Working at a funeral home….

So…. usually when we have a visitation going on during the day, we usually don’t have a “greeter” that sits up front. Typically it isn’t very busy during the day, usually visitation will begin at Noon for family then 1pm for everyone else. Most people are at work during those hours, so it doesn’t usually get busy until after 3pm. So, either myself or if the Director is there, will refresh the coffee and tend to any questions the family may have, etc….. BUT…..during the day is usually the busy time for “US” we are in the office working on a million and one things. Other funerals, maybe even with another family making funeral arrangements. Also, we don’t want to be hovering over the family and every person who walks in the door. When you are using the funeral home, we would like that you have the privacy and space that you want and well……paid for. We would like to think that if you need anything or have any questions you would just come to the office and ask. Once in a while we will close the office door, just so the family and visitors don’t have to listen to our phone conversations or other arrangements if another family is there making them, also privacy for the family making them. On the door it says please knock. So I would hope that if someone needed something and seeing the door closed they would KNOCK! However, I find that people become irritated that they have to knock on the office door. I’m not sure why………. I am more than happy to assist you if you have any questions or need something. So, why is it that people almost seem offended by the door being closed? I think if the situation were reversed, I wouldn’t have a problem with it whatsoever. I would think that we are just being given privacy. But, whatever.

Also………as I was walking down the hall yesterday and passed by the chapel where people were, I could over hear a bunch of people talking about being cold. The heat was on and I was right there, so if you were cold you could very easily ask me to turn the heat up! I lingered in the hall for about 5 minutes just cleaning up, and straightening up the other chapel, etc… just to see if someone was going to mention to me that they would like the heat turned up, but NO ONE  asked me. I have no idea who it was that was talking about it as I did not look into the chapel when I over heard this. So, I didn’t turn the heat up in the chapel for them. They knew I was an employee because I walked them in when they arrived for first viewing that day.

Coffee. I will check on the coffee periodically. If I am busy and I am the only one there, well, I can only do so much. But, I will check as soon as I can. AND, if for some reason you run out and you want it now, just come tell me!! I really wouldn’t care if you made the coffee yourself, but with the new coffee pot we have, it is too complicated to let others make it. I wish I could just tell families how to do it, because it would be easier for me and for the families. And if I did tell a family how to make it, well, then some other idiot would go and try it and then we would have a mess !!!

When there are issues within the family. If some of the family does not get along. Figure it out before coming to the funeral home! It is not our job to figure it out. We are here to make funeral arrangements, we do not care who is in charge of what. We care about the deceased and giving them a proper burial/cremation and making those arrangements for it. Don’t come in yelling that we are only to listen to you not your Aunt or brother or sister or second cousin…….we don’t give a rats ass! So, I suggest that you work out whatever issues you have then come in to make arrangements. I find it hard to believe that you cannot agree on something for the sake of the deceased, for a few minutes. It is ridiculous!

AND…….I don’t give a damn if you had power of attorney of the deceased. You want to know why? Because Power of Attorney seizes at time of death! YES IT DOES! So, don’t care if you have POA. Not gonna get anywhere with that! Now, if you have POA over the deceased’s next of kin and there are issues amongst the family, then , well, we may have to  go with what that person wants and says. But Please! Do not come in and say I have POA of the deceased and what I say goes. I will sign this and that and blah blah blah….especially if it is cremation. Like I have said So many times before, ONLY THE NEXT IF KIN can sign for the cremation authorization! If you have POA over the next of kin and the next of kin is unable to sign for themselves due to illness or dementia, etc…. then yes, the POA can sign.

Okay……..back to work!


13 Responses to “Working at a funeral home….”

  1. -32F and -15F. Omg that’s awful! We measure in Celsius here so 32F would be 0 Celsius, that’s cold! I hope you have central heating at work and at home. (Hopefully your boss doesn’t pinch penny on the heat!) My part of the east coast just went through our coldest winter in 90 years with below average temps but our temps weren’t as bad as the southern states that are still experiencing colder than normal temps for Spring. But my part of the country, it’s a lot warmer than what it was two months ago though. The flowers I kept for my neighbour lasted 10 days, they were white lillies. It was funny, whenever I mentioned I had the flowers in my place (in a vase on top of my fridge) to people, they all said doubtfully “ooh (pause) funeral flowers…okaaay”. Yeah, so, I felt like saying, we’re all going to receive funeral flowers at least one day in our lives if we lose someone. Don’t know what the big deal is. You were right in one post about how heavy flowers can be when you carry them. Even just carrying this medium bunch of lillies, they were heavy and stubborn to arrange in a vase when I unwrapped the plastic around them. One could build up enough muscle tone in the arms just lifting flowers! (I could say when I get my funeral home job and people say how do I get time to exercise? Well, I say, I don’t need a gym. I lift flowers!)

