I want you to know that the idea of your typical funeral director is about to be changed, drastically.
I see you pull into the parking lot and sit there, looking at the door. I’ve never seen anyone hop out of their car and walk into the building without pause. And why should you? You’re about to face probably the most difficult meeting you’ve ever had to face. This meeting makes it “real”. You’ll have to make decisions and face the fact that this is really happening.
I try to meet you at the door, or open the door for you and greet you with a knowing smile. The kind of look that the meeting ahead of you is possible. I’ll introduce myself to you and have you follow me back to the arrangement room. I know that showing you around the visitation room, or the chapel area is probably too difficult right now. You’ll follow me down the maroon carpet and round the corner to that arrangement room.
I know that telling me the full name of your loved one is hard.
Every meeting starts differently with every family. Some folks like to start talking about the services they would like, and others just sit there and follow my lead. Usually, to start, we will notate the vital statistics of the deceased. I know that telling me the full name of your loved one is hard. That is sometimes enough to make you break down, but please don’t worry about that happening. I know that saying their name is difficult. We may then discuss their birth date, and you may tell me how they celebrated this year, or that they didn’t live long enough to see it this year. I’ll let you take the lead on what you tell me. Usually, the next questions typically ease up that feeling. Those such as the occupation; that is where you will tell me about their accomplishments and I’ll see how proud you were of them. Sometimes you’ll need help remembering their mother’s maiden name. At that point, I will tell you that it’s perfectly normal to be in a total fog for the next few weeks and to be kind to yourself.
Once we have the vitals and after I’ve explained how the death certificate will be filed, we move on to the services. Surprisingly, many families have an idea of what services they are looking for. We choose a date and I hear you try to accommodate everyone who is trying to come and not make this funeral or memorial a burden. Usually, the people with you will tell you they will do whatever you want and be there for you, but you still try to accommodate everyone.
Next is when you realize that I am a great source of help. I won’t suggest you buy the most expensive casket or the highest price urn. I will be honest with you and earn your trust. You will learn that our intentions are to provide and honor your loved one in the most affordable way if you let me. I’ll point out the features and offer professional advice as to what you’ll need and give alternatives when applicable.
They may be gone, but there is a lifetime of memories and laughter to be remembered.
If you are having services at your church and need help setting an appointment at the cemetery, I will help you with that. I will call the church for you and reach out to the cemetery for your appointment. When we are done with other decisions, I will sit there with you. At that point, you usually open up to me. I’ll ask, when appropriate, how long they’ve been ill or if this death was expected. You’ll be your most vulnerable with me. I may share with you about my loss, but only very briefly. Then you’ll see why I’ve held your hand through this. There will be a kinship you will feel. We may sit there for a long while listening and sharing memories and more than likely share some laughs. They may be gone, but there is a lifetime of memories and laughter to be remembered.
I’ll close by showing you around, and compliment you on all the hard decisions you just made. You’ll be proud that you can do this and that this is the first step to moving forward. I’ll see you in a few days, I’ll have your back and be there with you every step of the way. Because that is what we do.