The dreaded telephone call has come. A loved one has died. The call was not completely unexpected but still comes as a shock, as death always does. You have been left in charge of making arrangements. How do you select a funeral home?
Unfortunately, in the scene just described, several factors conspire against you in your selection process. Let us back up just a few days, since we have that capability right now, and see what steps should have been done.
If a funeral home has served you in the past and their services were suitable, why not employ them again? Most all funeral homes will contain records of past services and merchandise selections so that returning families can use that as a guideline for services.
If this is the first occasion for selecting a funeral home, you may want to consider the following:
Q: Is the final disposition going to be earth burial or cremation?
A: While every funeral home may accommodate both, not every funeral home will have access to a crematorium on site. This might help contain prices due to not having to transport the deceased to a non-local crematorium.
Q: Is the funeral home associated with any particular religion?
A: Again, while most funeral homes are capable of handling any sort of religious service you might want, some are more adept with specific denominations than others. There is usually a funeral home that is known for handling Catholic services in town. Likewise, there is an Evangelical home as well.
Q: Are there any fraternal organization services associated with the deceased?
A: There are some fraternal organizations that wish to hold their own services for the deceased at the funeral homes, and they might have a fellow member within the funeral home's staff. This might flavor any recommendation they make if soliciting their input.
Funeral homes, in order to be truly successful, need to cater to all facets of their communities. Although there may be certain ethnic groups that prefer one specific home, e.g. Greek Orthodox, African-Americans, all are welcomed most anywhere. Convenience and location become deciding factors, along with price and selection. Given enough time beforehand, price lists may be requested from several homes and compared before visiting likely candidates.
Q: Is the final disposition to be local or not?
A: Again, the pricing will vary and should be included in the general price list supplied by the individual homes.
With families moving according to the economy, the likelihood of being around the old homestead is going more remote. Yet a return to one's origins seems to be a general comfort for all; returning to the simpler times of childhood, while idyllic and often based on a selective memory, seems to be more pronounced in this ever changing world. To be buried at home among kith and kin offers solace to the ill and closure for the bereaved. All reputable funeral homes will offer similar services, the difference being in cost and the degree of caring professionalism that the staff displays. From your first introductory telephone call to the closing of the last door, the staff will serve to make or break the reputation of the home.
Get to know your local funeral director and staff on a personal level before you need them professionally. You will find them to be a vital part of the community with interests much like yours. By having one as at least an acquaintance, if not a friend, you will find they are knowledgeable and willing to answer your questions. A friend in need is a friend indeed.