Friday, January 14, 2011



Ya know, sometimes its just really hard sitting with a family to handle the final arrangements of a family member. Depending on the amount of individuals in the room, you find yourself working with that many different personalities and levels of grief. They are all not the same, and can not be treated as one or the same. It is a procedure, a very delicate balancing act; there is tension, anger, even distrust and mistrust. Some even look at you as the enemy, after seeing what I’ve seen over the years, I understand why. As a counselor, and a funeral home owner, you must work your way from individual to individual expressing a sincere concern for their well being and emotions (AND MEANING IT!)
Some cry, a memory, any certain one procedure or document we review might bring them to that level, it’s never the same. Then someone might say something like “He would have been all over you for crying like a little girl” or “If Mom saw you acting like that…” and everyone laughs. And they laugh as they wipe the tears, why? Is it disrespectful? No.
In memories we remember the funny, the good and cry because we long for the continued relationship that we shared with that individual that we think is lost, it is not lost, it is just packaged up in our own private memories now. Those enjoyed companionship times are no more, so we cry again, and remember, and laugh. There is a time we will come to realize over the next few days that laughing and crying is quite acceptable to each other, no mater how strong we are, we learn to shed tears in the presence of others because, as the strong one, we feel it is our responsibility to bring those we care for to grieve because it is a necessity, not because it is a weakness.
After presenting the pricing and legal documents required prior to moving forward, I stop everything. I then ask the family or the individual if they are not sure of what they want to please, before they do anything else, talk amongst you and establish a budget. Once they have done that I ask them to promise each other that no matter what to stand by that budget…  I then leave the room.
My experience has taught me that when a family sits with you they are really thinking of about a thousand different things not taking any of each others ideas into consideration…. or a budget.
Car Washes, not because "THEY" want you to

A budget is so important; there is no sense in me trying to help a family if their desires for services are outside of their budget. It is immoral, unethical and outright wrong for ANY counselor at ANY funeral home to ever bring out the idea of promoting car washes or borrowing money from family or friends to pay for a service that the counselor sold a family outside of their budget, or a service that  “ budget” was not considered into.
If a funeral Director or Counselor can not help you come up with simple ideas to help you make up for ways of cutting the cost that won’t add to the service price, if they can not use some common sense and professional creativity to recommend ways for you to provide ideas for services that will not add to the price… THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD FUNERAL HOME!

Funeral Home Once Meant Something
There was a time when the word “HOME” meant something in the word “FUNERAL HOME”. It was a place were people could go were you would be cared for, looked after and served. Doing all this because it was the profession, not because you were paid a $6,000 to $8,000 funeral bill. For $8,000 you better be painting my toe nails, washing my truck and cleaning my house for a year. 

Budget, stick to it, stand by it and ASK for ways to do things outside of the funeral home to keep the cost down. If your Counselor or “Director” can not come up with anything to help, it is not because they are stupid, it is because they are greedy and can care less about your budget.
Car washers are fine to raise funds, but do them out of necessity for your service, not because “Director” tells you to do it to because they won’t try to work with you.
“Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful)

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