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
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?
Celebrity, as a phenomena, is defined as fame, renown, or public eminence; or being so well-known through assorted mediums as to be transfixed in the lives of the common man. We put celebrities under a microscope along with the spotlight so as to know the fantastic as well as the mundane regarding their daily lives.
Yet, nothing quite compares to those fateful dates when said celebrities vanish from the physical world with a swarm of high profile news flashes, tweets and Facebook “R.I.P.’s”.
When a family chooses direct cremation, they often do so out of economic considerations or by request of the deceased (“Y’all don’t make a fuss over me”). Performing a meaningful service to mourn the loss of their loved one is no longer an opportunity for the funeral home. Or is it?
When working for a funeral home, you are expected to give your client families the utmost respect and care. Whether you are a funeral director, embalmer, assistant, or an administrative staffer, it is up to you to make sure your families have a fitting final impression of your facility and staff.
When the cremated remains are ready and the family is notified that their loved one is available for them to receive, you then have an occasion to serve them one last time before they leave your building. Here are a few ideas you can use to make your final moments with a family, memorable ones:
Born in the year 1983, I was often told I was part of Generation-Y… the not as cool as “Gen-X” generation that propelled Vanilla Ice to stardom. Much to my relief, the term “Millennial” came along to make us stand out from our counterparts.
My mullet and I circa 1987.
A millennial is defined by The Center for Generational Kinetics as a person born between the years 1977 and 1995. Continue reading
Well, that was easy.
All joking aside, I am truly excited to be writing my first blog post.
Well… That is actually a lie. Not the “I am truly excited” part, but the whole I’m “writing my first blog post” thing is a fib. Continue reading