One of the first calls you make when a loved one passes is to a Funeral Home - more specifically a Funeral Director. The Funeral Director will be your point of contact over the next few days or weeks when dealing with your loved ones funeral arrangements.
arrange for transportation of the body.
The Funeral Director will arrange the transportation of the deceased from the place of death to the Funeral Home. If an autopsy is requested, they will also transport the body to and from the Medical Examiners office.
The Funeral Director will also be the one transporting your loved one from the Funeral Home to the ceremony and to the burial location.
Your Funeral Director will keep you updated as to where your loved one is at all times - giving you peace of mind that your loved one is being taken care of.
meeting with the family to talk about funeral needs.
The next interaction you will have with the Funeral Director is the planning meeting. This is where you will talk about and decide specifics when it comes to the final disposition of the body, ceremony needs, reception planning and burial. The Funeral Home staff will typically send you a short list of items to bring with you to make this process go smoother.
You will decide whether or not to have a viewing, service, reception or burial. The Funeral Director will help you pick a date and time.
Prepare the body.
Depending on what you chose above, the body needs to be prepared for final disposition.
If you are choosing a viewing then the body needs to be dressed and placed in a casket for viewing. Depending on the length of time between the death and viewing different methods of preparation can be used. If your viewing will be within 24 hours of death then you can choose not to embalm and have minimal preparations done. The Funeral Director will always have the final say whether or not minimal preparations will suffice. Depending on the circumstances of death, the Funeral Director may suggest an embalming.
If you chose cremation, the body is dressed (or not, depending on your choice) and placed in a cremation container. A body can be embalmed for cremation but it is not required.
If you chose to have your family member buried in a casket, you can also have them embalmed but again it is not required.
Funeral Directors will submit all the legal documents and paperwork to register the death. They must also sign off on all documents pertaining to body preparation, disposition and funeral planning. Some Funeral Directors will also help by filling out and filing any government paperwork for Death or Funeral Benefits. The Funeral Director will also prepare a document called the Funeral Directors Statement - this acts as a death certificate for all estate needs.
organization is key.
The Funeral Director will help in the planning, arranging the details and handling the logistics of the funeral.
They will help the family book any outside venues - church or hall. They will be the point of contact with officials - ministers or officiants. They will also contact any vendors - caterers, florist, musicians, photographers - and get pricing and help make any arrangements. They may also prepare or decorate the ceremony and/or reception site. While the family may make some arrangements like organizing the pallbearers and preparing the obituary notices, the Funeral Director is also able to guide the family with these tasks or take them over completely.
The purpose of the Funeral Director when it comes to arranging all of the above is to alleviate some of the stress from the family during this already difficult time.
Most Funeral Directors are on call 24/7 and urge the family to call them whenever they have a question or just need someone to talk to. This service often continues even after the funeral arrangements have been completed. Often, the Funeral Director has the knowledge to answer your questions. If they do not know the answer, they have the resources to find the answer for you. Most Funeral Homes also have on hand many resources for grief support.
Meet our Funeral Director.
Our staff may not all be certified Funeral Directors but have all mentored under Stephanie to be able to offer the same level of service and knowledge. We are all available 24/7 to answer your questions and calls. Do not hesitate to stop by and meet us sometime - our coffee is always on!
One of the biggest miscommunications about Cremation is that you cannot have a viewing prior to being cremated. Over the years having a viewing and a cremation has become a popular choice for families.
what is a viewing?
Quite literally, a viewing provides an opportunity for family and friends to "view" the deceased and pay their final respects. A viewing happens after the deceased has been prepared by a funeral home. Preparation can vary from minimal cosmetics, feature setting and dressing to an actual embalming.
Many authorities consider a viewing important to the grieving process as it gives a chance to say goodbye on a personal level. It typically occurs a day or two before the funeral service and it focuses on the importance of being physically close to the body of your loved one.
One of the biggest misconceptions about viewings and cremation is the embalming. Many people believe that you are not able to cremate an embalmed body because of the chemicals. That is not true.
Another misconception is that you must embalm the body to have a viewing. If the viewing is to take place shortly after death (within 24 hours) the body does not need to be embalmed. The Funeral Director will simply perform minimal preparations for the viewing.
what about the casket?
Another important question when considering a viewing before a cremation is the casket. Why spend so much money on something that will be cremated with the deceased. The simple answer is that it does not need to be expensive.
Most Funeral Homes - like Celebrate Life - offer rental caskets. This way you can rent a casket for the viewing and do not have to spend a ton of money. Our rental caskets are seen below and cost $700 and $725 to rent respectively. The fabric insert is removed and cremated with your loved one.
You may also choose to purchase a casket for your loved one to be cremated in and that is ok too. There is a wide range of cremation caskets for you to choose from.
People wonder what happens to the body after a viewing. If a rental casket was used, the body and casket lining are transferred to a cardboard cremation container. If the casket is to be cremated also it is sealed closed. The deceased is taken to the crematorium to be cremated for the funeral service. The process takes about four to five hours.
The cremains are then placed in an urn. A service takes place, typically followed by a reception and burial (not necessarily in that order).
Some people choose to do an urn visitation - which usually takes place at the end of the service. The urn is placed on a stand in a private room. Loved ones then have the chance to say their final goodbyes and pay their respects before the urn is buried.
what is a pallbearer?
