Funeral Home
46 S Winchester St.
Swanzey, NH 03446
(603) 357-2980

Funeral Chapel
44 Maple Ave
Keene, NH 03431
(603) 357-2980

Questions, Answers to Common Questions

About Funerals
Funeral and Cremation Services
What to do when death occurs

What is a funeral? top
A funeral is a gathering of family and friends who come together to honor the memory of a loved one who has died. Funerals provide an important rite of passage. Similar to rituals which mark other transitions in life--such as baptisms, graduations, and weddings--funerals provide a time for family and friends to celebrate the life of the loved one and share their feelings concerning the loss of this person in their lives. Coming together like this helps people accept the death, which is a critical part of adjusting to the loss.

Funerals can be as unique as the people planning them. While they are often held at churches, synagogues, or funeral homes, they may be held in any location requested by the family. Funerals that remember the loved one in personal ways can be very healing. We all carry memories and it is helpful to share these memories through readings, music, or other forms.

Funerals are an important ritual in our lives. They affirm our basic beliefs about life and death, and help us through our loss.

Why do I need the services of a funeral home? top
When a death occurs, people seek the help of a funeral home. Funeral Directors are licensed professionals who are knowledgeable about state and federal laws. Cheshire Family Funeral Home can help you plan a service that will meet your needs and guide you through this time of emotional distress.

There are more than one hundred decisions that must be made during the funeral process. The best time to choose a funeral home and to make these decisions is before the death occurs.

During the funeral process it is important that you have confidence in the funeral home to attend to every detail. Mistakes at such a highly emotional time can add undue stress to the family. It is important that the funeral home have adequate facilities and staff to serve your family and friends.

The funeral home you choose will play a very important roll in helping you through the grief process. The better funeral homes will offer support groups and aftercare materials to help families after the loss of a loved one.

Why have a funeral? top
Commemorating the important events which occur throughout the course of our lives is important to most of us. Christenings and baptisms, graduations from high school and college, weddings, birthday and anniversary celebrations, and funerals are all examples of important events. These events are acknowledged through some form of ritual or ceremony.
Funerals serve a valuable function by providing a time and place for commemorating and acknowledging the life of an individual who has died. Funerals confirm and reinforce the reality of death, assist in the expression of grief and feelings of loss, begin the process of reintegrating the bereaved back into the community, and convey our values and beliefs regarding the meaning of life and death.

Funerals may be as unique as the individual whose life they celebrate. A funeral director can provide many suggestions and options for ensuring that a funeral, for a loved one or for yourself, truly honors and celebrates the life that was led.

What do funeral directors do? top
The primary role of a funeral director is to assist and serve people experiencing the death of a loved ` |s is immediately after the death has occurred, but increasingly it involves planning well ahead of the time of need.

The funeral director relieves the family of many details. The director transports the body to the funeral home, arranges for the wake and gets information to the proper authorities for the death certificate. The funeral director places obituary notices in newspapers and helps fill out claim forms for Social Security survivors benefits, Veterans benefits, and life insurance. He or she also secures the location for the funeral and arranges for someone to officiate the service. On the day of the funeral, the director takes care of transportation and other logistics. The funeral director is also responsible for preparing the body of the deceased for the service and making certain that its presentation fulfills the wishes of the family.
In all of these activities, the funeral director is the primary organizer and counselor to the survivors of the deceased.

What is embalming? top
Embalming is the process of sanitizing and chemically treating the body of the deceased. This process retards decomposition of the body, and restores an acceptable physical appearance. Embalming is the first step in the process of preparing the body for viewing.
Embalming is usually not required in cases of immediate burial or immediate cremation, and for some religious groups who bury within twenty-four hours of death. Most funeral homes require embalming if there is to be a public viewing, if the body is to be kept more than twenty-four hours, or if the body is to be transported across state lines.
In addition to embalming, preparation of the body also includes shaving, hair dressing, make-up, dressing, and placing the body in the casket prior to viewing and services.

Why is embalming important? top

The cells of the human body begin decomposition immediately after death. Embalming is the process of sanitizing and chemically treating the body of the deceased. This process prevents decomposition for a period of time which is often necessary to allow family members time to gather for funeral services. Embalming is also a step in the process of preparing the body of the deceased for viewing. When there is to be a viewing of the body, either public or by the family, embalming restores a more healthful physical appearance. This preparation helps modify and remove signs of accidents or disease, and can provide survivors a more acceptable memory of the deceased.

Permitting family and friends to view the body of the deceased at a visitation or wake, or during the funeral service can be a valuable experience. The most important reason for viewing the body is to help people accept the reality of the death that has occurred. An important part of the grieving process is the acceptance of loss, and viewing the body may be a cathartic way to help survivors toward acceptance, and to start the process of healthful mourning.

A funeral director will discuss the option of the viewing the body with the immediate family when services are being planned. The survivors may choose whether the casket is open or closed during the public visitation and funeral.

Insisting that a person, especially a child, view the body is not recommended. Children have many questions concerning death, and it is often helpful for them to view the body and receive factual answers. However, viewing the body is a personal choice for both adults and children, and no one should be forced to do so against their will.

Viewing the body can be an important part of the funeral experience. Talking with a funeral director about your thoughts and concerns can help you reach an understanding of what choices would be best for your family. Viewing may also be possible without embalming in circumstances prescribed by your funeral director. Please consult one of our professionals for more information.

