THE NEW PITTS MORTUARY
A CONSISTENT PLACE OF HEALING MEMORIALIZATION PERMANENT
FUNERAL FALL 2016 MAGAZINE HOMES PITTS and AFTERMATH OF VIOLENCE MICHELLE OUR HISTORY
DIRECTOR VIOLENT DEATH VISITS ALL TOO OFTEN Funeral
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Funeral homes deal with aftermath of violence Death is a grim reality many of us will face at one time or another. But when it comes unexpected and is the result of violence, it’s tragic. It’s hardships like those which Milwaukee funeral homes are facing more regularly than normal. “My heart actually aches for the families because I understand what you’re going through,” said Angie Moore, funeral director for New Pitts Mortuary. It doesn’t just end there Sadly another Milwaukee family is dealing with tragedy as a tribute of balloons and bears are placed at the spot where Archie Brown was killed.The final goodbyes will be said at a visitation Sunday at New Pitts Mortuary. Just as loved ones are torn up over his death, Brown was also distraught after he hit two-year-old Damani Terry with his van, killing the child.The child’s uncle, Ricky Chiles, is believed to have then opened fire on Brown, killing him. Chiles’ took his own life Thursday as police closed in on him in Chicago.
“My heart actually aches for the families because I understand what you’re going through.” -Angie Moore funeral director New Pitts Mortuary
The funeral home where Moore works has seen its fair share of families torn apart by violence.
Not just a job It’s these heart wrenching situations that make it tough -- even for the professionals who deal with death often. “Just working with the families, you see the pain they are going through and the screeching cries. And it’s really hard to deal with their death as well,” said Moore. The funeral home where Moore works has seen its fair share of families torn apart by violence. It also held services last summer for ten-year-old Sierra Guyton who was struck by a stray bullet on a playground. “I don’t know what is going to stop the violence. We have so many people out here, community advocates trying to resolve the issues and its getting worse,” said Moore. Moore speaks out hoping to make a chance -- and pray those who do harm understand the impact. “Just think before you react. Life is too short as it is and to be taken to too soon. And it’s really hard on us, the family and the community as a whole,” said Moore.
A sense of hope New Pitts has been a go-to place for many families who have lost loved ones to violence.The owner gives a lot back to the community -- and tries to help families who are dealing with these unexpected deaths. Moore says typically, 15 percent of families they assist in a year are burying a loved one due to homicide. But she says they are already pacing higher in 2015.
(414) 447-6000 • 2031 W Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53206
Your loved ones deserve the best !
Animals are wonderfully agreeable friends. They ask so little of us, and give so much love in return. When it comes time for you to let go of your animal companion, making the decisions on how to care for their physical remains can be heart-wrenching.. Here at The New Pitts Mortuary, we understand and can help you though this process.
Having the right documentS when A LOVED ONE passes is crucial ***Here’s thE list***
LEGAL ADVICE After a death, there are many legal details to hammer out. While it is not necessary to get a lawyer, it is strongly recommended. A lawyer will make sure all the ‘t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted”. The time following a death of a loved one is extremely emotional, and even the closest family will have disagreements over the most trivial matters. To make sure there is still peace in the family, it is a good idea to let a lawyer gure things out. Before getting in touch with a lawyer there are several important documents that you need to gather.
Those include: Wills || Deeds || Bank Statements|| Insurance Policies || Vehicle and Boat titles || Tax Documents
WILLS Everyone knows they should have a will, but the vast majority – about 70% of us – do not. Writing a will is easy and inexpensive, and once you are done you can rest easy knowing your hard earned money and property will be distributed according to your wishes. As well, if you have children, you can leave instructions on who will be left in charge of them if you pass, leaving that decision out of the courts hands. Making a will is easy, you just need to be at least 18 years of age and must be of sound mind when the will is written. To make a will legal it must: Expressly state that it is your will Be computer generated or typewritten Be signed and dated Be signed by 2-3 witnesses, these witnesses must be people who don’t stand to inherit anything in the will Although you do not need a lawyer to complete a will, it is recommended to do one with a lawyer, as it will avoid any legal headaches after your passing. somewhere safe and secure outside of your home. If you do your will through a lawyer, most law rms will store it for you free of charge. Many people keep their wills in a safety deposit box at a bank, but this is not recommended as the contents could be sealed at the time of death. The executor of your will should be aware of the location of it. Once your will is complete, it’s recommended that it is kept
BANK ACCOUNTS What is to be done with bank accounts after a death varies regionally. In some regions, bank accounts are automatically frozen after a death. To avoid any complications, the bank should be notied immediately, and you should nd out the procedures for releasing these funds, and how to set up a new account for funds received after the death. It’s recommended that a joint account stay open for at least six months to allow you to deposit any cheques that are made out to the deceased. To take a name o a joint bank account, banks require a Certied Copy of a Death Certicate. If the deceased had a safety deposit box in a bank, the contents can be sealed after death and a Certied Copy of a Death Certicate will be required to gain access to the contents.
