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Sympathetic Funeral DirectorPlanning for death may seem like a macabre thing to do, but the reality is that there are a lot of details that need to be handled in advance. From drafting wills to making sure accounts are in good order, it’s better to have a plan in place ahead of time. Death often comes suddenly, and sometimes the grief and emotions associated can make attending to funeral matters almost impossible. Funeral directors are experts dedicated to helping people prepare and execute ceremonies that honor and celebrate the lives of the dearly departed. Here are some things these experts want you to know.

1. Planning Ahead

Funeral directors recommend that people do their homework ahead of time. Not all funeral homes approach death the same, so it’s best for you to see what’s out there and find out what customers are saying. If you’re reacting to a sudden passing, you may not be in the emotional space to make the best decisions when it comes to taking care of the details. The impact to your feelings and your finances can be significant when you’re proactive about death instead of reactive.

2. Getting Creative

A wake, memorial service or other related event should reflect the life and loves of the deceased. There are many ways to create a funeral that celebrates one’s personhood. Think of the ceremony as a collaboration between you and a mortician. You’re not just restricted to a typical burial or a cremation when it comes to dealing with the body. Other ideas include:

  • Green burial: Interment in a biodegradable casket without embalming chemicals
  • Ashes service: Gathering to scatter the ashes
  • Home service: Keeping the body at a home for goodbyes from family and friends
  • Group activity: Honoring the deceased with a favorite activity
  • Living funeral: Allows someone who is expecting to die to attend their own funeral

There are a lot of different approaches to death, and you should share your thoughts with the director, who can help you realize your or the deceased’s plans.

3. Going It Alone

When it comes to planning for a funeral, you shouldn’t go it alone if you don’t have to. Just as you would involve close friends and family when preparing for a wedding, you can do the same for an end-of-life service and burial or cremation. Such a person can offer an extra set of eyes, ears and hands when it comes to the details. Bring someone you trust who can not only be supportive but also logical in helping you make decisions.

4. Divvying Up the Work

Although the funeral director serves as your main point of contact, that person is often part of a larger team that takes care of everything. The director may be involved in preparing the body for burial or cremation. In a larger funeral home, there is often someone else who specializes in the restoration of the deceased’s form and appearance. Someone besides a mortician may complete the embalming process to delay decomposition. Another person might be responsible for handling the body at a crematorium or at the gravesite. There’s a significant amount of paperwork and coordination involved. The funeral director often coordinates these administrative details.

5. Counting the Costs

Many funeral directors feel that their work is a calling. Salaries vary dramatically within this field, with the average salary being around $54,000 in the United States. Many homes are committed to helping the dying, the deceased and their loved ones. It’s a stereotype that a director just wants to upsell you on expensive caskets and other frills. Many companies will work within your budget to deliver a complete set of funereal services.

Honoring the dearly departed requires experience, understanding and care. Funeral home operators bring wisdom and expertise to help clients celebrate the lives of those that were near and dear. These directors stand ready to help you find the best way to handle the body of a deceased loved one.  

Category: Funeral

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