Guiding Light Cremations

Remembering JFK

September 28th, 2016

I was a precocious twelve-year-old when our thirty-fifth president, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Texas one Friday afternoon on November 22, 1963. When the public announcement was made over the speaker, I was in school at the Thomas Knowlton J. H. S. 52, in the Bronx. I recall working on different angle problems during my Mechanical Drawing class. The Principal interrupted and began to broadcast live details as they unfolded. For over one hour we listened attentively to the horrors associated with President Kennedy’s untimely demise. Then we were instructed to go straight home once dismissed. Every student walked out quietly and reverently.

As I looked around, I recall with disbelief the horrendous chaos that clung to the faces of my schoolmates, consisting mostly of intense emotional miseries that hovered conspicuously over their faces. We all knew Jack Kennedy as the much-loved, strong leader who had earned the respect and admiration of the entire nation; and right along with him was his lovely wife Jacqueline, the semblance of feminine sensuality and physical beauty; they certainly made a magnificent couple.

For many days to come, I was glued to our television set, watching and listening attentively to the details of our President’s assassination. I realized how emotionally paralyzing the loss of human life can be when attributed to the hatred antics of such vicious behavior. To this day I honor, respect and value all life forms. I cannot fathom why anyone can plan the death of another and feel that such actions are justified. First and foremost, all life should be respected, not desecrated.

Although death at the hands of an assassin is considered statistically miniscule in its occurrence, death itself is an event which each of us must one day face. Death should come naturally, not triggered by someone’s actions. At Guiding Light, we represent thousands of families who’ve lost a loved one, sometimes by natural causes, sometimes accidentally, and sometimes due to the actions of others. Regardless of the mechanism, our approach is always gentle, compassionate and understanding. We pay close attention to the specific needs of our families, while keeping all costs and fees at manageable levels.

We must safeguard against unexpected losses by planning ahead. At Guiding Light Funeral Home & Crematory, everything is handled by our professional team of dedicated employees. We are licensed to sell Pre-Need Services and will offer you an affordable cremation package or traditional burial service for the future. Prices are frozen at the time of purchase and you may take up to two years to pay. Take a moment and call me, Geronimo Mena, Jr., I will explain each and every step to you.

Geronimo Mena, Jr.

Guiding Light

Professionalism

May 31st, 2016

I have been asked many times why I have pursued the death-care industry as the foundation of my profession. The answer is really quite simple. Having been involved in numerous areas of specialty, I found that a certain honesty prevails in funeral service that is not generally found in other fields. Individuals who are in mourning are more apt to display characteristics of personal integrity, sincerity, total openness and a willingness to share that honesty with others.

The very nature of death brings out certain characteristics in all of us that aid in communication, thereby instituting a sense of mutual trust that is conducive to the successful arrangement conference. It is this mutual reciprocity between funeral director and family that sets the stage for honest dialogue. When family members are confident that their needs are being met with honesty and integrity, the decisions they make are never second-guessed, but rather reflect the confidence they have placed upon the funeral provider.

Guiding Light Funeral Home is dedicated to the plight of each family, while placing careful emphasis on their financial parameters. We provide a much-needed service that is cost-effective and for which all our families have always expressed their gratitude. Our services are also available for future needs. As a licensed facility that is registered with the State of Florida as a Pre-Need Provider, a family can secure today’s prices for future services. Please inquire about our Pre-Need Services.

In addition to the many funeral and cremation services we offer, Guiding Light is the Crematory of Choice for the Broward County Medical Examiners Indigent Cremation Program. Anyone who passes away in Broward County who is destitute, homeless or without family connections is represented by the Medical Examiner. Guiding Light, in turn, as the crematory of record for this Governmental Agency, subsequently performs all of their cremations.

Guiding Light

Establishing Honorable Memories

May 27th, 2016

Losing a loved one tends to leave a void that cannot be filled by just anyone. Although the memory of that person will remain in our hearts throughout our lifetime, it can still precipitate deep-seated emotional disharmony when exacerbated or triggered by memories of unresolved issues. For example, words that were left unsaid, or needed action that never took place generally conjures up ill will, feelings of uneasiness that are oftentimes associated with immense guilt. Such negativity tends to disrupt the delicate psychological homeostasis of that person.  For these reasons, it is imperative that all issues of importance be handled expediently so that a sense of incompletion cannot linger.

