Posts Tagged ‘funeral service’

How to Choose a Final Resting Place

When a loved one passes, we do our best to honor his or her final wishes. We want the funeral service to be perfect, the flowers to scent the air like it’s spring, and the weather to be pleasant and comforting. In addition, we want the place where our loved one’s remains will rest for eternity to be as perfect as possible. Choosing a final resting place — be it a cemetery, a burial container, or a mountaintop — can be challenging.

Dolan Funeral Home, a full-service funeral home near Lowell, MA, offers tips for those struggling to choose a final resting place for their deceased loved one.


Did your loved one express a desire to be buried somewhere? If so, then you’ll want to honor those wishes, even if cumbersome or out of the way. For instance, in the case of someone being married twice, he or she may wish to be cremated and the ashes spread between both locations next to the beloved spouses.

However, if your loved one did not talk about where he or she wished to spend eternity and/or expressly left it up to you, then here are some points to consider:

  • Did your loved one have a favorite spot? Did he or she love the beach or climb mountains or love a secluded woods right down the road?
  • We all know when a loved one dies, he or she lives on in your heart. However, if you’re getting your loved one cremated, you don’t have to bury the ashes all in one spot. you can keep a portion of the ashes for a special locket, so your loved one will always be close to your heart.
    If considering a traditional burial, consider which cemetery would best fit with your loved one. Was he or she religious? Then perhaps a cemetery particular to that religion would be suitable. Did he or she like a particular cemetery over another in your town? Is one cemetery more shaded than another? When choosing a cemetery for a final resting place, you’ll want to find out the burial rules as well. Some restrict what kind of monument you can erect and what type of flowers you can leave or decorations you may have. If this is important to you, make sure you ask before you choose the final resting place.
  • Consider an urn if you are considering cremation for your loved one. Your loved one can occupy a cherished spot in your home, and with so many options in urn designs, many will not even know the urn on your mantle holds your loved one’s remains. Another reason you may want to consider an urn is if you believe you may be moving from your present location, and you want your loved one to go with you until you’re settled.
  • Is there a family history to consider? Are all of your relatives from years past buried in the same location? If not, would you want to start a family burial plot, so you can be buried next to your loved one as well?
  • Consider a living memorial. Was your loved one environmentally-conscious? Would your loved one want to be buried under a tree?
  • Experts believe having a place of remembrance to physically go to can help bring closure and move through their grief. Choose a place you will want to visit — a place of beauty and quiet solitude, and a place where you’ll feel connected to that person. Final resting places for your loved one are endless. From traditional burial plots in a cemetery and urns to garden stones and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces or scattering of the ashes, the choice can be overwhelming, especially in the grief process.

Dolan Funeral Home is here to help with all your funeral home needs. We offer a traditional service or a celebration of life. We will cater these memorial events for you as well, and we have a list of recommended caterers for your convenience. We have a wide selection of caskets, urns, and burial vaults. We offer cremation services as well as embalming. We can transport your loved one’s casket to your chosen final resting place. Finally, we offer aftercare support to help you navigate the sometimes complicated legalities a death brings.

Dolan Funeral Home is a family-run funeral home that has been serving the greater Boston communities since 1974. Our experience and compassion makes us the best funeral home. Contact us today for all of your burial service needs!

Continue Reading

How to Purchase a Cemetery Plot

There are many reasons to purchase a burial plot in a cemetery ahead of time.

  • Less expensive. When you purchase a burial plot in advance, you’ll most likely save money. Your family won’t be rushed into a decision after your death, and you can take your time shopping around for options. Furthermore, a grieving family is the perfect candidate for others to take advantage of — and owners of cemeteries know this. Rushing a decision can result in your family spending thousands of dollars more than they should.
  • You choose. When you choose where you want to be buried for eternity, you’re in control. If you want to be under a big shady tree or near a stream, you get to pick.
  • Ensuring you’re next to loved ones. Buying multiple cemetery plots is usually cheaper as you usually get a deal. Plus, you ensure you’re buried next to loved ones when you buy their plot as well or the plot next to someone who has already passed.
  • As an investment. The value of land only continues to go up. Purchasing your cemetery plot for use in the future not only saves you money, but the value of the plot itself goes up, enabling you to sell it at a potential profit if need be.
  • Spread the cost out. A burial plot can be a significant cost of the burial itself, leaving the potential cost to family members upon your death. Buying a cemetery plot ahead of time allows you to pay for it ahead of time, taking one less worry off everyone’s plates.


