Episode 72

April 27, 2024


#72 | Ashley Cozine | How Do I Plan Ahead For A Funeral?

Hosted by

Tony Siebers Bina Colman
#72 | Ashley Cozine | How Do I Plan Ahead For A Funeral?
Parent Projects - Aging In America
#72 | Ashley Cozine | How Do I Plan Ahead For A Funeral?

Apr 27 2024 | 00:45:55


Show Notes

Ashley is a third-generation funeral director and has worked in his family’s funeral home since he was in high school. He became a licensed funeral director in 1994. Ashley has been recognized as a Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP) by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. In 2004, he was recognized as a Certified Preplanning Consultant (CPC) by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). In 2013, he was among the first group of individuals in the country to be recognized as an NFDA Certified Crematory Operator (CCO). Ashley is a past president of the Kansas Funeral Directors Association. In 2009, he was named the Kansas Funeral Director of the Year. On a national level, Ashley served as the Kansas representative to the Policy Board of the National Funeral Directors Association, the largest association of funeral directors in the world. In 2011, he was elected by his peers to serve on the NFDA Board of Directors. In 2016, he became the 123rd President of the National Funeral Directors Association. Under Ashley’s leadership, Broadway Mortuary and its staff have been recognized multiple times by NFDA as a recipient of the prestigious Pursuit of Excellence Award. This award is presented to firms that exemplify a commitment to excellence and outstanding service to others. Broadway Mortuary is the only Wichita funeral home to have been inducted into the NFDA Hall of Excellence.
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Say, kind of key points, kind of key discussions that are really important to have ahead of time. And I think, you know, if our listeners kind of take that advice, hopefully they see it as advice and can kind of play, you know, play that out. I think they'll be like, way ahead. [00:00:22] Speaker B: Okay. It is. It is a topic that most of us probably run out of the room for, unless you. You are that person that has something that's coming up on you, and then you're probably moving pretty dang quickly to gather as much information as possible. Ashley cozine with cozine Memorial group is going to join us today. And Ashley, thanks so much for coming in. [00:00:44] Speaker A: Thank you, Tony. It's good to be here. [00:00:49] Speaker B: This is a conversation that's probably. I mean, you're steeped in it. You spend all day in this. So I think I want to kind of jump in maybe right away with this. Talk to us about, first of all, from the whole perspective, a whole group of companies or types of efforts or things that come at helping somebody at the end of life. Can you get us just kind of acclimated your background? Where are funeral directors coming from? What does this kind of look like in your personal story? I know that's a lot to unpack, but maybe just start. [00:01:20] Speaker A: How much time do we have? Tony? That's right. So I am a third generation funeral director. My father, Bill cozine, came before me, and my great grand or my grandfather, Jack. And as a matter of fact, our son Hillard, has just joined the business this last year. And so we're actually a four generation family funeral home here in Wichita, Kansas. And so, you know, one of the benefits of living in a town for a long time is, you know, a lot of people. And so, you know, sadly, I take care of a lot of personal friends. But it also gives me a lot of pleasure because I know I'm helping family people or family friends that I really do care about, that our family's known for a long time. And so I've been actually a funeral director for almost 30 years. Well, 30 years, April 1. I was licensed 30 years ago. So I know I don't look that old, but it's just part of what I do. But anyway, no, it's a. It's a. It is a difficult thing to make funeral arrangements. I think, for people, obviously, it's a really sad time it can be in their life. It kind of depends on the situation. If somebody's in an automobile accident and dies suddenly versus somebody that's been suffering a long time, you kind of see everything but what I, you know, we were kind of talking about this before, before the show, but I think one of the things that is always kind of surprising to me is how few people actually write things down, how few people actually have a talk with their family members, their parents discuss what a funeral service, a celebration of life, might look like. And so, unfortunately, many times I'm with a family right soon after a death has happened, and there's a lot of sadness, grief, shock. And so, you know, one of the things that I. That I do is kind of guide people through that process. And so, you know, we've talked about, you know, the importance of planning ahead and having things written down and knowing what dad wants. I see, you know, for 30 years, I've seen how big of an impact that can have on families in a positive way, and it really takes a lot of questions away. You know, what would mom wanted? What would dad prefer? You know, how would he want his life to be remembered? So I think it's always interesting when I get calls from people and they say, we need to come in and talk to you about funeral arrangements, whatever the reason. And usually when we sit down and we meet, it might be 30 minutes to an hour. I usually give people some tools, and we'll talk more about that today. And I do find that when it's all said and done, people kind of have a sigh of relief. And I hear often like, wow, that wasn't as bad as I thought. Thank you for walking us through this. And so I think today, you know, we talked about this. Hopefully we can give you some tools. If you haven't done pre planning, if you haven't talked about what your parents want or a loved one wants, you know, that's really what we want to do today, is accomplish that, is to be able to get you on the right road. And hopefully, at the end of the day, you'll say, that