Connecting with the Lincoln, NE community and surrounding areas.

But, it’s SO difficult to discuss!

talk bubblesWe all have to have tough conversations sometimes.  I’m not going to sugar coat it, talking about death and our funeral plans is probably one of the hardest. No one likes to say “hey, Mom, so I’ve been thinking about your death…”  However, it’s even more difficult NOT to have important discussions.  Aging and dying are a fact of life, ignoring them won’t make them go away.  Not planning for the future will not change it – it will just make tough decisions tougher when the time comes.

There are a lot of ways to start important discussions.  I know a lady who won’t serve her family dessert on holidays until they have a “medical moment” discussion.  I know others who call big family meetings for difficult discussions.  Others still make them a normal part of daily dialogue.

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get all questions answered and plans put in place during an initial conversation. Don’t get frustrated if you don’t seem to make much progress – instead, approach it as the first of many talks to help you learn more about your loved one’s life and what they value most.

Even if you do feel you’ve covered most of the issues you wanted to address, it’s still a good idea to check in periodically to ensure your loved one is comfortable with the plans that are in place. This will also help your loved one understand their plans can be changed later if they realize their preferences have shifted.

To learn more about ways to ease into difficult conversations, visit our Talk of a Lifetime on our website, and request a brochure.  Click here:  Have the Talk of a Lifetime.

What Can I Say?

here-to-help-jgoodeAll too often, we struggle with what to say when comforting a grieving friend.  What is enough? What is too much? What seems contrite?  The compassionate part of us wants to say something comforting, to support our friend, to show we care.  Yet, too often anything we say may feel empty.  Have you found yourself saying “call me if you need anything”?  I know I have!  I also know I am very unlikely to call anyone to ask for help when I need it, regardless the reason.

So, what if, along with offering thoughts or words, we go help!  Show up (don’t just call, it’s too easy to say no), and help with things like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, making dinner, taking the dog for a walk, taking the kids to the park… You get the idea.  What if we are there instead of just offering our words of comfort?

And not just in the early days and weeks following a loss.  Grief can be exhausting, for a long time.  Check in with your friend months later.  Take them to dinner.  Invite them over for a  celebration around special days such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. Take their dog for a walk.  Do the laundry. Allow them to rest and not worry about the mundane day to day tasks.  Be there.

Grief Support at Roper & Sons

loving memory tulipsAt Roper & Sons, we care about you, and do our best to ensure that your needs are being met not only at the time you need our services, but long after as well.  Part of our care includes grief support programs that meet weekly in our Reception Facility.

Whether you are newly bereaved – you have experienced the loss of someone you love in the past 12-18 months, or you have spent more time without your loved one, we are here to offer support and help meet your needs.  The groups, which meet from 2-3:30 p.m. include:

  • Structured six week program - providing support to those who have experienced a loss in the past 12 -18 months.  Meets on the 4th Sunday, facilitated by Tiffany Eisenbraun
  • Professionally guided group sessions for those have experienced a loss more than 18 months ago. Meets 1st and 3rd Sunday, facilitated by Melissa Thorne
  • Art programs – open to anyone who has experienced a loss. Meets 2nd Sunday, facilitated by Anna Alcalde
  • Annual candlelight memorial service will be scheduled in December.  This will give us an opportunity to come together and remember our loved ones in a very special way, with a message and a time of reflection.

Reservations are not necessary and there is no charge, with the exception of the art program.  For that program, we do request reservations and ask participants to contribute a nominal $10 toward the cost of materials.  Our programs are open to all ages, and referrals are available for individual counseling if you feel that would better meet your needs.

Information about each month’s programs is available by visiting our website, by clicking here.


Creating New Traditions


I read this blog, written by Homesteaders Life, a couple of weeks ago.  The information is so important, rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, I decided just to share it in its entirety with you.
The gist is – when you have lost a loved one, your life will change, in big and small ways.  Creating new traditions, while keeping some semblance of the old intact, becomes an important priority.

1. Start with small rituals.
Tradition is something that binds families together and makes them feel safe and comfortable. Changing those traditions can be incredibly scary, especially after the passing of a loved one. You may be afraid that change means you are letting go or forgetting about the traditions your loved one held so dearly or was a big part of. But upholding major family traditions can be difficult, especially after a recent loss. If that’s the case, don’t overlook the value of your family’s small rituals. Those weekly phone calls to mom while you’re away at college or those weekly dinners at Grandma’s house are just as important as the big holiday family get-togethers.

By focusing on those small connections with your family, you will be better equipped to handle larger scale events, such as the first holiday season after the losing a loved one. So, start with something small. Take a break from your schedule to sit down and have coffee with Dad, see a movie with your sister or even pick up the phone and tell Mom about your week. It’s likely they are experiencing grief as well, and processing it together can be a helpful step in the healing process. Those small rituals may not seem like much, but they are the start of a stronger family bond.

2. Accept that change is perfectly okay.
If you decide to make changes to your family traditions, keep in mind that it is okay. Change is a natural part of life – family traditions change all the time. I guarantee that some, if not all, of your family traditions have been tweaked or changed in some aspect over the years for some reason or another – your sister Jill moved across the country or Grandpa Jack is now in a retirement home. Every tradition adapts to the changing dynamics in a family and your family adapts in response. While the adjustment to a family member passing may require a bigger transition, it is important to be open to the change and accept it for what it is – a new opportunity to create stronger family bonds and traditions.

3. Think of change as an opportunity.
It can be easy to view change in a negative light, knowing tradition won’t be the same without your loved one involved. But, instead of going into holidays, family reunions or celebrations with a cloud over your head, think of them as opportunities to remember your loved one and celebrate his life with the people who knew him best. It will be difficult and unfamiliar at first, but it is also a chance to remind the family why you are really here, what brings the family together. If they had a favorite holiday, consider holding a memorial service during your celebration.

4. Keep in mind the meaning behind your traditions.
In most situations, a family tradition is done to bond the family in a safe and comfortable environment. But sometimes, traditions are done just for the sake of tradition. For example, Grandma Betty may have started the annual door-to-door Christmas carols that the whole family partakes in, but now, Grandma Betty is gone. The whole family still carries on the tradition, but you dread going door-to-door every year because you always get stuck standing next to Uncle Dave who is incredibly tone deaf. Say you skip out on this year’s caroling because you want to avoid the humiliation and think you have better things to do. You stay home and hear from Cousin Sarah that Uncle Dave tried to hit the high note in Joy to the World. When all of the dogs in the neighborhood started barking, the family couldn’t finish the song because they were laughing so hard.

Sometimes, those family traditions that may not be your favorite do a lot more than simply forcing you to do things as a family. They help you create lasting memories with your loved ones. When you consider changes following the death of a loved one, keep that goal in mind. You might not feel up to caroling this year, but you can still find other ways to connect with your family.

5. Remember that traditions don’t have to be perfect.
It is understandable that after your family suffers a loss of a loved one, you want everything to be perfect, no glitches at the next family reunion or Thanksgiving. You want to prove to yourself and to your family that you can still go on and function despite the loss you have suffered. But keep in mind that your family event won’t feel perfect without your loved one – and that’s okay. Think back to your family events. Which one was more memorable: the time that the turkey was perfectly carved and everyone sat around in their Sunday best, or the time that you had to order Chinese because Dad tried to deep fry the turkey and it took off like a rocket?

It is those perfectly imperfect events that are the most memorable. Building those memories and establishing those bonds will create a stronger and more secure environment to deal with loss and grief.

