Life at a funeral home – come on already!

Ok, look, i know i complain about the food people just have to bring into the funeral home…but really, is it THAT necessary to have a ton of food at the funeral home during visitation!?! Alot of funeral homes do not even allow food to be brought in. We supply coffee and tea, if family wants water and maybe some soda, fine, but cut out all the food already! And if you are at a funeral home that does allow you to bring in food, then consider yourselves lucky! And just because they do allow food, dont expect us/them to supply silverware, dishes, etc! Or ask “…you don’t have any ice or an ice machine!?!” Like you are shocked that we don’t!  Once again, this is a FUNERAL HOME, not a banquet facility, not a restaurant, not a hall, not YOUR home! The problem with people bringing in so much food is this, it’s messy. Sure we have staff that clean up after you leave but we do not have a cleaning company that comes in to clean (maybe larger funeral homes have a cleaning crew who come in, but we do not and even at the other funeral home i worked at we did not have a cleaning company. Only one person who cleans sometimes two). People are slobs and treat our lounge like there is a maid standing off in the corner waiting to pick up after them and when everyone is gone that there must be someone who will clean up the mess. No, there isn’t. When people and my favorite, children, drop food on the floor and spill soda and either they dont tell anyone or no one cares to clean it up. And what happens when food gets stuck in corners and sugary drinks are spilled? BUGS!! Guess who has to try to get rid of those bugs? We do! And how do we get rid of bugs? We either have to buy bug spray and stink up the place and buy traps or hire a bug company to come in to spray, which costs money and that we have had to do a few times now..People dont realize either that they may even be bringing bugs in with them, of course I’m sure they do not realize that, but it happens and has happened!  People complain about the cost of funerals but dont realize the funeral home has to put out money for things like this. Then say we do get ants in the lounge and we have a family there for visitation and they see bugs, its a turn off and then they think we dont clean or take care of the funeral home and that it’s a dirty place. Also, we have signs that read ‘all food and beverages in lounge only please’. There are those people who feel that it doesn’t apply to them or they just dont pay attention to the signs. Well, whatever they bring into other parts of the funeral home, thet make crumbs or may spill something. And again..we get bugs or it stains the carpet or furniture and then the funeral home has to clean it, replace whatever was damaged. The other problem with bringing in a ton of food is that when people/family come to visit they always usually end up in the lounge and no one is in the chapel where they should be. So you pay for this funeral which is probably costing thousands of dollars and where is everyone? Eating! Then…day of funeral, 90% of the time there is a luncheon after the funeral. So not only did everyone eat at visitation now they are eating at luncheon. It is sickening how many times i have heard families be more concerned about food being allowed at funeral home and about the luncheon! I recently had a family who wanted to assign a life ins policy to the funeral home to pay for funeral charges. Thats all fine and dandy..and we took the assignment. Their charges actually were under $3000.00. They did not have a visitation, just cremation with inurnment and they purchased an urn and some other items. Well..once the bill was calculated and all the insurance papers were completed one particular person in the family asked when will we get paid from insurance company? I get that question alot, only because i think people are curious and if there is money left over they want to knoe when they will get their money from ins company. It really depends on the ins company, we could get payment in a couple weeks or we wont get it for a couple months. So when this family asked when we would be getting paid and i explained to them what i just wrote above, this person asked if when we receive that check if they have to wait just as long to get their check, they thought the funeral home received the whole amount of life insurance and we kept our portion and we then gave them the rest, which by the way i had judt got done explaining to them that we only receive our portion and the beneficiary receives the rest, it comes directly to the beneficiary. But anyway, they asked if it took just as long for beneficiary to get their check and i told them that yes, it usually does, maybe