wasn't as bad as I thought. I'm glad I did it, because if the time comes when you need to do it and you haven't giving it that thought, that's when it can be really difficult, I think. [00:04:33] Speaker B: Well, and I think what you think matters a lot when it comes down here. You've got a lot of experience. Yeah, well, I mean, this is something that most of us will maybe do two, three times in our lifetime. You really don't want to be bad at it. It's something you want to get right. You want to do really, really well, but, man, a difficult one. So I love the idea of laying some stuff out so that that's not a difficult conversation prepared for. Let's put everybody. So maybe, maybe if you'd start for me, Ashley, talk through. How about the lay of the land? What are general, what are the major pieces that come with planning, planning ahead for? What does that look like? And who are the major players? [00:05:26] Speaker A: There's several kind of, what I would say, kind of key points, kind of key discussions that are really important to have ahead of time. And I think, you know, if our listeners kind of take that advice, hopefully they see it as advice and can kind of play, you know, play that out. I think they'll be like, way ahead. But I think one of the things, you know, a very basic question I think I would ask my parents if I was in, in that role was to say if we haven't had maybe some family pass prior to, depending on how new we are to this, I probably would want to know, mom, dad, are we thinking cremation? Are we thinking burial? If so, where would we bury you? Do we have cemetery property? That that is where we have family? Some of those decisions can be, how long have we lived in a particular community? If we. Maybe I'm in the military and I'm living in Wichita, Kansas, at McConnell Air Force base, but I'm actually from Springfield, Missouri. Those are things to kind of think about. A lot of times when people live in a certain area for a long time, they'll say, this is home, even though maybe the family came from Phoenix or somewhere. So I think just those kind of basic things. I mentioned cremation, because we're seeing a lot more people being cremated. It's over 50%, kind of in the midwest, but you get to the east, West coast, it could be 70, 80%. But it's interesting because it's still, even though it's very common, there's still really strong feelings about being cremated or not being cremated, being buried or not buried. And so what I find is, you know, if that basic thing has not been discussed, that's a really difficult thing for somebody to kind of weigh, especially if mom said, I don't want to be cremated, because then it, like, it could potentially limit some options depending on what you're trying to accomplish, you know, with a funeral or burial or any of that. So I think just being able to have that, and then I would say on top of that, if you know that, say, let's say that I told my child that I want to be cremated and my wife is in agreement, but let's say, as we talked about this, I have six kids, you have five. So that's a lot of kids. So if they're not in agreement and if they don't know that that's what my wishes are. A lot of times when I'm in with a family making funeral arrangements, that's where problems can start festering, where you kind of have the family divided saying, I don't know what dad wanted, or, you know, you know, it's half and half. So it can create some issues, honestly. So I think when you can have those basic conversations and the family then knows that that's what you want, it certain, it just really simplifies things, and it takes a lot of pressure off those that are making the decisions, you know, at the funeral home. And I think it just. There's relief. It's not a question of what would mom want. It's a question of, mom told me she hasn't in writing, I know what her wishes are, and so we can proceed, and I know I'm making good decisions on what she would want. So as basic as that sounds, it is amazing how many people don't have those conversations. And then, you know, I'm not playing referee, but trying to give options. And I'm thinking, like, that would be weight. If you could have at least talked about this, that would be further ahead. So I think that's a big one. Go ahead. [00:09:05] Speaker B: So if I understood that helping your loved one document, let's maybe start at that core. Helping them document, maybe. I picked up three key things off of what you said. First, kind of the how of disposition. What's the disposition of the body, how do we want to be afterwards? How do we want to be proposed? Is that the word or what's that? [00:09:31] Speaker A: Yeah, just okay with that word for you. [00:09:36] Speaker B: Okay. Say that again. [00:09:38] Speaker A: I said I'll come up with that word for you. I got to think of the right word. [00:09:40] Speaker B: Come up with that word. There should be a word for that. We should know what we're talking about to that. Right. Number two would be where. Where do they want that final thing to happen off of there? And then three would be maybe you didn't you. It's. Maybe we hit it earlier, not so much there, but then whatever service might come with that preferences against those three things documented, is that generally. Is that generally starting point to know players? [00:10:06] Speaker A: I think documented and discussed because, you know, for example, with cremation, some of the kids may be against it for whatever reason, and some may be for it. And so I think knowing that if you can discuss it, I think it's really important to have it documented, but I think to have that conversation is really important, too. It doesn't have to be a long conversation. It can just be, hey, dad and I were talking, and, you know, we want to do this. And so just knowing, just so the kids hear it, I think that's really huge because it just, it takes pressure off of everybody that way. And then you're not in camps, and I, unfortunately, when death happens, it's amazing, unfortunately, how many times I'm sitting in the room with a family and you realize there's a lot