PROBATE Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneciaries. During the probate process the executor of your will goes before the courts and indenties and catalogs all the property you owned, appraises the property, and pays all debts and taxes, proves that the will is valid and legal, and distributes the property according to the instructions of the will. Probate can be a long, drawn-out legal process, and there are some probate-avoidance plans in place. Simply speak to your attorney to nd out what you can do to avoid probate in your area. EXECUTORS An executor is the personal representative of your estate. They are the person in charge of taking control of your assets, paying o any debts, and distributing assets to your beneciaries per the terms and conditions of your will. You can choose anyone to be the executor of your will, but it is a good idea to choose someone who is both competent and trustworthy. The person you choose to be executor should be outlined in your will. Someone you appoint to be the executor of your will has the right to refuse, so you should have a backup executor in place just in case.
DEATH CERTIFICATES A Certied Death Certicate is necessary before anything can be done. A death certicate can be obtained through a Funeral Director. It is a good idea to obtain multiple copies of a death certicate as most agencies require a certied certicate and not a photocopy.
How are we to understand bereavement? Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to explain it. Perhaps the most in uential and well-known theory has been that of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, who in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying” focused on an emotional transition through ve stages, beginning with denial and progressing through anger, bargaining and depression before arriving at acceptance.e “stage theory,” as it came to be known, quickly created a paradigm for how people die in our western culture, and eventually a prototype of how we should grieve. e trouble is that stage theories of grief that make loss sound so controllable turns out largely to be ction.ough Kübler-Ross captured the range of emotions that mourners experience, more recent research suggests that grief and mourning rarely if ever follow such a checklist; the process of grief is often complicated, untidy and unpredictable, more of a process than a progression, and one that sometimes never fully ends. Even Dr. Kübler-Ross herself, towards the end of her life, recognized how far astray our understanding of grief had gone. In her book “On Grief and Grieving” (1995) she insisted that the stages were “never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages.” If her injunction went unheeded, perhaps it is because that very messiness of grief is what makes us all so uncomfortable. e implied suggestion of many traditional grief models seems to be that the person suering a loss simply has to go through the inevitable process, wait it out, “see it through,” on the assumption that “time heals all wounds,” and that eventually “in time,” they will “get over it.” is would seem to suggest that in the emotional aftermath of a loss, bereaved individuals are essentially passive, having to simply submit to suering through a series of stages or a certain structured grief system over a dened period of time and incidentally over which they have little or no control and in which there is not much choice. But this is not what people actually experience after bereavement. We cannot understand the grief process ONLY by some “timeline” system or “set formula” whereby a person goes passively through certain emotions, stages, phases or reactions in order to somehow eventually arrive at this destination we erroneously call acceptance. So, consider this foundational fact: We cannot understand bereavement and every individual response to it unless we appreciate how each bereaved person’s world has been forever changed by the loss. I am suggesting a dierent paradigm, another way of thinking about our topic.e main focus should not primarily be (as it so often is) on
a person’s emotional reactions, or on their behaviours or manifestations of grief, and more specically how we can “control” these in order to get things “back to normal.”ose who focus on these considerations are trying to “x” a situation that simply cannot be xed; trying to get “back to normal” something that has changed forever. Losing someone we love is often likened to an amputation. But even this analogy tends to be too clinical.e word bereavement comes from the root word “reave” that literally means being torn apart. Losing a loved one has been described as being like a branch that is torn o a limb, not in some nice sanitized surgical way, but literally being ripped away.e emotional and behavioural reactions of the grieving person should be seen as symptoms of this unwelcome change.
