Life working at a funeral home – Been a long time!!

I know…it’s been forever since I posted!!

It’s summer, so I guess that’s my only excuse. That and the fact that to be honest, I haven’t had much new stuff to blog about. People are still the same…the funeral home is still the same…

It has been getting busier over the last month. Seems August is our slowest month out of the year. And we all took advantage of our downtime. Whether it was taking vacation or just sitting around watching tv, taking naps (LOL)..really, we did! Taking off in the middle of the day to do errands we would otherwise have to do after work or on weekends, taking long lunches… or just going home for a while. Thank God I have a cool boss! As long as someone is at work, then we can come and go as we please…but of course any work has to be done. When I say we have been slow with lots of downtime, what I mean is, we still have death calls, but very few. There is also little things that come up. People call all the time for things. Lots of calls because maybe they need a death certificate for a loved one who passed away a few months ago or even 20yrs ago! Some want or need certified, others just want a photo copy. We also get lots of calls from peoplr who want to know if we have old obits. Now, there is a good chance we may. Years ago they didn’t keep as many records as we do now. But, sometimes what they did was actually cut out the obit from the newspaper and glue it to the file. I’ve had people call asking for an obit on someone who passed away back in the 1940’s and low and behold…they kept the obit! Now days when we submit an obit to the paper, it’s usually done on line or by email. Once the news paper receives the notice, they will either call us with a read back and cost or they email it to us as an attachment with the cost. I always print the attachment and put it in the file. Sometimes one of us will cut it out of the paper and glue it to the file, but not that often. If those older files do not have a copy of the obit, they would usually write down on the file somewhere what paper the obit was placed in. Keep in mind, not everyone puts an obit in any of the newspapers. You wouldn’t believe the calls we get from people asking us why so and so has no obit in the newspaper! I mean these people are actually mad because there is no obit!! It’s not like it’s up to us to decide if the family wants to place an obit!! Trying to explain to callers why there isn’t one is just as frustrating as them asking! I mean, really, what else can we say other than, the family did not want to place an obit in the paper.. They still ask Why NOT?!? HOW IS EVERYONE GOING TO KNOW?!? Ugh! And I’m thinking to myself…Well, YOU KNEW! And I’m sure you’ll tell everyone now anyway! Same goes for our website. We don’t charge to place it on our website, but yet, there are families who just don’t want it on there! I don’t know why either…We don’t ask!! So again, trying to explain that one to the cranky person on the phone! ¬†Honestly, if someone calls and asks why, really it’s not any of your business why the family decided not to place one! But anyway… there are lots of other things to be done during our down time, cleaning out files, they can get really stuffed, with junk we really just don’t need. Any notes that were scribbled down while we were working with family, fax submission pages, etc.

Of course death certificates are still my biggest pet peeve. People are just so freaking irritating when it comes to death certificates! I don’t mean that people don’t deserve to get them, but just how they feel they are the one and only thing that matters!! If you are waiting on one that is Pending because you want to know cause of death, well yeah, that’s important to know.. But, like we tell every single family that is waiting for a death certificate to be amended…You can get the autopsy report from the Medical Examiner!! Do they listen? Nope! They still insist on calling and bitching at us!! I also get people who insist there was no reason that the death certificate should be pending. I am not disagreeing with you…I am only telling you WHY it is! There are tests that take time to run and without those results, a death certificate cannot state cause of death! I understand that your loved onehad cancer or whatever, but there was some reason why the Medical Examiner took posession of their body and did an autopsy!! Believe me when I say that the Medical Examiner is not going to take a body unless they absolutely have to! What I do hate is when the Medical Examiner will tell the family they will have cause of death in a few says to few weeks. This leads the family to believe that they will receive a death certificate with cause of death.. It just means that the Medical Examiner has determined cause and that the family may purchase the autopsy report! I tried my best to explain this to a family the other day, but all they kept saying was, “…the Medical Examiner said so”! Well.. then, call the M.E. then when I tell you we still don’t have it four weeks from now!

