The Here and After are words that are so strong, we often don’t want to discuss the subject, but lack of education can create chaos if not discussed. Consumerism is just a lavish word for purchasing what we needs as consumers on a daily basis. Did you know that funerals don’t always go as planned and there are 4 Pitfalls To Avoid At Funeral Services and Wakes ?
Everyday people are buying what they think they need, and things that they must have in order to survive. Something that we never seem to discuss are funerals, the cost of burial and things that can go wrong during the here and after, until after the journey has come and gone.
Quite possibly discussion does not occur because it is hardly a joyous moment, but I will tell you this, it is a subject that should be covered thoroughly so that the less-than-lavish and the lavish consumers don’t get ‘roped’ into paying more than they should, and not having things turn out right when funeral home viewings occur.
While there is no way to lavishly live life out loud when the subject is death, there is certainly more to the here and after that can be handled in the present so that future consumer purchases during this most awful time might be more appropriate. Here are 4 Pitfalls To Avoid At Funeral Services and Wakes.
Personal Experience Is Not The Way To Get Educated
I personally have been stuck in the middle of the funeral home and flower chaos and my choice is to pass on detailed information to help you deal more effectively with the here and after of things that can go wrong and will. I believe that I have a few things that may help you in the future as a consumer purchasing a place to gather family, friends and loved ones.
As I originally wrote this I was with a heavy heart as my mother-in-law had just passed away. Things went wrong, life will never be the same and I was upset with the undertaker and the floral companies. I realized we are consumers in many different ways and death is another place that we purchase both service and product.
In our case, a few mistakes were made that were upsetting. This is a very hard topic to write about, and one that not many of us want to deal with or speak about, however, it is a necessary topic because you are a Consumer in this area, just as you are a consumer in a store, same concept, different venue.
Hopefully providing a few details of things that might be made easier with a bit of forehand knowledge, you may be able to miss these pitfalls.
Funerals are so hard to get through, you have lost a loved one, a friend, a companion, a family member, someone who you have shared experiences and life challenges with, the last thing it should be mistake-laden. Anything that goes wrong feels monumental to the family because they are tired, emotional and dealing with feelings they many not even know they had about everything!
The funeral directors’ job during this time is to get you and your family accommodated, as best as they can through making sure that your requests are met, thus allowing you emotionally stability. When things go wrong it can greatly intensify the emotions you and your family are having during this hard time.
It is often those less than lavish times that create the best ideas to share things that have gone wrong, or that have served as a learning experience. I don’t think anyone is ever an expert on funerals, viewings or what to do, but learning a few tips ahead may help you survive a very tolling and wearing experience.
The Floral Policy In A Funeral Home
FLORAL POLICY – This is valid IF you have chosen to accept flowers for your loved one(some opt out of this) in lieu of donations to charities or funeral cost help.
Make sure that you understand the floral policy. This means the flowers that are given to your LOVED ones. You are entitled to take ANY of the flower arrangements with you, on the eve before the day of the burial and if you don’t take them the night before you CAN make arrangements to have certain arrangements set aside and picked up after the wake.
Most directors are more than accommodating. The director SHOULD mark the baskets, arrangements and vases that you want. Some directors mark the flowers with stickers but some do this by simply writing it down.
The most important thing you need to know is that this needs to be thought about ahead of time and not on the day of the burial or 5 minutes before you leave after the last night of viewing.
What You May Not Know About Flowers and Funerals
Did you know that any baskets and vases are saved for the Family, IF REQUESTED. These are tagged by the funeral director the night before the final viewing.
Arrangements with roses and carnations in them, will be picked from and utilized: the carnations and roses(a predetermined amount by the director) will be used for laying on the casket when you take the casket to its final resting place.
Your funeral director will pick these and bring them along, and then the director will hand them to your family and friends upon arrival.
Make sure your funeral director speaks to you about when you are able to mark the plants, arrangements, baskets and vases. You need this information so you can decide what items you might want to keep and what items you are fine parting with. Your director should inform you of when the decision on this needs to be made.
Many Family members are also often happy to take away an arrangement to remind them of their loss and because flowers do brighten living spaces.
The Nightly Prayer Service
NIGHTLY PRAYER SERVICE OR LACK OF ONE…
In our Catholic Faith, we have had a tradition of a priest being present at the close of each eve of viewing to perform a closing prayer for the day.
- a) Make sure the Funeral Director is clear on your wishes to have the priest present nightly for a closing prayer.
- b) Make sure there is a PRIEST available from the church your Funeral Director is working with.
- c) Find out if the Funeral Director is willing to perform the nightly closing prayer in lieu of a priest.
- d) Find out if you are being charged for a priest being present nightly.
- e) If the church your director is affiliated with does not have a priest is there an alternate church you might have a priest from?
- f) If a priest is sick, is there someone else available to provide a prayer for the end of the night?
The Last Ride
I am not quite sure who the last ride is more important to the family or the person who has passed on, nonetheless when it is messed up, it rocks everyone’s world.
While I am sure the bill for the funeral will go to the right home, passing by that home may not work if the funeral director does not have the right address marked down (oh yes, this just happened to us).
Messing up the last ride due to putting the wrong address on the driving directions is not something you want to have happen, and if it does well someone should apologize, because there is no correcting a Last ride. The last ride is complete closure and it is more than just driving to the final resting place.
Planning and Preparation Of The Last Ride
For the family it is comfort knowing they have done what they can to put both themselves and the person at rest at ease. However, the family is quite upset during the immediate time following the death, get the best information you can from the immediate family and then add in what others know as well to help create the memorable last ride that should be.
a) Figure out the few places you know the person at rest would WANT to pass by and present those items to the Funeral Director so they can figure the logistics.
b) MAKE SURE THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR HAS THE RIGHT HOME ADDRESS if they are driving past your loved ones home!!! (yes another mishap with our funeral director)
c) Ask to see the procession roads, the address they have marked for the home and VERIFY everything.
d) The DIRECTOR should present you a set of written directions, read it over, or have someone on your support team VERIFY everything so that there are NO mistakes.
The Morning Of The Burial
By the end of a funeral everyone is emotionally and physically tapped out, drained. Ask the funeral director to supply you with a piece of paper that states the time of the morning gathering at the funeral home, the time the priest is to arrive and the time of the mass.
You may be reading this and just saying how could you forget, not know, but believe me, when you all are told one time, and you gather the next day to find out it is another, you will be happy that the suggestion of written time was made. (oh yes, this happened too and all at the same funeral)
Nerves, chaos, and emotions will interfere with your abilities to get it ALL right. Or, your director might give you the wrong time. Writing it down makes it a contract of sorts and assures that EVERYONE is on the same page. No unnecessary emotions spent over things that could go wrong.
There are no happy endings with funerals, they are sad for everyone involved. Mistakes happen, but this is not a time that most people can deal with them. My hope is that these few tips or suggestions help you move through the use of a funeral home a bit easier and avoid mistakes or make sure the funeral director avoids these mistakes.
Getting ahead of the situation often defers or deters problems and know you know the 4 Pitfalls To Avoid At Funeral Services and Wakes. Knowledge is power, and thinking about things before they happen, or knowing what to ask before you need to ask is POWER. Remember, an educated consumer is the one that can push on through any situation and still shine at the end of the tunnel. While there is no lavishly living life out loud during a funeral or viewing at least you will bask in the satisfaction that you got things right.