Why are flowers such a meaningful way to express sympathy? top
Sympathy flowers have been a part of funeral and memorial traditions in nearly every culture throughout history. Changing trends in how we say good-bye to loved ones, however, often leave family and friends uncertain about how to express their condolences. Below, the Society of American Florists answers the most commonly asked questions about sympathy flowers:

"Is there a 'right' or 'wrong' type of arrangement to send to people as a sympathy gift?"
Although very traditional sympathy arrangements are still requested, most florists today are happy to create a floral tribute that is original and creative. Mixed flower arrangements that look "just-picked-from-the-garden," or green or flowering plants are popular options. These more contemporary alternatives provide the family with the option to take them home, or deliver them to hospitals or places of worship after the service.

"What can I do to make my arrangement special from the rest?

To make your floral tribute particularly special, ask your florist to create an arrangement that fits the deceased's personality. For example, a rustic basket of wildflowers might honor someone who loved the outdoors. Whatever you do, the family is sure to notice and appreciate the effort.

"Sometimes I see a charity mentioned 'in lieu of flowers' in the death notice. Is it still appropriate to send flowers?"

Because flowers help you say what is often difficult to express, they are always appropriate and in good taste.

However you choose to express your sympathy, any support will let the family know you care.

What are traditional funeral services? top
A traditional funeral service is a type of service that a particular family, ethnic, or religious group has established as being compatible with its beliefs and traditions.

In most of these groups, a traditional funeral service includes several common elements. A gathering of family and community is held at a church or funeral home, most often with the casketed body present. The casket may be open or closed, and there is generally a defined order of service. The service is often followed by the burial, but in some traditions, may be followed by cremation.

The service is normally organized by custom, tradition, or religious law to provide structure for the mourning and grief process, and speaks about the death and loss. The traditional service usually has a time limit, but is also flexible to meet the individual needs of the survivors. Traditional services are group-centered, with family, friends, and members of the community of the deceased invited to participate.

A wide range of services, from simple to elaborate, are available. Regardless of the type of funeral service, acknowledging the death of a loved one can be important to the future adjustment of the survivors.

What are memorial funeral services? top
Memorial services and receptions differ from full traditional services in that the service may be simplified and may be less expensive. However, it is possible and reasonable that a memorial service or reception may be more expensive and elaborate than a traditional service.

The memorial service is generally held at the funeral home, although a church, meeting hall, home, or other location may be chosen.

Funeral homes charge a basic fee which covers the common services which everyone who uses the funeral home will require. Some of these services include removal of the remains from the place of death to the funeral home, use of the basic facilities of the funeral home, and staff services for a basic arrangement conference.

In addition to the basic services, a family may choose services that involve additional charges for items such as certified death certificates, newspaper obituary notices, and a container for the remains such as a casket. The use of the funeral home chapel, and/or visitation rooms, flowers, and printed materials, are also considered additional services.

Why might I choose memorial services and receptions? top
The deceased or their survivors may not belong to a community that has a defined funeral service, or they may be in a situation where a traditional service would be inappropriate. In these cases, memorial services and receptions can be chosen as an alternative to traditional services. These events are less formal than traditional services. Most funeral homes will provide facilities for receptions or can assist you with arranging them.

As a focal point of the service, pictures of the deceased, memorabilia from his or her life, hobby items, or mementos may be brought to the place of gathering. This is a way of focusing on the life of the person being remembered. Memorial services can be held at a funeral home, church, private home, or almost any place of community gathering.

Receptions, where coffee and cookies or more elaborate food is provided, may follow memorial services, or may be the principle form of the remembrance service. Receptions give family and friends an opportunity to support each other in their loss, to renew relationship bonds and to formalize new relationships which no longer include the active participation of the deceased.

What are the alternatives to traditional funeral services? top
Today, there are many ways to organize and conduct celebrations which acknowledge that a life has been lived and that a death has occurred. Some personalized formats that are commonly used include: a service or party at a workplace, favorite park, or camping spot, or an open house at a favorite gathering place. Other formats might include a sports event, a dinner, an art show, or other events reflective of the life of the deceased and dedicated to them. At these gatherings, family members or friends may present a program of reminiscence, where they exchange favorite stories of the deceased and reflect on the contributions made by that person.

An important facet of any of these alternative service events is to acknowledge the mourning process, and acknowledge the death and the loss that follows. It is also important to encourage the expression of feelings, and speak directly about the individual life that has been lived. There are no absolute standards for an alternative service. An experienced funeral director will be willing to help you explore the alternatives which are best for your family.

What do alternatives to traditional funeral services cost? top
Some families chose to design their own ceremony or remembrance service. There is no limitation as to the type of service that may be designed. The important thing is that the ceremonies chosen, whether simple or complex, be fulfilling to the survivors. There is no right or wrong, just satisfying or not satisfying.

Funeral homes charge a basic fee which covers the common services which everyone who uses the funeral home require. Some of these services are: removal of the remains from the place of death to the funeral home, use of the basic facilities of the funeral home, and staff services for an arrangement conference.

Some examples of alternative services are:

A memorial party held in a favorite gathering spot complete with potluck or catered food, music and a time of reminiscence and sharing.

A picnic or backyard gathering at which the guests are invited to share stories of the deceased, pictures, and favorite activities.



Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel
44 Maple Ave.
Keene, NH 03431

Cheshire Family Funeral Home
46 South Winchester S.
PO Box 19
West Swanzey, NH 03469

Cheshire Family Crematory
23 Quarry Rd
Troy NH. 03465



Lawrence E. Jackson Sr. November 29, 2015
Rhonda J. Smith November 23, 2015
Peter J. and Elizabeth Woiciechowski
November 20, 2015

Stanley A. Richmond November 17, 2015
Vergalyn M. Wood November 15 2015
Ann M. McLaughlin November 12, 2015

Monime Stanclift November 10, 2015
Evelyn B. Thompson November 10, 2015
Jacob G. Froehlich, Jr. November 10, 2015
Helen L. Machietto November 6, 2015
Morris Nirenberg November 2, 2015
Bruce Garand October 26, 2015


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