of, you know, misguided information, whatever, or assumptions or, you know, whatever it is, but it creates conflict and then people get mad and, you know, that's, sadly, that's the worst time to get mad at each other as a family. That's when you need each other. You need that support group. And so I think by discussing it, you know, it kind of gets it on the table. You know, they still may not agree completely, but they've heard it and they know what mom or dad wants. And I just. I think that's a huge thing to just have out on the table. So I think it's. That's a really, really important thing, more than people realize. And I'm telling you, after 30 years, I just see a lot of dissension among families with those very basic questions, even, you know, cremation or variable. [00:11:41] Speaker B: So we're going to take for granted that. And you've got some, some guides that people can use that we'll put links down below in the, in the description. So make sure to head on down there and pick those up to take a look. But, so we're going to take for granted that people are going to. They would have watched this at this point in time, they've stopped this. They've come back to it. They've gone through the guides. So they have documented with their family, with their loved one. Right. What their wishes are for, how they want, you know, how they want their body taken care of afterwards, where they want those things happen, and the service arrangements that want to come out. And that was documented from their specialty. And then we've gone forward and we said they're going to have a discussion. There should be some way that it's discussed up ahead of time to prepare everybody just for what dad's wishes or your loved one's wishes are. [00:12:27] Speaker A: Right? [00:12:28] Speaker B: Right. Okay. So once you've got that and you've got that documented, because they've done that ahead of time because we just wanted to do that. Who are the main players that they're gonna talk to? What are the, what are the businesses and where they gonna go here? [00:12:44] Speaker A: So are you asking me, like, once death occurs, is that what. [00:12:50] Speaker B: That's right. Or once they've got the documentation even ahead of time, as they're gonna go play, who are the role player? I mean, it's a, it's a mortuary. What's the difference between a mortuary to cemetery? What's a, what are the different people that they're going to deal with during the. Yeah. What are the roles and the entities that are going to be involved in this? [00:13:05] Speaker A: So you mentioned, obviously, documentation. As you said, we've got those forms. And I want everybody to know, all the listeners. These are forms that we've created. They happen to be on our website, but you can use them for, you know, any, any funeral home across the country. Typically, it's pretty general information. That's, it's really important. It's information that you would need to have to make a death certificate. It would be, you know, it walks you through kind of service preferences, like you just mentioned, Tony. So the nice thing is you could, you could even, you know, I think the burial cremation question is very important, but I think those, those worksheets would be the next step. I would definitely fill those out, and then probably that could be part of the conversation with your loved ones, that you could go over those and just kind of hit on the key points. So, you know, you mentioned, like, if there's burial, there's going to be a cemetery. And so, you know, if you've got cemetery property already owned, it's important, I think, to have, you know, start a file, if you would, for your family. And then that way you can have the cemetery. There's probably a deed to the property. If you already own it, you should be able to know what you, what you own. If you've pre purchased all that, which a lot of times when somebody dies, for example, the family might buy several spaces for other family members. So, you know, knowing that kind of information, so you're not going in and buying more spaces that you don't necessarily need. Those would all be part of the conversation. But I think, you know, if you're having burial, a cemetery obviously is a major factor. The funeral home or mortuary, kind of synonymous words for that. But, you know, obviously the funeral home is, is a big part of it because they will, you know, depending on where death occurs, if it's at a hospital nursing home. You know, that first call, typically, besides to the family to let them know that someone's passed is to the funeral home. And in the funeral home, typically, we would go to the nursing home, the home, wherever, bring that person into our care, and then from there, that's when we would, you know, make an appointment to meet with the family and start going through the information. I do think that, you know, choosing a funeral home, and I know we're going to talk about that later, but knowing that ahead of time is another really important thing, and that can be based off a lot of things. It can be, you know, experience with the funeral home that you've had before with another family member. It could be a, you know, maybe you've gone to a funeral for a friend. It could be a clergy. It could be anything. But I think knowing that and kind of researching that out ahead of time is super important, because what you don't want to do is get a call at 03:00 from, say, the nursing home, say, your dad's passed. What funeral home do you want to use if we don't have it written down? And at 03:00 in the morning, you're trying to make a, you know, a good decision. So I think that's a huge thing that I would. I would not put off until the time comes. And I think a lot of people make that mistake, and then it can be an expensive mistake, unfortunately, but it. [00:16:08] Speaker B: Can also be a really complex one. So in my previous life in law enforcement, as a police officer. Right. If somebody dies in their home, the police department comes out. [00:16:17] Speaker A: That's right. [00:16:17] Speaker B: And I am. That is the first. That's a question