    My neighbour got back from interstate last week but the flowers didn’t last until then. We had a hot weekend of temps in the high 20s (80sF) before he came back but most of them were finished before then anyway. The heat just finished the last few off. I had taken a photo of what they had looked like for him though. He said the funeral for his mum went well, him and his 13 siblings(yep he’s one of 14 kids! Thought my family was bad with 6!) were all there and it was at the chapel with a cremation later. They all put a rose on the casket and had a slideshow on a screen about their mum. And that the ashes were put with their dad in the cemetery. He phoned me the day after the funeral and he sounded pleased everything had gone well and the funeral home had done a great job (always a bonus when you get a nice family!)

    Wow, your co-worker is a nut! That’s really bad that she promises all that stuff (I’m guessing 5 string orchestra, huge buffet that the home will put on) and it doesn’t exist. It’s hardly professional for the rest of the home too. I just knew she’d dress like a tart (and probably say to the director when he asks her to participate in a “Visitation Hour”, ooooh I’m not that kind of girl!…yeah right! We know better! I know those girls who act all nice and everyone’s best friend but are real bitches behind people’s backs. I’ve had to deal with several of them not just at work but when I used to be in share housing as well. I can’t stand those women! But I do believe what goes around comes around. (Could still try the Visene as a laxative in her coffee trick as one post suggested!)

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      yeah its cold alright! and when the wind starts whipping and the roads are icy….it sucks! it snowed for about 10 minutes the other day, the first flakes of the year! they didn’t stick of course….but, ugh! just the thought of it makes me want to shut the doors and pull the blindes and stay in the house until….well… at least March, alltho it has snowed well into April around here.

  2. I ended up sending an introduction email about myself to the Home and given my job agency the flick as they haven’t been much help. (Bunch of dickheads who couldn’t find their ass with both their hands, let alone a decent job for a start). I saw on the Home’s website at their main city branch they’re having an open day end of this month (ironically it falls on the same day as Hallowe’en!) for people to come along and see what’s involved and they’re going to have people from crematoria, cemeteries, insurance agencies as well as their hearses, vehicles and urns on display. (They said even a Harley Davidson motobike hearse will be on display. Now I gotta see that!) In the invite they mentioned they’re trying to disspell a lot of the unintentions people often get about funerals (I guess that’s code for “no creepiness”! ie that lady I heard on the train that time about the Addams family remark). Anyway I might pop along to their open day and have a look, see if I can talk to their staff too.

    It intrigues me about that co-worker that given how hopeless and disrespectful she sounds and behaves to everyone it’s an eyebrow raiser into why she’s working for a funeral home where people who do work there want to really help people and not there just because it was the only available job in the newspaper or whatever. Does she dress appropriately at work too or like a tart? Because that would be another code of conduct in a funeral home too, eh? (I saw that ex-flatmate of mine I wrote about and she’d posted this intro photo of herself on Linkedin in a skimpy bikini. I felt like responding with put some clothes on you tart!) A bimbo like her would be more suited I reckon working in some hi-rise office being chased in a mini skirt around the office desk by the manager. (I suppose she thinks being chased around a hearse by the director is far more interesting!) One of my neighbours is heading off interstate today to his mum’s funeral and he’s just rung me from the airport saying could I pick up any flowers delivered to his place while he’s away and keep them in my place….anything, anything. I suppose the few weeks he’s away least they’ll have a chance of surviving in a vase indoors than melting outdoors. Hope he doesn’t get too many delivered as I’m already getting his mail as well while he’s away. (Yup, just get Amanda to look after everything, she’ll be right, mate!)

