Fairhaven Blog

Things of interest around Fairhaven.

A Movie is Worth a Million Words

- Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this day of technology, a movie is worth so much more. With the New Year upon us, creating a movie of your loved one may be the perfect way to commemorate his or her life, and a great way to capture memories that can be replayed for years to come.

A few years ago, I was fortunate to be able to have a professional company videotape my parents. Initially, Mom and Dad were uncomfortable with this process. However, the woman, Mary Ann Osness from CorElAnn Video Productions spoke gently as she interviewed my parents, helping them to relax. She asked about where they grew up, how they met and many other questions.

During my father’s funeral service, we played the movie; my nephew read a eulogy; and my sister, niece and a few close friends spoke. I couldn’t have talked without sobbing, and didn’t try. After the service, many commented on how much they appreciated seeing the movie. The video of my father brought tears to everyone’s eyes and even a few chuckles when my father made humorous comments.

On the recording, my father talked about how he met – and courted – my mother. Few people in the audience knew what a true romantic my father was. He talked about a vacation we’d experienced and many other memories. My father talked for maybe ten wonderful minutes, which we shared with those who attended his funeral.

We will have this video of my father to show great-great-grandchildren someday, along with the pictures, of which there are many. But a movie with my father talking, his mannerisms, his voice, the way he used his hands to emphasize what he was saying and his sense of humor, is so much more meaningful. This movie is a precious memory.

I have suggested this type of movie to others. One of my friends who had just months to live came to me to pre-arrange her funeral. She followed my suggestion and made a movie with Mary Ann. In her video, she talked about so many things; about her vacations, her community involvement, and the many aspects of her life of which her children weren’t aware. She started several organizations and helped so many people. She was truly an inspiring woman. She did not brag or boast, but talked about the things she enjoyed.

The woman’s children were in their early twenties, too young for children of their own. They will be able to share her with their children and those who follow, because she knew how precious a movie would be for them. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a movie, so much more.

No Regrets, Please

- Friday, June 20, 2014

Regret. It’s one of life’s most uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, emotions. When we wish we had done something differently, but can’t go back and change it, we are likely to feel regret. In my position here at Fairhaven, I frequently encounter people that feel regretful. Perhaps most common is the feeling that they have not spent enough time with a loved one.

But another whole category of regret involves decisions people wish they had made earlier in life. For example, I encounter widows who wish they had taken time to understand their finances before their husbands passed away. I meet widowers who regret putting off trips they always talked about, but never found time to take before their wives became ill.  For some, the regret involves not moving to a retirement community, or just downsizing into a smaller, more manageable home. The list goes on and on.

The lesson learned here is that we should not wait too long to make decisions that will shape the last years of our lives. Perhaps the best time to evaluate these decisions is when retirement is looming. This is the time when questions need to be raised about what you -- as a couple or an individual -- want to do in the years ahead. Where will you live? Is your estate plan set? Will your heirs have a huge tax burden because you didn’t do enough estate planning? Are there trips on your bucket list? Are you working with advisors to guide your decisions -- an attorney, CPA and financial advisor?

Of course, I also hear regret related to not planning ahead for funerals.  People who take the time to talk among themselves, including with their adult children, are usually much less stressed when the time comes for the arrangements. Naturally, they are grieving, but much of the stress is gone.

Many people find it difficult to talk about death, especially their own. I’ve found that conversations about funeral pre-planning are naturally prompted by attending a funeral. Actually, any ceremony, even a wedding, can lead to these kinds of conversations. And these conversations are so useful, resolving issues such as do I want to have a ground burial, entombment or cremation? Do I want a large or intimate ceremony? Do I have a passion or hobby that can be added to the arrangements that fits my own personality? For example, I have a collection of fine wines and I’ve made it known I’d like the collection to be opened and enjoyed at my funeral. Without my planning in advance, I doubt anyone would know this was my intention. But now that I’ve planned, I’m sure my farewell will be the kind of party that I, personally, would enjoy – with friends and family swapping stories and fabulous wines  flowing. 

Whenever you are ready to consider funeral pre-planning, feel free to visit our website for a little help: http://www.fairhavenmemorial.com/learn/advance-planning.htm 

Eternal Springs Cremation Garden Opens at Fairhaven

- Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fairhaven Memorial Park & Mortuary announces the completion of Eternal Springs, a 3,800-square-foot cremation garden located on the north side of the memorial park. The project, which began in Sept. 2013, provides a serene and private atmosphere for families to visit their loved ones. The peaceful garden offers numerous cremation niches as well as a flowing stream, rustic bridges and beautiful landscaping.