you're looking for? I'm looking for who do we call? Because we're gonna call to have the body taken and Karen in custody for it. So if the family doesn't know who that is and that hasn't been written down, man, right off the bat, you just. You watch it go in five directions from there. [00:16:38] Speaker A: Yeah. And that's something. You don't want to be under stress and pressure and grief and anxiety. I mean, that's not the time to make that decision. [00:16:49] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. [00:16:51] Speaker A: Without a doubt of that, too. I think, you know, as you fill out those forms and you talk to your family and as you hopefully select a funeral home ahead of time, I would recommend, you know, getting the funeral home copies of all that paperwork so they can keep it in a file. And then that way, at 03:00 in the morning, the funeral home already kind of has an idea they can pull that file and know what the wishes are. It just makes the whole process so much smoother. And I just think that another thing just kind of side note, people don't think about this, but let's say, for example, husband and wife are on a trip and they get in a car wreck. You know, I mean, it's amazing. It seems like how many times people from Wichita are driving, say, to Colorado and, you know, getting a car wreck in the mountains or whatever and we're bringing them home. And I think, you know, if you have all of those, those, that paper on file with a funeral home and then a child is called, you know, a son, daughter has called and said, you know, given the unfortunate news that their parents have both been killed and they're say they're, they could be in Phoenix. I mean, they're all, you know, wherever they are, you know, they can call the funeral home that they know has the, you know, everything on file. That funeral home then becomes involved and can get mom or dad or both back to wherever they're from without having to call multiple funeral homes, incurring multiple charges. It just makes it so, so much smoother. And it's just, those are things that people don't ever think about because it's never going to happen and then it happens. And you can avoid all of those issues by just some of these pretty straightforward but hopefully simple things you can do ahead of time. [00:18:39] Speaker B: Yeah. You know, I think another huge part of that is the reprieve that that funeral home can play for the family. So they can, especially if it happens out of town, which is what we're talking to in this sense. There are logistical arrangements and logistics are, they're detail oriented. Remember, it's time, quality and cost. If you want something done well and you need it done quickly, it's going to cost you a lot. So you need the most effective, efficient group out there. And to know that that's being done by somebody who knows how to do this very well. They know the standard. They know how it's done. They know who to call, how it. [00:19:16] Speaker A: Like that is, you know, what you're saying? It's, they can make one call to that funeral home in their town and they can take care of everything. [00:19:25] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:19:25] Speaker A: And it may not happen, but if it does, they'll be really glad they did it. And I think, yeah, to your point, there's so many decisions, and when you don't know people in another city, you have no connections there. I mean, that just becomes so super difficult, and it can be very expensive when it could be avoided. [00:19:46] Speaker B: So those are. So we talked about preparation in the engagement side of the house. We talked about, you got into making sure it's discussed. What I also picked up in here is making sure that the documentation is accessible, which sounds like two things. A, knowing what mortuary it is on file with, and then b, knowing where you got a backup copy of it someplace at home and what safe or where that's located. Is that right? [00:20:15] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. Because as you know, everybody, it seems like whenever you hear of, you know, documenting things, you know, everybody says, put them in a lockbox at the bank. You know, that's kind of, you always hear that. And the problem is, if that's where my mom and dad have their information and I don't know about that or have a key or access to it, it's no good to me. So what I would do, honestly, is I would fill out the paperwork. The ones that we have on our website are fillable PDF's, so it's super easy. You can save it, you can take it to your funeral home or use that. You could use their own forms, you could use ours as a guide to fill out those. But then I would make copies of it. I would give it to the kids. Or if you have several kids, if there's one that kind of is the go to person, then let them have a copy. And it, you know, and it doesn't have to be, like we said, it doesn't have to be this long, sad conversation of, these are my final wishes, let's be depressed and sad. It can, it honestly can be very relieving, and it can be dad and mom, thank you for taking the time to do this. And it's a gift truly, to the surviving relatives. [00:21:26] Speaker B: Well, and if you're there coordinating this as a project organizer for your own family, it's a gift to the rest of the family to know that it's up there. For those already utilizing parent projects technology and the parent projects platform, particularly the parent projects connect vault, this would be a perfect example of a document to have in that unified in your vault that sits up there, the Dropbox integration just in that. This is one of those that you don't want to have to hunt for a key for, you know, in order to know where that document's going to know who you're going to call at 03:00 in the morning. You just want to know and get it. You don't even have to deal with it. And look at it. If you're. If you got a sibling that doesn't want to see it till it happens, yeah, that's fine. [00:22:08] Speaker A: At least it's done. And I think another example of this, because I see this all the time, too, is when people