Why we Say Goodbye

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, author

Saying goodbye to loved ones is a tradition that spans millennia, from Egyptians reading from the Book of the Dead to Vikings sending their loved ones by burial ship into the afterworld.

‘Closure’ is a word that is used in many situations, and oftentimes people refer to a funeral or memorial service as providing ‘closure’ for friends and family.

However, experts (and those who have lost loved ones) will agree, that grief is a process to be worked through, not an emotion that can be ‘closed’ after a proper goodbye. 

That said, a funeral, memorial service, celebration of life, cultural ceremony, or other ritual often benefits those who are left to carry on.

Choosing to host a service or celebration is a highly personal decision for each family.  A funeral, which may not provide ‘closure’, can play an important part in helping family and friends begin the healing process after losing someone.  And a celebration can take many forms – from a large, traditional funeral service, to a picnic in the park sharing stories.

Here are some ways that a public celebration can help:

  • By providing support to a grieving community –  Whether a beloved public figure, or someone who is known by only a few, an event of some kind helps those who are left behind to feel less alone.  Friends, family and community may take solace in shared grief, and find it beneficial to talk about memories, thoughts and feelings. 
  • By helping family and friends acknowledge that a loved one is truly gone – Oftentimes when people lose someone they love, they describe the first several days as being ‘in a fog’, or ‘it doesn’t seem real’.  A service or memorial helps those who are most affected, accept the new reality that their loved one is gone, with the help of family, friends, church and community.
  • By honoring their loved one. It’s customary to pay respect and honor the time that the departed spent here on Earth – Celebrating the good, and even acknowledging the not-so-good, is an important way to pay homage to life, and respect for that life’s end.

Any way a family chooses to say goodbye is appropriate.  Loss is never easy, and we hope that you will find solace in whichever way you decide to honor and remember your beloved family member.  Thank you for reading, and God bless

Twenty Years Serving You

We are honored to have served Auburn and the Foothills for over twenty years.

Our family-owned and operated mortuary began with a desire to help families during their most vulnerable time, by providing these three things:

*Professional care

*Unwavering compassion

*Affordability

We caught up with owner, Scott Queen, to find out what Sierra Foothills has meant to him

Q:  How did you decide on a career in funeral services?

A:  My father passed away when I was 13 years old, so I was, unfortunately, familiar with mortuary services.  When it was time to decide on a major while attending University of Central Oklahoma, I spoke with the director of the funeral services department, and I left that meeting knowing that this was the career for me.

Q:  What brought you from Oklahoma to California?

A:  After graduating from college and completing an apprenticeship at a mortuary in Edmond, Oklahoma, I sent my resume to funeral homes in multiple locations.  It was my good luck that a funeral home in Auburn, was willing to give me a start.  It helped that my best friend lived nearby, in Lincoln.

Q:  Why did you open your own facility?

A:  After working at a corporate-owned funeral home, it didn’t take long to realize that I cared more about the people than about ‘selling’ products and extra services.  I took a chance, opening a small storefront and starting my own business. Ultimately I moved to the building on Auburn Ravine, where we operate today. 

Q:  What has made you proud of Sierra Foothills?

A:  Much of my business is based on word-of-mouth, and families who have asked me to care for an elderly relative say they wouldn’t consider going anywhere else when they need help for a parent or spouse.  Generations of families ask me to make pre-arrangements for them, after I care for their loved one.  Knowing that I’ve earned these families’ trust is my greatest honor.

Q:  What do you see in Sierra Foothills’ future?

A:  We just reached our 20-year milestone, and I look forward to serving families for 20 more.  Our goal is to help families during what will likely be their darkest hours, and to gently guide them through the process. 

Do you have questions for Scott?  Whether you need general information, or something specific to your situation, please don’t hesitate to call or email.

Thank you for reading, and God bless.

Scott Queen, Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma

Remembering our Fallen on Memorial Day

Memorial Day often means picnics, parades and the start of the summer season.  But of course, the day means much more than that.

We owe our life and liberty to our nation’s Veterans, and Memorial Day is the day that we, in the United States, celebrate our brave men and women who lost their lives in service to our country. 

While we will miss the annual parade through town this year, due to social distancing mandates, one way that we can honor our fallen heroes is by visiting a war memorial. 

Auburn Area War Memorial


New Auburn Cemetery, 1040 Collins Drive, Auburn.

This site memorializes men and women from the Auburn area, who lost their lives in service of World Wars I, II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan

Auburn War Memorial


Fulweiler Street across from Old Auburn Cemetery, Auburn.