A Piece of mind for yourself and your family can go a long way
Many people plan for life events such as weddings and vacations well in advance, but many people do not plan for something that is certain to happen, their funeral. While most people do not want to think about their own mortality, the time to pre-plan your funeral is now. The primary advantag- es of pre-arranging your funeral is to relieve the burden on your loved ones in an already emotional time, and to ensure your funeral is carried out according to your wishes, eliminating the task of second-guessing what you would have wanted. Taking the time now to arrange your funeral is one less thing your loved ones will need to worry about once you’ve passed. Pre-planning and pre-paying your funeral is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to your family.
Pre-Payment Options Pre-paying your funeral reduces stress and nancial burden on your loved ones after your passing. We can co-ordinate a payment plans that suits your needs, from a single payment plan to monthly bank account withdrawals. By pre-paying your funeral you eliminate your family second guessing on if they have spent too much or too little on your funeral. Pre-payment also protects you and your family from ination, and the growth is non-taxable. Depending on your region, if your funeral costs less than the amount you have put aside, those funds will be refunded back to your beneciaries. For more information on what is applicable in your region, simply speak to your funeral director. Each year thousands of people decide to pre-plan and pre-pay their funeral, these plans are designed to be exible and can accommodate the many changes that often occur in people’s lives.
What you can do in advance…
Decide on Burial or Cremation and your casket or urn type.
Pick what type of service you want (religious, military, non-traditional)
Choose which funeral home to use.
Designate your pallbearers, pick any music or readings you want at your service.
Benets of Pre-Planning
Between 70 and 75 decisions are made within the rst 24-48 hours of death. It’s difcult to think rationally while making so many decisions within days of losing someone, pre-planning gives yourself, family and friends peace of mind. Pre-planning gives your loved ones direction of your wants and desires. It’s easy. Anyone can do it, and you can change your mind at any time.
Honoring the life of your loved one means you value the relationship you shared. We look forward to helping you decide how to celebrate that bond, and honor the unique individual you ' ve lost. We can make suggestions to enhance your tribute ideas. Together we will create a fitting and memorable event. Contact us today to discuss the possibilities.
It's all about the relationship... (414) 447-6000 • 2031 W Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53206
Offering you tribute video services to help you commemorate your loved ones...
With a tribute video service, your family photographs are skillfully blended with wonderful graphic images and music, to create an elegantly emotive cinematic video. It can be an integral part of any funeral or memorial service. After the ceremony, the video is sure to become a treasured family keepsake. And, we can make copies as gifts for family and friends.
LOSS from a Childs Perspective By Dr Bill Webster “My mother died when I was 5 years old. I felt like I was insignificant, as if I was getting smaller and smaller … so unimportant that I might disappear. It’s very hard to explain, but I believed I was wrong, somehow. For years I felt like I was on the outside of things, even though others would not have thought I was.”Sally, 35, who lost her mother. Sally’s words teach us that a child’s feelings resulting from the death of a parent or sibling may not be obvious to others. Because the child thinks the universe revolves around them, a death can produce an anxiety that translates into a “fear of losing myself ”. Sally, at 5, felt like she was getting “smaller and smaller” and that she might “disappear”.is fear of being lost, and the related anxieties about being on the outside of things is common among children of all ages. It should be obvious that any child old enough to love is old enough to grieve. Children of allages are aected by any signicant loss, and often very deeply, because their coping mechanisms are just developing. To understand the complexity of how each situation aects a child, we should ask ourselves: “What does THIS loss mean to THIS child, at THIS time in his/her life?” However it is important to recognize that a child’s comprehension and their response to a death varies, depending on their age and developmental levels. Death means dierent things to children of dierent ages. For Infants, awareness of their world is limited, so the death of a mother is perceived as “unavailability” or “absence”. An infant’s
needs are for physical contact, warmth and consistency, which creates security.e absence of a nurturer poses a threat to survival, resulting in fears. Between about 2 – 4 years, a child still has no concept of the permanence of death, but their fears are more numerous. Cartoons suggest that characters can be blown up, run over, hurt, but then simply get up and go about their business. Likewise the young child may believe that “Mum will come back” and may continue to act as if the dead person is still alive. Death is just a “sleep” from which they didn’t wake up. Between ages 5-9, a child’s understanding of death undergoes another change.is is often the age of “magical thinking”.ey see death as coming from an external source … a bogeyman, or angel who comes to take people away.ey regard it as some kind of enemy or assailant. us children may regard death as something to outwit, rationalizing “if I am good or do the right things I will be able to reverse this.” If we do not make children a part of what is happening, or keep it “a secret”, they assume that somehow they are responsible, which mistaken perception merely adds complications to their mourning. Again remembering that we are talking developmental levels as well as actual ages, between 9 – 12 the child begins to understand that death is the end of life, irreversible, and is a natural part of life rather than an enemy who steals people away.ey become more concerned with the consequences of death … “who will take care of me? will we have to move? will Dad marry again? (and if so what will happen to us?)” Because they are no longer thinking of themselves as “little children”, they may present a façade of independence and coping.ey want to comfort a surviving parent or family member, and may try to assume the roles of the person who has died.ey want to be helpful, which can be OK, but caution is required. All too often younger children have a terrible burden placed on them by some well intentioned person who says, “You need to act grown up. You’re the father/mother of the family now.”e child will assume the role to attempt to master their pain and deny their helplessness, but it is unrealistic to expect a child to be anything other than a child.