they would get theirs a few dayd prior or even a few dayd after. There was a “sigh” and a long, awkward, pause where this person and the beneficiary kinda stared at each other for a few moments…just as i was going to excuse myself so they could talk, the one person, who suddenly developed somewhat of an attitude said, “we need that money sooner than that, there is no way that we can wait a couple weeks let alone a month!” Now the way that they were acting, my thoughts were that there were some bills or something that had to be taken care of asap… but, i explained that there is nothing that the funeral home can do to get the check any sooner, that’ maybe’ if the beneficiary were to contact the ins company and ask if they could do a direct deposit or ask ins company if there was any faster way to speed the claim, but that wec could not do that for them.
Just a bit on death certificates…again… the funeral home does not enter the cause of death nor do we know why the doctor who signed the death cert put what ever he/she did. Half the time you can’t make out what it says anyway because doctors do not have the most legible handwriting. Also, we are told who is going to sign it..when we receive a body sometimes there is an information slip with them that will hopefully have the doctors name and phone number and the deceaseds day and time of death. If not then we have to contact the facilty where the person passed away and get the info that way. Now i have had this happen several times..where we call the place of death and ask for the doctor info and day and time of death and we are given the wrong info. Maybe wrong doctor maybe wrong time of death. This causes a problem, especially when the family knows this person passed hours earlier. But the funeral home is obtaining this info from the facility, we arent just guessing. Most of the time when this has happened the person who is giving us this info is reading us the day and time the body was released or moved from the floor and transferred to the morgue. We have no way of knowing this until someone says something. Then we have to call back and try to get correct info, which is like pulling teeth!! Of course it must be corrected though. Another issue we run into very often is getting the doctor info, calling that doctors office and being told that the doctor refuses to sign the death cert!! This prolongs everything and is a pain in the ass. Even if that doctor was the deceaseds family doctor, they sometimes refuse to sign because maybe they have not seen the patient in a while. Or if the person was at a nursing home but only there for a few days, sometime the staff physician will refuse to sign it. So where does this leave the funeral home? Well, it leaves us extremely irritated!! Now we have to contact the facility where they passed and let them know that the doctor they gave us will not sign. Sometimes we get the answer ‘well what do you want us to do about it?’ Most of the time that answer comes from nursing homes. We end up talking to several people who havent a clue. We eventually end up having to speak with whoever is in charge of the nursing home and they have to speak to the staff doctor and let them knoe they must sign!! So if this person is a direct cremation and we have to screw around with these doctors, well, the body isnt going to be cremated anytime soon. If this happens with a hospital then we typically end up contacting the director in charge of staffing or the hospital ceo. Then they have to have a ‘chat’ with the doctor and tell them they must sign it. But this isn’t something that happens within a few hours…this could go on for days. It is extremely frustrating because typically we are pushed off to this person then this person etc..and we have to leave messages/voicemails and wait for someone to call us back. I would say 70% of the one calls us back so we have to keep calling until someone answers us. Then there is the matter if the death cert has already been filed at the clerks office and we were notified of the error after it was filed. Now not only do we have to jump thru hoops trying to get the correct info now we have to contact the clerks office and hope that they have not already forwarded it to the State. And even if the clerk has not forwarded it to the state sometimes certain clerks will not make a correction for us. So what happens? We have to get a whole new death cert!! We have to get ALL cert copies back from the family. Get a new death cert signed and then take all the original death certs to the clerk to be destroyed and file the new one…this costs money! And we cant very well charge the family for the nursing home/hospitals error so guess who gets stuck paying for it…the funeral home!

