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with a funny story, or a mem­ory that we will never for­get of the one who has passed.

Per­chance it was on the golf course, on the boat, or dur­ing a walk in down­town An­napo­lis.

What­ever it may be, we need to make it a point to come to a vis­i­ta­tion and/ or fu­neral with the in­tent of shar­ing that spe­cial mo­ment with the fam­ily and how im­por­tant that in­di­vid­ual was to our life. This shared mem­ory not only shows the fam­ily that we are there for them and truly care, but that their loved one made an im­pact on our life and we give much thanks for hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity in know­ing them.

“But hold on Ryan, what if I don’t know the de­ceased and only know one of the rel­a­tives?” This is very com­mon.

For ex­am­ple, the one who has passed is the fa­ther of a friend at our place of work. In this case it is next to im­pos­si­ble to bring a story of the per­son who has passed, be­cause we most likely have never met them nor any of their fam­ily mem­bers. When it comes time to walk up to see this dear friend, we are first greeted by the widow, then the sib­lings and so on. This of­ten times cre­ates an awk­ward feel­ing and ends up with us us­ing the com­mon phrase that the rel­a­tives have heard time and time again by nearly ev­ery­one ahead of us…“I’m sorry for your loss.”

For­tu­nately, this awk­ward feel­ing is be­ing com­bated by con­ver­sa­tional clues set up by pro­gres­sive un­der­tak­ers. If we are to take a look care­fully around the room, we will find ob­jects that the fam­ily has pro­vided the undertaker to dis­play. This be­comes our “road map” for the con­ver­sa­tion with the rel­a­tives we may have never met be­fore.

Ev­ery­thing from golf clubs and doll houses, de­coys and fish­ing rods to a Christ­mas tree and full size nut­crack­ers pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity to learn about the in­di­vid­ual and ask the fam­ily to share sto­ries about those items that are vis­ual to us. “I see your hus­band en­joyed golf, what

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