Having the privilege to work in the funeral industry, I often hear stories expressed by family members that indicate unresolved issues. Perhaps the main culprit is human overreaction, inaction, or inappropriate action, an indication that our human frailties are engaged reflexively or without first thinking matters through. As humans, we’ve all been involved with issues of confrontation, human overreaction on a verbal level, or worse, on a physical level. Such impromptu or reactionary responses may rob us of our dignity while simultaneously creating potentially destructive outcomes. Not keeping one’s composure in the presence of emotional influence, whether due to heated arguments or improper action, often gives rise to deep regrets associated with that person.

The fact that we are not always forewarned of someone’s death is the very reason why we must never allow ourselves to perpetuate unresolved issues. Established relationships between two people, whether parent and child, brother and sister, husband and wife, or any other possible combination should always be treated with the utmost respect. Once the person dies, words unsaid or actions not taken must remain as such; and sometimes the unsaid or undone carries a burdensome memory that you must live with for the remainder of your life.

Guiding Light

True Compassion and Total Honesty at Work.

September 14th, 2015

In very few industries can a working professional truly have the mechanism with which to evaluate the delicate balance of emotions that are so evident in death-care. By the time a funeral director is contacted, many family members have already been put through an emotional rollercoaster that only torments their hearts and assaults their memories as it spreads undue guilt and unnecessary regret. Accompanied by sheer exhaustion, these often confused and genuinely burdened individuals cannot always make proper decisions that would best meet their needs. This is where professional guidance through objective leadership plays a major role. Funeral directors often assist bereaving families by suggesting services that are within the financial capacity of the family before them.

Each family is different; each death, unique. In the end, however, we’re all earmarked for expiration. Since this involves everyone, we should rely on protocol that can unite us all in a positive way, given the very nature of such a critical period with each family; this is our common ground. As death-care professionals at Guiding Light, we have the perfect opportunity to come to the aid of our fellow human beings at a time when our input can do the most good. This is easily accomplished by lending a sympathetic ear, by promoting an aura of understanding, and by responding honestly and compassionately. Only then could we be truly heard, profoundly felt and systematically respected. We can each make a major difference if we first refrain from resorting to those negative characteristics that are always associated with egotistical practices and selfish behavior. We must comport ourselves strictly from a compassionate standpoint, while paying close attention to the delicate needs of our client families. Such approaches are usually perceived quite positively by bereaving families, and in the long run, the memory of the event will leave a monumental impact with our families in the most productive and beneficial manner.

There are many reasons why a person may pursue a particular profession. Many individuals first consider the potential income to be derived from their chosen field; others simply explore the psychological rewards they will obtain, such as prestige or the admiration they’ll receive from others; and still others are just concerned with the grandeur ramifications associated and derived from the social and environmental benefits attached to the profession. Often times the collective social merits can be easily measured. The more astute pursuer, on the other hand, the one who capitalizes on the cognitive outcome of deep analysis, will incorporate all three of the provisions. Potential income, personal psychological gain and the overall social benefits should weigh equally. Beyond that, of course, is the personal assessment through introspection.

When determining whether or not a person has ‘what it takes’ to be successful in a particular field, a totally honest approach must be utilized. It defeats the purpose if we lie to ourselves. The passing of academic courses does not insure nor guarantee that the student has the necessary skills, the required drive, or even the oomph needed to succeed in that professional arena. However, truth be told, if you are totally honest with your conviction to succeed, and you possess the necessary compassion, intellect and drive, not only will you succeed in your chosen field, you will grow to honor your chosen profession.

If I have in any way described you, and your approach to this field is similar, then welcome to the death-care industry. There’s no doubt that you will bring honor and integrity to your chosen profession. However, you must always remember not to let financial greed, competitive drive, nor corporate strategy derail you from an effective and honorable path in the death-care profession. In your lifetime, hundreds upon thousands of family members will be counting on you for strong and effective leadership; and they will entrust you to handle the remains of hundreds upon thousands of their dead relatives. The integrity of your professionalism is measured not in the manner of your verbal assertions, but in the manner in which you conduct yourself, carry out every duty and finalize each aspect of your professional obligations.

Guiding Light Cremations, Everglades Crematorium and Guiding Light Funeral Home & Cremation Center, all located in West Park, Florida, have all triumphed in this very special industry because we have conducted ourselves with impeccable professionalism, undeniable precision and truthful conviction. As owner and operator, I stand ready to serve all families, large or small, with an austere dedication that promotes love and charity. If you are interested in obtaining information about our funerals, cremations, whether for future or current service requirements, please give us a call, twenty-four hours a day. Our vigilance is your guarantee.

