Unfortunately all of us will have to find a funeral home. Whether we are planning a funeral for the loss of a loved one, or perhaps pre-planning our own funeral, this is a chore that is not fun. That does not mean, however that finding a funeral home has to be stressful or difficult.
Finding a mortuary that is consistent with your beliefs and background, you will provide comfort for those who are mourning. You want to ensure the home you select will carry out your wishes with grace, dignity and respect. The right establishment will feel comfortable, honor your wishes and help you in creating a personalized funeral or memorial.
Obviously you will have to consider religion. If you are religious, or even simply wish to have services of a particular religion, you need to make sure the mortuary you select specializes (or at least will accommodate) those religious preferences. In the United States and Canada, Christianity is the primary religion, and as such most funeral homes cater to that religion. However most will offer non denominational services, or allow you to bring in a clergy member from another religion to conduct the service.
In many areas you can also find religion specific funeral homes such as Jewish Funeral Homes or one for other religions. These religion specific establishments tend to be located in areas with a high population of the religion. Your Church or Synagogue Leader will be able to direct you to the nearest one if you are unsure where they are located. Even if you are not religious, if you are planning the funeral for someone who is, the church will always be willing to assist you.
You will also have to think about whether you want a traditional burial or cremation. Keep in mind that before you plan your visit, it is helpful to know which type of final disposition you require. If you decide to be cremated, do you want your ashes scattered or interred in a grave or mausoleum? Perhaps you want the ashes to remain with a family member? These very basic, although very difficult decisions need to be made initially.
Visiting the funeral parlor is a must after you have narrowed your selection. Make a plan a visit to them. Speak to the funeral director about the type of service you want. Also consider the packages they offer in terms of flowers, wakes and the maintenance that takes place after the funeral such as the upkeep of the cemetery plot. If you feel you are being pressured into buying services or items you do not want or need, keep looking. Also, funeral establishments are required by law to give you detailed pricing for all services and items rendered. While the showroom may only show $1000 caskets, ask for a price list which will have lower cost items detailed on it.
One of the best things you can do is shop ahead before the need for a funeral ever arises. You might not want to think of funerals when everyone is healthy but it’s the least stressful time to do so. Most will offer funeral pre-planning and even offer the option to pay for your funeral far in advance. This can help ease the financial burden and allow your family members to focus on celebrating your life and mourning their loss.
When you are using an online funeral home directory, you need to get an idea of how comprehensive the site is. Do they only have a few listings in each cities? Does the site seem to be selling something such as funeral flowers? A reputable and comprehensive directory will not have advertisements but focus on providing the information to help you find the establishment that will meet your needs. Also, make sure the directory provides contact information such as telephone and physical address. There should be enough information for you to be able to quickly contact a funeral home.
Planning a funeral is a stressful time, but remember, it can also be a time to celebrate and remember a life lived. Honor your loved one with a service that is true to their beliefs and personality.