Author Archives: Michael Bernardo

cremation services in Clarksville, TN

How Bodies are Identified During Cremation Services

Many people hear false horror stories of families being returned the wrong cremains, or just being given bags of wood ash or even of sand. These rumors lead to a lot of concern over the cremation identification process. That’s why one of the main concerns the bereaved have with cremation services in Clarksville, TN is how their loved one’s remains will be identified throughout the cremation process.

These concerns are understandable, as it is a very sensitive subject with a lot of tension. However, there is no reason for these concerns as all licensed cremation providers have thorough and effective identification procedures in place to ensure accuracy and dignity. Most licensed cremation providers are more than happy to walk clients through their individual identification process.

The majority of crematories are obligated by law to carry out two different identification processes to ensure the deceased are correctly identified based on the name provided by the authorized agent or the bereaved. First, the deceased’s name, as provided by the bereaved or authorized agent, will be clearly listed on the cremation container. Second, a metal bracelet, disk or other token will be placed in the container with the deceased. This metal tag will not be broken down during the cremation process and will remain with the cremated ashes to further ensure identification.

Don’t be ashamed to ask for additional details, as most cremation businesses understand these concerns and are happy to help alleviate them. It’s important for you to be 100% comfortable with your provider and their practices. It can be difficult to ask questions surrounding such delicate and potentially painful topics. If you’re unsure of what to ask surrounding identification during the cremation process, try these questions such as

  • “How are the deceased identified?”
  • “How does this process change if I am not there when he or she passes?”
  • “How can I be sure my loved one is the one you are cremating?”
  • “How can I be sure of this if I choose a cremation without a viewing?”
  • “In what ways do you certify that the ashes I am returned are those of my loved one?”

If the cremation provider is unable or unwilling to answer questions such as these, consider taking your business elsewhere. It’s vital that you feel comfortable with the cremation process.

cremation services in Clarksville, TN

You can always ask for additional identification steps. For example, you can ask for a detailed explanation of the cremation process in writing, have the cremation provider do a comparison of the deceased to a current photo of your loved one before the cremation begins, ask the cremation provider to do a final identification check based on a listed unique detail like a tattoo or birth mark.

Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you would like to learn more about the body identification process during cremation or Clarksville, TN cremation services. Stop and visit us or give us a call today for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss.

funeral home in Clarksville, TN

Popular Choices for Funeral Home Songs

Music is a powerful tool that can evoke emotion and mood. That’s why almost every funeral at a funeral home in Clarksville, TN has music. There are many different kinds of funeral home songs out there, from traditional to modern and everything in between.

There are an amazing number of options when it comes to funeral songs. So how do you choose the songs for your loved one’s funeral? You can choose the music by getting inspired with common and popular funeral song choices. There are tons of options out there, from common to more unique. Here are some that might inspire you. This list includes country, modern, classic and traditional options:

  1. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth
  2. Only One by Kanye West and performed by Kanye West and Paul McCartney
  3. Supermarket Flowers by Ed Sheeran
  4. In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan
  5. When I Get Where I’m Going by Brad Paisley
  6. If You’re Reading This by Tim McGraw
  7. One More Day by Diamond Rio
  8. Lay Me Down by Sam Smith
  9. Hear You Me by Jimmy Eat World
  10. How Long Will I Love You by Ellie Goulding
  11. Last Kiss by Pearl Jam
  12. Broken Halos by Chris Stapleton
  13. Drink a Beer by Luke Bryan
  14. Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley (there are many other iterations by other artists)
  15. Let It Be by The Beatles
  16. Who You’d Be Today by Kenny Chesney
  17. What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
  18. Hero by Mariah Carey
  19. You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell
  20. Over You by Miranda Lambert
  21. Fix You by Coldplay

You should also take some time to think about what kind of music the deceased would have enjoyed, as the point of the funeral is to celebrate his or her life. However, you can also get inspired by music that the funeral guests will enjoy, too. You can even try playing a few different kinds of music to try and meet everyone’s tastes and preferences, though you shouldn’t stress about meeting everyone’s tastes as that’s almost impossible to accomplish.

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You also need to choose songs that go along with your plan for the funeral. Think about if you want songs that speak about death and spending eternity in heaven, or songs that remind you of certain qualities and characteristics of the deceased. You can also look for songs that allow for reflection over fond memories or ones that your lost loved one enjoyed.

All music can evoke powerful emotions and memories, so go with your heart when making the decision. Choosing the kind of music, you want to play at your lost loved one’s funeral is a very personal experience, so there is no right or wrong answer. Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you would like to learn more about your options for Clarksville, TN funeral homes or funeral music. Stop by and visit us or give us a call today, as we are happy to assist you in your time of loss.

cremation service in Clarksville, TN

Spreading Ashes After Veteran’s Cremation Services

Many people choose to spread their loved one’s cremated remains, or ashes, after a cremation service in Clarksville, TN. While burying the ashes or inurning them are popular, scattering or spreading ashes is even more so. This is especially true when it comes to spreading veteran’s ashes.

Did you know there are many different ways to spread ashes after veteran’s services? Take these as examples:

  • Fireworks – Spreading ashes is usually a somber experience, but why not make it more fun and celebratory with fireworks? Firework companies make fireworks using the cremated remains to have the deceased be a part of a spectacular light show in the sky.
  • Plant a Tree – Tree urns turn cremated remains into fertilizer for new trees, giving your lost loved one new life through loss. You can plant the tree anywhere you want from a backyard to a special park. The tree will always be there as a place you can visit when you miss the deceased or want to reflect on their life.
  • Aerial Scattering – People also scatter ashes into the air by climbing up a mountain or hill, going to the edge of a cliff, or using the wind in an open plain or meadow. You can also hire a specialized plane to scatter the ashes from way up in the air.
  • Skydiving Scattering – If the deceased was adventurous or free-spirited what better way to scatter his or her ashes than while skydiving? This unconventional ash spreading method helps you literally and figuratively let go of your lost loved one.
  • Space Launch – Whether your loved one always wanted to be an astronaut, loved stars and space, or you just want to give him or her a very special send off, you can launch the ashes into space. There are a few specialized businesses that launch ashes into space for a significant fee. The ashes will orbit the earth for a few months and then vaporize when the re-enter the atmosphere.
  • Raking – Raking is similar to trenching, but instead of digging a small hole in which the ashes are covered the ashes are raking into the soil with a tool like a rake or shovel. Many people choose to rake ashes into a significant place like the yard of a home or a special park.
  • Water Scattering – Water has almost always had a connection with spirituality and religion, making it a very popular choice for scattering ashes. Scatter ashes directly into the water or release them in a water-safe biodegradable urn.
  • Trenching – Trenching is when the bereaved dig a shallow pit in which to deposit and lightly bury the ashes. This way, the ashes aren’t technically buried but they are contained to a specific spot so they can be visited or honored.

cremation service in Clarksville, TN

Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you want to learn more about Clarksville, TN cremation services or veteran’s services. You can stop by and visit us or give us a call at for more information on what we can do for you in your time of loss.

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Choosing Flowers for Military Services at Funeral Homes

Flowers have always been a part of the funeral home tradition in Clarksville, TN and beyond. Bringing flowers as a gift for the bereaved is very common, especially when it comes to military funeral services.

But what kind of flowers are you supposed to bring to a funeral? To begin, it’s a good idea to learn more about the different kinds of traditional funeral flowers so you can put a bit of thought into your purchase, as each one represents or means something different. Roses, for example, have a lot of different meanings depending on their color. Pink roses are all about grace, friendly love and appreciation while red roses are for romantic love, courage and respect. Yellow roses, on the other hand, are for friendship. There are tons more to choose from.

Carnations are a common funeral flower because, like roses, they mean different things based on color. Red carnations mean affection, pink remembrance and white innocence. Orchids signify lasting, eternal love as they live for much longer than the average potted flower. Lilies, on the other hand, are the most traditional funeral flower as the signify innocence and peace. Many people believe that lilies help give peace to the soul of the deceased.

Chrysanthemums, or mums, are the exclusive funeral flower in Europe and many parts of Asia as they are believed to represent grief and truth while also the uplifting celebration of the deceased’s life. Looking for something more light and cheerful? Choose tulips or daffodils as both of these sunny spring flowers represent fresh starts and renewals. They are usually sent to bring cheer to someone in grief. Yellow tulips signify cheerfulness while white tulips signify forgiveness.

Finally, while hydrangeas don’t have a known meaning or representation, they are an incredibly beautiful and popular funeral flower. Some people like to think of them as a flower of thanks or understanding as they are easy to maintain and bloom for many years when cared for well.

These are just a few of the many different kinds of funeral flowers you can bring to military services at a funeral home. Use your heart when choosing which type you want to bring, as its really the thought that counts. No matter which you choose, the bereaved will greatly appreciate the sentiment.

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After all, they’re going through a loss and will be busy dealing with the ins and outs of the funeral. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put thought or effort into the flowers, especially since it’s the thought that really counts in these kinds of situations. Bringing flowers shows that you care, and that you are thinking about the bereaved in their difficult time.

Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you need more guidance on which funeral flowers you should bring to a Clarksville, TN funeral home for a military service. You can stop by and visit us or give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss. After all, your lost military service member deserves the best.

cremation services in Clarksville, TN

Columbarium and Mausoleums

How do columbarium and mausoleums come into play when it comes to cremation services in Clarksville, TN? Many people choose to inter the cremated remains in the ground or in a permanent above ground resting place, but which building do they use?

If you’ve ever been walking in, through or past a cemetery, you’ve most likely noticed the ornate but small buildings scattered around the grounds amidst the tombstones. These buildings are mausoleums, columbarium, or even a combination of the two. Both columbarium and mausoleums are defined as permanent, above ground resting places for human remains, but they have a few key differences between them. Unlike mausoleums that generally hold bodies, columbarium are designed to house cremated remains.

According to the National Funeral Directors Association, a mausoleum is defined as, “a building designed for above-ground placement of a casket. The casket is placed into a crypt that may be designed for one or two persons.” Mausoleums can have one crypt, or a chamber designed to hold one body, or a larger space made to hold a few people like a family or a couple. Some mausoleums have more than one room for different parts of a family. These buildings are often decorated with exterior markers to denote who is resting inside. Some even have glass windows that allow those on the outside to view the coffins.

Mausoleums can be found in different variations and designs all around the world. One of the original Seven Wonders of the World was a mausoleum! Built in 353 BC near what is now known as Turkey, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was the final resting place of a famous Persian king named Mausolus. This king was so rich that he commissioned one of the finest mausoleums ever built and is actually how the term mausoleum was coined.

The term columbarium comes from the Latin word “Columba” which means dove. In the past, doves and pigeons were housed in buildings with niches on the walls for their nests. This design is very similar to how columbarium are made, as they have compartments built into the walls to house and display cremation urns.

cremation services in Clarksville, TN

There are lots of different columbarium designs. Some are indoor and some are outside, while others are simple and more still are decorated and elaborate. There are some with clear class niches to display the urns, while others are made of thick stone to hide the cremains inside. You can choose whatever kind of columbarium you like for your lost loved one, or you can look to the deceased’s list of post-humous wishes to learn about what he or she wanted done with the cremains.

Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you want to learn more about your options for after a Clarksville, TN cremation service. You can visit us or give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss, or for more information about your cremation options.

funeral homes in Clarksville, TN

Funeral Homes and Pet Therapy

Many funeral directors are choosing to implement pet therapy programs in funeral homes in Clarksville, TN and the rest of the country. In some cases, grief-therapy dogs even attend funerals. But what is pet therapy? And how do these animals, like dogs and cats, help people cope with loss and grief? Keep reading to learn more about this new funeral trend that is helpful and almost always very adorable.

Pet therapy programs were first initiated in the 1980s and involved volunteers bringing their pets to schools, hospitals and care homes for interaction with children and patients. There are pet therapy programs all around the world now, but it’s been only recent that funeral directors have begun using pet therapy in their funeral homes to help patrons deal with grief and loss. Grief therapy dogs first started popping up in the United States in the last few years. These dogs are usually owned by the funeral director and are brought to funerals and memorial services when requested by the bereaved.

Pet therapy has been used in schools, hospitals, care homes and universities all around the world. Pet therapy, often referred to as animal assisted therapy or AAT, is when a trained animal interacts with a human with a specific mood or cognitive goal in mind. The animals, most often dogs, cats, lambs, and Shetland ponies, are thoroughly trained and are usually accompanied by a handler. These therapy animals are chosen for their positions based on friendly and calm personalities as well as comfort interacting with strangers. There are even famous therapy pets, such as Norbert, an American therapy dog.

There are also new businesses and volunteer programs in which services will bring dogs to funerals when requested. A grief therapy dog’s main job is to be a calming presence at the funeral. They are especially helpful in calming and distracting children that may not have ever been to a funeral before or may be afraid of the proceedings. Grief therapy dogs can also support the bereaved through hugs, snuggles and even calming walks when things get hard.

funeral homes in Clarksville, TN

Grief therapy pets, like dogs, are only allowed to attend funerals when specifically requested. There are always signs posted when a dog is in attendance at a service to warn guests that might have allergies or might be afraid of dogs. If you are considering having a grief pet at a funeral, think about the guests. If there are many attendees that would be distressed by a dog, it’s not an appropriate choice. However, if many guests would be helped by the dog, it is a worthwhile investment.

Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you are interested in learning more about pet therapy or about your options for Clarksville, TN funeral homes. We offer a range of funeral home services. Please stop by and visit us or give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss.

cremation service in Clarksville, TN

Unique Cremation Urns for After Military Services

If you are considering keeping your lost loved one’s cremated remains in a cremation urn after a cremation service in Clarksville, TN, you have to choose what kind of urn you want to use. There are plenty of classic urns to choose from and there are also more unique options that can help your loved one be remembered in a special way – especially if your lost loved one serviced in the military.

These are inspiring and creative ideas to get you started:

  1. Plant Pot – You can easily add ashes to an existing planter to act as fertilizer for any kind of plant, be it a young tree, bush or flower. Mix the ashes in with the soil and as the plant grows it will draw nutrients from the ashes to grow big and beautiful.
  2. Hollowed Books – Hollowed out books aren’t just for hiding secrets or stolen money like in the movies. You can order a custom-made false book or hollow out the deceased’s favorite yourself using a knife and a bit of elbow-grease. Place the ashes inside in a bag and seal the book with glue.
  3. Wind Chimes – Think of your lost loved one every time the wind blows. Order a custom wind chime urn online and hang it on a porch, in a yard, or in a window. You can even choose what kind of chime you want, like an alto or soprano.
  4. Memorial Jewelry – It can be very comforting after a losing a loved one to keep the ashes close. Memorial jewelry allows you to do just that. Create any kind of jewelry piece from a pendant to a ring with the ashes. The pieces can be made from stainless steel, platinum, bronze, or many other kinds of metals.
  5. Holiday Ornaments – A holiday ornament urn is basically just a mini urn that can hang on a Christmas tree. The ornament is too small to hold all the cremated remains, so it’s a good opportunity to make several ornaments for all the family to have.
  6. Stuffed Animals – Stuffed animal urns are most commonly made for children that have passed away. The stuffed animal is cut in a small opening, the bagged ashes are placed inside, and the animal is resewn.
  7. Beer Growler – Perfect for deceased beer lovers, beer growler urns can be custom ordered from most craft breweries. In some instances, you can order a growler with the label listing the deceased’s name.
  8. Musical Instruments – You can choose almost any kind of instrument, carve out a hollow, and seal some of the cremated remains inside. Brass instruments, guitars and basses are best suited.
  9. Tackle Box – If the deceased loved fishing, commemorate him or her in a sealed tackle box. Be sure to keep it in a safe place, but don’t forget to bring it out on the water with you the next time you go.

cremation service in Clarksville, TN

These are just a few of your many choices for after a Clarksville, TN cremation service. If you want more ideas or information, please reach out to Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory. We’re happy to do whatever we can to help you plan your lost loved one’s military service.

funeral home in Clarksville, TN

Veterans Services and the Holidays

While the holiday season is usually all about festivity and celebration, there are those that face loss during this time of year. Whether it’s a recent loss with a funeral at a funeral home in Clarksville, TN, or an anniversary of a past death, losing a loved one around the holidays is hard. This is especially true when the lost loved one was a veteran that bravely served our country.

However, there are ways to make a holiday visit to a funeral home much easier.

For example, you can continue the spirit of the season. Celebrating and remembering a lost loved one doesn’t have to end at the funeral home, even during the holidays. There are lots of ways bereaved can continue the spirit of the season and remembering the deceased at home, such as setting up a vase of the deceased’s favorite flowers, leaving an empty chair at the table, having a moment of silence before a meal, or putting up a special ornament on the tree.

The holidays are traditionally about celebration and happiness, so it’s important to set aside time for grief. Whether this grieving time is at the funeral home or memorial service, or if it is a more private or informal moment at home or with family, it’s a good idea to make it know that it’s OK to be sad and grieve even during the holidays. You can observe a moment of silence, share memories of the deceased, or just spend a few simple moments remembering. Make a holiday funeral or memorial service more meaningful and personal by adding personal touches. You can send everyone home with fresh baked holiday cookies, hang up festive decorations, sing seasonal songs, or take a moment to acknowledge the season.

Giving back to your community is another great way to celebrate the season as well as turn your grief and loss into something positive. Grief can make you feel helpless, so doing community service or volunteering can bring back a feeling of control and positivity. There are tons of ways to volunteer around the holidays. Try caroling at a local retirement home, write notes to troops serving oversees, or host a toy drive for underprivileged kids.

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Open the service to those from the community that knew the deceased or might want to offer support to the bereaved. Use various methods to promote the service and make it know that its open to the community. You can post on social media, post flyers or make calls. An open service fosters seasonal goodwill and allows everyone that was touched by the deceased to acknowledge their loss and pay their respects.