Guiding Light

Sensitive, Honorable, Accommodating, Respectful & Professional……S.H.A.R.P.

February 24th, 2013

Having spent the better part of my life in service to humanity, I am privileged to be a part of the healing process for so many everyday people; individuals who have undergone the most dreadful of all human experiences…the death of a loved one. For these people, nothing is more important. When I see the pain and sorrow edged on their faces, my instinctive reaction has always been to come to their rescue by imparting a foundation of understanding that will make their mourning much more bearable.

My approach involves innate characteristics that are inherent of my persona. These are described through the pseudonym SHARP, which refers to Sensitive, Honorable, Accommodating, Respectful, & Professional. I embark each of these attributes to bring about a comforting resolution that ranges from the initial handling of your loved one through the cremation or traditional funeral, whether you are present or not. Most importantly, however, all the services offered at Guiding Light Funeral Home & Cremation Center are affordable to every family.

Our economy lacks the sophistication with which to traverse in a financially careless manner. More to the point, every dollar must be spent wisely. The time has come to reduce the high fees associated with death-care expenses. Toward that end, we at Guiding Light provide the best of services at prices within your means. Aside from owning the most state-of-the-art crematory facility anywhere, our Family Room, Waiting Areas and Conference Room have a luxurious appeal uniquely to SHARP. Members of our families are immediately made to feel at ease. Once they walk into our facilities, our families know they have come to the right place.

As owner and operator of Guiding Light, I have listened to families as they have shared countless stories relating to the loss of their loved one. Often times a close family member is left emotionally vulnerable. Sometimes the affected person is incapable of knowing exactly what to do or how to express their feelings. It is my responsibility to listen attentively before offering any words of alleviation, advise or suggestions. No matter how my clients respond or what they decide, they are assured to receive the most kindhearted guidance that best reflects their needs and financial circumstances. I am very sympathetic to all the families I serve because every person is entitled to the most humane treatment possible. By the time our arrangement conference comes to an end, my families know exactly what they want. It is always our commitment to guarantee that you will receive the utmost care and respect. At a time when your emotional resistance may be at its lowest, Guiding Light will provide the best professional care at a price that is affordable. This is my pledge to you.

If you wish to discuss cremation or funeral arrangements, or if you are interested in our Pre-Need Services, please call me at your convenience. I will schedule a special time for us to meet and discuss your special set of circumstances. You will be glad you did. Please know that I am here to always serve you and your family!

Geronimo Mena Jr, LDD
Chief Operating Officer
Guiding Light Funeral Home & Cremation Center

Baby-boomers, CANA, Florida Cremations, Guiding Light, Hollywood

GUIDING LIGHT AND IRA – – INTERNET REMOTE ACCESS

October 28th, 2012

Standing shoulder to shoulder beside other family members to pay your final respects is an emotionally exhilarating experience that elicits both family pride and reinforces your love for the person who has died. Guiding Light has a special ‘Family Room’ prepared precisely for this purpose. On the day of cremation, you may attend this special gathering composed of bereaving family members and close friends. Most importantly, however, our Guiding Light facility has created an ambience that contributes to reverence; a place that epitomizes honor and respect, both of which are vital in setting an atmosphere that will make this gathering meaningful and memorable. Not all crematories lend themselves to honor your experience. In fact, some are outright antequated and filthy. Such a place can only undermine your efforts at memorializing your loss. You do not want your family to wind up in such a place.

At Guiding Light, if attending is impossible because you are too far away, in another state perhaps, or maybe you’re out of the country, the next best thing to being there is to participate through our internet remote access, or IRA. Your expression of love is now made possible through visual participation from anywhere in the world via IRA. Two cameras have been set up that takes you amidst our facilites and allows you to share the sentimental values and expressions of love with those family members who are present. Access to these cameras are made available through a special web address and password, created especially for your family and made available to you. Guiding Light has perfected this technological marvel for those family members who would like to attend but who are otherwise unable to arrive at our facilites.

Although your presence is not mandatory for us to proceed with your loved one’s cremation, it is however, aside from IRA, the only means that allows you to share and express your sentiments with your family during those last moments prior to cremation. As owner and operator, my primary concern is to allow each family the opportunity to come together toward a common cause and offer their condolences in person, rather than through the phone. Guiding Light welcomes you to inquire about these services.

