What can you say to someone who has experienced a death close to them? You may do your best to console them with well worn phrases such as, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
You may choose to liken their experience to something from your own past… “I know how you feel. When I lost my mom…”
Or you may even take the spiritual path to grief relief and exclaim, “They’re in a better place.”
Whatever your method of giving condolence, you may want to consider what is going through the mind of the mourning before digging up a clichéd and possibly offensive message.
So this is what a hiatus looks like?
Two months is far too long to go without saying SOMETHING… anything. Thanks for your patience, unless you’re new here, in which case: Welcome!
A lot has changed since our last blog post. Zach and I went from being friends as competitors to being friends as coworkers! He now manages Lucas and Blessing Funeral Home in Burleson, Texas which is a sister location to Lucas Funeral Home in Grapevine, Texas where I am.
Soooo, with that exciting news out of the way, what’s new with you?
The summer is finally behind us. I can shift my focus once again to writing…
You’re telling me that winter is the busy season for the funeral profession???
Well crap. Back to work.
Embalming… the opportunity for we professionals to create the perfect “memory picture” for a family. When a family chooses to have their loved one embalmed, never take it lightly and always be aware of the sacred trust that is being placed in you.
It is smart to watch and learn from as many licensed embalmers as you can when serving an apprenticeship or starting your path in the funeral profession. Continue reading
**Forward from the Editor: Matthew Morian
“The focus of Millennial Directors has been to share Millennial viewpoints on the funeral profession. I feel that expanding that focus to allow other generations to share their viewpoints directly with Millennials is also incredibly beneficial to the growth of our profession. On that note, I introduce one of our Gen-X counterparts to share his perspective: Dylan Stopher.”
You know what’s crazy? If I were to ask 100 funeral directors from different firms how to train a student or apprentice, they would give me 100 different answers. Those answers would vary greatly in scope and level of intensity. Some would be focused on arrangements and some focused on embalming; some looking into paperwork and some looking at professional demeanor.
The best part is that none of these are wrong. The worst part is that all of them are not given equal focus. So I’d like to propose a set of specific steps for standardized training within any facility for students, apprentices, or new funeral directors in your organization.
Please know, these are only suggestions.
Let’s begin with the obvious “Rule Number One” for all funeral professionals: the family is in charge. Continue reading
For some of us in the funeral profession, we speak of our career choice as a sort of calling.
The first half of my career I just kind of muddled through. Let’s face it, mortuary school didn’t really prepare me for the situations and the families that would walk through the door. That kind of experience only comes with time.
There are some families that come to us with a sense of relief and peace, but there are those families that sit across from us that are broken and damaged. As a poised and strong funeral director, I carry them through the hardest days and weeks of their lives.
But as a human, I am broken with them.
Funeral Professionals can never EVER get enough education or stop learning. Just like any other profession we must stay current and knowledgeable to properly take care of our families, our businesses, and our co-workers.
There are so many of us that think we’ve “got it” and we have all the tools on our belts already. This could not be further from the truth. Those who’ve “got it” are the ones who will never accept change and will continue to do the same thing each and every single day for the rest of their career.
When asked what I think a funeral director’s most underappreciated duty is to a family, I answer: “To listen.”
At the arrangement table we create a solemn trust with those we serve in their time of need. To be the guiding force, the preparer of rites, the wisdom bearer, and the unburdening ear.
As funeral directors, we spend a lot of our time talking. We could learn so much about why we are called to this profession if we would retain experiences from our families as plentifully as we gave them in return.
Over the years I have experienced loss within my family. Since joining the funeral industry in 2010 I have lost my three remaining grandparents and most recently an uncle.
Uncle Bill was somewhat reclusive. I never really had an opportunity to know my mom’s older brother. Honestly, I don’t ever remember meeting him. Towards the end of his life, major health complications such as diabetes all but immobilized him. With Bill’s body failing, my mother helped arrange for his care at a nursing facility near her farm.
I’m sure my uncle was appreciative to have his big sister so close in his time of need. She would visit him often and keep us updated as to his health and about his current mood.
It was several weeks ago when my mother called to tell me that her brother was entering hospice care and expected he would not have long to live. Continue reading
The funeral industry can be a tough profession for many obvious reasons.
People think we are just out to get their money and that we could care less about anything else. Well, we are trying to get paid… we are a business after all, and that is how a business operates.
On the flip side, we are actually a great group of guys and gals that have made a commitment to do everything within our power to help guide a family through the toughest time of their life. We provide all the necessary tools, and support to provide a meaningful and personalized service.
What do you say when a person calls your funeral home to ask that most probing of questions, “How much?” Do you quickly blurt out the answer to their inquiry or do you steel yourself with a deep breath and prepare for a long informative conversation about what they will potentially experience over the next several days?
If you answered the latter, then you will undoubtedly increase your firm’s chances of serving that family regardless of “how much.”
As funeral directors, we are often challenged as to what our value is to modern society. Are we simply disposers of the dead or are we caring and skilled professionals who are here to educate those we serve?