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A Guide to Thoughtful Behavior

Other Expressions of Condolences

Flowers
A floral tribute can be of great comfort to the family. If you can imagine walking into a room filled with the loveliness and the soft fragrance of beautiful flowers, you can understand how something so simple can be so meaningful. There are only a few exceptions when flowers are not appropriate. If the family request flowers be omitted, or that donations in lieu of flowers be made, you should honor the request. You should not send flowers to an Orthodox Jewish funeral nor to a Catholic church, although they are welcomed at the funeral home. Protestant churches will except flowers, but many families prefer that flowers be sent to the funeral home. The casket floral offering should always be offered by the family.

Mass Cards
When the deceased was a Catholic, mass cards may be sent instead of or in addition to flowers. Catholics and non Catholics may arrange for a mass to be said for the deceased. Contact us for information about obtaining a mass card.

Memorial Gifts
A gift of remembrance is always appropriated, especially when the family had requested such a gift in lieu of flowers. It is nice to personalize your gift to the deceased, for example, by making a gift to his or her mater, or contributing to medical research for the disease they suffered.

Cards & Notes
Ssending a card of sympathy is always in good taste, even if you were simply an acquaintance of the deceased. If the family is not likely to recognize your name, it is kind to add a few words of expression of sympathy, such as "Margaret and I were classmates in college." If you were well acquainted with the deceased and /or the family, a personal note is a gracious way to convey your feelings. The best letters are simple but sincere expressions of your sympathy for the family, of your affection for the deceased, and your desire to be of some help to the family.

Phone Calls
If you are local, a visit is preferred. Out-of-town friends should telephone as soon as possible to offer condolence and offer their service. Keep your call brief, since many others will be calling at this time.

Telegrams
Telegrams are appropriate from those who are not intimate with the family, for example, a business associate or a former neighbor. The family will appreciate your message of concern.

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