don't take the time to do that. You would be surprised at how many times I meet with families and they don't know the person who died. Let's say it's my dad. I don't know his Social Security number, you know, and I don't even know where I can find it, you know, I mean, I'm gonna have to go hunting through maybe tax returns, whatever, at their house. I don't even know where he keeps them, you know, if you don't know all that. And so you can imagine, you know, we can't file the death certificate, which is super important for family because, you know, banks and insurance companies and things like that won't do anything until, you know, typically until they have a certified death certificate back. And so if I'm waiting for information that I have to have before I can file that, you just have lost time for the family, which is not good at all. And so, again, just having that written down, having it on file, having access to it, is huge. And it simplifies the process. It cuts the time down on getting death certificates back that you will need for other things. You know, if there's. If there's a widow, you know, there may be life insurance that they're really dependent on. So any of that that you can have and be done, that's. That's why it's so important, I think. [00:23:25] Speaker B: Yeah, I completely agree. Completely agree. Okay, so we've got the documentation. We know what needed to be talked about with mom and dad ahead of time. We'll cover some other stuff, too, some good tips and tricks and having those conversations through there. We've talked about the engagement with the other siblings and also that documentation, accessibility of that documentation as well, is part of that as well. What do you say you and I jump in now? We've got. And we understand the big parties that are kind of playing. Do you think you and I could venture to walk down maybe a process of what this unfolds from maybe time of death, maybe walk through the general steps that a family's working their way through. And maybe between you and me and my experiences that we've had back, you know, law enforcement from that front end side and how they start to come through, we can talk through a bit what this might look like, if somebody's trying to prepare themselves, can we do that? [00:24:19] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. So. So let's say. And it depends on where the death is. Nursing home, it could be. You could be involved as a police officer. There's a car wreck, it's a home death, whatever it is, you know, typically the family is going to be asked if they don't already have it written down, what funeral home? I mean, that's, you know, that is from your experiences. So then typically, once that's decided, or if they just say, yep, it's such and such, funeral home, then we would be called. We typically. It depends on who we're talking to. A nurse, hospice nurse. It could be the police officer. You know, we typically. We typically are able to be at the place of death within an hour. That's kind of just what we always aim for. Regardless of what time it is, we would typically go to that place, you know, somebody from our staff, and that's how most funeral homes, I think, would operate. They would bring that person into their care. You know, one of the questions might be, if we don't already know it is, are we. Are you thinking about burial, cremation? So again, that question will come up. So that's why it's important to talk about it. So then typically, depending on when the death occurs, if it's in the middle of the night, you know, or during the day, we would figure out when the family would want to try to come in, you know, to make arrangements. It's interesting. Usually it's. Usually it's a smaller group. It's usually the. Maybe kids or a spouse, whoever, you know, it's hard when a lot of people come because there's too many. There's so many opinions and things. So that's another benefit of pre planning, I think, and knowing your wishes so that you're not involving too many people trying to make decisions, because that's when it kind of can get out of hand sometime. And that's. That's when I see a lot of families just kind of go at it sometimes because they don't agree. So that's why knowing that ahead of time is so great. But then, so we'd make it. Make a time for the family to come in. We kind of go through that whole process, kind of lay it out. We would get, if we don't have the information, that's when we would ask for the information, like vital statistics information, biographical information that we would use to make. Make a death certificate. We would talk about, you know, is there a service? Where is that going to be? You know, what does that look like? Is it going to be a church? Would there be a pastor? Would it be more, you know, more of a reception with food? You know, those kinds of things, you know, are there going to be people speaking other than, say, a pastor or the person who's kind of leading the service? What kind of music are you thinking? You know, another thing that's become very popular, I'm sure most of your listeners have seen this, but, you know, video tributes are huge. A lot of people are doing that kind of either at the visitation or reception or at the funeral. And so I would give your listeners this advice, too. I'm kind of going through it with my own family, with parents that are not, you know, my dad's not real healthy right now, and so obviously I'm thinking about this myself. But, you know, if you are thinking about doing like a video tribute, which is a really nice thing to have, people really enjoy it, you know, you might begin to catalog in a, in a file on your computer photos of your, of your dad, of your mom and family photos kind of start having that, you know, it's not something you need to dwell on. But I think as you find photos, especially computer, you know, if they're on the computer, you can just kind of start making a file and then we do it where we send a link and then families can just upload photos. So, you know, any of those things that you can start just, again, not dwelling on it, but just as you