Once again…when you get a death certificate that has Pending as cause of death, this means that the Medical Examiner has not determined cause of death. Funeral homes are given a certain time frame in which have to file a death certificate, so the medical examiner will issue a Pending death certificate to which the funeral home will file witj the clerks office and then the clerk will in turn file with the state. Once the medical examiner has determined the cause of death the will send a letter of correction (the cause of death) to the state. Once the state receives that letter it is up to the state ti make the correction to the death cert and once they have done so they will forward the corrected ‘amended’ death certificate to the clerks office in which the death certificate was originally filed. Once that clerk receives it, they discard the pending death certificate and kerp on record the amended one. Now sometimes,depending on the clerk, they will contact the funeral home that filed the death certificate and let us know they have received the amended so we may come to get the number of amended copies for the family. Sounds simple, right? Nope! It really should be simple especially since we explain this process to our families who are waiting on an amended death certificate, but like i have stated several times before, this whole process can take up to 9 months!! I have only had one death certificate that actually took 8 months and most of the other ones usually are amended within 3-4 months. I suppose it depends on where you live tho. In my state, they take a long time!! Plus only very few counties in my state have electronic filing, my county is NOT one of them. But no matter how many times, no matter how much we explain this, no one cares, no ine listens and all families know is that the funeral home gets the death certificates for them. I have had families call me and bitch that they need that death certificate!  Believe me, i know you need it. I know you want it! But there isnt a damn thing i or anyone else can do to get it for you any quicker!! I wish there was but there isnt. I can call the state and get maybe a status update, but thats about it. The state is not only amending that one in particular death certificate, they have several others they are working on as well. Whether it is a pending death certificate or a death certificate that had an error on and that error was not caught until aftet the clerk forwarded it to the state. So for those who have found an error on a death certificate and the funeral home has applied for a correction thru the state, well, it is gonna take the same amount of time to correct it as a pending death certificate! Its a pain in the ass! I cringe when i get a death certificate from the Medical Examiner that has pending on it, especially if i know the family has been hard to deal with! Which brings me to this, we have had nothing but problem families lately. I dont know what’s going in with everyone…but for the love of God..can you not just get a long with each other just for a few hours out of one day to pay respects to your loved one!?! I am totally fed up with bickering families. I am tired of hearing about how this person doesn’t like this person and this person is not wanted here, these people are gonna cause a problem and these people will start fighting…blah blah blah… i dont care!!! If there is going to be those kinds of issues with your family then maybe you should reconsider what type of funeral you will have.
And last but not least… I have been having some issues with certain co workers. Most of the time we all get along. We all work well with each other and when things get stressful, we all know that we each need our space and how eachother acts when we get stressed. I have a problem with people not doing their work. I had this issue at my last job where the one co worker would never ever complete tasks she started and then would leave them for me or the other employee. When someone comes in and they have questions about something and it is something we maybe have to get info on that will take time or maybe this person just showed up unannounced and we were busy… so whoever spoke with them told them that we would need time and we can call them back with the info. Well, this actually happens quite often and usually what happens is this persons name and and number and, hopefully, what they are inquiring about is put on the desk. Well, the person who initially spoke to this person should be the person who follows thru on it unless that person asks someone else if they can. Well…that is where the issue comes in. A certain person never wants to follow thru with it and just leaves it there. So..a couple of days go by and that person who is is waiting on that info will call or come in and guess what? Its not done and now i have to do it and apologize for it not being handled correctly. That infuriates me..ut is irritating and then…if by some chance i am not the one who got stuck doing it because i wasnt here or i was busy and the boss by some chance answered the phone or got the door, then guess who would still get blamed? Me. Now my boss is NOT mean nor does he yell, as a matter of fact he is very calm most of the time. But he would ask wht it wasnt done.. and of course my only answer can be “i dont know” and i hate saying that. Only other answer i can give is “so and so didn’t do it”. Which i also hate. But..what i hate even more is the face that they left that stuff there and really had no intention of doing it! There have also bern times when a coworker has taken a phone call and again that person who called wants/needs some specific info that needs looking into. Instead of the co-worker just taking the time to get that info, they will tell that person that “I” will call them back!! Because i dont have enough to do!! I recently had a situation where on my one and only day off a lady came in for some info. This was sort of complicated but the coworker who was there when the lady came in knew how to do what the lady wanted! There was no need to put her off. When i came in next day that coworker had the ladies name and number and what she needed sitting on the desk…I did NOT ask what it was about since my coworker had wrote down the info and no where on the note did it have my name! So….about an hour goes by and my coworker picks up that paperwork and says this lady came by and needs the info on this. I said..ok…so, what are you asking me? All the info on that is right in here. Coworkers reply was ‘oh ok, so i told her we would call her back when we got all the info together for her, just leave the stuff here and i will give her a call back latet or this weekend.” I guess i should have known that my coworker had no intention of calling this woman back. Sure enough i come in in monday and guess what is still sitting there!! And guess who showed up that aftetnoon…the lady. She said that she was told that “I” would call her with the info!!! So that was just freaking great! So not only did i have to apologize for not knowing “I” was suppose to call her because no one told me that!! I thought my coworker was taking care of it…but i had to quickly look over everything and get everything together for her. Did i mention i was with a family making arrangements when this lady showed up!?! So it really was not a good time and had i known that my coworker told her i would be contacting her, i would have done so immediately and made an appt for her to come in so she wouldnt have had to wait. Also, she really ended up coming in for nothing because i had to have her get me more info on what she had.. This shit has been happening alot lately and i am really not sure how to approach the situation. Since we are a smaller group of people i really don’t want to cause any tension, we do have to work together everyday. It is useless trying to tell the bosd because he feels that things should just be taken care of regardless of who helped who. I agree with him, but when someone doesnt tell you that they told