Borek Jennings Funeral Home/ Maire Kent’s Healing Farewell/
Cleary’s Irish Pub/ Southern Michigan Cremation Services/ The Maire Kent Memorial Fund for Cardiac Tumor Research
Maire’s Healing Farewell
When we started following twenty-four year old Maire Kent on her journey with cardiac sarcoma cancer, there were times where we thought that she would win this battle and continue on. Reality, however, ended up catching up with us as she eventually would lose this fight after eleven months. As she transitioned, plans were made with the family and the Borek Jennings Funeral Home for the visitation, her funeral service, as well as what her wishes were for her remains.
When people die more often than not they end up going to a funeral home. Most of us if not all of us have been to our fair share of these and they are never easy. “As you drive there you have an awkward feeling and you just aren’t sure what to say,” stated Todd Borek. Todd and his partner, Karl Jennings, own and operate the Borek Jennings Funeral Home. They have 4 locations in Michigan; Howell, Hamburg, Manchester and Brooklyn.
Together they operate a very successful and progressive funeral home. The approach that they take is centered on healing and the family, not just the deceased. Visit http://www.borekjennings.com/index_0.cfm to learn more. We not only met Todd and Karl, but worked with them throughout the process for young Maire and her family as they prepared their Farewell.
In preparation for Maire’s s farewell her brothers Geoff and Breandan, sister Nora and husband Michael, along with Crystal Johnson whom Maire spent her final weeks living with, came to meet with Todd. Todd guided everyone through the special program that they teach. Their goal is to help make this process as smooth as possible for the family. The focus is on the well being of the loved ones of the deceased and remembering their life so the healing process can begin. Todd and Karl pride themselves on how they help children go through the experience so while it is still very difficult it is not as traumatic. Todd takes the children, and even some adults, through their star class. In this interactive class the children are given stars to write messages for their departed loved one and Todd will read a story. He engages the students while reading this as the children learn what to expect when they see the departed for the first time at the service. The class is very helpful in assisting the children comprehend what to expect.
From the start of the visitation day, Todd and his team had everything set. Maire was looked extremely peaceful. They really did a wonderful job with her. Based on the teaching before they saw Maire, the adults and the children were able to see her differently. They seemed to be more at peace. There were of course tears of a loss so close to the heart, but you could feel the difference in the room. The children were sad but they seemed to have a better understanding of what they were going to see and experience.
The funeral farewell the following day was a long one for Geoff. Todd said that Maire’s oldest brother arrived at 10:00 am that morning and was ready for everything. The farewell service would start at 5:00 pm and conclude after 6:00 pm. The service was very beautiful with singer/songwriter Jill Jack singing a few songs that Maire loved and a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace” which many in attendance joined in. Among the hundred plus of family and friends came to celebrate Maire’s life were Co-Executive Producer Tom Rau and Maire’s doctor Monika Leja, cardio-oncologist at the University of Michigan. It was very touching to see just how close Dr. Leja and Maire had become throughout this process. She is a doctor that goes well above and beyond for her patients.
Geoff handled his position of emcee with poise and grace. “I couldn’t imagine it being any other way,” he would say.
At the conclusion of the service, Todd addressed everyone and said, “it’s now up to everyone here to help the healing process for the family. Sometime thirty days, sixty days, ninety days from now to just call someone and ask how they are doing.”
Once that was done everyone made their way up to the front to say goodbye to Maire one last time and give their condolences to the family. There were many tears shed and embraces shared. The healing process would begin. After the family had their opportunity to say farewell, the casket was closed and carried outside where she received military honors with a 21-gun salute and the flag that was draped on her casket was presented to her brother Breandan. As soon as the casket was placed in the hearse and the door was closed, a dove was released for Maire as well as pink balloons that people wrote messages on for her. It was a very beautiful sight to behold.
At the end of any long day the family was famished. Just down the street from the funeral home is an Irish Pub by the name of Cleary’s. The family owned business agreed to host the family of Maire, who also happen to be of Irish decent, there for a wonderful banquet style dinner. It was their way of giving back to the community and once they heard Maire’s story it was an easy decision for them. It was the perfect setting to give the day closure. Here is a local news story about the service. http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20131006/NEWS01/310060018/Cancer-victim-lives-film
Todd and his team provided on final service for Maire and her family. They helped arrange for her cremation. According to Todd, “this is a growing trend in the industry. More and more people are opting for cremation.” The location that the Borek Jennings Funeral Home uses is Southern Michigan Cremation Services, owned by the Santeiu family, in Livonia, Michigan. The family builds burial vaults and more from this location. http://www.santeiuvaults.com/cremation.html They provide over 5000 dignified cremations annually. Families are provided with an environment that they can be with their departed loved one in a tranquil room while the cremation process takes place. For many it is a nice way to achieve that all-important closure.