Life at a funeral home – what we go through..for others

I felt like i had to write this..
People who work at funeral homes are there to help those who have lost a loved one. Key word: HELP.
We are there to hopefully make things easier for you, help you, and hopefully make the visitation and funeral something that you can say ‘that was beautiful’. We try as hard as we can to make you feel comfortable.
What we are not here for is to be treated like servants, to be yelled at, to be talked to with hostility, to be told what we WILL and WILL NOT do. To be swore at, to be told that we are not providing you with the service you deserve when the requests you make are absurd.
Funeral homes can refuse a family. We are not required to take anyone who requests our services. If we feel that you are not being honest with us, are demanding things that we feel are in anyway ridiculous, we can refuse to serve you.
We are not required to pick up a body just because you called us, we are not required to serve you just because maybe you have already paid us for certain services, we will refund your money minus whatever services we have provided for you. If for some reason you called us to pick up your loved one and later decide that you do not want to use us and want to use another funeral home, you will owe us our removal fee. If embalming has already taken place, you will also owe us for that.
When we explain to you that in order to have a body cremated, we must have the next of kin’s signature, and you proceed to tell us that you have power of attorney,  have been the one caring for this person or that you do not speak to the next of kin, it does not make a difference and will not make a difference no matter how mad you get, no matter how much you yell and swear at us and no matter how much you try to argue about it. It is not our rules, it is the law. And we are not going to risk our funeral home and license’ s because you are mad and are making threats that you will take your business elsewhere.
It is also not our jobs to make sure that certain people that you cannot get along with do not enter the funeral home. It is not our jobs to make someone leave because you do not get along with them. I dont know of any funeral homes that will do that. You need to sort out your own family issues,  not us! We do not get involved in family matters. We will not release information to family members who call us and ask us for certain info that they clearly know is personal. We will not take orders or demands from anyone other than the informant listed on file, unless it has been clearly agreed upon during arrangements! We will not take ‘some’ cremated remains and set them aside for you because you know that so and so will not give you any..I cannot even believe that people have the nerve to ask us this, but it happens often!
We are human beings with feelings. We are dealing with several families at a time. We have a very high stressed job. Everything is on a very strict schedule and we are typically under strict deadlines. We run our asses off…for YOU. So while we understand 100% that what you are going thru is one of the worse things in a persons life, I wish that people would just stop and realize that we are people too. We have also lost loved ones and have gone thru what you are now going thru. Things that you say, things that you yell at us about or demand of us, those things, we have to suck ut up, bite our tounges and just try to do our jobs no matter how upset someone has made us, no matter what soneone has said to us to make our day hell, no matter if someone insists on coming in at a certain day or time when we are exhausted or have plans, we have to do it…and at the end of the day sometimes some of these things eventually start to wear on us. It is a very emotional job, very stressful but at the same time it can be very rewarding for us to know that to those who appreciated what we had done for them, are thankful. We take our work home with us because we dont have a choice. Our families have to be very understanding and patient with us. There are days when i get home and i dont want to talk to anyone. I need my time to decompress. There have been days when i am so mad and i cant get over how people behave. There are days when i am so tired that when i get home all i want is to take off my suit and shoes, because my feet ache, and i am too tired to do anything, make dinner, clean, laundry, etc. My brain actually hurts! I think about how i busted my ass to make sure that the visitation/funeral that day was perfect, that the family was satisfied, only to find out someone was upset because they had to ask that the coffee be refilled, or they complained that it was too hot or cold in the chapel or there was an incident of some family or friends who showed up who dont get along with the others. That the people we had bent over backward for, who may have been a family who did not have alot of money to work with and we ended up working with them to give them the funeral that they wanted, or in other words, who insisted on hsving certain things that they could not pay for and we met them in the middle and since they had to ‘settle’ were never completely happy with us, so they really made it hard to please them no matter what we did. We have alot of these families by the way…and really, i am just gonna be honest, it sucks. One would think that the situation would be reversed and they would be greatful, but not so.
And just a word on donations. That is all i hear about anymore, on the news, at work, is people having benefits for funeral expenses. It seems that everyone these days are having one.  Why?  I hope that those who are donating really know what they are donating for. Are they donating for funeral expenses? Cemetery expenses? To the small children the deceased has? To the surviving spouse to help pay other bills? Because having a large funeral is a choice. The 2 days of visitation, lots of flowers, expensive casket, etc, are choices. You can still have a very nice funeral without all the bells and whistles. If you think you have to have so many days for visitation because you have to have enough time for all friends and family to come…you dont. Believe me, if you have only a few hours, people WILL come.. but i think people get confused when they are planning a funeral and think of when everyone else will be able to make it to visitation. It is not about them…it is what the deceased wanted and you want! If you are not able to afford certain things than dont buy certain things. Dont expect others to pay for the things you ‘want’ and dont expect us to give you things you clearly cannot afford just because you are threatening to go to another funeral home that you claim will work more with you, because if that was true, you wouldnt be here, you would be at that other funeral home! Be greatful for someone who is trying to help you. Dont accuse us of ‘just trying to make money’, of course this is how we make our money! We are a funeral home!! If we were a hardware store than we would be making our money by selling hardware! I just cannot get over how many people throw that at us…how else are we suppose to make money?
So those of us at a funeral home are humans who have feelings. We get upset, sad, happy, mad…things you do and say do affect us.


6 Responses to “Life at a funeral home – what we go through..for others”

  1. Front-line work is the toughest work in current times. Why? Because there are way tooo many arrogant+disrespectful+ignorant people out there. Let it all out, I say. It is a good way to maintain your sanity. Say whatever you like but no one is ‘paid’ to be anyone’s punching bag.

    • Thank you! And this is why i help get out my frustration! My family can only take so much. Plus they dont understand just how horrible peopld can husbsnd knows but my mom..not so

  2. AdminAsst Says:

    Well said. Amen to everything you posted. As I’ve posted before, I think this is the way society is nowadays. Funerals are events now. We’ve all heard the phrase “Bridezilla” well, unfortunately that is how it is at funerals now too. Families demand things that they never did, say 10 or 15 years ago. Funerals have turned into a Broadway production. And that adds so much pressure to those of use who work behind the scenes. We try to make it a memorable event, but often times that’s not enough.

  3. Jeff Harbeson Says:

    Bravo and PREACH ON! Well said.

    • Thank you Jeff. I didnt want to come off sounding too ungreatful for the job i have, but sometimes all of the stress just takes its toll on us and you have to have a way to get all your frustrations out!

      • Jeff Harbeson Says:

        I think your prose was brilliant! Do not apologize for being frank … I have a little saying “I’m not going to tell you to go to hell, I’m going to tell you the truth and it feels like hell.” Press on!

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