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      thats cool that they are having an open house! i wish that people here (i should say most most people) would think that having an open house would be weird. too many people would think that it would be maybe disrespectful or just that a funeral home doing that would be “trying” to get business by doing that. i think its a great idea though! the older generation around here have such a one-way mind when it comes to funerals, its all about ‘tradition’ and if we, the funeral home, stray from the “typical” funeral it uspsets them and they get upset. funny how that is. there is a funeral home near us that has a harley davidson motorcyle with carriage to carry the casket, don’t really hear of too many people using it, i would guess because it is expensive…there is a cemetery that has a horse drawn carriage too, which i think is neat. i hope you get to speak with the staff about a job while you are there. slip your resume someplace or a couple of them!! LOL screw those job agency quacks! what do they know anyway….they think its creepy or weird that you would want to work in a funeral home, but guess what….EVERYONE will need a funeral home at one point or another!
      my co-worker is sweet as can be to our families. it makes me want to vomit! she will be as sweet as pie to my face and any other co-worker but the second you turn around, watch out because she will stab you in the back! she promises families things that we are unable to deliver. and the funny thinkg is, she will tell a family or promise a family something but fail to let anyone else know! so when the family is expecting something that she promised and she is isn’t there, well guess who looks like an idiot? yep! me! then the family gets pissed and i get yelled at. then the director will get involved and he will get pissed and when you say it was her that promised or said that to the family and i knew nothing about it, he refuses to believe that she would make such a promise or accuse me or other employees of bad communication! and yes, she dresses like a tart at work. and no, noone says anything to her, not directly anyway. there have been a few instances where the bosses have brought up dress code, but never confront her personally. we all know they are talking about her but she just doesn’t see it and they won’t tell her to her face! and the way she carries on, one would think that she does work in a high rise office building for a pervert boss! i’ve just been ignoring her and doing my work. what else can i do….? eventually it will all catch up to her….what comes around goes around.
      hope you kept all the plants alive! lol i can’t imagine it being too hot outside to melt a plant, i actually wish it was warm here, but fall is here and it is cold and damp and miserable! not looking forward to the snow and ice and slush and wind and temps. anywhere from 32 F to -15 F…..ugh, I can’t think about it, it’s making me cold!

  3. Hey, Bizz! Great to hear from you again. I know you get busy, so no problem there with the reply. Nope, the agency hasn’t got me an interview with the Home yet, I think they’re scared. WTF is the problem with people when they think that there’s something wrong with a person who wants to work at a funeral home? I don’t get it. I think it’s like hospitals, some people get creeped out just walking through the doors and think they might see something grotesque or morbid. Hospitals don’t bother me at all, I
    was up at our hospital recently for an appointment and one woman walking in front of me saw a pile of empty old stretchers parked off the hall (which have been there for a long time I believe, I saw dust on one!) and she says to her husband, oh that’s disgusting, why do they have those there. That’s so creepy. Uh, love you’re in a hospital. Hospitals have stretchers. Hello! I don’t know, some people. Its sometimes too funny the way people act over such small stupid things.
    I’m similiar in wanting to help people as well, I’ve been in community service for a while, but I feel I want something else extra now and I’ve always had an interest in funeral homes but I didn’t reveal it to anyone as what people might think. Yes, please, send me that pic of that blue hearse. If I see that gold one again, I’ll try and get a pic and post it. I’m on a weeks break from work, at the same time all the school kids are on their Spring vac for 2 weeks. I timed that well! Tootles.

  4. I think part of the craft is knowing that there are just generally in society some very rude and self-indulgent people around who won’t give anyone – apart from themselves – the time of day let alone have consideration for others. I used to hate when I worked front reception someone would rock up wanting to speak to so and so. Well, they’re in a meeting right now. It’s finishing in 10 minutes. Would they like to wait? Oh no, don’t want to wait, they want to speak to them now. And they don’t take 10 minutes or no for any answer, it’s now. Right now. Stupid people, 10 minutes or fuck off! (Of course I never said that to them.) Is their life going to be impacted by someone not attending them within that short period of time? I know exactly what you mean when people don’t get that whoever they want isn’t around to assist them – hey people, maybe they’re busy and have other people to attend to and have a life as well. But they don’t get that part. It’s all about them and universe orbiting around them.

    I’ve been looking for a career change this past year and I had an interview with my job agency last week and they asked me places where I wanted to work. Guess what I said: yep, funeral homes as first preference for admin work. (That’s how I found your blog actually. I was researching funeral homes and jobs in my area as well as roles and duties in homes and your blog popped on the results list.)

    The woman interviewing me just paused in her writing and said, what? are you sure? Really? (Yes, really! I’m not bullshiting love, wouldn’t have said it otherwise.) When she called the marketing people over, she said to them thumbing at me as if I’m part of the furniture, here’s a new one – funeral home.) A few blank stares later, the bloke says oh yeah there’s one down the road from here. When I said yeah there is, then the name of that home, the woman goes oooh, look at you! We’ve done our research!! Stupid cow…shut up! Speaking to me as if I’m 10 and not in my mid 30s. A lot of people know what that 19th century building is, it’s the oldest home in my city (100year +) and it’s on a main road so everyone sees it as they pass. It’s not like it’s hidden away. (I know she’s driven past it too. You have to, to get onto the north bound arterial road) I don’t know, some people I don’t get with their attitudes. Then I get from the marketing people, why a funeral home? I said I wanted something different in a job that most people wouldn’t be in a rush to get. (Funerals and Homes are still quite a conservative and sensitive topic over here, most people avoid them unless they really have to deal with them.) They then said, ok, we’ll see what we can do. Thank you! Finally. That wasn’t hard people, was it? Be interesting to see what comes up anyway and I’ll keep you updated.