“Keeping cherished memories close is so important to families who have lost loved ones, and we hope this new garden will help families to remember lovingly and find comfort during difficult times,” said Marla Noel, president of Fairhaven Memorial Park. “Since more individuals are choosing cremation, Eternal Springs provides our families with a peaceful place to find a lasting memorial for their loved ones.”

Set against a peaceful backdrop of mosaic tiles depicting a waterfall, the garden features:

 - 175 cremation memorial stones placed throughout the garden to create a natural look

 - A stream flowing through the entire length of the garden with three bridges

 - Beautiful, water-efficient landscaping comprised of lush trees, various shrubs and assorted flowers

 - Three park benches to offer families a place of rest, reflection and comfort

Located next to the Bella Vista Mausoleums, Eternal Springs continues an expansion process that began in 2007 with Eternal Gardens and has Fairhaven Memorial Park spanning four acres of adjacent land across Fairhaven Avenue.

For more information, visit www.fairhavenmemorial.com or call 714-633-1442.

Unique Floral Arrangements Help Families Celebrate Loved Ones

- Thursday, October 03, 2013

When memorializing a loved one, it is so important to celebrate the attributes that made them unique; the one-of-a-kind passions and personality traits that set them apart as the building blocks that compose their legacy. Floral arrangements are one of the ways we at Fairhaven help families achieve this.

Meet our Floral Manager, Edel Cabrera.

Edel is not only passionate about flowers. He is passionate about using flowers to paint a distinctive portrait of an individual.

“When Fairhaven began offering families ways to personalize their services, it was the perfect opportunity for me to help families personalize their flower arrangements,” said Edel. “I began working directly with the families to really understand what they wanted and creating arrangements that were more than just the traditional standing sprays and baskets.”

From wreaths to casket pieces, Edel can work with any wish a family may have. We asked him to share with us the inspiration behind some of his beautiful floral creations: 

"The pink Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon was created in honor of a family's loved one who lost a battle against breast cancer."

“The soccer ball floral arrangement was tailored to memorialize a little league team soccer coach.”

"The casket piece and wreath were personalized with plants to honor the passing of a man who was passionate about gardening. Though plants are not typically used in flower arrangements, we made it work for the family."

“In this photo, you can see a unique creation—a guitar. The floral guitar was custom-made for a family who had lost their love one and had approached us with a picture of the guitar, which the man loved.”

“The cat in the basket full of red roses was made in honor of a woman who not only loved her cats, but loved growing her own roses.”

Through the creation of floral arrangements, Edel has successfully used his own passions to create inspiring arrangements that help families celebrate life. Not only does Edel love designing graphics and creating remarkable pieces, he cares about helping families during their hardest times. “If I can create something a family is hoping for, I know I am making this difficult time easier on them,” he says. “It feels really good when I get a call from a family member that just wants to say ‘thank you’.”

Eternal Springs Cremation Garden

- Friday, September 13, 2013


We have officially broken ground on Eternal Springs, an expansion of the Santa Ana Memorial Park designed to provide a peaceful, contemporary environment for families to visit their loved ones and find comfort. The 3,800-square-foot cremation garden will employ a flowing stream, rustic bridges, lush landscaping and rock features to evoke the peace and tranquility of a mountain stream.

Central to Eternal Springs’ natural beauty will be the use of cremation boulders, which hold the remains of loved ones and serve as a memorial to their life. The boulders will be placed throughout the garden as a final resting place for families to visit.

The project, which will feature lush, water-efficient landscaping, includes the following features:

A flowing water feature spanning the entire length of the garden

Three bridges crossing the water feature composed of rocks to evoke memories of a mountain   stream

Abundant trees to offer shade, accompanied by shrubs and ground cover, with cremation   boulders placed amid the landscaping to create a strikingly natural look

Three park benches to offer a place of rest and reflection.

Eternal Springs, which is slated for completion in early 2014, will be located adjacent to the Bella Vista Mausoleums on the north side of the park. 

Celebrating Life is Always the Best Option

- Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our president, Marla Noel, shares how to memorialize loved ones who choose cremation

“You have options.”

