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 are cost, manner and style. Look at the degree to which they are helping you to make choices, rather than simply telling you what they can provide. Remember you can shop around. This may not seem attractive at a time when you are grieving, but you will have a better chance of getting the ceremony you want. You need to be working with a Funeral Director who is truly working for you.
Choices you’ll need to make
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. This means that the body of the deceased goes to the crematorium without mourners. The ashes are then 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. What type of coffin you want? Do you want cars provided by the Funeral Director or to drive yourselves? Will you have an order of ceremony and who will design and print it? Very good advice on all these and other choices is given in The Good Funeral Guide: www.goodfuneralguide.co.uk, You will also find a list of recommended funeral directors on their site.
In terms of style and choice, it’s up to you. If you are not confident in the service which is being offered, try someone else. If, for example, someone tries to steer you towards a religious funeral or an “all purpose” commerical celebrant, they might not be the right choice for you.
Ask questions and write down the answers!
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. 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.