While it is true that the traditional funeral has fallen in preference, and although it matters not why cremations continues to rise in popularity, it is most vital, however, that we make certain that each and every cremation be performed with the utmost care and due diligence. This is why the selection of the crematory is such an important decision. The very memory of your loved one is at stake. Consequently, the very honor of that memory stands before you.

I welcome you to call us and schedule a special tour of our facilities. Come and judge for yourself and see why Guiding Light Cremations should be the crematory of your choice. In all honesty, from the very moment we are notified of your loved one’s death, we spring into action. Our team of professionals are immediately sent, twenty-four hours a day, to secure your loved one and bring him or her into our care. Whether you have made prior arrangements with us through Pre-Need, or contact us for the first time upon death, I promise that you will receive all the special attention needed. You will feel the ressurgence of energy that reflects the compassion that each and every one of our service professionals elicits. Of that you can be sure!

Geronimo Mena, Jr., L.D.D.
Chief Operating Officer
Guiding Light Cremations

Guiding Light

David Krohn: My Trusted Ally, Business Partner and Solemn Friend

April 15th, 2012

The quality of a relationship between two people can be best understood from the perspective of each individual’s abilities to coexist with the other, which can range from its characteristics to function effectively all the way to outright incompatibility. Over time, the survivorship of such a relationship is determined by the collective balance displayed by both people and the strength of their individual motives to succeed as planned. When two people without consanguinity ties enter into a business venture, however, the stakes for succeeding must grow as each member contributes toward building a foundation that is sometimes based merely on the firmness of their initial commitment to each other. Eventually, as time will reveal, both individuals learn the extent of the other’s talents and capabilities and, consequently, both come to rely on the integrity of those attributes to provide further growth and prosperity.

Some years ago I had the good fortune to meet a man with whom I could develop mutual trust, a man who conducts business the old fashioned way — through an honorable approach that allows him to embrace all business transactions with solid integrity and profound conviction — characteristics that are often-times lacking in today’s business world. The man to whom I refer is David Krohn, an individual with honorable intentions and savvy business practices that are reflective in his everyday business dealings and evident throughout all areas of his life. Such a man deserves to receive the recognition that will serve to place him in high esteem, where he belongs. I value explicitly David’s business judgments and trust him at his word.

David first approached me some years ago after a business interest of mine failed to take proper footing. After months of shrewd negotiations, he and I entered an industry with which I was very familiar. We opened Guiding Light Cremations and Everglades Crematorium, having established our two locations simultaneously in Hollywood, Florida. That was the start of something marvelous that was earmarked to reign supreme because it was ultimately the American families who would prosper from our generous undertakings. David and I have dedicated ourselves to offering quality cremation services to all families of the Southeast Florida region at prices that are truly affordable to everyone.

Our state-of-the-art facility emphasizes the honor and respect we have for all families who have suffered a loss. We treat each person entrusted to us as if he or she was a member of our own family. All of our staff members are trained exclusively to follow those same guidelines. Each of the families we have served has had the same reaction — each is impressed at the manner in which we uphold ourselves to the highest scrutiny. We know that God Almighty reigns over us and continues to give us the strength with which to impart the wisdom of our decisions and the dedication we uphold to all of His children. It is the love we have of all people that has given us the ultimate trust, honor and respect we have for each other.

David and I spend many weekly hours in executive meetings to better hone our skills so that we can enhance our services through newfound intuitions and professional approaches that will be passed along to all our families. None of us can escape the reality of death, but each of us is free to receive the benefits of Guiding Light Cremations. Why not take a few moments to call us and inquire about Guiding Light’s future services. Please let me know how I can help your family prepare for the inevitable. Won’t you please ask us about our Pre-Need Services.

David Krohn and I will remain indebted to you…….our trusted family member.

Geronimo Mena, Jr, LDD
Chief Operating Officer
Guiding Light Cremations and Everglades Crematorium

Guiding Light

A Valentine’s Day Remembrance

February 14th, 2012

The death of a lover signifies the culmination of a special bond that in the best of times allowed two emotionally charged individuals to display intimate sexual tension that elicited the duality of a climax. Whether the couple’s tendencies were borne out of hetero or homosexual foundation, the loss of one represents the death for both. Nothing can ever compare to the emptiness associated with such human tragedy, not even the death of a close family member. The tumultuous inner desperation ascribed to the survivor represents a unique human frailty that threatens to intimidate our future perseverance by lessening our spiritual exuberance.

