Eleven years ago Robert and Stephanie Pecht purchased the building now known as the Bordentown Home for Funerals on Crosswicks Street, a building Stephanie is convinced has been a funeral home ever since it was built in 1893.
Not long after they purchased the building (but not the business) in 2004 Robert and Stephanie began a lengthy renovation, which included moving the entire funeral business to the first floor. “No part of our facility is in the basement,” explains Stephanie. This means the viewing rooms are on the same level as embalming and other aspects of the business.
It is with the community in mind that Stephanie and Robert have begun offering Healing Cafe events. They recognize grief does not end with the funeral. “A lot of people think it is hardest to go through the funeral process. Robert and I would like to focus on what happens after the funeral,” adds Stephanie.
Bordentown Home for Funerals offers several events throughout the year to help with the healing process. Last month they held their annual remembrance mass on All Souls Day in the chapel at St. Mary’s Church on Crosswicks Street. On Friday, December 11, at 7:30 p.m. they will have an ecumenical Blue Christmas service also in the chapel. All are welcome.
The Pechts have teamed up with Romelle Holmgren Lysenko, a licensed therapist with expertise in grief and loss, to provide Healing Cafe sessions periodically throughout the year. “We are here to create a safe place where people can come together and talk about grief and loss that many years later can still be very acute. At some point you can explore your own feelings about death and dying. It is something people don’t want to talk about,” explains Romelle.
“In explaining our feelings about death and dying, I believe we can live fuller livers. I create a safe place to have these conversations. Grieving people need to talk about their grief. We live in a culture where you get a couple of days off from work and have to get back to life. We also have medical miracles. Death is not as common as it used to be.”
Romelle was a certified public accountant when her 7-year-old son Scott died in 2004. She earned a masters in social work from Kean University in 2008 and has recently completed advanced training at the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia University in New York City.
“Everyone had a child die a few generations ago. Before that moment [when Scott died], no one I knew lost a child.” She built a strong network of other grieving parents back in the “pre-social media days. We would all e-mail each other in a list serv. We had all lost our child. I saw the difference it made to me to have a community, and it is what led me to start the healing conference.” The next session will be Wednesday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bordentown Home for Funerals. The Healing Cafe and other events are free and open to the public.
Bordentown Home for Funerals, 40 Crosswicks Street, Bordentown. 609-298-0128. www.bordentownhomeforfunerals.com