6. Don’t ignore the absence.
Sometimes, when a loss occurs it feels easier to pretend like nothing’s changed. But what seems like a good coping mechanism can easily turn into the big elephant in the middle of Christmas dinner. There are a couple of different ways you can combat this. For example, if you are at a family reunion shortly after someone in the family dies, consider setting a place for them, incorporating their favorite dish or flower or releasing balloons in their memory.

It is healthy to acknowledge the passing of a loved one and could be easier when in the company of family. It can bring up old memories of your loved one that can be talked about as part of the healing process. Sharing memories in meaningful ways may even turn into a new tradition.

7. Plan ahead and be prepared.
As tough as it may be, it is important that you sit down and have a conversation with the family about how traditions may change after a loved one’s passing. By planning for the changes, you can help create realistic expectations which can have a positive impact on the rest of the family. They are more likely to have a more rational response if they have had time to prepare and react to the changes. You won’t be surprised when Grandma Betty’s potato salad won’t be making an appearance at the next family picnic because you’ve talked about it in advance. Maybe this year you decide to have everyone bring their favorite potato salad recipe and hold a taste-test to decide who will be responsible for making it for future gatherings.

While this is a relatively small example, the same approach can be applied to more significant changes to tradition.

You’re a Funeral Home – You do What?!

At Roper & Sons Funeral Home, we are very proud to offer several community based events each month that provide all sorts of health and wellness information community-croppedand support resources to the community.  Our Topic Breakfast has been held each month for well over ten years, bringing in a variety of speakers that share information on physical, emotional and financial health, and a wide variety of other interesting and timely topics.  We also host an annual health fair, and offer a grief support program that is open to the entire community.  All of our events are free and open to the public, with the exception of Art with Anna, which is part of our grief program.

Our Topic Breakfast is held on the third Thursday each month, at 7:30 a.m., and Grief Groups are held on Sundays from 2 – 3:30 p.m.  Other events are scheduled periodically.  All of our upcoming events are listed on Facebook and our website, here.

We partner with several organizations – hospices, residential facilities, attorneys offices, churches, civic groups, and many others to provide information and resources to our community that focus on all aspects of life.  We have an Outreach Coordinator on our staff, whose primary responsibility is to stay on the forefront of community service, and make sure that we are hosts and/or participants in any number of events that serve our neighbors.  Our staff are all members of a variety of different service and civic organizations, and we make donations to a number of different causes, both personally and from the Funeral Home.

So, why take on such an integral role in providing services other than funerals in our community?  We feel that being an important part of the health and wellbeing of our community is part of what helps Roper & Sons Funeral Home rise to the top when it comes to saying your final goodbye.

Why Should I Plan My Funeral?

final wishes organizerThinking ahead to the end of your life can be a little frightening, a little nerve wracking, and frankly, a hard thing to do.  However, at Roper & Sons Funeral Home, our goal is to make planning much easier.

Think of it this way – by planning ahead, you help save your family time and emotional strain, not to mention helping them financially.  You get to say how you want to be remembered, whether you want an elaborate service or a smaller, quiet memorial.  You get to pick your own casket or urn, you get to choose the music you love and the scriptures or poems for your eulogy.  Your family needs to spend time with each other, mourning in the way that best suits them, rather than spending hours in a funeral home with a virtual stranger, planning their final goodbye.  And, perhaps most importantly, you relieve them of funding a proper service by paying for it through a policy that locks in today’s pricing and protects your family from almost all of the expenses related to a funeral service.

What more could you ask for, than to provide your family with a peaceful goodbye?  If you want to learn more, contact Roper & Sons at 402-476-1225.

It’s Your Legacy

Family historyWhat are your stories?  Every life leaves a legacy and stories to be told, and it is important to record those stories for generations to come.  It has been proven that stories fade from memory after three generations.

Did your ancestors homestead your family’s land?  Were they Pilgrims on the Mayflower?  Were they part of a Native American tribe?  Farmers and ranchers, or founders of thriving businesses?  What about you? What’s your story?