Whereas the empowerment of a great love procures the imposition of immense loss and ultimately provides the deepest despair, we are mere human entities who thrive on the emotional interactions created by the pureness of our love as it blossoms with intended honor and respect embodied simply through our intimate contact. We need the sustenance of togetherness in order to feel the resurgence of humanity abound from within, thus instilling a sense of personal completion that develops in all of us. The temporary lack of individual prosperity created by the loss of a true love further depletes our emotional sustenance. We cannot possibly live alone without the symbiosis of a love so intimate, so challenging, yet so perfect. When our love is pure, we are truly one with our chosen partner.

My heart goes out to those who have experienced such a loss. I offer you my deepest sympathy for your pain but quickly add that having lived through such an experience has allowed you to grow exponentially. The triumph of your great love is a reflection of your individual tenderness and inherent compassion. May this Valentine’s Day bring you the joy of remembrance as you ponder the memory of your great love. Keep your memories sacred by honoring the richness of your past relationship.

With great admiration,
Geronimo Mena, Jr.

Guiding Light

Death of Fame: In Honor of Felipe Acevedo

January 29th, 2012

Growing up in Spanish Harlem during an era in which ‘el Barrio’ carried its own social identity encompassed an inner-city diversity that only those who lived there could fully understand. For me, the character of ‘el barrio’ provided a plethora of paths from which to choose. Those who chose erroneously would surely fall through the cracks to be consumed perhaps by the destructiveness of the heroin plague that besieged both Spanish and Black Harlem during the 1940′s and 1950′s. The psychological and physiological addiction to such a powerful opiate also included acts of criminality, family rejection and other maladaptive behavior that forever blemished the character of the individual by imposing permanent labels of negativity that lead straight to the pitfalls of social disgrace. I was fortunate to have been reared in a nuclear family that was held together by a generous love that provided an all-around nurturing foundation. My upbringing was epitomized further by a superb mother who possessed the wisdom of Solomon, the perseverance of Job and the pure love of God.

The memories of my childhood triggered emotional references of unique experiences that were simultaneously sad, happy, frightening and exuberant. Such is the foundation of any normal rearing, inside any society and by any individual practicing any religion. The biggest exception, of course, is that this compelling story references my history and no one else’s. It was the combination of these unique experiences that paved my character and personality to what they are today, notwithstanding the genetic input by both my mother and father. After all, we are each the product of our genetic makeup and environmental learning, which has made all the difference in the world to me. The rest, as they say, is history.

The one particular event that set the stage for my future in death-care was connected to the death of my maternal uncle, Felipe. At the age of twenty three, he had risen to fame as guitarist and vocalist in the Latin sensational group called El Trio San Juan. I was almost four when he died, an age that was emotionally tender, but old enough to allow conscious memories to instill permanent influence. I recall vividly the details of his funeral service, which was held at the popular Gonzalez Funeral Home on the corner of Madison Avenue and 109th Street in Manhattan. The three days of his funeral wake before the open casket containing my uncle’s body was tantamount to overkill, leaving an emotional scar that forever marked the most somber of all human experiences. Even I felt that at such a young age.

Perhaps it was the manner of his death that carried such an emotional burden. You see, he died when his car crashed with a tree outside Newburg, New York, on his return trip to his home after The Trio played at a concert in an upstate New York villa for three days. Perhaps physical exhaustion, lack of sleep and an abundant level of emotional exuberance proved too mentally distracting for the lone driver. All I know was that my mother was totally devastated at the loss of her baby brother. She was close to Felipe since childhood. My mother’s older brother, Frank, also felt the emotional torment that overtook him at the passing of his brother. My uncle’s wife, Damaris, and their three children, Felipe Jr, Iris and Veronica were also affected immensely by his untimely death.

As if my uncle’s death hadn’t already affected enough members of my family, let me add that as a public figure, his demise also brought his fans to their knees, tearing at their emotional seams and slaughtering the smiles and laughter Uncle Felipe had provided as an entertainer. His three day wake at the funeral home was a spectacle to behold as hundreds of thousands of emotionally depleted people cried, screamed, ranted and raved over the loss of their most beloved latin star. Felipe Acevedo may have died, but his music will live forever. Such a dichotomy of emotional sensation and cognitive intellectuality left me overly-stimulated and forever curious about death and dying. Not even Elisabeth Kubler Ross, herself, could shed light on the obscurities associated with death that would satisfy my intellectual thirst many years later.