All definitions referred to carrying a casket - this is the traditional definition of the honor of pallbearer. With cremation becoming all the more popular - people are choosing to have pallbearers for urns as well.
what are the official duties of a pallbearer?
If you are having an open casket then the Funeral Staff will already have the casket set out before the ceremony begins. If it is a closed casket or cremation celebration then the casket or urn needs to be brought in - this is where the pallbearers come in. At the end of the ceremony the casket or urn is also carried out by the pallbearers. For the burial the casket or urn also needs to be brought to the grave side and this can be a job for the pallbearers also.
how to choose your pallbearers?
Being a pallbearer is considered an honor. When choosing a pallbearer think about who you'd like to have this honor but also who has the emotional strength to take on this duty. Physical strength must be considered also when referring to a pallbearer who will carry a casket.
Taking all these things into consideration, chose people who are mentally and physically able to take on the duty of pallbearer. If there is someone you'd like to honor with the title of pallbearer but you do not feel they are able, you can appoint them as honorary pallbearer. Often, when an urn is considered you only need one or two pallbearers and others can be referred to as honorary pallbearers.
who can be a pallbearer?
Pallbearers can be men or women, often family members or close friends. If the deceased was part of a group, order or fraternity, sometimes you will choose members of those organizations to be the pallbearers.
Typically there are six pallbearers, as there are six handles on the casket (3 on each side). Taking into consideration the weight of the casket you will balance the distribution of said weight by placing those who are unable to carry as much weight in the middle of each side.
Traditionally men were chosen as pallbearers while the leading women of the family had the honor of choosing who the pallbearers were. Nowadays it is more common to see men, women and even children be honored as pallbearers. Considering that the weight can be distributed properly, it is more likely to be able to have some pallbearers who cannot physical carry the casket. The other pallbearers simply bear the weight and the additional pallbearers are there to hold the casket but not carry the weight and therefore being able to include anyone as a pallbearer.
general rules for pallbearers.
Generally speaking there are a few rules that pallbearers should follow but most of these rules are for ease of transportation and providing a cohesive look, rather than being a a strict rules to follow.
Note that a funeral service can have more than one set of pallbearers. This ensures that anyone (male or female) can be included as a pallbearer. Being given that privilege or honor can be the way that someone needs to pay their last respects to the deceased. Do not deny a female (or child) the opportunity to pay their last respects by being a pallbearer. With a few adjustments in where the female (or child) carries the casket - anyone can be included in this special honor.
The funeral service is just a part of the commemoration of a life and being a pallbearer takes things to a more personal level. Take the time to speak with your family and close friends about whom you'd like to honor with the duty of being pallbearer at your funeral.
When a loved one passes, your world is changed forever. You are suddenly faced with decisions you never thought you'd have to make and the time in which you have to make these decisions comes too quickly.
Who do you call first? Will you have a traditional burial or opt for cremation? Which Funeral Home should you use?
With the funeral industry ever evolving these options can seem overwhelming.
The decision to publish an obituary however does not need to be. A well written obituary can serve multiple purposes: it can be used as a bulletin or notice to those wanting to know the when and wheres of the service, it memorializes and tributes the who and answers the questions as to when and sometimes why.
There are several steps to take to write out a meaningful and informative obituary.
what is an obituary?
An obituary is an announcement of death, typically published locally, to honor the memory of the loved one lost and to give details about their service, burial and lifetime accomplishments.
Who writes the obituary?
Your Funeral Home can write the Obituary for you with a little help. You can chose to write the obituary yourself or with close family and friends. Sometimes people will even chose to write their own obituary before their death.
what to include in the obituary?
An obituary has a few main parts but can vary greatly depending on the deceased or those writing the obituary.
publishing an obituary
Once your obituary has been written and proof read it is time to release it to the world.
Where will you post the obituary so that others can read it?
Most Funeral Homes have an online presence where they post Obituaries and can help you get the word out.
Many chose to publish the obituary in a local newspaper - either local to where they are currently living or local to the deceased place of birth or home town. Newspapers also typically have an online presence so you get double exposure when posting with them. Obituaries often need to be shortened for newspaper posting as the fees associated with them are quite costly.
Another place you would consider posting the Obituary is the Funeral Programs or Funeral Cards.
funeral programs or cards
There are a lot of possibilities for what to include in your program. Typically these are bi-fold (folded in half) or tri-fold (folded in three).
There is always a cover page that includes that chosen photo of the deceased, their date of birth and death and quick details about the when and where of the service, reception and burial.
The inside can include the full length obituary, more photos, poems or special messages but most typically the order of service. This can be supplied by the minister if the service is to take place in a church or to be performed by a minister. This can be written by the family or Funeral Director if the service is non-religious. It includes readings and eulogies and the order of the ceremony.
The back of the program can include more photos, a poem, thank you's and typically the Funeral Home information.
Funeral guests typically keep programs as a keepsake so make sure to personalize them to represent the deceased and have enough on hand for all expected guests.
We, at Celebrate Life, offer our clients an Eternal Memorial Page on our website. This page will never be taken down - unless requested by the family. Visitors can upload pictures, send condolences, light a candle or recount memories of the deceased.
Please take some time to visit our Obituary page, view the pages of our clients and honor their memory.