Rocklin Veterans Memorial 

3972 Rocklin Road, Rocklin Memorial Park, Rocklin

Roseville WWII Memorial

114 Vernon Street, Roseville

Roseville Korean War Memorial

Maidu Park, Maidu Drive, Roseville

Roseville Vietnam Memorial

Saugstad Park, Douglas Boulevard, Roseville

Visiting a war memorial or Veteran’s gravesite, leaving flowers, sharing stories of family or friends who were lost in our nation’s service, or merely acknowledging our fallen with an intentional act or moment of silence are all appropriate ways to ‘remember’ this Memorial Day.

Thank you for reading, and God bless.

Losing a Family Member During the Time of COVID-19

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Losing a loved one is devastating at any time.  And making arrangements for death during this uncertain time of COVID-19 may be especially difficult for families.  We want you to know that we are here for you, and will walk you through the process.

Many people in the community have asked if, as an essential service, is Sierra Foothills open.

We are open weekdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm, as always, and are available 24/7 by telephone.  While it’s most common for families to make arrangements in person, we can absolutely make most, if not all arrangements over the phone and through email if you prefer to not leave your home.

If you are in need of information, want to make arrangements for a loved one, or even want to discuss a pre-need arrangement for years in the future, we are here for you.  That said, please do not come to the funeral home in person if you have been feeling ill or have a fever.

People have also asked if funerals are being held at this time.

Per CDC guidelines that limit gatherings, any visitation or funeral must be private, and limited to immediate family as of March 15, 2020. 

That said, Sierra Foothills is able to offer virtual visitation by Webcast, using Zoom for friends and family members.

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Cremation services are unchanged, and we will offer use of our facility for memorials or celebrations of life at a later date.

*Burial guidelines may vary by cemetery.  At this time, VA cemeteries, while still allowing burials, have discontinued military honor ceremonies.  Groups like American Legion and VFW have discontinued any and all ceremonies at this time, to keep their members safe.

Other questions that the community has asked include our sanitation processes.  Sierra Foothills is a ‘low visitor’ business, and we sanitize door knobs, common areas, bathrooms, light fixtures, etc., after each visitor.

Some people are concerned about transmission of COVID-19 after a person has passed away due to complications from the virus. 

According to the CDC, the virus is spread through respiratory exhalation, which means that a deceased person will not transmit the virus.  That said, we are using the same protocols as always, while also wearing masks when we care for your loved one, and we encourage family members to not hug or kiss the deceased (again, this is a CDC protocol).

Yes, this is one of the most challenging times that our generation has seen.  And yes, the road ahead is unclear.   However, one thing that you can count on is Sierra Foothills’ unwavering dedication to caring for your loved one, and providing professional, compassionate service to you and your family in this time of need. Thank you for thinking of us, and God bless.

Grief During the Holidays

Every day without you since you had to go,
is like a summer without sunshine

and Christmas without snow.

I wish that I could talk to you,

there’s so much I would say.
Life has changed so very much

since you went away.

I miss the bond between us

and I miss your kind support.
You’re in my mind and in my heart

and every Christmas thought.

I’ll always feel you close to me

and though you’re far from sight,
I’ll search for you among the stars

that shine on Christmas night.

Author Unknown

Loss of a loved one is particularly painful during the holidays.  Whether the loss is recent, or many years in the past, there’s something about Christmastime that makes grief feel more poignant.

Maybe your family traditions will change, or maybe it’s the thought of putting on a cheerful face at holiday parties, attending solo, when once you were part of a couple.  Or maybe it’s finding recycled gift tags or old Christmas cards that include names of spouses, parents, or even children who are no longer with us. 

Holidays can be hard – it’s important to remember that if you aren’t looking forward to the season, you’re not alone.   Sadness, depression, and feelings of being overwhelmed are all perfectly normal, especially if you’re missing a loved one.

Here are some ways to take care of yourself this season:

Let Go of Expectations

Expecting your holiday to be the same as in past years, when your family has changed, is a recipe for disappointment. Try to keep an open mind and understand that emotions will be high this year for everyone. 

Give Yourself Permission to Sit It Out

Don’t force yourself to attend every holiday activity if you don’t feel up to it.  It’s okay to skip the cookie exchange party this year.  While it’s important to not isolate yourself when you’re feeling sad, it’s equally important to select social events that are most meaningful to you.  Let your friends and families know what you need this year.

Make New Connections

Even when you’re not up to your usual holiday activities, human connection matters. Volunteering, visiting seniors in a local home, and doing things for others – even strangers, can be a big help during times of sadness and grief. Something as simple as enjoying the morning paper at your local coffee shop, and buying a cup for a stranger, can boost your mood, and others’ as well.