someone that I would be contacting them, it makes it hard!! I am also irritated because the same coworker basically does nothing if they dont have to. If its slow, there is always an excuse as to why they have to leave to go do this or go do that, which usually means they are going to do personal errands or going home. This person does not like to be at work. Obviously. When we get a first call and if this coworker takes that call and tries to schedule arrangement appt., if the family wants to come in at a time that is not convenient for the coworker, they lie and tell the family that there are other appointments at such and such times and the only times they can come in are at whatever time the coworker wants them to come in, which means the coworker doesnt plan on being at work all day! Sure, we all have told little white lies to families before if they want to come in at a time that is just not good for us, but it usually has to do with other things, not just becausr it is interfering with personal errands or the lack of wanting to be at work! It is just so frustrating! I know other coworkers also notice this and only one other coworker has actually made a comment about it, but i do not ferl comfortable saying anything to any of the coworkers because everyone knows…you say something about someone at work and its bound to get back to them! I also know that i need to just worry about myself and my work but when it begins to affect my work or the ability to do my work, then its bothersome. And you know the saying ‘when the the cat is away the mouse is away’. Well that is what happens when the boss is away. I really get mad too when i am not in, i get a phone call about why something wasnt done. Well…YOU are there…do it! Now that summer has arrived, the whole thing is just getting worse…nice weather…no one wants to be at work!  I sure as hell dont wanna be there, but it is my job and i have to be there. This co worker isnt the only employee that does shit like that, there is another one who can sometimes be a pain in the ass too, doing just the bare minimum. Even when it is slow, there is always something to do! I absolutely hate when someone calls attention to every ‘little’ mistake you make. If it isn’t a big deal, than just fix it and shut up.
There are times when we may get a direct cremation and it will also be an inurnment. So of course it takes at least a few days for the cremated remains ti come back. But in the meantime we will set up the burial of cremains at the cemetery and order the urn and or urn vault if needed. If the family wants any prayer cards or memorial folder, we will print those as well. Typically it would be between 5 days – whenever for the burial. So of course we have some time. We have time to contact cemetery order anything that needs ordering… But, i like to do it as soon as i can that way it is done and noone has to worry about it. It wont be forgotten about..which is why i like to do it asap. But..some coworkers dont see it that way. They just keep putting it off and even i will say or ask if they want me to do it. The one coworker who has been pissing me off lately constantly does this. And becomes pass the blame! I hear ‘why wasnt this done? ‘ ‘this should have been done’ . Shit like that! It is really bumming me out.
When a family uses a life insurance policy, the funeral home takes an assignment on that policy ONLY for the amount of the funeral charges. The insurance company will forward any remaining money directly to the beneficiary. The funeral home does not know when we will receive our check nor do we know when the beneficiary will receive theirs. I always tell people it can ve anywhere from 30 days sometimes longet sometimes sooner. I consistently get calls from families who want to know where their portion is. Like the funeral home is some how hiding their money. We are not! I can call the insurance company to get a status update depending on the insurance company, but usually it would only be a status update on the funeral home money. Insurance companies do not readily give out personal information. So chance of the funeral home trying to find out where your money is, well its slim. Usually anything outside of questions that pertain directly to the funeral home, the beneficiary must contact the insurance company and ask. I cannot believe the number of people who will call the funeral home to ask us questions regarding the insurance claim, questions that we would have no idea about and when we try to explain to them that the insurance company will not release that kind of info to us (Privacy Laws), how many times they ask to try and find out anyway!! Same with Social Security. The funeral home has no contact with Social Security other than us reporting death. We report death by filling out a form and faxing or sending by email. That is the way it goes in my State. No other contact is made. NONE. We have no idea when Gradmas last check was deposited or if you are able to keep it or not. There is a one time death benefit that is payable to a surviving spouse or dependant child. That we do know. But we have no idea when you will receive that payment. Also, i dont care and neither does social security, that you have been with someone for 25 yrs, 35 yrs, etc…but were never married. If you were never married then you will not get any payment. If you havr any questions regarding social security issues, then you must contact them yourself, we cannot contact them for you. They will not release any info to us! Again…Privacy Laws! If you were married to someone for several years, divorced, and you remarried than you are not entitled to your ex spouses social security or the death benefit. If you have a child that not a minor, they are not entitled to a death benefit, if that child is 18yrs or older…NO death benefit. Social Security doesnt care if that child turned 18 a day before their parent passed away, if they are 18yrs old, they will not receive the death benefit. This is what we are told, if it is different elsewhere, i dont know. And if you are entitled to a death benefit, like i mentioned before, the funeral home has NOTHING to do with social security. We only have the information from Social Security that is accessible by anyone on the internet. It only takes a few minutes to read over, so if anyone has questions about survivors benefits, death benefit, social security checks/payments, just go to their website and it tells you all you need to know.
So..i think i have got everything off my chest. . . For now anyway.

2 Responses to “Life at a funeral home – come on already!”

  1. OfficeMgr Says:

    Two things: 1) We had a family bring in so many crockpots full of food for their visitation that it actually blew the main fuse at the funeral home. 2) RUN or SPRINT toward electronic dc filing when it becomes available in your location. It’s awesome. A number of our funeral homes are located in larger counties that do not yet have electronic filing. It’s a complete bummer when I have to go work on a dc at one of those locations. Even the county clerks will tell fh employees to cut to the head of the wait line for pick up IF the dcs were filed electronically. And I have one county ME who won’t even let you fax them anymore. He wants EVERYTHING to go “new school filing” or not at all. As for Social Security, I just press a button and the SS office verifies the death within seconds. No end of month paperwork. It’s good stuff.

    • I WISH we had electronic filing here!!! You have no idea how much it ticks me off that we dont yet and uts all because of the county we are in…they are so broke, or so they claim…
      We don’t typically allow crock pots at our place. Once in a great while a family will bring one in, but we usually just let them use it but tell them we dont allow them and they HAVE to watch it and make sure uts in a place that kids wont get to it and if we see thats its not in a good place we move it or tell them they have to remove it.

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