Decide which cemetery. Are you seeking a religious cemetery or a secular one? Each cemetery and township has different rules and regulations for burial. Make sure you find out the details (such as what kind of monument you can have) before purchasing your plot. Furthermore, some cemeteries are cheaper than others (inside the city versus on the outskirts for example), so take your time and shop around to find which cemetery is right for you.
Buying the burial plot. When you purchase the burial plot or a crypt if you are choosing a mausoleum as your final resting place from the cemetery, you are not buying the actual piece of land. You are only purchasing the right to be buried on that land. This is called interment rights. Once you own the interment rights, you can choose to use them for yourself or gift them to someone else. Most cemeteries sell burial plots with the right of first refusal. This means that if you want to sell your burial plot because, for instance, you want to be buried somewhere else, you must offer it back to the cemetery first before a third-party. However, the cemetery can sell burial plots surrounding yours without first informing you. A lot of cemeteries will, however, inform you of a pending sale in case you were interested as a courtesy, recognizing the fact that burial plots can be expensive.
Buying other services. Along with buying your burial plot, some services may or may not be included in the agreement. These include: endowment care or perpetual care, which is a government-required fund that the cemetery fund for cemetery care and maintenance costs, the process of burial itself (the digging and filling of the grave), installing your headstone, and annual maintenance fees, which may be required.
Payment. Some cemeteries offer payment options, even up to five years. Be sure to inquire if there are any financing fees for this option. Or you can pay in full.
Find out exit options. Plans can change at a moment’s notice. If you decide in the future you don’t need this plot, make sure to find out any refund policies or possibilities to transfer the plot to another owner or even another cemetery all together.

Dolan Funeral Home in Chelmsford, MA, cares about our customers. We want to make sure you and your loved ones are well taken care of in a time of grief. Having as much done up-front before your death can only only save thousands of dollars, but will more importantly save your loved ones the stress and hassle of dealing with details while grieving your death. We can’t emphasize enough how important pre-planning your funeral can be.

Dolan Funeral Home offers many services for all of your funeral home needs. We offer caskets, urns, coffins, and prayer books. We offer catering service during your memorial service or celebration of life. We also offer cremation services as well as transportation services to and from the funeral home. Contact us today for all of your funeral needs!


Bringing food to those who’ve lost a loved one has been a long standing tradition. In times of grief, one is often too upset to cook, so others have brought food to express their sympathies and to help the grieving through their hard times. Continuing with tradition, Dolan Funeral Home of Chelmsford, MA, allows a caterer of your choice to serve food and beverages during a memorial service or reception. In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of food at funerals and why providing food during a loved ones celebration of life goes a long way in healing. Contact us today.

Continue Reading

History of the Hearse

The hearse is synonymous with funerals. Usually black in color, a hearse is a long car specifically designed to carry a coffin and is used almost exclusively for such a purpose. But did you know a hearse did not always refer to a car that transported the dead? So how did the hearse come about? A Chelmsford funeral home, Dolan Funeral Home, offers the best funeral home services in the greater Lowell area in Massachusetts. In this blog post, we’ll review the incredible history of the hearse. Contact us today!


Interestingly, when the word hearse is mentioned, an image of a long, black car carrying a coffin pops up. However, hearse didn’t always refer to a car. In fact, hearse referred to a castrum doloris, which is a frame that held candles and decorations over the coffin during a funeral. Like half the words in the English language, the word (originally spelled herse) comes to us from the Latin word “hirpicem,” which means a large rake. The castrum doloris were triangular in shape and had spikes for the candles, thus resembling a rake — hence the name. Then hearse meant the structure around a coffin until finally settling on a vehicle used during a funeral procession around the mid 17th century.


