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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2010
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Jane takes peace in knowing her grandmother’s wishes will be fulfilled

In everyday life, it’s the little things that matter most: holding the door open for someone, paying a stranger a genuine compliment and in general simply showing respect. There are several ways to do so, but one of the best ways (and often the least thought of) is making sure your loved ones’ final wishes are realized in their end-of-life plans.

My grandmother is 91 years old, and I’ll say it: quite particular in what she likes and dislikes. Knowing this about her, the thought of preplanning her funeral is a perfect way for the two of us to choose components of this final celebration of her life that will make her proud and content in how things will come together as we remember her.

When I began the process of preplanning my grandmother’s funeral, I was leery and even a bit uncomfortable. I was initially quite naïve about the process and it seemed like an overwhelming task.

For this reason, I’m very thankful I visited Konrad-Behlman Funeral Home in Oshkosh. Their history in the area — they were established in 1875 and recently celebrated 140 years of being in business — is a testament to the compassionate and comprehensive service they provide families. I met with Jay Schultz, Owner/Funeral Director, and I immediately felt at ease. He was incredibly knowledgeable and understanding that many people aren’t familiar with planning funerals and the topic of death isn’t easy for everyone. Our meeting was the perfect balance of education and effectiveness. We started by talking about the benefits of preplanning and the difference it can make to your loved ones.

Jay explained that when one has preplanned their funeral, there is an element missing from the traditional “at-need” preparation, and that’s a good thing.

“When people lose someone, there are a lot of decisions to make and a lot of times that’s mixed with sleep deprivation, stress and grief,” he says. “When you pre-plan, there’s no confusion about what the deceased wants — there’s peace of mind.”

Konrad-Behlman provided an easy-to-fill-out form with my grandmother’s information and history: name, date of birth, family members, church and school affiliations, etc. What I liked most, though, is that there was also an area to talk about the activities that she enjoys the most. She loves literature, fashion, theater and poetry to name a few. (This information is also used to write the obituary.) This is the first part of the process that I felt was personalized, and it only got better as our meeting went on.

After speaking with Jay about my grandmother’s past and passions, we began talking about what kind of a celebration of life she would most want. They vary from traditional burials with visitations to cremation memorial services. Both can either be private or public at the funeral home or the church of your choice. My grandmother has always expressed that she would like to be cremated, so we focused on those options.

Konrad-Behlman provides pricing information and package options clearly in written form, which I found very helpful. There are a lot of decisions to be made, and having it be straightforward and easily referenced made it much easier for me. I was also struck by the comprehensive nature of their services. When Jay explained all that needed to be planned and outside resources (like the coroner, clergy, catering business, etc.) that need to be contacted, it sounded overwhelming. Knowing my grandmother’s wishes are written down and Konrad-Behlman is the sole point of contact offers peace of mind in itself.

After speaking in a beautiful inner office of the funeral home, Jay and I moved to the open and naturally lit area used to showcase the casket and urn options. This was made much less intimidating for me than I originally suspected because the options are presented by simply showing the endcuts and design elements of the caskets (it resembled a home remodeling showroom to me, and this helped my anxiety). The space made me feel at home and not at all daunted by making these decisions. I was very impressed by the amount of customization possible — from various color schemes and tailored designs to beautifully etched flowers, and hunting and fishing components — there truly is something for everyone. There was also an array of urns to choose from, varying in color and design.

One of my favorite parts of the process was in seeing all of the options available that would allow me to hold my grandmother close to my heart — literally! Keepsake jewelry using the cremains or fingerprint of your loved one provide such a special memento. Because my grandmother has always loved to accessorize, it feels even more appropriate to include that as a part of her memorial. I know a fingerprint necklace is in my future.

I received thorough and thoughtful instruction while I spoke with Jay, and he also sent me home with a variety of educational material ranging from handouts about social security benefits, grief guidance and even a checklist about what to do after your loved one has passed away. Konrad-Behlman prides itself on being a continued resource during this process, and I sensed that right away. Jay made preplanning my grandmother’s funeral easy and unintimidating. We even laughed and joked throughout our visit.

For me personally, knowing my grandmother will be pleased and smiling down on us as we remember her long life in a way that she helped choose gives me the peace of mind we all strive for when we celebrate our loved ones. I’m so grateful to have begun preplanning with Konrad-Behlman. 


Konrad-Behlman Funeral Homes

402 Waugoo Avenue, Oshkosh, WI 54901

and

100 Lake Pointe Drive, Oshkosh, WI 54904

920-231-1510

www.konrad-behlman.com

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