Life at a funeral home…….still
another day another family another funeral……
Have to say that the family we had the other day was very nice…for a change! It isn’t that I mind doing things for families. It depends on the family, sometimes they will need you for every little thing, other families, never even bother you. There never seems to be an in between. The family never asked me for anything. I made coffee and they hardly drank it. They barely went into the lounge anyway. They were quite and polite. Everyone who walked thru the door who saw me, smiled and said hello. They never once stood outside smoking, they were in the chapel with the deceased the whole time. The only incident was that they set certain times, but then in the last few hours asked if they could stay later. They only had it set up until 7pm. So it wasn’t an issue, as long as the person working in the evening didn’t have a problem with it. If the family sets times, then we are only staffed until that time. So if someone wants their viewing until 7pm, then the person who is working only stays until that time, well, until everyone is gone and then they close up the building. The latest we even have visitation is 9pm, which I believe most funeral homes have it. Anyway, if a family were to ask if they could stay later and their viewing was set until 9pm, then it would be a “no”. We absolutely close at 9pm. But, this family asked only for an extra 1/2 hour.
Then on to the next family…….they wanted their viewing to start at Noon. Fine. Then they wanted to come in at 11am. Fine. All was set. Then on the day of, someone is knocking on the door. It is the family. It is only 10am. Not fine. When I let them in, they handed me some items they wanted in the chapel. I told them that I was not ready for them yet and it would be a few minutes, I was not expecting them early. Nothing. Not a word. Just stared at me. So, I walked away with the items, place them in the chapel. Double checked everything. Came back out. They were already in the lounge, smoking and drinking coffee and some more family members were arriving with some food. yay! I went up front to the lounge and asked them if they were ready to go in and they said “well, we are here aren’t we?” uummm. okay. I said “I can go ahead and walk you in.” I proceeded to open the doors for them as I would normally do, and stand aside and let them walk ahead of me. Well, I guess they found that they would just rather push past me and just do what they felt like doing. So, I shrugged my shoulders and walked out. Next, I was in the office doing some work and one of the family members walked in and said “we have music, here.” Ok. So, I put their music in. I walked into the chapel to make sure they could hear the music or that it wasn’t too loud. Go back to my office. Now, keep in mind that they have only been there for about 15 minutes, tops. Another family member came in and said “we need more coffee”. Ok. No, Please or Thank You’s. Just We “need”. I know I am here for the families, I know that is my job, but a Thank you or Please, goes a long way.
Oh, and it is still inappropriate to wear sweatpants, flip flops, slippers, pajama pants or anything of that sort to a funeral home. It is also inappropriate to go outside and drink out of your bottle of Jack Daniels or Tequila Rose!! Then leave the bottles just lying around. It is inappropriate to blare your music so loud in the parking lot while drinking your Jack Daniels or Tequila Rose so everyone in the funeral home can hear it.
Also, when you have a small service. Maybe just a Memorial and you decide you want to use the funeral home facilities. You can choose to have however many hours you like. Of course you have to pay for them, so alot of people decide they will do an hour, some do 2 hours, some do 4 hours. But it is just like a regular viewing, you set times and that is that. When your time is up, you leave. We do the same thing we would do if there was a “body” there. We thank everyone and ask them to pass by the urn or photo and please exit to your vehicles. I think that is what gets me the most, the fact that once we say that and you pass by the casket, urn, etc… no one ever seems to leave! why not!!?? Everyone lingers in the hallways, the lounge, some even come back into the room. We even close the doors with HOPES that people will take the hint that no one is to come back in, but they still DO! this creates some problems especially when we are on a time limit. Say we need to get to church or the cemetery. We have times set up for these things. The church and or cemetery is expecting us to arrive at a certain time. So when people keep walking into the room it takes up our time of having the family take a few mintues to themselves before we close the casket. If we have to remove things out of the casket or off of the deceased, get the flowers together that the family wants to go with the deceased, etc. At that time, we will usually take the sign in book and prayer cards out of the room and I don’t know how many times I have done this and then people walk back in and ask “what happened to the sign in book, I didn’t sign it or where are the cards, I didn’ get one!”. Then I have to go back and get it out and then they have to sign it. Really, when you come into the funeral home, you should sign it then. Also, we need to get the casket out of the funeral home, so we have to move it out of the chapel and thru the hall to the door and if there are too many people standing around it is very difficult to maneuver, especially when people just stand there and stare at you and not move. I am just amazed that they see you trying to get this casket by them and they just refuse to get out-of-the-way. What disrespect is that!?!