By Rilee Chastain
When it comes to funerals, there seems to be a veil between what families think of the funeral process and what actually happens behind the scenes.
Everything from the way that families view funeral professionals (“they’re crooks who are just out to make a buck”) to the value that they feel funerals provide (“they’re a waste of money”) is exactly the opposite of what most funeral professionals work tirelessly to provide the families they serve.
So where’s the disconnect? Why do families dish out such a bad rap to the funeral directors who have dedicated their lives to serve them? It all comes down to one simple gap… a lack of education about funerals in general.
Think about it… If families better understood all of the hours of hard work, coordination and late nights that went into planning their loved one’s funeral service, they probably wouldn’t balk so much at the price tag. If families knew that the majority of the funeral professionals out there have taken a job where they are underpaid, overworked and underappreciated, simply because they have a lifelong passion to help others, they probably wouldn’t think so poorly of funeral directors.
That’s why it’s so important to educate families about who we are, what we do, and why our services are valuable… not only would it change their experience for the better, but it would create a better relationship in general between funeral professionals and the families they serve.
To help you get started, we have gathered 5 of our most educational and eye-opening articles about what the funeral profession really looks like. Share these posts with your families through Facebook or email, and start out on the road of better understanding once and for all!
1. 6 Things Funeral Directors Are Dying To Tell You (But Never Will)
A funeral professional’s job is to do just that… be professional. But sometimes, even the best of us have thoughts that we would love to shout to families after a long day of work. Thoughts like, “I’m not who you think I am” or “my job isn’t easy!” This is a list of those thoughts (and more) that we are dying to tell the families we serve… but never will.
“Even though funeral directors deal with death all day, everyday, they are people, too. When you share your feelings of grief with them, they not only recognize them, but they often take them on. When you cry, they want to cry too. When you really miss your loved one and want them back here, they want that, too. Their own emotional needs often get swept under the rug so they can better serve you…”
2. 10 Things To Remember If You Love A Funeral Professional
Sometimes the people closest to funeral professionals don’t even have a full understanding of what they do day-in and day-out, or where their loved one is running to when they answer a call at 4am. This is a heartfelt message specifically to the people in our lives who put up with our late nights and long hours, and still love us on the other side.
“It’s not just emotional heaviness we work with. We spend long, sleepless hours on our feet, putting on a professional front, working with people and desperately wanting to just loosen our ties or kick off our shoes for some slight relief. We lift and carry and move heavy bodies and caskets, and we support the physical and mental weight of grief each day. Sometimes, we need to take a few moments to work through the heaviness…”
3. 6 Things That Make a Funeral Director Get Out of Bed Every Morning
“What on earth made you want to be a funeral director?” It’s a question we get everyday, from our families, our friends and even the people who walk in and out of our funeral home. For someone who is unfamiliar with the amazing opportunities that the funeral professions, the career choice may seem surprising. But for those of us who are in the profession, these are just a few reasons why a career in funerals was an easy choice.
“Your work takes you to the lowest place in a person’s life, particularly if its tragic, sudden, accidental or violent. And you have the opportunity to lift that person up and out of that dark place – maybe not immediately. Like a teacher, your efforts will be remembered, but probably seldom expressed. Satisfaction comes from knowing you did the right thing and rose to the occasion. It might not be said, but you will probably be remembered, in a good way, for years to come…”
4. The Life Of A Funeral Director… From Head To Toe
What does the day-to-day life a funeral director really look like? From morning to night, it’s a lot of juggling hats and putting our mind, souls and bodies (literally) to work to serve the people around us. And we wouldn’t want it any other way. From head to toe, here’s a real life look at what it’s like to work as a funeral director.
“Thinking, sensing, listening, speaking. We are detail oriented, sometimes to a fault. From selecting the perfect shade of lipstick for a beautiful 98 year old to catching a typo in an obituary just before it goes to press, our eyes and ears are in tune with each and every aspect of our job. We listen as you talk about your father’s service in Vietnam. We hear the fear in your voice over the phone when you call to say your sister is in hospice and you don’t know what to do next. Words fail as we try to string together some measure of comfort. The best we can do is offer some steps, some options, some structure to a harsh reality…”
5. What Funeral Directors Wish They Could Tell Families About Planning A Funeral
We’ve got a secret for families out there… planning a funeral doesn’t have to be anywhere near as scary, dreadful or confusing as many people want you to believe. In fact, if done right, a funeral can be an absolutely amazing, once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate life and honor someone who means so much to you. Here are a few more things that funeral directors wish they could help families understand better when it comes to the funeral planning process.
“When families walk into a funeral home, some are surprised to find that their funeral director seems like they couldn’t be happier that they’re asking for their help. Too many people overlook funeral directors as salesmen, frauds or just plain creepy. But in reality, we’re normal people just like they are. And, we’ve got years (if not decades) of experience and knowledge to share with families so that they can send their loved one off in a meaningful way…”
What is YOUR favorite funeral article that you’ve read and couldn’t wait to share with families? Be sure to share it with us in the comments below!!