In ancient times, when people died, someone had to carry the body to its final resting place. Warriors would place dead kin on shields and haul them off the battlefield. For thousands of years, biers were used which were simple wooden structures resembling stretchers that both served as the place loved one rested before burial and the transport method when it was time to transport to the cemetery. Native Americans constructed travois, or wooden frame structures to first carry and then use a horse to pull the dead to the burial ground. What began as a purely utilitarian need (transport a heavy body) became an elaborate ritual and part of the grieving and mourning process when a loved one dies.


A hearse (or funeral coaches in some countries and a more common usage amongst those in the funeral industry) began as a hand-drawn cart with a built-in frame to prevent the coffin from slipping. As the hearses became more decorated and elaborate, horses were recruited to draw the coach in the early 1600s. Hearse trolleys came about in the late 1800s, which allowed bodies to be transported by rail. This continued until the invention of the automobile, with the first electric motorized hearses used in the United States in the early 1900s. In 1909, the first hearse was built using a gas-powered engine. These motorized hearses were slow to catch on due to the cost. However, as the price of cars went down, the popularity of hearses increased due to the easier upkeep than a horse and the fact that a car is faster than a horse.

From the 1920s to the middle part of the 1900s, funeral coaches served as both ambulance and hearse in small towns, which must have sent an interesting and possibly frightening message if you called an ambulance and a hearse showed up. These vehicles were known as combination coaches.

In 1938, Sayers and Scovill introduced the landau style of hearse. Harkening back to the Victorian era, a Landau was a horse-drawn, four-wheeled enclosed carriage with a removable front cover and a back cover that could be raised and lowered. Adapted to the motorized vehicle, the look created a semi-convertible where the rear quarter of the car could be opened up by folding the cover at the landau joints. The funeral industry embraced the look and the leather-backed hearse with its faux landau bar became popular. However, in the 1970, new regulations for ambulances were passed and now it’s very rare for an ambulance to be a hearse as well.


The form of a hearse has largely remained unchanged with a longer back to slide the coffin in. It’s interesting to note that no hearses are mass-produced; instead, hearses are custom made using luxury car chassis, such as a Cadillac, Lincoln, or Buick. The luxury car is essentially cut in half and then put back together on a longer chassis, using fiberglass to merge the two parts together.

In the back of this newly-created hearse, a long platform on rollers is placed so the coffin can be rolled in and out. Pin plates hold the casket in place so it doesn’t slide around during transport. Drapes are placed in the windows along the length of the coach. The S-shaped landau bars are still popular on many hearses today, having become almost a signature look. A brand new hearse today costs around $100,000.

In Europe, especially the United Kingdom, the limousine hearse style is the most popular hearse form. These are longer and characterized by narrow pillars and more glass windows, which are usually left unobscured.

Like other cars, hearses are collected as well and customized. You may see a motorcycle hearse or even a party wagon at your favorite sporting event, turned into an amazing tailgate vehicle. You may see a hearse customized and decked out with custom wheels, rims, and shiny paint jobs. The possibilities for a hearse are limited only by imagination.

Continue Reading

The 5 Stages of Grief

When a loved one dies, you may be disconsolate, in shock, and devastated — all rolled into one. At Dolan Funeral Home in Chelmsford, MA, we understand the impact a death in the family can have. We are here to help with all your funeral home needs, from start to finish, so you can focus on being with your family and the grieving process. Contact us today!




These five stages of grief were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. These stages are universal and affect everyone no matter what culture you’re from: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. These will be different for everyone, but overall you may experience a period in all these stages. Know that this is a normal part of the healing and grieving process.