see a great picture of your dad, of your mom, and then together, you know, put it in a file on your computer, have it where, you know, you can access it, because again, I see it so many times where, you know, we're meeting with a family, they want to have a video tribute, but we're having the service in four or five days, and now they've got to go find 150 pictures because they want to, you know, they want that for the service. If you can give some of that thought ahead of time, it doesn't, like I said, it doesn't have to be a sad, morbid thing. It can just be done, you know, hey, there's a, that's a great picture of dad. Let's put that in this file, you know, have it ready to go. Those are just little things I think can really help out and make the process a lot more smooth for families and take a lot of stress away. But those are all things that we talk about. The other thing, you know, another thing that is really kind of a good idea, I think, is if you haven't done, you know, written an obituary or started something like that, you would be amazed at how difficult that can be for people, especially for somebody that's been involved in a lot of different things. You know, it's like, how long do you include this or that? And so that can be a real, you know, to start that from the beginning is like, where do I start? You're on the third or fourth version of it and still not what you want. But then we have to. We need it because we need to put it in the newspaper, on our website so people can see it, know about the death, know when the services are. So I think any of that, that you can do. We've actually, we've got a worksheet that we've used for a long time that's on our website, that's a guide to writing obituary in more recent. In the last several months, we actually have created a new worksheet that works with AI. So that's pretty crazy. But we're using AI a lot for writing obituaries. And they're really. I mean, they're amazing. You can make them professional, you can make them humorous, you know, whatever. But usually what I'll do is if a family hasn't done any of that, I'll give them the worksheet, they'll fill it out. We'll generate this obituary. I get it back to them. They can kind of work it over and make sure it's accurate, making sure it's what they want. And then that's typically what we would post on our website, like on a tribute page or something like that. So those are all things I tell people all the time, planning a funeral. And hopefully this will register with people listening to this. But planning a funeral is like planning a wedding. But if you think about planning a wedding, you're going to do that maybe, you know, six months to a year out, and you're working on all the details. You have that long to work on it. But a funeral typically, or memorial service is generally within a week or so, you know, or it could be extended, especially if cremation is involved, you know. So when you think about a wedding and all of the decisions that you have to make, think about a funeral. You've got groomsmen over here, but you may have casket bearers over here, you know, so you can kind of, you know, you've got flowers, you've got an announcement, you've got a church or wherever you're having in a venue, you've got people involved. You've got all those. So when you think about it, I don't think, you know, many, not many people would plan a wedding in a week or less. And so, you know, if you can begin to do the things that we're talking about, having your plans written down, having those discussions with the family members, making sure everybody's on the same page, it really makes the process much more simplified when the time comes. And then you can still have that event and not be. It's still going to be tough. I'm not going to say it's not, but it just takes a lot of pressure off. And I find that people that have planned ahead of time versus people that haven't. It's. The process is night and day different. [00:31:56] Speaker B: Totally. So let's. Then we come down into. I take it the next thing that's going to unfold is based off of those conversations. It's going to be service. [00:32:05] Speaker A: Right. [00:32:05] Speaker B: Which seems to be organized with. If I caught what you've gone off of, you've mentioned a visitation period, maybe. Maybe a memorial service, maybe the physical burial, and then perhaps a reception. Is that. Are those. [00:32:20] Speaker A: Yeah. Typically things that would be involved in something, you know, like if even with cremation, like maybe there's a memorial service, the body's not present, but instead of a visitation, where people would come to maybe see the family and view, you know, we're doing a lot more. We created this new venue that we called the cozy and Life Event center. And so we're doing things other than just funerals, too. We've had wedding receptions, all kinds of things. But we're doing a lot of almost like a gathering with family and friends if there's cremation. So there's still, you know, still time for people to get together. We're doing a lot with, like, food and beverages, things like that. And so it's, I mean, very festive. People love it. I mean, when people say, I don't want a service, you know, they might do something like that. And those have just been met with great success. And people, I think, you know, the importance of that is community. It's your friends coming. It's, you know, it's somebody coming to me and saying, ashley, this is what your dad meant to me. And, you know, it's healing for them. It's healing for me to hear those, because I may not know those stories. And so that gathering time of a funeral or a memorial or celebration of life, whatever it's called, called are really a healing time for family and friends. And it's important. I see the importance of it every day. [00:33:39] Speaker B: Yeah. And that is to the same degree in planning and helping families, maybe deal with a loved one left behind or aging. You know, dads passed away and moms left. You can see very much families that had that opportunity to. To kind of let go of stuff or to share those stories