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The State Room – Its Genesis and How it Works

Since 1991, we at Delaware Valley Cremation Center have been dedicated to the sensible and flexible process of caring for a loved one, and appropriately paying tribute to a life lived. Over these past 26 years, we have experienced a major shift in attitudes regarding funeral service as cremation has now surpassed casketed burial as the predominant choice of the American consumer. And for many, the old-fashioned, cookie cutter funerals simply are not of the same value to their families anymore. We could definitely sense that there was a developing consumer need going unmet.

That’s why we are extremely proud and excited to be able to offer our new service enhancement concept that we’ve been working on for the past several years….something that, in many cases, better meets the needs of a growing number of families in this evolving society. “THE STATE ROOM” is a brand new 5500 square feet event center connected to our current facility which offers a truly unique and comfortable setting for the joyous and organic gathering of family and friends to meaningfully honor, remember, and celebrate a life.

Here’s one example of how a Memorial Tribute Gathering at THE STATE ROOM seems to work well for some people:

Any time prior to the cremation, the immediate family has the opportunity to view the deceased in our chapel along with whichever close family and/or friends they feel would have the appropriate need to be privately invited to share in that intimate bodily farewell experience.

For the public gathering, guests will be invited to attend a Memorial Tribute Service at, say, 6:30pm. This way, everyone will have had the opportunity to get dinner at home before attending….and best of all, no one has to miss work to attend. (Guests will most likely be arriving anywhere between 6:00 and 6:30, and will be escorted and encouraged to take a seat in the main hall. Our baby grand piano will be played during this gathering period.)

At around 6:30, the Celebrant and family and friends will pay an appropriate tribute honoring the life of their loved one through personalized eulogies, poetry, video, prayer, song, and the simple sharing of thoughts and remembrances possibly culminating in a toast honoring the memory of a life well lived.

Guests will be encouraged to remain in fellowship with the family until 9:30 or so for an opportunity to privately pay their respects and share their support, condolences and comfort with the family. (This time is sort of a mix between a cocktail hour type reception, and the end of a wedding reception whereas everyone in attendance eventually gets an opportunity to individually share some private time with the guest(s) of honor prior to going home.) This is a time which replaces what is known as a “visitation” period at a funeral home…..but no one has to stand in line and possibly say the same thing to every member of the immediate family….even those they don’t know. They can just seek out the family member(s) that they do know, and spend some quality time with them. (This is also a chance for guests who couldn’t be in attendance for the entire evening to briefly stop in for just a few minutes to pay their respects.)

During these 2 hours or so after the service, the family has the opportunity to offer hospitality through light food and drink which helps bring some normalcy to this delicate and unfamiliar situation they are finding themselves in. (The sharing of food and drink is not only comforting, but essential in almost every social gathering of family and friends throughout time.)

During this post-service reception time, the video monitors may continue to scroll through the life tribute photos, while the family’s personally selected play list of favorite music plays. Guests will be invited and encouraged to leave a private video message for the family in the Video Tribute Booth – the 1930’s vintage phone booth in the bar area. (This has proven to be a well-received vehicle for people to comfortably share more intimate feelings and memories in a quiet, private setting.) Also, if the family chooses, a custom created Memorial Facebook Group page could also display on selected monitors, showing real-time posts from family and friends who either prefer sharing thoughts and memories via social media, or couldn’t be there in person that evening. Or for a more “retro” social media experience, family and friends may leave a thought, memory, or message on the Chalkboard Wall which is also in the bar/foyer area.

However people prefer to interact, the important value is that the entire community of those whose lives were touched by the deceased will hopefully have an opportunity to come together in some meaningful way to pay a fitting tribute, share their grief, and begin their journey of healing amidst friends in a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere.

On behalf of myself, and my wonderful coworkers at Delaware Valley Cremation Center and The State Room, we are pleased to be able to help facilitate this unique and hopefully helpful experience. Our goal is that it will help provide a meaningful value for the families we are so honored to serve.

Bill Sucharski