Life at a funeral home – Still here


Hi all.. I’m still here. Haven’t had anything real interesting to write about lately and with summer here, just been ‘trying’ to enjoy it all I can. After the long fridgid winter we had!
But, I always take a look at my stats and look at what brings most to my blog. And of course it’s none other than death certificates! Ugh..
Some of the searches, one was, Can a funeral take place before a death certificate is issued? Yes, it can.
Can a funeral home refuse to give a family member a death certificate? Yes, we can. Whoever is the informant on the file, the person who is in charge of making the funeral arrangements, that is the person who we will only give the death certificates to, unless that person tells us it is ok to give one to whoever wants one. Typically the informant is also the person who is paying the funeral bill so they have paid for those death certificates. If you live in a state where death records are public record, than you may go and get one yourself. You do not need to be next of kin.
How long does it take to get a death certificate? Well, it should not take more than a couple days. It really depends on the doctor. Unless you live in a place that files electronically, then, the funeral home has to contact the doctor who will be signing, find out when that doctor is available to sign it, we have to travel to wherever that doctor is. Once we have the doctors signature and all the info required typed onto the dc, then we can file it at the appropriate clerks office and obtain the amount of certified copies the family has paid for.

One thing i get alot of that i just realized today is, alot of families dont know what to do with their loved ones cremated remains. Im not sure why that is.. You can always bury the cremated remains just as you would if the person were not cremated. You can purchase grave space at a cemetery and place the urn in the grave space and have a marker/headstone. They also have what is called Columbariums in cemeteries that you can place the urn in and on the outside they place the name, date of death and birth. Just because the person was cremated does not mean you have to keep the cremains on your mantel.

One thing that always happens is, when a family has visitation scheduled, typical times are 12pm-1pm for the family hour and 1pm-9pm for everyone else. I do get alot of families who will call and say “our visitation begins at Noon for family, so what time should we arrive?” …….uhmmmmm, NOON!! However, we almost always receive this call… “our visitation begins at (insert time), we want to come by before and drop off food, drinks, pictures, erc…., what time can we do that at?” ……..uhmmmmm WHEN YOUR VISITATION IS SCHEDULED!!
It doesn’t take an hour to put pictures up, it doesn’t take an hour to put food in lounge! Most of the time we do it for you anyway!
It always seems that whenever we have a short visitation or a memorial visitation, those are the families who bring in the most crap. What I mean by short visitation is, some people will only have a few hours during the day, usually 3 or 4 hours then maybe a short service at end of visitation, most of these shorter visitations are cremation or a memorial visitation is when cremation has already taken place and the cremated remains are typically present at visitation. But, these short viewings/visitations are usually always packed and the family brings in a ton of food. I am not reallt sure why you would want to do that since you only have a short time to have with your loved one… Just last weekend we had a memorial visitation from 1pm to 4pm with a memorial service at 4pm. Someone in the family called at 10:30am and wanted to come to ‘set up’ the food and ‘set up’ the chapel. What exactly are you setting up!?!?!?! We were not in the building yet, so I told her that no one is at the funeral home yet but someone should be there no later than 11:30am. I also asked what it was that they needed to ‘set up’? I was told that they had some water and a couple cases of soda and snacks, sime cookies and donuts as well as some items that need to be refrigerated and that they had a few pictures to set up in the chapel. I explained that it really wasn’t necessary for them to come early to ‘set up’ because that will only take a few minutes and we will do that for them when they arrive. I was told, “….well, we do not want to have to keep going back and forth to our car and carry all these things past everyone else who will be arriving for visitation because that will look tacky!!” Hmmmmm….you know whats tacky? Bringing in a bunch of shit to begin with!!
Well, end of story is that again, I told them they could either wait till 11:30am or bring it at visitation time.

I am just so fed up with people. I am not just talking about work. What is with the fireworks this year? Still, in my neighborhood, people are still setting them off in the evening! And…when did it become ok for your neighbors to be loud way into the night and it be ok!?! It’s NOT ok!! I have some neighbors who I guess feel it is ok for them to be outside with their kids and their friends until way past midnight with radio blarring, people yelling and laughing and just not taking into consideration that they have neighbors!! I’m also not clear on why people cant hear their own dogs barking in their very own yard but I can!! Constant barking..and noone in their household has the common sense to get up and go see what their dog has been barking at NON STOP for the past hour!! If I can hear it, why cant they!?! I know I know, dogs bark! I use to have a dog and believe me, he was the King of barking, he would bark if the wind blew! BUT, I would always always go see why he was barking so much and to bring him in!! (I miss my dog every single day…RIP). Anyway, it drives me nuts..it also makes me angry that if you have a dog and you cant bother to get up and go check on why its been barking non stop, then you shouldnt have a dog!!!! Or any pet!!!
Back to the whole being loud at night…I find it disrespectful and rude. Why would think its ok to be loud past a certain time at night…especially in most neighborhoods where the homes are so close together…

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10 Responses to “Life at a funeral home – Still here”

  1. Randy Lewis Says:

    I worked at a very large Funeral Home ( 800-1000 calls per year ) here in the Flint, Mi. area. It was amazing the Families that would bring in a buffet. It was normal to have 8-10 visitations going on at any given day. There would be enough food in the lounges to start a food bank. I think it is very tacky. Snacks are one thing, but to bring in crock pots, and set up huge trays of food is another…. Love your blog! Thanx…. R. Lewis.