This is the first thing we tell a family when they inform us that their loved one has asked for a cremation. One of the most common misconceptions among families is that cremation limits their options to memorialize and pay tribute to their loved one. This is simply not true. Cremation provides a vast array of opportunities to celebrate a life, including:

- A visitation with a viewing prior to the cremation process

- A full memorial service

- A ceremony that fulfills cultural rituals and traditions

- Traditional burial

- Family estates, where up to four family members can be buried together

Cremation options can also include cremation niches, ossuaries and even a peaceful garden resting place.

Whatever option you chose, it is most important to celebrate your loved one in a way that is unique to them and honors their legacy. Whether this is through a small and intimate gathering or a large ceremony, cremation means you still have an opportunity to have a truly creative and unique tribute to your loved one.

Memorialization is an essential part of the grieving process and provides the opportunity to fittingly say “goodbye” so the healing may begin. If your loved one has requested cremation, remember that you have many options available to you to give them the tribute they deserve. Never miss an opportunity to celebrate a life. 

Taking Back the Holidays -by Cynthia Adair

- Friday, November 25, 2011

The first year after the loss of a loved one is the most difficult…it is a year of “firsts”…the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, the first birthday, without that person.

The first year after the loss of my mother we struggled to maintain family traditions…my sister and I tried our best to recreate the holidays that my mother loved so much…but without her there, they seemed lacking.

The next year was a little better…as we began to combine the best of my mother’s customs with some of our own…this was the year we added Blue cheese and bacon to the Thanksgiving mash potatoes and had Mimosas on Christmas morning.

This past year we were able to find humor in remembering things my mother did…her 4th of July themed tables and the jars of peanuts she put in our stockings. My sister and I can now laugh at each other as we are “becoming our mother”…I show up at her house with dessert and always bring holiday plates and napkins even though I know she has a stockpile of them from years past and she puts labels in the dishes on the Thanksgiving table so we know what to put where…and both of these things are exactly what my mother did.

I know that there are things that we will always do…things just like our mother did…but now the holidays are once again a time to celebrate as well as to remember.

This year as my family gets together…we will be embracing our old traditions and incorporating some new ones…there will be good food, family, and lots of laughter…as those are the things my mother loved best about the holidays!

Funeral Planning, Your Budget, and You

- Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For many families, the need to plan a funeral comes unexpectedly. Complex decisions must be made at a most difficult time, and the cost of funeral services plays a large role in the planning process. Not surprisingly, most people are under the impression that funeral services cost more than they really do.

How much does a funeral actually cost?  What is a reasonable price range for a dignified, appropriate tribute for the person who has died?

No two funerals are alike, and your personal preferences might make the cost higher (or lower) than average. Overall, your final cost will be determined by three important considerations:

1. The services you select

2. The cost of caskets, vaults, urns and other items

3. Clergy, honorarium, obituary costs, flowers and other incidentals that can add to the services.

We offer many services that help make a funeral a personalized, dignified and healing experience. Some families choose one or two of these, while others choose more. You might prefer a traditional funeral, or an alternative type of service. Memorial services are available at our funeral home, or at a place that has special meaning. There are choices concerning burial or other forms of interment, including cremation. Your decisions will determine the final cost, but you may be assured that we will give you detailed estimates for any of the options you choose.

The funeral products we make available give you a wide range of choices in style, and in price. Your tastes may lean toward simplicity, or something more elaborate. For example, if you choose a traditional funeral with interment, you will need to purchase a burial vault and casket.  Families who prefer cremation will usually purchase an urn to hold the cremated remains. These may then be retained, interred, scattered, or placed in a columbarium niche. Various costs are associated with each of these options.

If you have preplanned the funeral, the choices we have discussed above will already be made, and you will have received a complete list of all costs involved. For this reason, we encourage families to consider funeral preplanning, because you will make these important decisions at your leisure, when you have time to reflect on just the kind of funeral you want, and just how much you wish to pay. Prepaying the funeral service also protects your family from those unanticipated expenses we mentioned earlier.

How much does a funeral really cost? To assist in your planning, we can provide a list of prices for many of the basic services that most families select. Please be assured that we welcome your questions about our services and prices. Do not hesitate to discuss funeral costs with us. We believe you have a right to know exactly what costs are involved in the services you choose.

What Would Your Funeral Look Like

- Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I know that people tend to plan their funeral in advance when they have been to a good funeral or a very bad funeral. Yes, there is such a thing as a bad funeral. Not the right things done, said, planned.

I remember sitting with a family once and the minister asked if the family had any words they wanted to say about their loved one. No one had planned what to say and therefore no one got up to speak. I knew that there was much to say about this man who had lived a full life and was deeply loved by his family. His death was unexpected and they were not prepared. They did not know what he wanted for a funeral.