When I realized how much pain and sorrow death could actually bring, I had to pursue the art of emotional healing, at first through religious application, but finally through the more hands-on approach involving human cremation. I had finally found my niche in the overall scheme of things. I learned that I could best help humanity by handling their dead. For many years I excelled in the death-care industry, eventually coming full-circle when I founded Guiding Light Cremations. I have finally earned my badge of honor through an art that provides a true sense of closure that when performed honorably and with dignity, it is the best show of human fulfillment and satisfaction.

I have learned wholeheartedly that only in extending a helping hand to our fellow human being at a time of need can we truly demonstrate the pureness of our thoughts, the kindness of our souls and the love in our hearts. Only by giving can we truly show our humanitarianism. Each and every time I sit with a family who is prepared to trust us with the remains of their love loss, I do recognize how fortunate I am to be able to come to their aid. I value my profession and vow to always fulfill the wishes of my families. The way I see it, personal satisfaction and inner fulfillment cannot possibly exist without honorable interactions.

Experiencing losses is part of our humanity. Why not let Guiding Light Cremations guide you through your loss. Avoid having to undergo the labyrynth of emotional ups and downs that are so inherent whenever the wrong death-care provider is in charge. We are sensitive professionals who have been trained for the expressed purpose of bringing emotional stability, psychological support and financial closure that relieves monetary burdens. Give us a call today and ask for me, Geronimo. I will first listen attentively, then I will speak. I guarantee that our facility will provide an instant passivity not found anywhere else. Call 954-729-8827. Don’t be surprised when I answer!

Geronimo Mena, Jr., LDD
Chief Operating Officer
Guiding Light Cremations
Hollywood, Florida 33023

Guiding Light

Pre-Need Versus At-Need Contracts

January 24th, 2012

Determining if cremation arrangements made on a pre-need basis is more advantageous than those made at-need is a question with which many death-care providers must often contend. The pervasive question posed by many families is, why should anyone have to pay for something that will not be needed for quite some time, especially in an economy that imposes severe financial constraints. The answer, of course, will be dependent on a thorough understanding of those factors associated with pre-need from both perspectives, the cremation provider and the family.

From a cremation service provider’s point of view, pre-need arrangements secure future business. Regardless of the services selected, the knowledge that these services are earmarked and paid for does provide a measure of financial security for the death-care establishment. The more experienced death-care specialist should be able to write additional pre-need contracts through referrals made by families, and if pursued astutely, these may bring in even more pre-need business. With continued persistence, most well-established funeral service providers can secure a substantial portion of their pre-need business in this manner. Of course, the provider must first take into consideration the future cost of doing business in order to calculate the appropriate fees and prices to charge.

Because pre-need arrangements are not often associated with emotional and psychological stresses that are present when a loved one has suddenly died, the arranging family member is usually more at ease during the entire conference. In a much calmer ambience that is less time-restricted, one can easily explore the diversity of the establishment’s services. More significantly, when devoid of those emotionally crippling effects that are associated with the death of a family member, well-run pre-need conferences are intended for the complete satisfaction of both parties: the provider and the buyer. Family members are encouraged to spend the necessary time and energy with matters that will ultimately make the entire process a successful one. Such a luxury is virtually non-existent with at-need arrangements. At the end, however, the value of the pre-need contract must be recognized by both signing parties. The family member must walk away with feelings of satisfaction and the provider must also recognize the value in the contract.

In contrast, at-need usually brings out comparative price-shoppers, whereas pre-need prices are more readily accepted on their own merit. The public-at-large seems less interested in bickering with prices when the services are intended for an unknown future date than they are when the services are needed at the moment. The unexpected and unplanned death of a loved one often stirs an emotional upheaval and is oftentimes accompanied by financial unpreparedness, and sadly, today’s economy places the average family in that predicament. This is, perhaps, one of the best reasons why pre-need makes so much sense.

Locking in today’s prices for future services and paying for them over time can be a great advantage for many families. Providers, on the other hand, must benefit just as well. Securing business for the future only creates a solid financial foundation if it is well thought out. Offering everything at ridiculously low prices for the sake of engaging in pre-need is counter-productive and will eventually drive the provider into the pitfalls of financial despair. This must be avoided at all cost.