or to work through that are able to start processing the next steps so much quicker than those. And a lot of times the thought is, well, I just don't want people to be sad. I don't know. I don't want where that is. But having that conversation with your loved one about giving a place for. For those left behind, just to go for a minute, just to let that go so they can move on with their life, which is what everybody's going to want to have happen, right? [00:34:22] Speaker A: No, ironically, I think a lot of people think, I don't want a funeral because nobody, you know, if I'm gone, nobody cares. And, you know, what you want to say, the funeral is not for the person that died. It's actually for the family and friends. You know, it's for them to come together, and that's where the healing takes place. And I've seen a lot of situations where people have not done, they've had, like, say, cremation and not had any services. And I think, you know, they're still dealing with those issues even, you know, months or years later. So it's really interesting. It's fascinating to see how important community is, how important family is, how, how important a hug is, how important sharing memories are. You know, those are all, it all serves a really important part of that event, I think. [00:35:09] Speaker B: Well, and your community is blessed that you guys can provide that venue for them to have that. I love the idea that you're talking about just a family celebration center for all kinds of things, right? That celebration of all of these in one place so that it's not just a place you go for the funeral, but could be the same place where a birthday was celebrated or a wedding was celebrated. That is really, really good thinking. That's great. [00:35:33] Speaker A: You know, it was interesting when we came up with that. I mean, I wouldn't say we're the only ones across the country, obviously, but, you know, in our area, I think what we're doing is very different than a lot. And people, I think, really just have this miss. They had a misperception of what we were trying to create. And it's kind of neat because now that we've done it, there's kind of a, aha. I get what you were trying to do, but, you know, the whole thing you think about like, you know, death is, is shrouded in mystery and people don't know what happens. And there's so much, you know, you know, misinformation and things like that. And I think, you know, I kind of feel like, you know, I don't enjoy going to the doctor because it smells like a doctor's office. I know I'm going to get, you know, a shot or draw blood, you know, just things like that that are not stuff I really want to do right now. And so, you know, there's that kind of anxiety and things. And so what we tried to create was an environment where you walk in, you're like, okay, this isn't like a funeral home. I can do this. And it's proved to do that, which is great. [00:36:35] Speaker B: So just really that highlighting, reducing the avoidance or, you know, those things that need somebody to really avoid that. Okay? So as we're just in moving us through as we've completed after the service, what interaction of any does a family then have with you with the mortuary? [00:36:55] Speaker A: Well, it's interesting because, you know, in the past we would, you know, say the service would say a memorial service would end at the church or the cemetery with the burial. And, you know, that was kind of it. And we would have some, you know, kind of basic follow up with families and things like that. But for us personally, I mean, that's been a real thing on my heart because it's like, you know, grief doesn't just go away at the end of the funeral or the burial. And so we actually have started doing here in our facility with, especially with the new life event center. It kind of lends itself perfect to this. But we've been doing grief support groups over the last year and so we try to follow up with the families that we've served. We have a newsletter that has some grief information on it. It's a twelve month email that they get. But then more importantly, we offer the opportunity to come together and meet. We have a person on our staff that leads a session or several sessions, several week sessions. And it's really neat because what I've seen is families that we've taken care of that didn't know each other, they have that loss in common, but then they get to kind of know each other and they've actually, we've seen a lot of friendships develop through it. So there's kind of a really healthy support group that we've, you know, we're in the process of developing that with our company, and it's been really cool to see it because it's been something I've wanted to do for a long time. But now with our new facility, we've had the chance to do it. And so, actually. Yeah, go ahead. [00:38:33] Speaker B: No, go ahead. [00:38:35] Speaker A: So I think, you know, that's something that is really important to us, that once the funeral is over, that doesn't mean that we're not here anymore. And so, you know, we have a cemetery, too. And so, you know, people will come to the cemetery, you know, for years. I mean, we have people that come out daily to see loved ones, you know, spend time there, and just kind of feel, you know, feel part of that. And so, yeah, I mean, I think it's important to keep that relationship going and make sure we want to kind of see people through as much as we can, you know, through that grief process. So not every funeral home does that. You know, we offer our support group to people that went to other funeral homes here in Wichita. But, you know, I think it's a really important thing. Not every funeral home does it, but I think if families can be a part of something like that, I've seen the positive outcome of it, and I think it's important for families. [00:39:34] Speaker B: Without a doubt, even at parent projects, we recognize just that strength and being able to identify somebody else who has gone through maybe just a parent project, maybe they even gotten to the end of life portion. But you said death is shrouded in mystery, right? And