    • Hi Randy and Thank you for reading…and commenting. 800-1000 calls per year..!?! Wow!! Hopefully you had more than two Directors!! We typically do between 200-250 per year, but we are a small funeral home..and thats good for us, in our area where there are several funeral homes, 4 others just on the same road. We could manage 5 viewings at one if we absolutely had to, buy it would be very tight! We typically do not do more than two or three at once. It is so frustrating when families bring in so much food! Its not only tacky but it makes a mess, which the families and visitors just dont realize that we have to clean up after them and their childrem…who always seem to be left unattended and left to do as they please, like throw m & m’s all over, smash chips all over the floor and spill soda eveywhere. I highly doubt that any of these people would allow that behavior in their own home. But the funeral home has to clean this, sometimes when food or drink gets ground into furniture and carpet, we have to have that stuff professionally cleaned or even replaced! This all costs money, which eventually is reflected in our pricing!

  2. OfficeMgr Says:

    You can order dc’s online through the county clerk’s webpage for most, if not all, counties where I live. I had one family order 100 dc’s just so they could pass them out to family members. I envisioned “Uncle George’s” death certificate stapled to their family letter that they send out each year at Christmastime.

    • Same here.. you can actually go online and use that vital records order thing they have..i forget the actual name of it. But so often i get people who don’t understand that a dc is filed in the city (or county, if the city of death has no clerk) of death. Which I don’t expect most people to know this however, when i try to explain it to them, most cannot grasp what i am telling them! They say, “but he/she was born in….”. Or he/she lived in… so why is filed ‘there’? Or most people think it is filed at the county. But even tho these people will make the trip into the funeral home to ask for more death certs, when i tell them .. oh, its just filed at ….clerks office, which is just dowm the road, around the block, or not far away at all and you can actually just go get them yourself..instead of giving us the fee for them and then having to wait on us to get them for you… 90% of the time they still want us to do it! And if i explain that we will only be going when we are able to, which may be that same day or in a week, they say OK..but then call or come in wondering where the dc is! And i hear ya on those that get a ton of certs to pass out to every family member! Make photocopies already! ! Ridiculous

  3. Hey,

    I was wondering if there was an email I can contact you at. I had some general questions about the process between church and funeral home. Thanks.

  4. Jeff Harbeson Says:

    Sounds like a vacation is in order! Thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts…Cheers. #thefuneralcommander

  5. AdminAsst Says:

    When we have situations, where family wants certified copies of the d/c and they are not the informant, we suggest they go to the city clerk’s office to get them. We don’t want to be stuck in the middle if there are family issues going on.

    A few years ago, I had a man call who wanted certified copies for his brother who died 15 years ago in another state!! Can you believe it? I told him to contact the funeral home there, who did the transfer for us (it was in the file) and ask them about obtaining certifieds. Really? 15 years later? And he wanted a lot too, like 10. I mean I could understand if it was just one but 10? Here’s a thought, why didn’t he get them 15 years ago?

    But it is kind of funny when family members want certified copies until they find out they have to pay for them. We don’t give them out for free. Or some times they think we are the ones who issue certified copies. When they find out they have to pay for them and that we have to get them from the clerk’s office, sometimes they suddenly lose interest in getting them.

    • I thought I had replied to your comment already but I guess it didn’t go post… sorry!
      But, yeah, I have had people who wanted dc’s from years ago! And you are correct, when alot of family members find out they have to pay for them, they quickly change their minds. However, I have had people who want more certifieds and maybe the clerk where the dc is filed is fairly close or even closer to that person who is requesting more copies, so I tell them that they can just go get them since it is very close, thinking that they would jump at the chance to go get them themselves….wrong. even though we now require anyonw who wants more dc’s after the fact to pay us for them first. So instead of people just going to get them on their own…they now have to come to us and give us the amount for however many they want then waiting a day or two sometimes longer (longer if its in a city or county that is not near, because we no longer will go out of our way to get them, we wait until we have to go for other ones). Then they have to come back to funeral home to pick them up.
      I seem to get ALOT of people/family that call for old obits as well. As long as 50yrs ago!! Im sure these people are working on their family tree.. When people call for a photocopy of the dc on an old file, well usually they are outta luck…we didnt start keeping photocopies of dc’s until the early 90’s.

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