When pre-need pricing is shrewd and competitive, and when an active staff is enthusiastic and willing to follow every lead, more pre-need policies will prevail. This measurable success will prompt many establishments to develop a selling strategy that promises to increase the future number of pre-need contracts written. This way, both the family and the provider share a symbiotic relationship. The days of sitting around and waiting for at-need business, whether in a funeral home setting, a cemetery, or crematory facility, is very definitely antiquated. Cremation service providers can procure future business by reaching within the community with creative strategies. Many places that can provide potential leads can be found throughout the community, such as social outlets and centers, churches, temples, mosques, assisted living residences, and nursing homes are but a few of the many institutions from which pre-need business can be generated.

Pre-need arrangements also offer individuals the unique opportunity to plan their own death-care handling, either alone or in the presence of other family members. This way, the burden of decision is left directly up to the person, thereby further reducing the burden of decision-making at the time of need. Because selecting their final disposition is such a personal matter, the mere act of participating in their own finale strengthens the foundation between the individuals involved and solidifies the bond between them. Pre-need contracts can be written between many individuals; such as husband and wife, mother and son, brother and sister, or any possible combination. The additional time allotted to decide, along with a flexible payment plan, should make pre-need very worthwhile.

In these times of demonstrated social creativity, individuals are showing deep interest in making an exit statement at the time of their deaths. This can be accomplished in many different ways. Combined with inventions of modern technology, individuals can now express themselves even in death. Of course, in order to ascertain that their wishes are carried out, the best way is through pre-need. Detailed instructions can be included with your pre-need arrangements and any funeral service provider will honor the contract in your absence.

I recall a specific incidence during a cremation inurnment ceremony that was held in Virginia Beach some years ago. The decedent had left instructions in a pre-need contract that asked for the release of one-hundred helium-filled balloons just prior to placing the urn in the columbarium. I drove miles to rent a helium tank two days before and spent countless hours filling them. As a small, independent funeral home, there was no one else available.

After having made all the preparations, I realized that releasing so many balloons would probably violate the airspace above. Sure enough, after contacting the Virginia Beach Police Department on 18th Street, and after speaking with local airport authorities, the air tower controller (ATC) supervisor gave us exactly fifteen minutes to release all the balloons on the morning of the funeral. The balloons had to climb twenty five hundred feet above ground level (agl) in order for us to be in compliance with the ATC. The balloons must have reached the safe zone because we never heard from them.

As our society evolves further and the diversity of our cultures continues to influence each of us, the need for self-expression will also grow. Individuals will want to be remembered in some unique way, thus paving the way for the proliferation of the pre-need contract. Pre-need is perhaps the last bastion in the implementation of these creative requests. In today’s death-care market, more and more service providers are coming in contact with the insatiable need to outdo the previous one. No longer are simple direct cremations considered the norm. Nowadays, an elaborate compilation of death-care requests continues to infiltrate the pages of many written pre-need contracts. More and more individuals are teaming with family members and friends in order to express the details of their sensationalized death-care specialties.

By honoring each and every request, barring those that fall well outside the legal parameters in any jurisdiction, those who have successfully climbed the ladder of creative sophistication through outlandish after-death requests will most likely be remembered the longest. The age of the drug culture and sexual revolution already paved the way toward implementing individual creativity. However, individual expression must be allowed to evolve. The death-care industry offers society the best means for further evolution of society via death-care planning.

As death-care providers, we owe it to the industry we serve to use all of our talents to pave the way toward all kinds of societal growth. In the collective sense, we must continue to encourage the writing of pre-need contracts for reasons that stem from pure social progressiveness, professional continuity, and individual expression. When we give of ourselves without hesitation, the people we serve will always gain from our dedication and commitment. It is not our decision, nor is it our responsibility to pass judgment in matters about which we are involved. It is, however, our expressed professional and moral obligation to educate those individuals who seek our professional leadership. We must not stand in the way of societal growth. We must, nonetheless, promote society and individual growth by any means possible.

Guiding Light Cremations is ready to provide all the answers you may have abpout Pre-need. Our multi-talented Pre-Need Counselors await your call and will be eager to help you prepare for the future. The first move is yours…….and you can simplify matters by calling 954-381-8888. Make a sound decision now and save against future fees by locking into today’s prices and fees.

Geronimo Mena, Jr. LDD
Chief Operating Officer
Guiding Light Cremations

Guiding Light