people just look to avoid it. Just in general, things that are. That are shrouded in mystery, we lean on assumptions, and it creates an even more. A more emotional dynamic around things we've. I think cozine's definitely on to great things. I look forward, I genuinely look forward with my own family who's in the Wichita area, as it turns out. We just figured that out as knocking ahead of the episode today to be able to take advantage of stuff like that, too. We parent projects, too. That's one thing we use with the love check. When I wear this, I identify myself to just other people that have been through a parent project. I'm available. You can talk to me. You can come up. I'll answer questions. Not just my expertise from here, but we encourage, really, any family members to do the same, because we recognize what you do. Seeing somebody else that's been through it. It is. I experienced it in the military. Just what death and loss can do in binding people together is a really, really amazing thing in the healing process as well, in the growing process. So I really applaud you guys doing that. Hope to see many others either start working in co ops with you guys so you guys could actually work together against something like that, or begin to offer those in their area. If somebody's not offering that already, you're leading the way. That's great. Great job. Yeah. So in parting from all that, we've gone over how to prepare for this. We've talked about engagement against those things. We've talked about the process just to kind of expect from soup to nuts, from maybe that time of death and where that might unfold or something kind of along that line, down to grieving and entering that next stage or that other stage on the backside, anything that we actually, we should be thinking about as we step up to kind of begin to part ways here today. [00:41:35] Speaker A: Yeah, I really think, you know, we kind of talked about this before the show, but I really think those worksheets, if your listeners will take the time to look at that, even if that's all they do, if they don't talk about much, many other things, just having that basic information in place and somebody in the family has a copy of it that is so big and it just takes a lot of pressure off and it's timely. And I tell people, if that's all you do, you're way ahead of most people. And it's simple. And I mentioned before, just when people come in and we sit down, I always hear them say, that wasn't as bad as I thought. And so that's what we want. We don't want this to be a shroud and mystery and a scary thing. We want it to be something that people realize it doesn't, you know, it can be very simple and they can write those things down. And like I said, you'll be way ahead of everybody else. [00:42:36] Speaker B: So, and we, of course, are going to make those available again down below in the show notes, you'll get a link down to them. We're going to make them available to our parent projects audience and off of our platforms and systems. But do me a favor, Ashley, would you go ahead and share with everybody? Where could they get more information? Or if there's even another funeral director out there that wants to hear how you guys are doing those things or to talk with you about that? Where can people find you? [00:42:59] Speaker A: Well, you know, probably the obvious is our website, it's cozine c o zine.com we've got a lot of information, a lot of consumer information on that. We've really worked on that through the years, too. I think transparency and I always like to put myself in the shoes of the families that we're taking care of. And so I, you know, hopefully we've got a lot of Q and a questions, you know, answers on that, you know, so that's a good place to start. My contact information is on the website. You know, I am more than glad to answer questions. If people want to email me or call, I'm always here. Even if we're not taking care of you, that does not bother me at all. I always look at myself as somebody that I always want to be a resource to people. And, you know, like I said, I've done this for 30 years. Our family's been doing it for, for much longer me than that. And so, you know, if I can be of personal help, I'm a phone call or an email away. So please take advantage of that. [00:44:02] Speaker B: I think that is wonderful. And I can't thank you enough for sharing your time, talents, and treasures with all of us. You are definitely a great. You're an amazing resource to all of us. [00:44:13] Speaker A: Well, I appreciate that. You know what? Now I was going to say there's a, our pastor says, blessed people are blessed to bless people, and I truly believe that. And so I've been blessed to be able to do what I do. And if I can help anybody, I want to be able to do that. [00:44:31] Speaker B: Well said. [00:44:32] Speaker A: All right, thanks. [00:44:38] Speaker C: Well, that's it for team this week, and thanks for joining us. If you've enjoyed this content, remember to subscribe and share this episode on the app that you're using right now. Your reviews and your comments, they really help us expand our reach as well as our perspectives. So if you have time, also drop us a note. Let us know how we're doing for tips and tools to clarify your parent project, simplify communication with your stakeholders, and verify the professionals that you choose. You can find us on YouTube, follow us on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks again for trusting us. Until our next episode. Behold and be held. [00:45:10] Speaker D: Thank you for listening to this parent projects podcast production. To access our show notes, resources or forums, join us on your favorite social media platform or go to parentprojects.com. This show is for informational and educational purposes only. Before making any decisions, consult a professional credential in your local area. This show is is copyrighted by Family Media and Technology Group, Inc. And Parent Projects, LLC. Written permissions must be granted before syndication or rebroadcast.

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