How do you plan to keep your stories alive?  At Roper & Sons Funeral Home, we are proud to partner with My Living History to help you record and share your life story, or that of your loved ones.  Contact us at 402-476-1225 to learn more, or copy and paste this lin into your browser:

The Best Gift I’ve Ever Given

Recently, a gentleman wrote the following note to us, regarding the best birthday gift he’s ever given his children – on his own
Even though today was my Birthday I gave a gift to my children by pre planning my funeral arrangements. They will have no surprises or expense. Working with Theresa from Roper & Sons was very easy and comfortable. I was able to get all my wishes on paper and with the payment options my children will never have to wonder what to do and will not be financially burdened. Theresa was very knowledgeable and friendly and was able to take care of everything I asked for. Probably the best thing I’ve done in awhile. What greater gift than peace of mind for my children and me. Highly recommend to my friends if they have not thought of this gift to your family to call Roper and Sons to get more information. It’s easier than you think!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – or Is It?

holly leaves berreisIt’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, as the old song says.  But, what if it isn’t?

Holidays and the cold winter months can be overwhelming for many.  Feelings of loneliness and isolation can negatively affect physical and emotional health.  Add in the grief of a loss, whether it was the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a relationship, or another major change, and you may begin to feel very overcome with emotion.

Accepting that life is no longer the way it once was is perfectly fine, and learning to manage in other ways becomes a priority.  One way to cope is to talk about your deceased loved one or other loss, and the good memories of holidays past.  Choose traditions you may want to keep and traditions you may want to stop.  It is not always necessary to continue doing things the same way just because that is how they have always been done.  Mix it up a little; if you want.  There are several different things happening in Lincoln during the holiday season.  Keep an eye (or ear) on local media for upcoming events and happenings.  It is especially important to help loved ones who may be isolated to enjoy traditional activities and remain involved in holiday events.  Even a quick “holiday lights” tour, getting out of the house and enjoying the beauty of the season is a great idea. Remember that it is okay to still have fun at the holidays with family, even if you recently lost a loved one.

As caregivers, friends, family, and neighbors, it is very important to ensure that those who are grieving are not isolated or lonely during the winter months.  It becomes so easy to isolate ourselves at home when it is cold, damp and dark out.  We need to be aware of this happening with our senior loved ones, and implement plans to ensure they are well cared for.  We can do this by setting aside time each day to check on them whether in person or over the phone, and to have others available to assist in that process. We need to be sure to include our loved ones in holiday plans, from taking them shopping to inviting them to attend programs and other events.

It is important any time you feel you are struggling to seek help – but even more so during the holidays.  If you are facing a dark, difficult holiday season, please reach out for help, from friends, neighbors, loved ones, and even to us here at Roper & Sons.  You are loved, you will come through the dark days, and you will find joy again.

Just Cremate Me

boat2“Just cremate me & spread my ashes in the lake…”  We hear that statement quite often as funeral directors.  Cremation is nothing new – it has been around since the beginning of time.  However, in recent years, cremation has grown to encompass 40 – 50% of all final disposition in Nebraska, and as much as 75% in other states.  Cremation offers simplicity, and quite often, financial savings over a traditional burial service.

At Roper & Sons, we have embraced this trend.  We understand that individuals and families are looking for the best options for their budget and needs.  As Lincoln’s cremation expert, we have the experience and expertise to professionally provide cremation services with the integrity and dignity that our families have come to expect.

Cremation, though, needs to be more than just “cremate me and…”  We know that a memorial service is an important piece of grieving for loved ones.  EVERY life matters and everyone deserves to be memorialized with dignity.  Our experience allows us to help provide a personalized service that celebrates the life that was lived.   We treat cremation services the same way as traditional burial services.  Families are provided the opportunity to share tribute videos, personalized music and service folders, luncheons, and even visitations with viewing before the cremation takes place.  And if you wish to have your ashes spread the lake – your wishes will be met.