Skip to main content
Good Grief

Good Grief

By Mike Oconnell
Helping plan funerals with honor. Pre-arranging & funeral arrangement guidance.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Stitcher Logo


Currently playing episode

Hospice care and end of life decisions

Good Grief

The importance of celebrating a life
Celebration of life vs. funeral and memorial service. How these terms have evolved as well as some ideas on how to blend these types of service, as a way to confront our emotions and start the healing process.
November 16, 2021
How to Help a Grieving Friend & What is NOT Helpful.
How to help a grieving friend.  In today's episode, Kathy Helgeson, a certified funeral celebrant at O’Connell Family Funeral Homes, joins us to discuss how to help a grieving friend. What’s helpful. What’s not. How shifting your view could help you, as well as someone grieving the loss of a loved one. Links: Meet Kathy
October 1, 2021
Benefits of pre-arranging your funeral
Mike O'Connell talks about pre-arranging for your funeral. Why should you pre-arrange? What are the benefits? In this episode, we also answer some nagging questions like, Can I make changes to my funeral policy after it is completed? Do I need to prepay? What sort of things will I be asked?
September 3, 2021
Funeral Personalization
Getting what you want, even after death.   Mike O'Connell & Pete talk about how to make a funeral personalized to not only pay tribute to your loved one, but help the family.    Hear some personal stories about how Mike and his amazing team helped families personalize their loved ones gatherings, including how Mike personalized his brother Dan's funeral. This was the beginning of his understanding on how meaningful personalization was for him and the family.  He knew he needed to educate other families and give ideas on how they could do the same for their loved ones, even when they didn't think it would be possible. We all have a story to tell! Listen how Veteran, Military, Police, Firefighters, fisherman, and sports fans have made funerals personal to them. Vikings fans may not want to listen.
August 7, 2021
Questions a funeral director asks
In today's episode, we discuss what questions and information funeral directors will ask you when planning a funeral. Many people have told us, "We thought this was going to be emotionally drawn out, and it was way better than I thought." We want this podcast to elevate your anxiety surrounding what this meeting will entail. You'll learn the 3 segments that a funeral director is going to ask when you meet. Legal aspect Personal Person How do we celebrate this person We want to help educate you so you can make informed decisions about the service of your loved one.
July 31, 2021
Choosing the right funeral home
A Difficult Decision Picking a funeral home is one of the greatest decisions that you'll make in your life, one which will significantly impact your last memories of your loved ones, so you want to be sure you're making the right choice. There are many things that many of us don't consider when choosing a funeral home, and today's podcast addresses those factors. We delve deep into the questions we should be asking ourselves as we are trying to pick the right funeral home. Questions such as: How long has the funeral home been in business? Is it locally owned? Does it require payment upfront? Do they serve state-assisted and Medicaid families? Do they have a good website and social media presence? How are the online reviews? How well are the guests treated during funeral services? Check out today's podcast, where we discuss these and many more factors.
June 23, 2021
Funerals for Veterans
Memorial Day is right around the corner so we created a podcast episode dedicated to the brave men and women that give so much to our country. On this episode, we share an event we have coming up on May 27th - "Haircuts for Heroes". From 11AM - 3PM, we'll be offering haircuts to veterans and active military personnel at our Hudson Chapel. We'll also have food trucks and resources available, as well as tents, to prevent any rain from spoiling the fun! A special thank you to Your Hair Mob and All Seasons Rental of Hudson for donating their time and equipment to make this event possible! Throughout the podcast, we discuss the origins of Memorial Day and the customs and traditions surrounding military funerals, such as the 3-volley rifle salute and the symbolism of the folds in the American flag. We also address some aspects regarding funeral etiquette at military funerals and the benefits that veterans might be entitled to, like reimbursements for funeral and cremation services. Links mentioned in this episode: Your Hair Mob's website.  All Seasons Rental's website. VA's website.
May 25, 2021
Funeral etiquette...What to wear, what to say...
Funeral etiquette isn't something that most people spend a lot of time thinking about, but the truth is that it can help grieving families have the best possible experience throughout the deep pain surrounding the death of a loved one. In today's episode we share many of the unspoken rules surrounding the proper conduct we should have when dealing with someone that is grieving over the loss of a loved one, during a visitation or a funeral service.
March 26, 2021
Should I donate my body to science?