  1. Denial. Immediately upon hearing of a death, especially an unexpected death, denial happens. We block out the knowledge and pretend it didn’t happen. When the death finally sinks in, we lose ourselves in the world and our place in the world. Life loses some of its meaning as we struggle to find our place without that person in it. We may enter a period of shock where numbness takes over and anything that happens to us — good or bad — has no meaning. You question everything while in this denial period. Furthermore, you are at your most vulnerable in this stage to being taken advantage of, especially from scammers.
  2. Anger. There is no shame at being mad at what has occurred, especially if the death of your loved one was an accident. Anger is a natural human emotion that can ground you in this time in your life. You may be angry at others, the one who caused the death, doctors, or at God or any other deity you may worship. You may even blame the loved one who died because you resent him or her for leaving you alone in this world. Then you’ll feel guilty over feeling such a thing. Anger is a symptom of the pain you feel, which will lead to grief. The angrier you are at the death of a loved one, the more intense your love for them. Don’t try to suppress it, but do try to find a healthy outlet for it rather than blowing up at Aunt Martha who showed up in a pink dress at the funeral. Exercise, particularly one that involves a punching bag, is cathartic.
  3. Bargaining. “If only…” or “what if…” marks this third stage of grief. A desire to go back in time and change things — change events that may have led to a tragic death, change our last words to our loved one, and change the death itself — becomes prominent. You start to believe you may have contributed to the death, and start blaming yourself. You live in the past in this phase, oblivious to what is happening around you and virtually incapable of planning for the future. It’s one day at a time. You may even progress to negotiating with the pain that you feel, wishing for it to end.
  4. Depression. Completely normal and a phase of grief almost everyone experiences, feeling sad, questioning the meaning of life, and wondering how you will move forward are normal responses. Life can hold no meaning and feel empty, especially if the space your loved one used to occupy. Activities you used to do together and the places you used to go together can seem barren and even odious to you now. Note, there is nothing wrong with you, and most of the time you do not have clinical depression. This is a necessary part of healing even though it may feel like your life has ended. Taking it one day at a time is all you can do in this stage and knowing somewhere in the back of your mind that this stage will pass with time.
  5. Acceptance. Realizing that life without your loved one is your new reality is the hallmark of this last stage of grief. This in no way makes the death of your loved one okay. In fact, you may never feel okay about the loss. You realize that you have to go on living, and it’s learning how to live without your loved one. This will take time as well, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about this. You won’t “bounce back”, and you’ll still have rough days, like for instance when you have to have someone else do household tasks that your loved one normally did. It’s okay. Don’t fight the process and allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you feel. Gradually, with time, you’ll begin to live again. Try to do this without feeling guilty that you are still alive and your loved one is not. Instead, know in your heart that your loved one would want you to move on, to enjoy a cup of coffee with friends, a vacation at the beach, and a ride in a hot air balloon.


It’s important to remember that these are general guidelines to the stages of the grieving process. Everyone grieves differently and you may jump in and out of stages repeatedly or even skip a phase altogether, and that is okay. Everyone copes with grief differently as well. You may find yourself sobbing uncontrollably or you may internalize your grief. Below are tips to cope with your grief:


  • Seek out others. Even though all you may want to do is be by yourself, you’ll need others around you to offer words of wisdom, to comfort you, or to just be present while you cope. Let them make you a home cooked meal, buy you groceries, and pick up your kids from school. That’s why we have each other to lean on in times of need.
  • Focus on self-care. Even though you may not feel like eating, you need to eat. Even though you may not feel like going to the gym, you need to exercise. Many turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain and to not feel the emotions of loss. This is not only detrimental to your health but also will only delay the natural healing process you need to go through.
  • Remember the good times. Reminiscence often about your loved one. He or she will always live in your heart and your mind, and remind yourself often that you are a better person because of his or her presence in your life.
  • Rely on your faith. When doubt creeps in, turn to faith. Know you will see your loved one again.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. Grief is necessary to healing. Feel the emotions, and don’t deny them.
  • Seek professional help if need be. Therapists are specially trained to help those going through the stages of grief and are trained to equip you with the tools to heal.


Dolan Funeral Home in Chelmsford, MA, serves the greater Lowell area, including Tewksbury and Dracut. As part of our aftercare program, we can assist you in finding help with your grief through appropriate support services. Our mission is to help you through the grieving process. Anytime you need support, please call us. Dolan Funeral Home cares. Contact us today!

Continue Reading

Signup for Obituary Email Notifications

Obituary Notification Email
Obituary Notification Email
Call Now Button Skip to content