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Serenity Funeral Care
40 W 6th Street
Covington, KY US
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Q: What do I do if someone I love is dying?
A: Although it is impossible to totally prepare for a death, a death may be made easier if you know what to expect. It is important to discuss your concerns and fears with those around you, both your family and health care providers.
It is helpful to plan ahead. Know what your loved one's wishes are so that they are respected. Making funeral arrangements in advance reduces the number of decisions that will need to be made right at the time of death. It also provides an opportunity to talk about arrangements, concerns and feelings.
Q: How will I know death has occurred?
A: Even though death is expected, you may not be prepared for the actual moment it occurs. At the time of death:
-There will be no response
-There will be no breathing
-There will be no pulse
-Eyes will be fixed in one direction
-Eyelids may be opened or closed
-There may be loss of control of the bladder or bowel
The procedures followed prior to and after death by nurses, physicians and funeral directors will be different from County to County, Province to Province and State to State. If your loved one is living with a terminal disease you should ask your physician and funeral director what the procedures are in your area.
If you have health care professionals involved in the care of the dying person they should be notified of the death. They are available to provide you with emotional support and assistance regarding phone calls to the physician and the funeral home.
A physician must be called by the nurse or the family so that the death can be certified.
At the same time, it is necessary to call the funeral home to inform them that your loved one has died.
You may spend as much time as needed with the deceased person. Do not be afraid to touch, hug or kiss the person. Some people may wish to lie down beside him/her.
A health care provider may also help with the safe, responsible way of storing and disposing of medication and equipment, but it is the family's responsibility to do so.
You may have dealt with many intense emotions and challenges in your journey through the loss of your loved one.
It is important to realize that grief is a highly personal response to life losses. Grief may last longer than society recognizes, so be patient with yourself and allow for the expression of feelings that you are experiencing.
Q: A loved one has died in the nursing home, what should we do first?
A: If you have not called your funeral director, you will have to consider doing so as the body will have to be removed by them or an authorized agent. Regrettably, there have been circumstances where police and or coroners have called a funeral home of their choice. While we will not speculate on the motives, often families find themselves being pressured by a funeral home that was called to the scene.
Q: A death of a loved one has occurred at the hospital, where do we turn?
A: Whether or not you are present when the death occurs, a health care professional will contact you and ask a few questions. Two of the questions you may be asked, you should be prepared for.
1. Which funeral service provider will you be releasing the body to, for transfer from the hospital?
2. Would you like an autopsy performed? Unless the deceased has died unexpectedly, you will have the choice. An autopsy is the thorough examination of the deceased body, to understand and determine the cause of death or any factors that may have contributed towards the cause of death. The information resulting from an autopsy can help researchers in developing cures and medications to assist in the prevention of such diseases. Autopsies are generally performed quickly, as to not interfere with the funeral process, however you may experience some short delays and should check with the health care professional as to when you can expect the autopsy to be completed if a delay could be of concern to you.
Q: What kind of clothing should I choose for my loved one who has died?
A: It is common to use a full set of clothing, including underwear, socks or stockings, and sometime even shoes if so desired.
Q: What is a eulogy?
A: Writing and delivering a eulogy is a noble gesture that is worthy of thought and effort. It is an opportunity to make a contribution to a memorial service a contribution that your friends and family will remember for a long time. Writing in general a eulogy, a tribute, a letter, or keeping a journal presents another equally valuable opportunity for you. The ability to use the writing process as a therapeutic tool to help you deal with your grief. The power of writing is undeniable and there is no better time than now for you to discover and take advantage of this.
Q: What is embalming?
A: Embalming and or some type of preservation, has been recorded in history as far back as the Egyptians. Back in those days, only the wealthy were embalmed or mummified, as it was known then. And history has shown that the Egyptian mummies were well preserved for thousands of years. Over the years the procedure has changed many times to what we now know as modern day embalming.
We use embalming today for two primary reasons--to allow adequate time between death and burial to observe social customs such as visitations and funeral services, and to prevent the spread of infection. Cosmetic work is often used for anesthetic reasons.
Modern embalming now consists primarily of removing all blood and gases from the body and the insertion of a disinfecting fluid. Small incisions are made in either the carotid or femoral artery and the jugular or femoral vein; the disinfecting fluid is injected through the carotid or femoral artery, and the blood is drained from the jugular or femoral vein.
If an autopsy is being performed, the vital organs are removed and immersed in an embalming fluid, and then replaced in the body, often surrounded by a preservative powder. If an autopsy is not performed, the embalmer aspirates fluids out of the body cavity by making a small incision near the navel and aspirating the bodily fluids. Most corpses in the USA and Canada are embalmed, though it is not required by law in most cases.