Body donation is a mysterious topic for many of us, despite its essential role in saving lives, and in today's episode we'd like to change that.  Today we'll be discussing what body donation is, the different types of body donation, what health conditions prevent us from donating our bodies, if we can choose what our body is going to be used for, etc.
March 9, 2021
Flowers for funerals
Funerals without flowers... sounds weird, doesn't it? Most of us haven't been to that many funerals where flowers weren't a part of the decoration... and for good reason. In today's episode, Shelli  Erck, from Hudson Flower Shop, joins us in a interesting discussion regarding this topic. We delve deep into the history of funeral flowers, their significance and the roles they play in funeral services, things we should consider when choosing flowers, flower keepsakes, etc. Links mentioned in this episode: Hudson Flower Shop's  website.
February 24, 2021
Grief and the holidays
Grieving over the loss of a loved one is already an unimaginable painful experience. But to go through it during the holiday season feels even harder, for many of us. In today's episode, Kathy Helgeson, a certified funeral celebrant at OCFH, joins us in a heartfelt discussion regarding this sensitive topic. We talk about the difference between grief and mourning, what are the "tasks" of grief, how to approach those who are grieving, how to deal with grief during the holidays, the role of faith when we're grieving, etc. We also share some personal stories of grief and how exactly our team helps our clients overcome these difficult times. Links: Meet Kathy 12 questions for the holidays 6 needs of mourning - Alan Wolfelt 5-days of grief & the holidays meditation video series
December 2, 2020
Hospice care and end of life decisions
Hospice Care is a sensitive topic for many of us. As with pre-arranging a funeral, talking about hospice care can make us feel very uncomfortable; some of us might feel we are "giving up" on our loved ones when we begin to consider this specific approach. The truth is, hospice care can bring relief and even joy to our loved ones. There is a multitude of ways that we can use hospice care programs, from the location, frequency, and services used, so it makes total sense to consider it for our loved ones. In today's episode, our guest and social worker Kate Garza, from Moments Hospice, will discuss the specifics regarding hospice care and dispel some misconceptions about the topic. We'll also discuss some tools that we're developing at OCFH, such as 12 questions for the holidays (a free PDF that will help spark interesting and important discussions these holidays), as well as a set of Grief-focused meditations that will bring you to a better place and help you let go. Resources: 12 questions for the holidays (free PDF): 5-days of grief & the holidays (free meditation video series): Moments Hospice - (763)-205-3600   Moments Hospice serves the Minnesota and Wisconsin river areas, with a team in the area with over 130 years of healthcare experience collectively including over 48 years in Hospice. Their Medical Directors in the area are Dr. Mark Stannard and Dr. Matthew Beeson of Hudson Physicians Group. The team at Moments Hospice is focused on Changing the Hospice Experience, One Moment at Time, hoping to bring joy and comfort to patients, their families and the communities they serve.  
December 1, 2020
Estate Planning
Estate planning is one of those topics that often come up as we grow older, but, contrary to what many people might think, this is something that everybody should do - not just those of us who are wealthy. No matter how big or modest your assets are - you can and you should take advantage of this strategy, even if you just have a bank account under your name. Estate planning helps prevent future annoyances and conflicts within our family, and it's definitely something that you and your loved ones should consider doing as you grow older. In today's episode, our guest and elder law attorney, Dr. Amy K. Greske, will discuss several estate planning tools that we have at our disposal and why we might need to set them up, such as wills, trust funds, power of attorney documents, etc. Resources: Dr. Amy's phone number: 715-808-0610 Dr. Amy's website:
August 7, 2020
Suicide Deaths
Suicide deaths define complicated grief. The stigma surrounding suicide and the complex feelings of guilt, shame, and anger that many grievers experience when a loved one kills themselves, makes it that much harder to go through the grieving process. In today's episode, we discuss what research says about suicide and the motivations of those who attempt suicide, and we also share tips on how we can approach the grievers that are left behind after a loved one takes their own life. Resources: OCFH: 715-386-3725 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
July 3, 2020
Childhood grief, children & grieving
Different types of loss and grief children and adolescents may experience and how we can help guide them. Joining us, we have our friend and colleague, grief therapist Kelly Grosklags, who will be sharing several tips to help us guide our children throughout these painful times. Resources: Kelly's website - Brighter Days Grief Center -
June 4, 2020
Helping the healing process with our new grief therapy dog, Finnegan.
Meet Finnegan, our new grief therapy dog. Learn how he helps in processing grief, and healing in today's podcast. Learn more on our website. 
May 8, 2020
Grief resources during COVID-19.