Grief Resources The death of someone we care about can be one of the most difcult experiences of life. Words seem inadequate to describe how painful the grief we feel can be. It is often much more challenging than we expect and than others seem to think.
These articles will help you understand something about the grief and how we can help ourselves and others through the difcult process. These articles were written by Dr Bill Webster, our Director of Grief Education, and are part of a comprehensive library available on our Grief Journey web portal. Dr Bill is the founder and Executive Director of the Centre for the Grief Journey. He earned his doctorate at the University of Toronto in 1990, and has been awarded the prestigious Fellow in Thanatology by the Association of Death Education and Counselling (ADEC). Dr Bill`s knowledge of grief is not just in theory, but from a very difcult personal experience. In 1983, Bill`s young wife died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving him not only to cope with his loss, but also to raise his 2 sons, who were only 9 and 7 when their mother died. Dr Bill has become a recognised author, a renowned international speaker and seminar leader, and brings 30 years of experience in the eld of grief support and counselling. One reason that we often nd grief such a difcult challenge is that we have never learned what to expect. The following facts will help you understand some crucial truths about grief and grieving and how we can work through the process to nd healing. 1. Grief is normal. 2. The worst kind of grief is YOURS 3. The way out of grief is through it 4. Your grief is intimately connected to the relationship 5. Grief is hard work 6. Your grief will take longer than most people think 7. Grief is unpredictable 8. There may be “Secondary losses” to deal with 9. Grief comes and goes 10. Effective grief work is not done alone
With our online grief support you’re assured of our commitment to helping you through this difcult time. It doesn’t matter what time of day, or what day of the week you need support, we're here for you. You can access online counseling services, join in group grief support, or watch our interactive videos, anytime: 24/7. No matter how you feel at this moment, you have our commitment - you're never alone.
(414) 447-6000 • 2031 W Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53206
In the depth of early grief, you might think that it would be ‘easier’ to just take care of things as simply – and as quickly aspossible. But easier – especially in this circumstance – simply isn’t better. You must set the stage for the future by giving your family and friends the opportunity to start the healing process.
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“Under the leadership its President and Owner Michelle Pitts, the funeral home became The New Pitt Mortuary in 1996.”
Pictured: Michelle Pitts, President / Owner Our History
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
Under the leadership its President and Owner Michelle Pitts, the funeral home becameThe New Pitt Mortuary in 1996.This marked a turning point as a new standard was set to provide the community an even higher level of service excellence, reliability and ministry. The New Pitts Mortuary offers an array of affordable yet comprehensive services, such as PrePlanning, Burial and memorial services, Terminal Illness &Grief Counseling, After-Care, Financial Assitance Counseling, and Chaplaincy service.
Permanent Memorialization A Consistent Place of Healing
In our modern society, people aren’t given enough time to grieve their losses.The pressures of work, even the simple emotional need to ‘be busy,’ often bring the bereaved back into the ‘real’ world far too soon. Also, many families are choosing to scatter the cremated remains of their loved one in a favorite place; the ocean, or even in the skies above. While that may seem fitting at the time, it means that you do not have a consistent place to connect with the memories of the person you loved so dearly. Having such permanent place - in a cemetery, mausoleum, or cremation garden - that can be visited regularly by family and friends is an essential part of the time following a death. It becomes a focal point of memorialization, and gives everyone a special place to go to remember your loved one, or to commemorate important occasions. It can help to make a birthday or anniversary less painful.
The pressures of work, even the simple emotional need to ‘be
busy,’ often bring the bereaved back into the ‘real’ world far too soon.
Having such permanent place - in a cemetery, mausoleum, or cremation garden - that can be visited regularly by family and friends is an essential part of the time following a death.