Ok.. so, I have found recently or maybe I should say I have recently realized, that people are just downright freaking strange!! Now, I have been know to bitch alot people’s behavior, how rude and disrespectful they are, but I’m talking just weird..weird, strange, creepy… What is with people!! For instance, the other day some one was at the door.. I was lucky enough to be the one who got to answer it.. yes, that was sarcasm. So, I let this gentleman in, he was maybe late 50’s. He came by because he had a question about a relative who passed away a few months ago. He asked me if I could tell him who handed his relatives funeral arrangements. I said sure, but I couldn’t give him any phone number or address, but I could give him a name. I told him who the person was. He said, ‘oh, I know that, what I meant was who is handling her affairs, her money, will, that sort of stuff, an attorney name’? So..I said, ‘well, we wouldn’t know that information. The only way we would know that is if for some reason the deceased had a trust set up and we were to be paid from the trust, but this person did not and the funeral had been paid in full by day of service…which was several months ago.. So of course this guy started about how the person who handled the actual funeral arrangements and was listed as the informant on the file, was a whack job and that the deceased had left him money, but the whack job informant wouldn’t give him the money so he wanted to know who had the Will..
And if we did have that info, what makes people think we would give it out? I cannot begin to say how often people will call us telling us they missed so and so’s funeral but they want to contact the family but they don’t have their address or phone number and want us to give it to them. Uhhhhh…NO. We do tell them they can leave their info and WE will contact the family. We also get calls from people who will say something like, ‘one of my co-workers mother/father/whoever passed away but I do not know the deceaseds name, only my coworkers name, can you tell me what the deceaseds name is if I give you my coworkers name’? Well, if im fact we are not busy and we only have one or two people in state then normally that isnt a problem as long as family members are all listed on file or by some chance the deceaseds name is same as the coworkers name..but sometimes it isnt that easy. Especially when the person calling isnt even sure they have the correct funeral home!
And yes, of course I have to bring up food! People will call and say they want to have a deli tray or veggie tray delivered and they want to know where it should be delivered to. Well, when you are ordering something like that to be sent to a funeral home, the place you order it from will typically call the funeral home to verify days and time and they will deliver accordingly but we do get those people who will bring it in themselves and will ask where they should bring it in when they come, because of course they don’t want to come walking in the front door with a big tray..which, yes, we understand that. So, we always tell people to bring it in the flower delivery door, just like it was being delivered by a business. We tell them to just be sure it has the family name on it and to just walk in and leave it and it will be taken to the lounge by our staff asap. They ask.. should I knock or tell someone it is there? No, just WALK IN AND LEAVE IT AND STAFF WILL GET IT ASAP! It will not be left sitting there! So…how come every person who delivers their own crap (including flowers) has to NOT follow instructions?!? The other day I had a lengthy conversation with a woman about this very subject. I assured her several times that her veggie tray, once delivered, would not sit in the delivery room for more than a few minutes, tops! What did she do? Instead of leaving the tray as I had instructed her to do, she opened the door that leads into the funeral home and proceeded to say
“HELLO” “HELLO”!?! “I have a delivery “!! Now I was on the phone, my boss was in his office, the other two employees were up in the other part of building because the visitation was going on and at that very moment noone was able to help her ‘right away’. This is the reason we tell people to LEAVE their deliveies in the flower delivery room! I heard the buzzer when she came in so I knew something was delivered so I would have gotten it as soon as I was off the phone! But, she just had to make sure she told someone that there was a delivery!! And..there is even a sign that says, “Please leave all deliveries in flower room” except for those requiring a signature, please use bell”. She did neither. As she was yelling HELLO she was walking down the hall..a private hall! My boss heard her and asked her if he could help her..she said, ‘i have a deli tray i am dropping off’. He said, “ok, you can leave it in the delivery room and we will take care of it immediately “. She says, “Oh, ok, I just wanted to make sure someone knew it was here. I spoke to (insert my name here) and she said to deliver it to the flower delivery room”. My boss says, “ok, you did, so we’ll get it”. Now, really, all of that when all she had to do was leave it!
I need a vacation! I have yet to have one this year…it sucks!
Well…that’s all for now. I am going to try and post more, especially since summer is ending…boo!! I’ll have more time.
Hope everyone is doing well


4 Responses to “Life working at a funeral home – Been a long time!!”

  1. Future Greeter 5 Says:

    I understand most greeter positions consist of greeting, hanging up coats, directing people to lounge, restrooms, help clean up, make coffee. Is it normal or common for those employed as a greeter to park cars, attach funeral flags on cars, and drive the hearse, limo, and head car to and from the cemetery? Sounds like more than a greeter position to me. Looking into working for this funeral home. What is your opinion?

    • hi there!
      Yes, it seems more then a Greeter position….but, guess it depends in the funeral home. where I use to work, there was alot of jobs that weren’t necessarily what you would consider part of my duties or job description or anyone else’s that we would have to do. But, Noone was ever expected to do something they knew nothing about with out being shown. I would consider driving a hearse a bid deal, if you are driving it in a procession, that’s something you should be comfortable doing! Flagging cars, yes, I could see that being a part of a Greeter job. If you are uncomfortable doing anything they ask, tell them.

  2. AdminAsst Says:

    Good to see you back!! I wondered how things were going! I’ll email you about the serious drama that went on where I work this summer. But yes, you are right about certified copies. Example “I’m sorry for your loss. Please come in. Can I get you some water?” Answer: “When can we get the death certificates? We need to get them to the lawyer ASAP.” That is usually the first thing out of people’s mouths. To heck with casket or urn selection, when will the certifieds be ready!!!

    I love it when people call and say “We have a co-worker whose uncle died. Their name is Sally Jones. We want to send flowers but we don’t know the uncle’s name.” Umm neither do we. We usually just keep close family members on file like children, grandchildren, siblings etc… I had one woman call once who didn’t even know the co-workers name or the deceased’s name but wondered if we might know. She had a general town where the person died. Crazy questions!!

    What makes me nuts are people who call and want to know where great aunt Hilda is buried. She died in 1983. Umm, okay have you called the cemetery? Oh you don’t know the cemetery? So I have to go down to the dusty basement and spend half an hour looking up the name of a Aunt Hilda buried in a cemetery that may or may not be in our town (none of our records from the 80s are on computer). That’s a joy. If I’m really busy I’ll tell them to call Vital Records LOL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: