate celebration to the last minute? Planning your own end-of-life celebration can afford you the security of knowing your wishes will be carried out, freeing your loved ones of those decisions. want to ease the 1IfYou burden on your family. your wishes are unknown when you die, your family will have to make difficult decisions during a trying time. Do they know if you prefer to be buried or cremated? Will they agree on an open or closed casket? Will they agree on how much to

spend? Confusion and disagreements are common occurrences when there is no plan to follow. You may even want to hold a celebration before your physical death, in order to participate in your own unique gathering. want to assume the 2yourYou financial responsibility for celebration. Planning ahead enables you to make financial arrangements to cover your celebration costs. Even if you are leaving behind sufficient money, will your survivors be able to access it at the time of your death? You want your family to 3meaningful have the benefit of a celebration. A celebration is an important event for a grieving family.

Q&A SUZANNE TURKIEWICZ ELKINS Elkins is general manager for Thompson Funeral Homes in Lexington, West Columbia and Columbia; Greenlawn Memorial Park; Woodridge Funeral Home and Memorial Park; and George Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Aiken.

Q: What does your business do? A: We serve thousands of Midlands families before a death occurs, at the time of death, and for many years after. Q.

A.

usually pretty quiet in the next seat the remainder of the trip. If I tell them I’m the general manger for a cluster of amazing, innovative celebration centers and properties, they ask me questions the entire trip! It’s my belief that everyone has a story. Q: You’d never guess that: A: A funeral home or memorial park is a great place to work! Q.

A.

Q: What’s the one question people should ask you, but usually don’t? A: When I travel, especially on planes, people ask me what I do. If I say I’m a funeral director, it’s Q.

A.

celebration services, you can clearly express them in your celebration plan. You may have preferences regarding burial or cremation, the epitaph on your headstone, or the music and readings at your celebration. Or you may not want a celebration ceremony. Whatever your wishes, they need to be set forth in your plan.

Q: What is your mission? A: Our mission is driven by five truths that keep us true to our principles. As the funeral Q.

A.

You want to be self-reliant 5 and have your affairs in order.

Psychologically, it enables the family to begin the healing process. It is difficult to make the celebration the best it can be when planning is rushed.

You want your final wishes 4If you to be followed. have specific prefer-

industry changes, it is these five truths – partnership, relationships, innovation, compassion and a focus on people – that guide us. Partnership: We honor the unique identities and personalities of our partners in the community, our first responders, and those who provide services to us, so that we may take care of our families. Relationships: Everything we do revolves around relationships – with families, clergy, communities, hospice, health care providers and hospitals. We nurture and build these relationships because people matter. Innovation: With the growth of cremation and a reduced number of people seeking traditional funeral services, we understand how business has changed. We develop new ideas and technologies that make what we do truly unique and valuable to families. Compassion: We must never forget that the greatest value we

offer people is human compassion. We demonstrate our empathy in real, meaningful ways, which, in turn, engenders trust from the families we serve. A focus on people: By taking care of our own funeral directors, family care specialists, ambassadors, drivers, embalmers, grounds crew and administrative staff members, we can, in turn, provide exceptional care to our families.

ences for the disposition of your remains and the nature of your

Q: Why did you choose this career? A: What we do makes a difference in the lives of our community. Most people only experience a death a few times in their lives, so they count on us to treat their loved one and them with respect, dignity, compassion and understanding. Every family, every situation, every deceased individual has a unique life – a story to share with all who knew and supported them. Q.

A.

Taking care of your end-oflife celebration is a thoughtful and caring thing to do for your family – and you can be assured that they will appreciate your continued care for them. Any time is a good time to plan your celebration – except the time of death.

Q: What have you learned the hard way? A: Success means different things to different people. Each individual on your team is motivated in different ways. Make sure you understand how your organization goals are aligned to individual goals to drive results. Q.

A.

Q: What’s the secret to good business? A: Always do the right thing – not the easy thing, the right thing. If you make a mistake – we all do – own up to it, correct it and learn from it. Bad news does not get better with time. Treat your team with respect, empower them to make the right decisions, and then always back them up. Trust in yourself and in others. Q.

A.

Q: What do you love about doing business in Columbia? A: People in the Midlands are amazing – they have such passion for our community! Q.

A.


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...........................................................................................................THE STATE

FRIDAY JULY 21 2017

Peace of Mind, 2017  

A guide to hospice care, funeral homes and end-of-life decisions in Columbia and the Midlands of South Carolina. An advertising section of T...

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