Change It Up

Participating in holiday traditions without a loved one is hard.  Maybe it’s time to change it up.  Does your tradition include a Christmas movie at the theater?  This year, ask the family to go for a walk to look at lights, instead.  Do you usually ring in the new year at a friend’s  house?  Maybe this is the year to spend a few days with an out-of-town relative or friend, instead.

Give Yourself Grace

Remember that there is no right or wrong way to experience loneliness or sadness.  Acknowledge how you feel – it’s okay, and you don’t need to apologize.  Understanding that your emotions are normal, and are also temporary, is an important step toward healing. 

Your loved one is gone – but you’re still here.  And whether it’s your biological family, friends, church family, co-workers or neighbors – you are important.  You matter to those around you, and you matter to God.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless.

The Greatest Gift

A 2017 survey by the National Funeral Director’s Association shows that nearly two thirds of Americans think that pre-planning, or at least sharing their final wishes with their families is important.  But in reality, fewer than 20 percent of Americans pre-plan or even discuss their wishes.

Making decisions about end-of-life preparations are easiest when planning for a distant future, rather than a last-minute scramble.  And there’s no greater gift that you can give to your children than to let your wishes be known and pre-plan your final disposition, so during a time of grief, your children won’t need to make difficult decisions.

There’s an easy way to pre-plan.  A Pre-Need Contract can be as simple as stating your desire to be cremated, or as complicated as selecting a casket and making a complete funeral plan.   Your local funeral home can help. 

HERE ARE SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PRE-PLANNING:

*It’s too expensive

It’s not necessary to pay up front.  Many funeral homes have payment programs, and sharing your plans with your local funeral director assures that your wishes will be followed in detail.

*If I pay, and the funeral home goes out of business, my money disappears.

Pre-need contract monies are sent to a third party, and remain in a holding account until the funds are needed, regardless if the initiating funeral home is in business or not. Additionally, the pre-need contract can be utilized in every state, regardless of state of residence, and even in many places outside of the United States.

*I don’t want to think about it.

No one likes to think about ending their time on this Earth. However, as hard as it may be for you, it will likely be even more difficult for your children if the unexpected should occur.

Contact Sierra Foothills, and provide the most precious of gifts for your loved ones.

Language of Flowers

When it comes to putting your loved one to rest, flowers may seem like a small detail. But for some, selecting the just-right plant or flower arrangement can be meaningful, and an important way to express your feelings. Your favorite florist can help you with flower types, colors and their meanings. With a little research, you can choose an arrangement that will convey your sentiments perfectly. Of course, if your loved one has a favorite flower, or flower color, be bold – it’s okay to ‘break the rules’.

A standing spray is the most-often associated arrangement for funerals. Additionally, standing wreaths, hearts and crosses are appropriate. Sprays are typically placed near the casket, and multiple standing sprays make a lovely statement.

A casket spray is another common arrangement. A spray might be contained to the top of the casket, adding richness and decoration, or even drape over the sides. A lovely spray looks beautiful on caskets of any price point.

What Are You Saying with Flowers?

Gladioli – The ‘glad’ conveys character, integrity and sincerity.

Lily -Probably one of the most popular flowers for funeral arrangements, the lily represents restored innocence.

Rose – The beloved rose conveys different meanings depending upon the color. Red (of course) depicts love, while yellow roses signify friendship. White roses signify innocence, reverence and youth, while pink roses are love and grace.

Carnation – Carnations are one of the most affordable flowers, and are making a huge come back in pop culture. The pink carnation signifies remembrance, the white, love and innocence, and red, admiration.

Orchid – Orchids are typically given to family members of loved ones, as a living plant. The orchid, most often white or pink, is a symbol of the giver’s sympathy.

Daffodils and Tulips – Daffodils and tulips are typically sent to families of the departed, as a symbol of renewal, sympathy, and even cheerfulness to lift one’s spirits.

Daisy – The simple daisy represents loyal love and purity.

Hyacinth – The hyacinth, particularly the purple flower, is a symbol of sorrow and regret.

What are Cremains?

Cremains are exactly what they sound like – what remains after cremating a body. It’s a common misunderstanding that your loved ones’ remains are ‘ashes’. Typically, cremains are grainy in texture, much like sand that has bits of quartz rock in it.

Many people think that cremains require an urn for storage. However, family members may place a loved ones’ cremains in many types of containers, and don’t have to purchase a container through the funeral home. If you choose this option, you will want to discuss with your funeral director what size receptacle you will need to bring, and the director should be able to transfer your loved ones’ cremains into your container for you.

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