Remembrance During the Holiday Season

“There is nothing as wonderful as loving someone, and nothing harder than losing them.”


Foster Heath, Founder

Heath Funeral Chapel held its annual Service of Remembrance on Sunday, November 18, at which time we remembered the recently deceased through music, a presentation of roses, and a discussion of ways to handle grief during a usually joyous time of year. Especially during the holidays, we can come together and reaffirm that love never ends.

We would like to thank our special guests, Dr. Paul Suich of First Presbyterian Church and Beckie Haubry and Kristopher Ridgely of Harrison School for the Arts, for offering their support through their expertise and music, respectively. We hope all who attended found something meaningful to take with them through this holiday season.



The following discussion questions (distributed at the service) may be helpful in caring for others and in tending to our own grief:

  1. How have friends and family demonstrated that they really don’t understand what you’re going through?
  2. How have friends and family demonstrated that they actually do understand what you’re going through?
  3. One idea is scaling back the number of activities you engage in this holiday. If you were to take that advice, what one activity would you immediately mark off your “to-do” list? How would refraining from that activity benefit you?
  4. What word describes how you feel about the holidays? i.e. nervous, relaxed, fearful, tense, excited, etc.
  5. Which holiday is the most painful for you to face: Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years? In one or two sentences, tell why.
  6. Share one thing you enjoyed doing with your loved one during the holidays.
  7. How have friends and family been a blessing to you over the holiday?
  8. What new tradition might you create to help you through the holidays?
  9. For those of you who have experienced holidays without a loved one, in one or two sentences, what advice would you give to those about to face it for the first time?
  10. What are some of the bad clichés that are offered to grieving people?
  11. What would encourage you to be honest about your sense of sadness, anger, anxiety, or sadness during the holidays?
  12. How do you feel when a grieving person weeps during the holiday season?
  13. One of the problems that grieving people often resort is that they feel rushed to get better. Their friends often want them to lie about their grief, to say that they are getting better when it just simply hurts. Describe your fear that allowing a grieving person to feel bad is just going to “make them go backwards.”
  14. What are some practical ways that you can offer encouragement to a grieving person?
  15. Based on my experience tonight, during this holiday season, I plan to. . .

Bill Schichtel Recognized for Obtaining CFSP Designation

Heath Funeral Chapel’s William L. Schichtel, Jr., CFSP of Lakeland, FL was recently recognized for the achievement of earning the designation of Certified Funeral Service Practitioner (CFSP), by the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice this past October at the National Funeral Directors Association convention held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

William L. Schichtel Jr., CFSP was honored by APFSP President Arvin W. Starrett, CFSP of Paris, Texas.

A number of professionals grant special recognition to members upon completion of specified academic and professional programs and “CFSP” is funeral service’s national individual recognition.

The Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice, since its 1976 founding, has had as its goals: 1) to recognize those practitioners who have voluntarily entered into a program of personal and professional growth, 2) to raise and improve the standards of funeral service and 3) to encourage practitioners to make continuing education a life-long process in their own self-interest, the interest of the families they serve, and the community in which they serve.

To initially receive this award, the practitioner must complete a 180 hour program of continuing education activities and events. In addition, the practitioner is required to accumulate 20 hours per year to recertify. Credits are awarded by the Academy for work leading to personal and/or professional growth in four areas:

  • Academic Activities
  • Professional Activities
  • Career Review (for retroactive credit)
  • Community and Civic Activities

Certified Practitioners may use the CFSP designation with their names for business letterheads, professional cards, and other appropriate uses. Certification is for individuals only and is not used to imply certification of a firm.

Tribute to Our Veterans

As Veterans Day approaches, we remember the service of one of our founders: Foster Heath.

Foster had served in World War II in the Army Air Corps. As the tail-gunner of a B-17, his plane was shot down while on a mission over the Baltic Sea. He was one of two of his ten-man crew to survive. Subsequently, Germans rescued him from the sea’s freezing waters, and he became a Prisoner-Of-War for the next 11 months.

Foster was not the only one with stories such as these, and on this day, we take time to remember and thank our veterans for the sacrifices and hardships they endure to ensure freedom for us all. Happy Veterans Day!

Foster Heath is center, back row

Southeastern University Students Visit

Yesterday, October 25, we welcomed Dr. Andrew Permenter’s Pastoral Studies class from Southeastern University to our funeral home. The day consisted of discussions of funeral customs and current funeral trends, along with the history and a tour of our funeral home. We wish his students the best of luck in their future endeavors!

Estate and End of Life Planning Seminar

Last Saturday, February 24, First United Methodist Church hosted the Estate and End of Life Planning Seminar. The Reverend John Peterson of the Florida United Methodist Foundation, Connie Durrence of Clark, Campbell, and Lancaster, P.A., and Heath Funeral Chapel’s own Ryan Bates gave presentations on the importance of transferring estates to family and the need to establish end of life planning. The event lasted for three hours and ended with a Q & A with the presenters.

Ryan discussed the benefits to pre-plan a funeral and gave a general road map of what to expect at a pre-planning appointment. Pre-planning is great for someone who doesn’t want the burden of planning a funeral to fall on family members after a death has happened, wants his or her wishes honoured, and/or wants to be set at ease that the details of the funeral have been completed. If you have questions or would like to create an end of life plan which can be as simple as just establishing a folder stating preferences for a funeral or memorial service, please call us at Heath Funeral Chapel at (863) 682-0111 to set up an appointment.