    P.S Saw a gold coloured hearse the other day parked at a church. It was pretty swish glinting in the sunlight. How’s the ass kissing co-worker lately?

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      hey amanda! sorry so long to reply! so did they get you an interview at least at a funeral home? and is it really any of their business as to “where” you want to work? hey, at least you want to work! i get that alot from people, they ask “so, how is it you got into the funeral business?” “aren’t you creeped out?” or “ewwww, really?” i mean, isn’t it somewhat similar to a doctor? of course, not what a doctor does, but working with bodies, dead or alive! i really hope you do get a job at a funeral home! i know i bitch alot about work, but i really do like to help people and make sure that all the arrangements goes smoothly for them. just like today, i got a call from a gentleman whose mother in law is ready to pass on. he called to ask what he needs or should do. they know they are going to use our funeral home, but he said “i never had to plan a funeral before, so i am lost and i have no clue as to what i am doing.” so i told him when death occurs, just calls us, or if he would rather the hospital staff call us that is fine to, but we would still need to set up an appointment time. he was like “oh, ok, really?” then he asked me about the cemetery, said she already has a plot so does he need to do anything? i told him if he ‘wanted’ to, he could call them (i gave him their number) and ask if there are any unpaid charges (opening/closing) and to see if they require a pre-site and any paperwork signed. he was taken aback about the opening and closing charges, as most people are! but i also told him if he didn’t want to call or didn’t have the time, that we would do all of that when he came in to make the arrangements. he said that he was relieved and thanked me. i like being able to put families minds at ease when they are dealing with so much and so many emotions. especialy to those who are greatful that we are there to help them!
      a gold hears, huh! thats funny! if i ever see that baby blue one around, i will be sure to try to get a picutre of it and post it. as far as the co-worker goes…..she is still the same! still ass kissing. i am surprised she has not realized yet that no matter how much ass kissing she does, she will never get any further ahead, just get away with bullshit!

  5. People would probably ignore a “please knock” sign on an office door just like they ignore a sign outside the funeral home that says “please ring the bell”. Instead they’ll just interpret that as: well, that doesn’t apply to ME and proceed to just walk right on in.

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      i have quickly realized that nothing applies to anyone when at a funeral home. also, when and IF they do knock on the door that says “please knock” and i am unable to get up right away, like i am talking withing 2-3 seconds, because maybe, just freaking maybe….I AM ON THE PHONE! they walk in and immediately they can see that I am on the PHONE, they just start talking to me anyway! i’m not sure how they are able to talk to someone on the phone and someone who is standing in front of them talking but next time i am going to have to ask them because i need to learn how to master that craft! OR…i have gotten the “sigh” when they see that i did not get up to open the door for them because i am on the phone and the rolling of the eyes and they walk away. i am not about to get up after my phone call to go search for that person! half the time i can’t even remember what that person looked like anyway! i TRY to hold up a finger to say “just one sec” or try to cover up the phone and say just one minute. but… know… i don’t have to say it……..

  6. Regarding the closed office door, it’s good to have your perspective on that. Funeral homes tend to have a “taboo” atmosphere, like historical homes. You know what I mean… you can admire the parlour but don’t sit on the furniture and for heaven’s sake, you cannot go in *that* room! I can see why families would be hesitant to knock, but being offended that the door is closed is pointless. Maybe you should post a sign, “Knock, and the door will be opened”. Haha!

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      I know what you mean, maybe they are hesitant to even “bother” anyone and feel as though they shouldn’t be coming to look for us but we should be there waiting. Which, in a way I agree, but……. it just so happens, unfortunatley, that our “work” office is toward the back of the building, but down a main hallway. the sign does say “Please Knock” ……. maybe putting up a sign like you suggested would work……LOL…..I don’t know……. people are just so weird, you just never know how a family is going to be. I find in my years of working at the funeral home though, that people aren’t really afraid to go “snooping”…. They actually have a tendancy to go places they shouldn’t. oh well………..whatcha gonna do, right.

  7. isn’t the body technically considered property? isn’t that why POA ends at the time of death, since it’s no longer a person who needs an attorney but rather a “thing” at that point?

    • thefuneralbizz Says:

      from my understanding, the body isn’t anyone’s “property”, that’s the problem, if you want to call it a “problem”. if and when it comes down to it, the legal next of kin really is the one who has the final say. like i had mentioned previously, when there are issues amongst family and no written wishes from the deceased, that is really the only time when things get tricky….. unfortunatley. i guess it is somewhat of a grey area when it comes to “owning” a body. pretty much you can’t “own anyone”.

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