If you have more questions about what to do with funerals and veteran services around the holidays, or want more information about Clarksville, TN funeral homes in general, Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help. We have years of industry experience that we would love to put at your disposal in your time of loss. Please visit us or give us a call for more information on what we can do for you.

cremation services in Clarksville, TN

Is There a Difference Between Cremation Service and Funeral Professionals?

Whether you’re looking into cremation services in Clarksville, TN or wanting to learn more about funerals and funeral homes in general, it’s important to know the differences between the different titles for these industry professionals as to not offend and be sure to give these hardworking individuals the respect they’ve earned.

You’ve probably heard the terms undertaker, mortician, embalmer, and funeral director, but do you really know what they all mean?

To begin, you probably shouldn’t use the titles undertaker and mortician as they are out of date and a little negative. They are pretty much synonymous with the title of funeral director even though the term funeral director really didn’t start taking hold until the early 1900s when industry professionals actively set out to change their name from undertaker to something new. Funeral Director is the most modern, and correct, term for a professional in the industry. A funeral director is a funeral or cremation professional that helps arrange, plan and coordinate a funeral or cremation services.

Funeral directors are professionals that are hardworking, thoroughly trained, and committed and help with funeral and cremation services. Funeral directors have to be licensed according to local laws. This is especially true in states where the funeral director is legally responsible for making sure the crematory or funeral home is complying with all health, mortuary, and vital statistic laws of the area. They perform a lot of services from funerals and visitations to memorials and wakes, as well as helping prepare the body for a funeral or cremation, including placing the body in the casket or cremation container.

On the other hand, an embalmer is a cremation and funeral professional that is responsible for making sure the body is ready for burial. As the name denotes, embalmers perform the act of embalming, meaning they remove all body fluids and replace them with embalming liquid to slow down the body’s decomposition for a funeral service. In most states funeral directors and embalmers require different licenses and training courses. However, it is common for some people to be both depending on their professional interests, their business models, or local ordinances.

cremation services in Clarksville, TN

Funeral director is the preferred title as it is the most modern and gives the respect due for these hardworking professionals, even though none of the terms are technically incorrect. The next time you’re in a funeral home for a cremation service or are making plans for a loved one’s recent passing, you will know what to call the industry professional that is helping you.

Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you have more questions on industry terms and names or would like to learn more about your options for Clarksville, TN cremation services. We offer a range of services and are happy to do whatever we can. Please stop by and visit us or give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss.

funeral home in Clarksville, TN

Non-Traditional Next of Kin Relationships

It can still be challenging for those with non-traditional next of kin relationships when it comes to planning a funeral at a funeral home in Clarksville, TN, even though our laws and perceptions of what it means to be a family are becoming more inclusive.

The most common non-traditional relationships are same-sex couples, Common Law marriages, and separated but still married couples.

There are three criteria that have to be met in order to couples to be considered legally married under general Common Law. If you are married under Common Law, it’s important to know that it might be tricky for a funeral home or service to validate a Common Law Marriage after one of the people passes away. Unless a Declaration of Informal Marriage has been filed by a county clerk, many funeral homes will ask a different next of kin person to sign the necessary funeral documents as there are penalties involved in allowing a non-documented marriage to serve as legal standing to be a next of kin. To avoid any concerns or issues after a death, Common Law couples should file with the county clerk before a death.

Marriage is a complicated relationship, and oftentimes married couples are separated but not legally divorced. In this scenario, the spouse would be still be responsible for making all necessary funeral arrangements and paying for them. Unless there is a clear legal proof of divorce, the marriage is still valid, and the spouse is the next of kin. This is more common than you might think and is a confusing situation that causes a lot of delays in making funeral home or cremation plans.

Thanks to modern legislation, legally married same-sex couples have the exact same rights and next-of-kin spouse status as heterosexual couples. However, the this is only the case if the couple is legally married at the time of death. Without proof of a legal marriage, the funeral home or service will have to look to a different member of the family to take on final disposition responsibilities and decisions.

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Be sure to look into the specificities of your state law or reach out to a lawyer for the most up-to-date information and guidance. This way you will be as prepared as possible. These days, most states have a process in place for getting around difficulties with next of kin relationships. Depending on the state, there is usually a form that people can fill out, sign and file to give a specific person the responsibility of all death-related decisions. This form allows you to choose who you want to make your funeral arrangements and is valid at the vast majority of licensed funeral homes and cremation providers.

Sykes Funeral Home & Crematory is here to help if you have more questions about Clarksville, TN funeral homes. You can stop by and visit us or give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss or of preplanning.