In ancient times, and even well into the twentieth century, a family was responsible for preparing the body and burying their own deceased. How times have changed! Most families today pay a funeral home to “undertake” those services, hence the origination of the term undertaker.
Over the last 150 years, the scope of funeral services has grown from humble origins to a multi-billion dollar industry. It evolved, starting with woodworkers who made coffins to supplement the furniture and cabinets that they made, and gravediggers hired to hand-dig burial sites. Today’s death care industry encompasses embalming, cosmetic work, cremation, cemeteries, memorial stones and plaques, transportation of bodies, caskets and urns made of metal, wood and other materials, and a staggering array of other services.
Funeral directors can handle whatever arrangements you choose for burial or cremation, a memorial service, transporting the body, police escorts for funeral processions, flowers, receptions, and more. You need to go into their offices with some idea of what you want done and your budget range, prepared to make the many decisions that need to be made to arrange a funeral or memorial service for a loved one.
You will need to make decisions about disposition of the body; if there will be services and when; if the body will be displayed; and what clothing or jewelry will be used. Choices also need to be made regarding flowers, music, readings, pallbearers, information for the obituary and special instructions, such as donations in lieu of flowers. French Mortuary, a local family-owned funeral home that our family has used, provides a list of “50 Things That Must Be Done When a Death Occurs” that can give you a good idea of the many arrangements that await the family of the deceased. I’m happy to share that list with you – just drop me a note!
If you go to a pre-need meeting with an idea of your choices and elements to incorporate that are meaningful for your family, you can get a good handle on the costs and compare with other providers.