A permanent place to reflect on your loved one becomes a way of connecting to a family’s past. Visiting the resting place of grandparents or great- grandparents may provide children with an anchor to their personal history. It is a connection to the past, to love shared. It truly honors the relationship you still have – and will always have – with that person.
For funeral director, violent death visits
all too often Angie Moore bent over the 6-year-old girl, carefully sculpting wax to create a closed eyelid. She gently glued on wisps of false eyelashes and painted an eyebrow. Moore, now a funeral director, spent hours working on Ja’Kyla King, who was shot in the head and killed by her father before he turned the gun on himself. Ja’Kyla’s mother, Kavina Wallace, and her godmother wanted to see her before Moore completed the restoration. “I didn’t think that was a great idea,”Moore recalled nearly two years later. She didn’t want the girl’s family to see the damage. But Wallace hadn’t seen her daughter since the morning of the shooting.That morning, Wallace and Ja’Kyla’s father got into a fight that turned physical. Wallace left for work and after her shift, stopped at a Milwaukee police station to file a domestic violence report. She drove home, saw Ja’Kyla’s father standing outside the house with his hand in his pocket, as if he had a gun. He shouted at her to come home. She returned to the police station. Officers arrived to find the front door locked and back door barricaded. Inside, Ja’Kyla and her father were already dead. Now,Wallace was determined to see her little girl. “I just wanted to talk to her and tell her I was sorry for everything that happened,”Wallace said in an interview.
Last year in Wisconsin, African-Americans were 30 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die in gun homicides, according to an analysis from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
‘They happen all the time’ Moore has seen those statistics firsthand. Of the 246 funerals at Pitts last year, about 15% were homicide victims, Moore said. “As a professional, you need to know how to turn it on and off,” she said, “but being a mother, I empathize with the families.” She’ll never tell them she knows what they’re going through because she hasn’t experienced it. “Your profession as a funeral director is not going to last long if you get yourself emotionally caught up in all these homicides, because they happen all the time,” she said. Moore never really planned to be a funeral director — even though she once gave a career speech about it, using a rock from the lakeshore as a stand-in for a headstone. She wanted to become a nurse, like her grandmother and mother. But her mom discouraged it, saying the field had changed too much over the years. During studies for her biology degree at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, a death investigation course captured Moore’s interest. “I was always intrigued by death,” she said, of learning how the body works and how it fails. Moore was working at a hospital lab for about a year when she got a tip about a receptionist opening at a Milwaukee funeral home. She got the job and gravitated toward the prep room, where embalming took place. To work in the back, she needed more training, so she got her mortuary science degree. “I didn’t want to work with families, I just wanted to be in the backroom,” she said. “I didn’t want to be seen.” In the prep room, Moore injects an embalming mixture before rubbing an alcohol-based tint on the skin and dressing the deceased in clothes provided by the family. To disguise a gunshot wound, Moore warms a little bit of wax, molds it over the wound and covers it with makeup. If the bullet was fired from a distance, the external wound is small, maybe the size of a dime.The most destructive wounds tend to be self-inflicted, fired from close range. The more severe trauma — such as a skull fracture — requires more restorative work, “building from the inside out,”as Moore describes it.
Thoughtful thinking Moore, who was working as an embalmer at Krause Funeral Home, relented. She thought it would help them understand how hard it can be to restore a body from such trauma. After the girl’s service, the family came back to the funeral home to thank Moore. “She made her look like the princess she was,” Wallace recalled. As Moore moved on to the New Pitts Mortuary, where she works as a funeral director, there would be more cases like Ja’Kyla. Many more. Pitts, a stately stone funeral home in the heart of Milwaukee, serves a predominantly African-American clientele. Last year in Wisconsin, African-Americans were 30 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die in gun homicides, according to an analysis from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. A recent study ranked Wisconsin eighth in the nation for the rate of black homicide victimization. like the princess she was.” “She made her look
(414) 447-6000 • 2031 W Capitol Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53206
Some say it’s harsh to remind you of this, but we know we must. We want you to honor your loved one in a way that allows you to look back, years from now, and be thankful that you did the best you could to honor their life. Creating a ceremony that calls together the hearts and minds of all who loved them is a gift to everyone involved. A gift of memories, a gift of healing...a truly priceless gift of peace-of-mind. Contact us today to speak with one of our directors.
Do your kids a favor. Make your funeral plans in advance.
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