When a family experiences the death of a loved one they are suddenly placed in a position where they experience a huge amount of grieving, loss, and sadness in a very short period of time. Losing a loved one is an experience that is at the top of the list when it comes to the level of stress a person will go through. But then added to this is the stress that comes with needing to organize a funeral over the next few days. Some people are fortunate enough to have had a parent or sibling that organized burial insurance prior to their death. As a result, almost all of the funeral arrangements have been organized and paid for.
For the less fortunate family where this has not been done, all of the decisions regarding the funeral are still to be made. In both cases, the family will often look up a funeral home directory and call in the funeral director of a local funeral home. The director will visit the family’s home and over one or two visits will help with whatever decisions still need to be made. This article covers those details that are handled by the funeral home as well as those details not handled by the funeral home regardless of whether burial insurance was organized prior to the death or not.
Details Not Handled by Funeral Homes
When the funeral director visits the bereaved family’s home and goes through the list of details that need to be looked at there are a couple of aspects that the funeral homes director will need a decision upon but who will not actually supply you with the answer:
Whilst often being the most involved and distressing detail for the family, it also happens to be the one that most people don’t even think about. As such we’ll start with this.
- The funeral homes director will at some point ask how the family would like the dearly departed dressed. This involves choosing the family member that he feels is coping the best and asking them to select an appropriate garment from the deceased’s wardrobe in which they can dress the dearly departed. There are several problems with this:
- The family distraught and grieving and will not be in the state in which they can rummage through the dear deportee’s clothing to see what will be suitable to dress them in for their funeral.
- If the deceased is a wife, the husband will often have no idea what is appropriate.
- If the deceased has been in hospital or sick, there is every chance that their clothes will no longer fit them.
- The deceased may not have new clothes – often the case with older people.
- The deceased may not have new clothes appropriate for being buried – often the case with younger people.
- Because of these reasons, many funeral home directors are beginning to recommend that the family organize to get specially designed burial garments from a company that specializes in providing quality burial clothes and burial garments.
Details Handled by Funeral Homes
When the funeral home director initially calls on the family of the deceased, he will go through a list of questions that usually involve decisions the family must make although some of the details are covered simply for the family’s information:
Hearse – the hearse is usually owned by the funeral home and therefore no decision is required from the family.
Pallbearers – can also be supplied by the funeral home through the family will often have people that they would like to perform that function. If the family is short one or two people, the funeral home can make up the difference.
Funeral Location – a decision needs to be made by the family as to where the memorial service will take place. Traditionally the funeral is held in a church but there is no hard and fast rule with regards to this.
Cemetery location – Hopefully the family will have already bought one or several funeral plots in preparation for this day in which case the funeral home director will need the ownership details and details of the cemetery where they are located. If the family does not own any plots, the purchase of a gravesite will be organized by the funeral home.
Burial or Cremation – The family will need to make the decision as to whether the deceased will be buried or cremated hopefully considering the wishes of the deceased.
Coffin purchase – The funeral home will have a number of coffins in stock ranging from $1000 up to $7000. The funeral director will bring a catalogue of coffins when they visit, for the family to choose a coffin that they feel is appropriate for the burial of the deceased. Coffins come in a range of styles, colors and materials, the most common being pine wood. They also have a number of different accessories including the type of lining, pillows and handles. A coffin has to be purchased even if the deceased is being cremated as they are laid to rest in the coffin before and during the cremation.
Urn purchase – As with a coffin, if the deceased is being cremated, the remains will need to be stored in an urn. Once again, urns are made from many materials differing in shape, color, size and price. The funeral home director will have a catalogue of urns from which the family can make its choice.
Clergy – the choice of the clergy to conduct the funeral is usually left up to the family and is often someone known to the family or the deceased.
Music – The funeral home director can often help with funeral music and church hymns for the funeral along with the eulogy, funeral poems and other details of the like.