• Helping an Elderly Person Deal with the Loss of a Spouse

    The loss of a partner can be a devastating event for anyone. However, for an older individual, the passing of a husband or wife can be an especially traumatic situation. If you have a friend or family member who has just lost a spouse, you can provide invaluable support to her during this emotionally fragile time. By attending to the many ways in which her grief may impact her life, you can help her cope with her loss in a healthy way.

    Senior Woman looking sadly at old wedding photograph

    Be a Consistent Presence

    The loss of a spouse can produce a wide continuum of responses in surviving partners. Trying to make the surviving spouse mourn in a way that is appropriate to you may only intensify her grief. Instead, allow her to mourn as she sees fit. Letting her know that you are there to support her through her grief no matter how she expresses it is one key way to assuage her pain.

    Note Health Changes

    Older individuals often have to contend with health problems such as insomnia or high blood pressure. The loss of a loved one can inadvertently contribute to the progression of these problems. The surviving spouse may find it even more difficult to get restful sleep, or she may forget to take her hypertension medication as needed. She might also begin to ignore her more basic health needs. When you keep a close eye on these potential problems, you can make sure that your loved one gets the help she needs as soon as possible.

    Offer At-Home Assistance

    Grief coupled with restricted physical health can make it difficult for a mourning spouse to attend to her domestic needs. You can show your love and support for her, though, by offering to help around the house. Even small gestures such as mowing the lawn or doing the laundry can provide much needed assistance until the surviving spouse can resume those duties or find professional help.

    Are you coping with the loss of a spouse or partner? Skylawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park offers grief counseling for those going through the mourning process. To find out more about how our caring staff can help, call our San Mateo office at (650) 349-4411.

  • Mandela Monument Design Competition Draws Hundreds of Submissions

    SAN MATEO, Calif. – Nov. 7, 2014 – Nearly 200 design entries were submitted for the creation of a permanent monument honoring the life of the late Nelson Mandela. Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park and Chapel of the Chimes partnered with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Oakland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on the contest which was open to all U.S. residents over 13 years of age and closed in mid-October. By Dec. 31, 2014, the Nelson Mandela Foundation will announce the winning memorial designer’s name, along with the date of the unveiling ceremony which will take place in summer 2015. Skylawn will construct the winning design and permanently host the monument at its park in San Mateo.

    Nelson Mandela Monument

    Hundreds of architects, artists and students from across the country honored Mandela’s contributions to world peace, human rights, social justice and democracy through their designs. The competition judges were touched by the deeply personal impact the creative process had on the designers. Many cited the process as a way to truly understand the importance of humility and Mandela’s legacy.

    “The entries we received included beautiful acknowledgements of how the design process and the focus on Mandela’s impact around the world helped individual artists reflect upon — and rethink — their own roles in life,” said David Montgomery, cemetery development and memorialization director at Skylawn and Chapel of the Chimes. “This is indicative of how Mandela touched so many people. We’re very pleased by the participation from so many talented artists, architects and students from across the country.” The winning design will be unveiled next summer.

    The monument will be installed at Skylawn, which is situated at the crest of Montara Mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The general public will be welcome to visit and learn more about Mandela’s contribution to humanity. Formed of rich granite, bronze or a combination thereof, the monument will be built to withstand the test of time and maintain its integrity and beauty for generations. Skylawn and Chapel of the Chimes are funding the project, from contest management through the production and installation.

    “We’re honored for the opportunity to host this new Mandela memorial so people can pay their respects to one of the world’s great leaders,” said Brian Kestenblatt, general manager, Skylawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park. “The transformational impact it will have on the San Francisco Bay Area – as well as all those who visit from around the state and around the country – is significant. We look forward to being part of such a unique and special occasion.”

    The strong connection between the Bay Area and Mandela’s life and work dates back almost three decades when, in opposition to Mandela’s imprisonment, Oakland Congressman Ron Dellums drafted the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. Demonstrations were conducted by thousands of Bay Area residents who rallied for civil rights and Mandela’s release from prison. Shortly following his release in 1990, he visited Oakland.

    ”As one of the most ethnically diverse regions of the U.S., we felt it was important to provide the people living in and visiting the Bay Area with a place to contemplate what Mandela’s legacy means to them,” said Sello Hatang, chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Foundation. “We’re thankful for the efforts made by both Chapel of the Chimes and Skylawn to make this monument a reality and we value their ability to give life and meaning to a legacy that touched each one of us.”


    The Nelson Mandela Foundation, a registered trust, is a human rights-oriented nonprofit organization. The Foundation delivers to the world an integrated and dynamic information resource on the life and times of Nelson Mandela, and promotes the search for sustainable solutions to critical social problems through memory-based dialogue interventions and tangible activations to realize the legacy of Nelson Mandela.



    Twitter: @NelsonMandela


    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic quality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.  

  • Celebration of Light – December 7, 2014

    Join us along with Pathways Sunday, December 7th, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. for a Celebration of Light – a time of remembrance and preparation for the holidays.

    This candle-lit afternoon will include the use of light from various faith traditions to assist us in upholding the memories of your loved ones. A memory table will provide the opportunity for you to temporarily place a favorite picture or memory object to further honor their place in your life.

    Refreshments will be served following the program. Please RSVP to the Pathways Bereavement Program to help us plan for all who wish to attend.

    2014 COL Flyer Invitation + Skylawn Map-page-001

  • How to Behave at a Funeral

    A funeral service is a time for friends and family members to comfort each other and reflect on the life of the person they are honoring. This video discusses appropriate funeral behavior.

    Funeral home experts stress that your presence at the funeral service is the most important contribution you can make to your grieving friends or family members. Your support is key to their comfort. How you dress can also show your respect for those in mourning. Under most circumstances, the attire that you would normally wear to church or another religious event is appropriate for a funeral service.

    Do you have more funeral service etiquette questions? Call Skylawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park in San Mateo at (650) 349-4411 to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable associates. 

  • How to Act Around People Who Are Grieving

    When a friend or family member loses a loved one, an immediate reaction might be to try to ease his grief. Knowing how to provide the comfort he needs may be more difficult to discern, though. Extending your condolences is one action you can take to show your friend or family member that you care. Your comfort can be shown and felt in a myriad of other ways as well.

    How to Act Around People Who Are Grieving - Skylawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park

    Lend a Hand

    Grief can make it incredibly difficult to focus on everyday tasks. Errands such as grocery shopping and doing the laundry may prove too overwhelming for someone who is mourning. To show your support for your friend or family member, pitch in around the house. Doing the dishes, vacuuming the carpet, and washing the car are just a few ways to show your sympathy and give your loved one time to heal.

    Provide Space

    No two people grieve in the same way. Some individuals find comfort in the presence of their friends and family members, while others withdraw from those around them. Give your loved one reassurances that you are available to him during his time of grief; however, you may find that he prefers to be on his own while he works through his feelings. Continue to touch base with your friend or family member, but if he wants time to himself, give him the space he needs.

    Let Them Mourn

    The grieving process holds to no one timetable. It may take weeks, months, or even years for your friend or family member to finally come to a place of peace. Even then, the holidays and other special occasions may bring to the surface feelings of sadness. Therefore, refrain from trying to hurry your loved one through his grief. Allowing him to talk about his emotions and remember treasured memories of his loved one are key to his healing no matter how long it takes.

    Skylawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park offers compassionate support and aid to those experiencing the loss of a loved one. Call (650) 349-4411 or go to our website to learn more about our services. Our San Mateo funeral home provides individualized burial, cremation, and funeral options that cater to the needs of our clients.