Life at a funeral home – been a while

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2016 by thefuneralbizz

Can’t say it’s been crazy busy, so no excuse for not writing.
I guess just not too much to write about.
One thing that’s been bothering me, and actually has been for a while now, are co workers. I know I’ve wrote briefly about it before, but recently it’s just really gotten to me.
I don’t come to work to compete with anyone else. I come to work to do my job. I like my job and I’m good at my job. I worry about what I need to do, what I have to get done and by when. I don’t screw around (there are those slow days tho when we all get to goof off) I don’t put things off and I do go the extra step if and when needed. If someone needs help with something, has a question, etc. .I am always willing to help, no matter what! Do I hope my boss notices, of course I do, but I don’t do it just so he may notice, I do it because I feel that when and if I should need help those that I have helped will be there to help me. I also feel that when you are at work you should worry about yourself, not what anyone else is doing/not doing, unless it is directly affecting you. I can only hope that those I work with do the same, but as we all know (and hate) there are those other employees that just want to meddle in everyone else’s business and watch everyone else’s moves. Instead of worrying about themselves! That’s what just pisses me off.
Instead of being so concerned about what time so and so signed out at, be concerned about what time YOU are signing out at! Instead of worrying about how long someone has been gone running death certificates, transferring a body, etc.. be concerned about YOUR work! Also nothing else is worse than a brown nose. Nothing is more irritating than someone who is a constant bullshitter and it just amazes me that most people can’t see thru the bullshit! I sit in amazement when I hear said bullshitter go on and on and that others actually believe them.. Of course I keep my mouth shut and go on my way. Gossip is also a bad habit. Yes, I’ve been sucked into gossip before and sometimes still do, but I catch myself these days and just keep quiet, even if I may agree.. lol. I have also realized who will rat you out to save their ass. I don’t, intentionally, do anything that would get me into trouble, there are those who do, but those very people are the ones who will go behind your back to get you in trouble to save their ass! For the most part everyone here gets along. At the same time, there is alot of talking behind people’s backs. I know who I can trust and who I cant.. Wish it didn’t have to be that way tho. I also hate liars.. those who feel they have to lie about shit that’s not even something they have a reason to lie about! I guess a liar is almost the same as a bullshitter. But the one I’m speaking of will lie and will have his/her family help lie about what they are lying about.. You know those fake phone calls where the other person is aware that the other is lying, so to make the story sound real? Well, this one person does it often and I once could hear the other person on other end of line, couldn’t hear everything, but enough to know what was going on.

So, enough about that, it’s irritating me just as I write about it.

As far as funerals, there is alot that goes on “behind the scenes”. I don’t think most realize this and for the most part it really shouldn’t be something that families should be concerned about. But, there are times when people, visitors, will begin to notice that maybe a few more chairs are needed because the room is getting full. Well, we know this and we are watching. I don’t mean to imply that we get mad or that we don’t need anyone to tell us, it’s just that we do know. What is irritating and frustrating is when we are trying to bring in extra chairs and noone will move. We can say excuse me a thousand times, but no one moves! So, we will stop trying to set more chairs up. So what happens when just before the service is to start? Every one begins to complain to eachother about no where to sit and we have several people TELL us they need chairs! Not ASK us, but TELL us. Had anyone paid attention sooner, all would be good. Same thing happens when just prior to service, the Director will ‘try’ to make announcement to say for everyone to please find a seat, turn your phones off, the service is going to begin…And we have the same issue  no one is listening, so it takes that much longer to get everyone quiet and seated. Which brings me to after the service. Now we are running behind. So yes, we are trying to rush you without it being too noticeable and with out being rude. When we ask that you pass by the casket and EXIT the funeral home to your vehicles, GO! Don’t linger, just go! I do not understand why so many people, who are NOT immediate family, linger and refuse to go to their car. Those are the people who ultimately hold everything up. We cannot give the family their last few moments with the deceased if you are still hanging about..and heaven forbid we say, “you need to go”! We have, but of course we get the usual snare or the, “well, I’m their good friend, etc”! I don’t care who the hell you are, if the family doesn’t want you in here then you need to go!
When arriving at funeral home, if you are not driving your vehicle in the procession, then don’t park in it! When asked if you will be in the procession and you say that you don’t know, you will be asked to not leave your car in the line up, you’ll be asked to move it.. It’s too hard to keep putting in and taking cars out! When leaving the lot in procession, WATCH WHAT IS GOING ON! When leaving the lot, do not be on your phone!! When we YELL at you to “GO”! we do not appreciate you giving us dirty looks or saying rude things. Pay attention, we are looking out for YOUR safety!

