The role of a Funeral Director is an extremely important and often misunderstood one. Decisions have to be made in the midst of grief and loss, and at a time that is already overwhelming taxing. A Funeral Director is normally the first person that an individual or family that has just experienced a loss will speak to. A survivor experiencing loss will no doubt have many questions that will go unanswered if it was not for the role of the Funeral Director. It is the job of the Funeral Director to provide counseling and to answer any questions the bereaved might have. A professional attitude and sympathy for those going through loss assist the Funeral Director in addressing any concerns with moral and ethical convictions so that the grieving and healing process may begin.
A Funeral Director is not the same as an Embalmer, doctor or Medical Examiner. In order to gain a degree in Funeral Directory and Funeral Services, a brief course on Embalming is required. This is necessary so that the Funeral Director will understand every aspect of death, dying, loss and the grieving process.
It is the duty of any Funeral Director to help a person or family in their difficult time of transition by taking care of as much of the funeral plans as they can and by making all of the necessary arrangements including filling out any paperwork so that the family does not have to be burdened by the experience any further. A Funeral Director assists a survivor or the survived family by referring them, when necessary, to other professionals when other types of assistance is needed, whether it be financial help, legal help or even psychological help.
A funeral director will be informative, providing the family with answers to questions. A good funeral director will help take care of the details and see that, from start to finish, you are provided with the least amount of disruption as possible.
A funeral director knows what you and your loved ones are going through. This is where their expert services can help take the pressure off, by giving you clear directions. He or She will guide you through the many optional funeral arrangements, with insight and professionalism. Their goal is to help you through the ordeal in the least upsetting way possible. Like a friend. A funeral director works hard to ensure the services provided are trustworthy, needed and given in a dignified manner and yet, respecting your family’s budget.
Although sad, if you are caring for a loved one who is soon going to pass, you can help ease all your concerns by sitting down and discussing ahead of time with your funeral director on what you should do. The funeral director will be ready and able to answer questions and provide you with an overview of how funeral services are arranged. It helps tremendously to have this taken care of ahead of time.
A funeral director knows you are dealing with intense, emotional feelings and that poor decisions can sometimes be made in the midst of grieving. He or She will help sort all that out for you, being clear on what will help your personal situation the most.
If you need this service, for a loved one, let a professional funeral director help guide you through this. It will give you some peace, once arrangements are finalized, and most of all, knowing your loved one is going to be respectfully placed in the hands of a professional who truly cares.
One of the biggest fears that people have when attending a funeral is that they don’t know what to say. After the loss of a loved one, sometimes well meaning friends and family won’t know the proper thing to say and will blurt out inappropriate sentiments. While these thoughts were meant to be of comfort, they aren’t always helpful or appropriate things to say to the bereaved.
Your presence alone at the service says how much you care about the family and the person who died. However, to verbally express your sympathy, one of the best things you can do is speak from your heart and express what you are feeling at the moment.
Below are some words that can be helpful to show your heartfelt sympathy and concern:
“We will miss “Mary” very much. She was very important to us.”
“We are here for you.”
“Words cannot express our sympathy.”
“I can only imagine how you must feel.”
“We will never forget “Mark.” He was so liked by everyone who knew him.”
“I can already see that your children are becoming such nice young adults, just like their mother/father.”
“I hope it is some comfort to you to know how highly regarded ‘Jim’ was by all how knew him.”
“Even though I didn’t know your wife/husband, I heard such wonderful things about her/him from other people.”
Be sure to offer your condolences to everyone in the family, and introduce yourself to family members that may not know you. Be understanding, and let the bereaved lead the conversation. By having a sense of what the person is feeling at that particular moment, you will be guided in knowing how to express your sympathy. Whatever you say, the family will appreciate your comfort and support of being there with them at their time of need.
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Death is a natural, inescapable experience in life. We must deal with it and so must our children. If we are to help them, we must let them know it’s okay to talk about it and to guide them gently and honestly through this occurrence. What we say will depend on the child’s age and experiences as well as our own. Discussions may be prompted by the death of a loved one or by a news story on television.
Psychologists have studied children’s responses to the death of a loved and have discovered that children usually are not as vulnerable as many adults assume them to be. They are aware of death at a very early age – they may see a dead animal along the road or hear about it in fairy tales or watch a cartoon character die. By talking to our children about death, we discover what they know and do not know – if they have misconceptions, fears, or worries. We can then help them by providing needed information, comfort, and understanding. Talk does not solve all problems, but without talk we are even more limited in our ability to help. Sheltering a child from age-appropriate information, while well-intentioned, could lead to mistrust, traumas, and irrational fears based on unresolved grief as the child matures.
Experts suggest following these guidelines:
- The child should be the main factor in deciding when to talk about a loved one’s death.
- The child should be consulted and encouraged to participate, but not forced.
- Information should be given only as the child needs or requests it.
- Keep explanations simple.
- If appropriate, allow the child to attend the funeral so that he/she doesn’t feel left out.
- If the child does not attend the interment, he/she should be taken to the cemetery at a later date.
The child’s loss can be eased by discussing happy experiences he/she shared with the deceased. Remind the child about the attention he/she gave to the loved one and how that added to the happiness in the deceased’s life. Explain to the child that his/her relationship to the deceased has changed but has not ended. After the funeral, display pictures and other reminders about the deceased and talk about him/her with the child.
Encouraging children to talk with us about death, we can give them information, prepare them for a crisis, and help them when they are upset. Even though we may be grieving, we owe it to our children to offer honest explanations while listening to and accepting their feelings in a sympathetic and non-judgmental way.
The death of a loved one is a difficult time for everyone. Pre-arranging funeral and burial arrangements in advance is becoming a popular option so that YOU select what you want and family members will not have to make difficult decisions while under emotional stress and time pressures. Also known as preplanning, this allows YOU to determine and document service details at your convenience and before the need arises.
Preplanning starts with collecting personal information and considering facts you will want friends and family to know and remember about you. This includes biographical information, photos, career, hobbies, and special interests.
A Brown-Forward Funeral Director has special training and expertise to guide you through the many decisions involved with planning a funeral and burial. He/She will take as much time as you need to make well-informed decisions and talk about these with your family. Some of the questions to consider include
- What kind of funeral should it be?
- Will there be a cremation or a burial?
- What type of urn or casket?
- Who needs to be notified?
- Can I select the readings or songs for the service?
- How much will this cost?
- Should I prepay for my arrangements?
Our Funeral Director will also talk with you about considering prefunding the arrangements you select. Paying for a funeral after the loss of a loved one can add stress and potential financial hardship to your family. Knowing your options ahead of time can ease this burden. Some of the benefits of prepaying for your arrangements are:
- Ensure that the money will be there to help cover all costs.
- Lock in your selections for the cemetery, urn or casket, and other funeral arrangements at today’s prices so that your estate will owe nothing and your family will keep more of your assets.
- Reduce the likelihood of last-minute unexpected expenses.
Pre-arranging your funeral allows you to personalize your funeral, relieve your family from future financial responsibility, and gives you peace of mind knowing that you’ve helped your family cope with their loss.