Q: Why do we embalm?
A: Embalming is primarily done to disinfect and preserve the remains. Disinfection is important for all who have to handle the remains, and for the public safety of our communities. In the years gone by, deaths due to Typhoid Fever, Malaria and other highly contagious diseases, put funeral directors and others who came into contact with the remains at a very high risk of contracting the same disease. Secondly, it has been a tradition to have a period of visitation of the remains. This is known as the wake or calling hours. Friends and family gather to view the remains and pay tribute to a family member or friend that has died. We gather to console the family on their loss, and to express sympathy to them. Without embalming, most remains become un-viewable within a short time. There are constant changes going on chemically and physically within the remains that change the looks and other qualities that we are accustomed to seeing. Embalming acts as a hindrance to this, and gives us the time needed to pay respect and express our sympathies.
Q: If my loved one is cremated, what do I do with the cremated remains?
A: The remains can be stored by the family - and perhaps kept on display - in an urn or other container. You may take the remains in the simple cardboard box supplied by the crematory and distribute ("scatter") them over the land or water. The remains can be placed in a niche within a columbarium. The remains can be buried in the ground in a regular plot or in a smaller cremation plot. The remains can be entombed in a crypt within a mausoleum.
Q: What is a visitation?
A: A visitation is when the body is laid out in the casket (which may be open or closed) before the service so that mourners may come to "visit." A visitation offers a chance for people to "pay their final respects" to the dead person. Just as important, the visitation can be a time for mourners to meet and console each other in a more informal setting than at the funeral. You can schedule a visitation for as little as half an hour on the day of the service, or it can last for several days before the service. The visitation can be restricted to just close friends and family, or be open to the public. You can even have a combination of private and public hours.
Q: What is a Memorial Service?
A: A memorial service is a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Some families prefer public visitations followed by a private or graveside service with a memorial service later at the church or funeral home.
Because the body is not present at the memorial, disposition may take place either before or after the service. You can hold a memorial service instead of a funeral, or in addition to it. For instance, you might have a funeral in the town where the person lived and died, and a memorial service later in the town where he/she grew up.
Q: How doe I accept the death of my loved one?
A: For each of us - - rich or poor, young or old - - there are times in our lives when we must face and deal with personal losses and the pain and sorrow they cause. Examples that come easily to mind are the death of a parent, spouse, child, or other close family member or friend. Many other events and transitions also bring with them sadness and a need to grieve:
Being told you have a serious, possibly terminal illness.
Having to give up interests and activities that have been a major part of your life.
Seeing serious decline in mental or physical health of someone you love.
Retiring from a work career or voluntary activity that has helped shape who you are and what you stand for.
Losing a significant part of your independence and mobility; even giving up driving a car can be a significant loss for many people.
Moving out of your home.
Saying goodbye to a favorite pet.
Losses such as these are simply part of living. Like their counterparts among the joyful occasions in our lifetime - - the birth of a child or grandchild, a celebration of marriage, an enduring friendship - - they are part of what it means to share in the human experience. And the emotions they create in us are part of living, as well.
Q: What are the guidelines for the newspaper when placing an obituary?
A: There are many ways to say farewell from formal funeral services to private home-setting celebrations. They all form a part of the way we say goodbye. Obituaries or death notices, however, are a public way we share our final farewell celebration. It is part of the way we say goodbye - the public posting of final words. Some obituaries indicate much thought and much reflection on the life that was lived.
A death notice is a minimal amount or notice. An obituary is usually a more detailed account of a person's life and is often prepared for the newspaper from a form that the family fills out. Obituaries are a written form of collective remembrances. They remind us of others as well as ourselves - parents or grandparents of friends, the young suddenly departing, the loss of `valiant struggles' against diseases not yet conquered.
When community members leave, whether we know them personally or not, we mark their time with us by publicly commemorating their passing. The final words are one way we say goodbye and the way we will remember. These final words are often the way survivors pay tribute, perhaps make amends, and express hope for immortality.
Q: How do I obtain copies of the death certificate?
A: Before the business and legal issues of the estate can be pursued, it will be necessary to obtain certified copies of the death certificate. You can order them from the Funeral Director or directly from the Registrar of Vital Statistics in your area. It is always better to order a few more than what you think you will need. Most agencies will only accept certified death certificates and not photocopies.
In some cases, there may be a need to obtain a certified copy of the death certificate without a cause of death. These certificates are needed to transfer the title on a house, mobile home, and automobile or in some cases for court procedures. You should make this request when ordering the certified copies.
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