I have seen many great funerals where families came together and used what the decedent had planned or had the ability to focus on creating a great funeral. There is no one way to define a great funeral.  A quiet person who does not like parties and does not socialize much would not typically plan a funeral with loud music and a reception afterward. I, on the other hand, would like Led Zeppelin, a bag piper, a dove release, Good and Plenties (my favorite candy) and a reception with a lot of wine at my funeral. And, by the way, I've written some of my Eulogy. Hopefully, there will be much more added.

I encourage everyone to write down their wishes and let their family know what they want. You can pay for the funeral in advance. Typically funeral homes will help you with this and help you put the money in either a trust or funeral insurance. Set aside pictures that you would like people to see at the funeral and let people know what kind of music you want. Planning your funeral will help your family and make difficult choices much easier.

The Funeral Planning Guide by Marla J. Noel

- Monday, June 27, 2011

We recognize the significance of planning a funeral after the loss of a loved one. Someone you love has died. You may be feeling sad, angry, empty or numb. Despite these normal and natural feelings, you are now faced with planning a funeral or gathering that will be meaningful to your family. Our mission is to assist you and your family during this difficult time by providing you with some information, some ideas and some suggestions for ways to create a meaningful final tribute to your loved one.


There are three separate parts of a funeral arrangement; The collection of vital statistical information that will be used to complete the death certificate, the creation of the funeral service or gathering and the selection of a final resting place or a lasting memorialization. One of our Family Service Counselors will meet with you during the arrangement conference and guide you through the many decisions that will have to be made. The arrangements typically take two to three hours unless arrangements have been made in advance of need.


The California Department of Consumer Affairs has put together a pamphlet regarding funeral and cemetery planning. The pamphlet was designed to help you understand the funeral process and terminology so that you may make informed decisions relating to your funeral arrangements.


Funeral ceremonies help us begin to heal. They are the first step in the bereavement process. It is important to recognize that funerals are for the living. The funeral declares that a death has occurred. It commemorates the life that has been lived, and offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.


A well-planned funeral service captures the living essence of one who has died. We have compiled a list of suggestions that will aid you in focusing on those things that your loved one cherished throughout their life. A review of these items may help you to remember meaningful symbols that can be included to personalize the funeral service in remembrance of your loved one.


©  Put together photos of your loved one. This may be done at the visitation or at home at a family gathering. We have a photo board, where those pictures may be placed for the funeral service. If you would like to put photos together permanently, a poster board may be used for this occasion.

©  Play the favorite music of your loved one at the visitation, funeral service or at a family gathering.

© Have your family members write down their fondest memories or the funniest moments, or the most painful memories of your loved one. The memories may be talked about at a family gathering or documented in a memorial folder or a memorial book.

© Write a letter or a poem to your loved one to say goodbye. Place the letter in the casket to be buried or cremated, whichever you have selected.

© If your loved one had a favorite cologne, bring a bottle in for the visitation and spray the cologne on your loved one for final disposition.


© If there are young children or grandchildren, have them make farewell cards to place inside the casket.

 © Put together mementos that represent a favorite sport or hobby of your loved one to be placed on a memorial table at the visitation or the service.

© Have a video made from the pictures that you have gathered and have them coordinated with your loved one's favorite music.

© Ask several people to share their memories during the ceremony. This may be done formally by having three or four people speak in succession at the podium - or informally by asking those attending the funeral to stand up and share memories spontaneously.

© For those with a sweet tooth, hand out your loved one's favorite candy at the visitation or the funeral service.


These are all suggestions that may help you and your family to say good-bye. We have listed some questions below that should assist you in determining some meaningful additions to a funeral service.


Please indicate some of the unique qualities of your loved one.

Favorite Sports Activities or Hobby: __________________________________

Favorite Book: _________________________________________________

Favorite Music: __________________________________________________

Favorite Television Show:___________________________________________

Favorite Movie:_________________________________________________

Favorite Flower:________________________________________________

Is there a saying that your loved one frequently used?  ______________________

Some people have a favorite hat, pair of shoes, jacket, etc. Is there an article of clothing that your loved one was known for wearing or being seen in?




What are your fondest and most cherished memories of your loved one?

Answering these questions will help with the service, with the eulogy, with the obituary and with the way the service is arranged. We hope this helps you. If you have suggestions for others please send them in the comments, so that they may be shared.



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