Funeral Services

Why have a Funeral?

Introduction - At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements for a family member or friend.

The funeral is an important ritual. As difficult as it may be to face, most of us accept death as an inevitable part of life. Today, a dignified funeral ceremony and opportunity to say "good-bye" to the deceased remains an important part of life.

Your funeral director will help you create a meaningful funeral ceremony by discussing your options, guiding you through the arrangement process, handling many details and giving you the information necessary to make decisions.

Unlike most consumer transactions, funeral arrangements are often made at an emotional time. It is important to understand exactly what kind of merchandise and type of service you will receive for the price you pay. Make sure you ask questions about options that are not presented, as your funeral director will do whatever possible to help. No two funerals are exactly the same, nor should they be. Personalize the funeral by discussing with your funeral director how you would like your loved one to be remembered.

Although the exact nature of funeral rites and ceremonies can differ greatly from one culture or religion to another, in many ways they have remained the same throughout history.

Value of a Funeral:

  • Acknowledges that a life has been lived
  • Allows mourners to remember and honor their loved one in a special way
  • Serves as a central gathering place for family and friends to give emotional and physical support one another
  • Helps survivors to better cope with their grief and enables them to move forward with their lives
  • Provides closure for the bereaved
  • Initiates the grieving process
  • Confirms the reality and finality of the death
  • Encourages mourners to face the pain of their loss and express their thoughts and feelings

When Death Occurs - Nothing adequately prepares you for the initial shock of a loved one's death. Feelings of panic and helplessness may be overwhelming, but it's important to know you are not alone. It is important to reach out to close relatives, friends and professionals for the help, support and comfort you need.

In some states, a doctor must be present to declare a person dead and state the cause of death. If the doctor isn't sure of the cause of death, or if the death may have been caused by suicide, homicide or an accident, the county medical examiner or coroner may be called.Candles Picture

Call your funeral director and clergyperson right away, regardless of time of day or location. Immediate assistance and guidance from your funeral director will be extremely valuable to you, especially if you are faced with the added difficulty of making initial arrangements from a distance.

Family and friends should be notified. Call immediate family members first—parents, grandparents, children and siblings of the deceased. Again, do not worry about waking others. Grief researchers say those close to the deceased feel left out if they aren't told about death immediately.

It's not necessary or practical for you to call every family member and friend. News of a death travels quickly. Rely on others to make sure everyone is notified. Although it may be difficult to do, telling others of a death is therapeutic. By saying aloud that a loved one has died, the death is confirmed in your mind—an important step in the grief process.

So Much To Be Done - The emotional impact of death often makes it difficult to concentrate on the overwhelming number of details associated with planning the funeral and taking care of the deceased's estate. You will find your funeral director's assistance extremely valuable as you move through all activities associated with a death.

You and your funeral director will need to plan the funeral carefully to make sure it expresses your wishes. Include your clergyperson in the planning from the start. If you don't belong to a church but want a religious funeral, your funeral director will suggest a clergyperson to officiate.

Experts estimate funeral directors conduct and coordinate more than 200 separate activities in just two or three days in preparation for and during a funeral.

Services of Funeral Directors:

  • Transport the deceased person's body to the funeral home
  • Secure information for and file the certificate
  • Meet with your family to discuss arrangement options
  • Help you choose the place, type and time for the visitation, service and other arrangements
  • Arrange for aftercare services to help you through the grieving process
  • Help you select a casket, outer burial container, urn, memorial stone, marker or other items
  • Advise you about other decisions to make, such as choosing pallbearers and arranging for flowers
  • Help with necessary paperwork, including obituary notices and a variety of government benefit claim forms
  • Help you notify the deceased person's employer, attorney, insurance companies and banks

A Final Note -
During the first few days after a death, you are surrounded by family and friends. You are busy planning the funeral and may not have time to think about yourself until later when you are alone with your grief. After you've planned the funeral, take care of yourself.

You can expect to experience a wide range of emotions. Grieving is hard work, and you may feel tired and lethargic without understanding why. Lighten your schedule if you can, eat healthy foods and exercise to renew your energy. Take time to be alone with your thoughts, but also spend time talking to close friends about your loss. You need to express your emotions.

Ask your funeral director about aftercare services available to support your needs during this time.