funerals: working with a funeral director
Funeral Directors are experienced professionals. They are there to serve you, and you can make choices as to who you use and what services you want. The kinds of things you might want to consider when choosing a funeral director are cost, style, and the degree to which they are helping you to make choices, rather than simply telling you what they can provide.
Costs vary widely, depending on what you want as well as the Funeral Director’s scale of charges. The cheapest option is often the simple, or “direct” cremation, which means that the body of the deceased goes to the crematorium without mourners, or with just a couple, and then the ashes are given to the family to have a memorial or not as they wish. If you want a funeral in a crematorium, cemetery or burial ground, there are still many choices you can make about the type of coffin you want, whether you have cars provided by the Funeral Director or drive yourselves, whether you have an order of ceremony and who produces it, and many more. Very good advice on all these choices is given in The Good Funeral Guide: www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk, and you will also find a list of recommended funeral directors on their site.
In terms of style and choice, it’s up to you, but if you are not confident in the service which is being offered – if, for example, someone tries to steer you towards a religious funeral or an “all purpose” un-accredited celebrant, you can simply try someone else.
And if you feel confused, say so! Recent research has shown that bereaved families only retain 7% of the information which they are given by Funeral Directors at their first meeting, so do ask questions and write down the answers. I am always ready to talk to you before you even visit a funeral director, to discuss the kind of questions you might want to ask.
For excellent advice on the environmental aspects of funeral planning, plus alternative approaches, see http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk.