I recently read an article that pulled at my heart strings as a mother. It was about a woman who had to bury her teenage daughter due to a tragic accident. She detailed the process of readying her girl’s things before laying her to rest. Her favorite sweater, her jeans that fit just right, her comfy blanket, to be wrapped in, “just so”. At one point, weeks after the service she was suddenly overcome. “I forgot underwear!” She called the funeral director who was now a dear family friend, immediately. He assured her that when a family overlooks any small detail, the funeral home discreetly provides it. He assured her that her girl was tucked in “just so”.
This got me thinking about the behind-the-scenes hero here, the funeral director. A funeral director’s job is not always thankless, but it is incredibly challenging. Loss has a tendency to bring out the worst in people. Families turn on each other, nerves are rattled, and emotions are at an all time high. They are in the middle of it all. They see families argue over who should pay for services, families that can’t afford to pay for services, and sadly, some that just skip out on the bill altogether. What funeral directors all have in common is this: an investment of time, energy, and money in their clients. Few things in life are free, and so, it is no different in death. Your funeral director understands what you are going through, and is there to help. Many funeral homes are able to offer their clients a range of pricing options based on need, yet, sometimes even then, it is not enough for the family to make ends meet.
Most funeral providers work diligently to continuously improve, and add to the services they offer. Assistance with making pre-need arrangements, funeral and cremation services, aftercare resources, and having “the talk of a lifetime” are all common valuable programs you may find through your provider. In addition, some funeral homes offer programs such as community outreach, or fundraising for community causes, the list goes on and on.
It is commonplace for a funeral home to introduce its clients to outside resources. They inform families about possible benefits available to them, such as Social Security, or Veterans benefits. Also, they have recommendations for all sorts of event and memorial service providers, such as florists and caterers. Connecting a family to outside agencies is educational and helpful in alleviating the stress of making so many decisions at such a difficult time.
Recently, a new solution has become available for funeral directors to offer their families in need of financial assistance. MyRespects.com is a free crowdgifting website, tailored specifically for end of life expenses. Through MyRespects, a client’s fundraiser is linked with their funeral home through a nationwide directory. Sharing client’s fundraisers on their funeral home’s social media pages is a great way to spread their funeral home’s name, and reinforce their client relationships. This level of service is apparent to fundraisers, and donors alike.
The profession of “Funeral Director”, is not as morbid as some may think. It is not just about death and funeral services. Funeral Directors are compassionate, tactful, and generous with their time. They too, have families that they love, and they often sacrifice time with them to help other families who are grieving. They act as counselors, mediators, and in the case of the woman I mentioned earlier, can become good friends with the families that they serve.