You can’t push pause on grief. COVID-19 has brought much distress to families all over the country and changed our daily lives tremendously. In these trying times, it's much harder to deal with the already stressful situations that affect us all, such as grieving the loss of a loved one. In today's podcast episode, we talk about how we can deal with grief in these COVID-19 times and how our company is adapting our procedures to help everyone stay safe. We'll also be sharing useful tips from our friend and colleague, grief therapist, Kelly Grosklags. Facebook: @CWKHeals
April 3, 2020
Death & your financial stability
Death & your financial stability Dealing with the death of a loved one is stressful enough. But not knowing what to do with someone's finances after the person has passed away poses an additional burden on a grieving family.   What you'll learn:    • One key element you need to know  • What documents you need   • Get a list of who needs to be contacted What do we need to know? Surround yourself with people you trust. Others may see vulnerability, so make sure those helping have the right motives and nothing for personal gain.  Consult the right people. Friends and family may have their hearts in their right place, but when someone says "I know a guy who could help” can create more work with fewer advantages! Select professionals who specialize in wills, trusts, and estate planning. Avoid real estate lawyers, divorce lawyers, personal injury or criminal attorneys, and others who don't specialize in estate planning as they may not know the tax laws that are constantly changing. After a loved one dies, many heirs balk at hiring legal help because they worry about the cost. But that's often a penny wise and a pound foolish since advice from a qualified professional could save an estate many thousands of dollars, make the process of settling an estate much easier and help family members avoid potential liabilities. One of the most time-consuming aspects of tending to the financial affairs of someone who has passed away is gathering the litany of documents that need to be assembled. For many families, this is a nightmare chore due to haphazard record-keeping, poor planning and a lack of knowledge about where critical documents are located. What are the important papers that one should keep or need: After a person's death, an executor of an estate should collect or order the following documents, at a minimum: Death certificate(s). All these documents will help you find accounts and assets, and assess outstanding debts, as well as submit claims for benefits and cash payments that may be due the deceased person's beneficiaries and heirs. Will or trust Insurance policies (life, homeowners, health, disability, auto, etc.) Last credit card statements Investment accounts (IRAs, 401(k) plans, mutual funds, pensions, etc.) Last checking and savings account statements (including CDs and money-market accounts) Last mortgage statement Last two years' tax returns Marriage and birth certificates (of the deceased's spouse and children) An up-to-date credit report of the deceased Who needs to be contacted: A key next step is to notify all the following places of the individual's death. Each is important for different reasons. Social Security Administration The deceased person's employer Insurance companies Credit bureaus Credit card companies Post office Utility companies Creditors Cancel or Transfer Accounts, Memberships, and Subscriptions Following someone's death, you don't want subscriptions, memberships or services they'll no longer be using to stay in force. So cancel those immediately, along with credit card, insurance and financial accounts that will be inactive. "If the person was married, transfer the power, electricity and water bills that may be in their name to their surviving spouse."
March 6, 2020
Why self-care is important when you are grieving.
Self-Care What is self-care. How self-care works. Tips on what you can do about it. What you can do about it Be kind to yourself. Love Yourself. Don’t beat yourself up through words, thoughts and deeds. Get a check-up. Communicate. Be yourself. Let those around you know how you are feeling. Let people know if you need space or are not feeling up to something. Let your feelings arise and deal with them. Don’t let them fester. Pamper yourself. Sleep is key to healthy healing. Nutrition and staying hydrated. Exercise. Stay positive. Surround yourself with people for who you are. Pets can also give you a positive boost. Look around at nature. Volunteering or donating. Express your feelings Meditation Praying Reflection Journal writing Music - create a playlist or learn how to play an instrument. Deep breathing Cooking Reading Peer or group counseling
February 7, 2020
Funeral pre-arranging can be overwhelming.
Mike O'Connell talks about guiding you through the pre-arrangement process of a funeral.  FREE PDF Download: 10 things to think about before your funeral. Learn more on our website: WHY PRE-ARRANGE? O’Connell Family Funeral Homes knows families have the best intentions when having to plan a funeral, but sometimes people have different opinions on what they think their loved ones might have wanted - thus causing conflict. Intense emotions, personality conflicts, and financial pressures to pay for services can bring additional stressors. Pre-arranging your funeral assures that your family will not be burdened with any further grief of making choices that you could make in a pre-arranging session. Pre-arrange today!
January 6, 2020