Memorial Service ONLY!
Happy New Year!
Had a family the other day who just wanted a Memorial Service. Fine. So, what happens here is; we take the body to the crematory. So, we “may” not have the cremated remains back in time for the Memorial Service and this was explained to the family and they were ok with it. But, they asked why they wouldn’t be back. A normal questions, so I explained this to them. We may not have the cremains back because in order for one to be cremated we must obtain a cremation permit from the Medical Examiner. The Medical Examiner needs to see the copy of the signed Death certificate (signed by whoever the doctor of the patient was) and it has to list the cause of death on the death certificate. The Medical Examiner will approve or deny the cremation. Once the cremation permit is approved and signed by the Medical Examiner we then have to show the crematory that cremation permit. Then the crematory will cremate the deceased. Once the body is cremated the crematory will deliver the cremains to the funeral home. This is a process and it does take a few days. Especially during the holiday’s when most places close up early or are closed on that particular holiday “day”. Anyway, so, we tell them they can have a Memorial with out the cremains and they are fine with that and they schedule everything and it is to be at the funeral home on such and such day. okay. well, here is the problem. They chose only to have a one hour memorial service, which means, they have ONE hour of visitation and at the end of that hour if the family has chosen to have clergy come in to say prayers or and if they family themselves want to stand up and speak. Now, typically a service does not go on for more than ONE hour. We make it very clear to our families who chose this option that they get ONE hour and the service starts at the end of that hour and your service usually lasts an hour and that concludes ALL services and everyone is expected to leave ! WELL, apparently this family did not listen to what we said. A ton of people showed up and they kept putting off starting the service. EVEN after we told them that they need to start the service. They just kept saying “oh, okay, we are”. FINALLY at 8PM they started! People were still at the funeral home at 9pm! This memorial started at 5:30pm. So, these people sucked 3 and half hours out of us and only paid for ONE! awesome, huh? Now, we aren’t going to charge them, WE SHOULD! But of course we won’t. But the problem here is, now the people who came for this service, now thing that when they lose a loved one and want something like this family had they can do the same……this happens all the time. Then before this Memorial Service, of course we have people calling the funeral home to get the times for this service. So when people call and ask “What are the viewing times for so and so?” and I reply “This is just a Memorial Visitation from 5:30p-6:30p with a service starting at 6:30pm then everything concludes. ” The response I received from about 4 people were this “Only an hour? What? When are we able to view the body? I have known him for 20 plus years and I can’t believe I can’t see him!” my reply “there is no viewing, the deceased is being cremated and the family is only having a Memorial Service for him there is no “body” present”. I get “this is ridiculous, I can’t believe I have known him for so many years and I am not allowed to see him”. Okay, what do you expect me to say? really? This was not up to me to schedule things this way it was the FAMILY! why am I being yelled at? seriously! Anyway, this family who ONLY wanted the hour Memorial, also brought in FOOD and soda! WHY? FOR ONE HOUR! so, basically they knew that they weren’t leaving on time. If you only are having ONE hour don’t you think you would want to be in that chapel paying your respects instead of in the lounge eating and drinking? I know I bitch a lot about people bringing in food but really, if you are only having an hour or two why ONE EARTH are you bringing ANYTHING in?
When a family has some paper work to sign or they need to stop by to pick something up, etc….and I tell you we are only open until such and such time. And you say you will not be able to make it by then, DO NOT ask me to stay and wait for you. I cannot believe how many people do this to me! No, i am not waiting for you. If you are only going to be 5 or 10 minutes, then yes, I MIGHT stay, but I am not waiting an hour or two. I want to leave, I have been at work for 9 hours already and I am not waiting on you! come the next day or on the weekend. I understand that you cannot leave work early, but you need to figure it out not me. And to the woman who told me she wouldn’t make it up on time because she didn’t feel like getting out of bed …….. are you JOKING, come on!
We have had families that use us all the time. I think usually it happens that way, Families use the same funeral home all the time when they have a death in the family. BUT, just because you have used us in the past does not mean we are going to make exceptions for you. Yeah, we usually give you a discount or something like that, but don’t think you can just tell us what we are going to do for you because you have been here before. And for the families that are first timers with us, don’t play “the other funeral home we use can do it for this much, will you?” We are going to charge you what our charges are! period! If you want to use our facility then do so, if not, there is the door. Why are you bartering with us?
For the family I had the other day for a few hours…………..YOU GUYS were GREAT! I really never write about he families who are nice. So, I am. you guys knew you only had a few hours, you were nice to me and my staff. You thank me so many times. you hugged me on your way out, and I really didn’t even do a lot for you. You didn’t ask for much anyway. You came in and I took you in the chapel, you said how wonderful everything looked, I told you if you needed anything, to please feel free to come and get me, i would be in my office working on another funeral arrangement and not once did you bother me. Not that I would have mind, it is my job. Of course I did get up and check on coffee and to see if any more flowers came for you and just looked around to make sure everything was ok. I told you that we did not have the death certificates back yet and that the cremains would probably be back sometime next week because of the holiday and you just said “okay, thank you so much.” I even told you that if you did not hear from us by one day next week to call, and you said that you did not want to bother us that you would just wait to hear from us. Most of the time, I would have got, “what, next week?” and then start receiving calls the next day from the family wondering what was taking so long. Plus this particular family wanted a longer viewing time, but they couldn’t afford it and were so upset, but they, like most people should do, is do what you can afford. And they were also concerned that not a lot of people would attend because the hours of viewing were before 5pm and they didn’t feel as if people would be able to get off of work. Well, guess what………there were probably 100 people there. Like I have said before, if people want to attend, they WILL. and the early viewing times are usually the busiest!
Well…..Hopefully the New Year will bring better things for all of us. The past year hasn’t been the greatest for most of the Country and I hope and pray that things will start to look up! Happy New Year !