Monday, September 29, 2008

Six Things Your Funeral Director Won't Tell You

your funeral director won't tell you
your funeral director won't tell you this

The following is a list of things that your funeral director will not ever say to you. Why? Because funeral directors are professionals who focus on the needs of the grieving family, and will not trouble them by discussing the difficulties they encounter by providing exceptional service when it is needed most.

  1. The visitation is over. It's time for everyone to leave. Visitation times are scheduled to provide a basic time frame for the gathering, but families often find that they want to continue visiting with their guests for an hour or more after the visitiation is scheduled to end. This is encouraged by the staff and there is no additional charge for the extra time.

  2. We can't have your service on that day, we've already got two services going on then. Funeral services are scheduled for the convenience of the family, and although the funeral home may need to hire additional vehicles or staff for additional services on the same day, the wishes of the family will be accomodated without additional charge or comment.

  3. I'm sorry, but I can't meet with you today because it's a holiday, or because we only work from 9 to 5, or I can't drive out to your house to meet with you. We meet with families when and where it is convenient for them whether this means meeting after hours or at whatever location meets the needs of the family. There is no additional charge for this service.

  4. Because of the number of guests expected, there will be an additional staff charge. Large funerals require additional staff and equipment to run smoothly, but this charge is not passed on to the family.

  5. There will be a fee for transporting your flowers to nursing homes around town / to your home after the service/ to church for the service. The funeral home moves flowers from the chapel, to church, to the graveside, to the family home, and to nursing homes and hospice at the request and for the convenience of the family without additional charge.

  6. There will be an additional charge for transporting your loved one from the place of death because: Their size requires additional staff and equipment/ It's Christmas morning / We will have to make additional trips because the family decided that they needed more time. Death takes place at any time, and the transport of the deceased can be complicated by many factors including time and location. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and promise to be patient, compassionate, helpful and discreet. The long hours we work are never a topic of our conversation with a family. The director may have been up all night working, may have another arrangement to make soon, or may spend extra hours past a scheduled service or visitation, but when meeting with you, their focus is on your needs, not theirs.


Randi Lee Ross Marodi said...

Even though it's late, a holiday or even if he is husband "The Undertaker" always follows these rules. Many nights he rolls out of bed to take calls and then ventures out into all sorts of weather. And, like a "good undertaker's wife," I never. Maybe that's why we have been married for nearly 20 years. Thanks for following my blog!

Simon in the UK said...

It is true that they don't make a specific charge for all these things, for they are simply wrapped up in the annual overheads and then spread across all the funerals in the year to even out the cost. This is the same as any business does.

By the way, the rule of not being able to take the funeral on that day, because of hiring in extra vehicles and crew? There are many FDs in the UK that find any excuse not to have to do that. Sometimes they will lose the booking as a result of their unwillingness to incur extra cost. Just like any other business.

Patrick McNally said...

Thank you Simon. Yes, the cost of these services are ultimately worked in to what a funeral costs. That is the point - when people look at the charge for a particular service, such as transport from the place of death to the funeral home, it may look like a lot of money for a simple task, but behind the scenes, it requires a professional, patient staff to be available at all hours of the night and every day of the year.
When we look at the kind of person who can maintain a gentle compassion in these situations, we start to understand some of what goes into a funeral.
I'm sorry if your experience in the UK is different. Certainly this all depends upon the commitment of the firm and its staff to be responsive to the needs of families.

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