Get ready… and what I mean by that is get ready for all the criticism you will receive being in this profession. If you were to take a poll of a 100 people I’m assuming most people would say they believe funerals are a rip-off and a funeral director is out to take advantage of someone at a tough time.
I have been in this profession for 14 years now and have heard this as many times as I have heard the phrase “People are dying to see me” which was not funny the first time or the millionth time.
Obviously I have dedicated my life to being in this profession and I take it very seriously and will defend it, so I am a tad biased. People just have zero clue as to what they are truly paying for.
I read in a Facebook post someone saying, “We basically paid 3K for someone to write an obituary, put out finger foods, turn on the a/c and cremate dad.” Are you kidding me?
What you paid for was someone to take your phone call at 3 a.m., get dressed, get in a vehicle that costs money, drive with gas that costs money, use gloves that cost money, use sheets that have to be laundered, pay for the employee to make the call and the list goes and on and on.
People just do not understand what all is involved in everything we do from the minute the phone rings until the time of final disposition and even afterwards. We worry, we take time away from our families, we stress over small details, we take phone calls and texts at 2 a.m., and we go 48 hours without sleep, and all without complaint.
I see all these Facebook posts with people saying just “burn me” or “throw me in a pine box” and on and on. Well we sure know it’s nowhere near that simple, in fact, that “simple cremation” takes almost if not more work than a full blown traditional casketed service.
There are boatloads of paper work, getting the authorized people to sign, getting permits, following proper chain of custody so everything is done correctly and according to law. Sometimes we have to search the globe for a brother that does not talk to the family anymore or a daughter that had a falling out with momma.
These are things we all know we have to do daily and the public never sees. We all know the behind the scenes things that must happen. My point is you will see this and hear this everywhere. Hold your head high and be proud of what we do, because it is not for everyone and not many people can do it and do it well.
Understand that just because someone says they want direct cremation because that is basically the only term they know… still take the time to educate them. Educate them on the value of a funeral service, the value of a viewing… even if it’s private and no embalming. Teach them the value of a final disposition and having a place to permanently put cremated remains so there is a place of memorialization.
It’s not always going to be easy and you might get some families who don’t want to hear it, but you don’t want to be the funeral director who didn’t give the option they weren’t aware they could do. Again I say, be proud, hold your head high and know that what we do is serve families, serve our communities and we do it well.
You hear it all the time and if you attend meetings, conventions or continuing education you will continue to hear it. Teach and show a family the value to what we professionals do. Notice I said professional, we are a profession…not an industry. Oil and gas is an industry, we are people, families and celebration.
Now more than ever we are more than a simple funeral director or order taker. We are a constant shoulder to lean on, an empathetic voice, event planners, and the voice of reason with a family that does not get along. The list of our titles and what we do could go on and on as it should. Folks, get ready… get ready to serve your community and teach the value of what a funeral professional truly is.
Written by: Zach Carnley, CFSP
Zach is a licensed funeral director & embalmer in the State of Texas and is a founding member of Millennial Directors.