Maybe the heat is getting to me, I dunno, but I do know most people are really getting on my nerve..

Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!


Life at a funeral home – WHY

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by thefuneralbizz

I often wonder when it was that people became so rude, impolite, self absorbed? I’ve worked with the public pretty much my entire working life. I have always known there were “those” people, but I’m not sure if it’s me who is getting older and noticing it more or if people have really become so selfish, mean spirited, and well, assholes?
Every day almost I encounter someone who is just unpleasant. Wether it be on the phone or in person. I am speaking of work, but yes, of course I encounter them outside of work as well.. But it just seems that people do not have any hesitation being rude or speaking down to others. For example, we receive quite a few calls per day requesting pricing. We do not have any problem giving pricing over the phone. When I give pricing I explain to them what is included in that cost and what is NOT included. However, most of the time I cannot even begin to tell the person what is not included because I either get hung up on, the person will say, “what?!? NEVERMIND”! and hang up, or they will say, “that includes everything, right”? When I say no, I usually get, “that’s ridiculous, why is it so much”?!? I have people who have started bitching at me because the cost is high and they can’t afford it, or just be downright rude! Especially the ones who just hang up. Is it really that shocking that funerals are EXPENSIVE? And is it necessary to speak to someone that way? YOU called ME! I nicely answered your questions, I took the time to speak to with you, yes, it’s my job, but I would never speak to someone the way these people speak to me, regardless of the answer! If I called some place to request cost of something, why would I be rude in return just because I did not like their answer? ! ? Can people just simply say, “ok, thank you for your time”. Or even just, “thanks”.
I have also experienced quite a lot lately where people arrive for viewing  (the family) and other family members have not yet arrived. Now when people come in to make arrangements there is an informant. Usually that person is the next of kin. This is the person who is ‘in charge’. So if that person has not yet arrived and other family members have, we typically wait for them before letting anyone go into the chapel, unless the informant has told us previously that it is ok that people go in if they are not there. Well, you can imagine a group of people arriving expecting to be able to enter the Chapel for first viewing, which is considered the family hour, and we have to say that so and so has not arrived yet so we will have to wait for them…you would think people would understand this, but no. Usually they get quite pissy with us! I mean really? Here is let’s say, the grandkids and maybe some cousins and even the deceaseds siblings but the husband hasn’t arrived yet and the husband is the informant. So we tell them that that Mr. Whoever hasn’t arrived yet but once he does then they may go in. Why would we NOT wait?? This happens alot when we have a younger person and there are two sets of parents and also when there are siblings. If siblings arrive early, they seem to think they can just go on in. To be honest, I don’t care one way or the other. Well anyway, they get pissy because they have to wait and also think they are above having to wait. This not only happens with family but friends as well. We get so many friends that show up during family hour who feel they should be allowed to go in, regardless if family has gone in yet or not. Of course if the family is there, we will ask them, but if no one has been in yet, then no! Why would you think it’s ok for us to let you go in before any of the family has even been in? I’ve heard the excuse that they won’t be able to make it later, they have to go to work or whatever, so they just thought they would come by early. It just doesn’t work that way.
On to the next.. Life Insurance. I know that people want their money!! Don’t call me, call the insurance company!! Calling the funeral home is not gonna help you get your money faster. We want our payment too! So of course I have to explain, AGAIN, that it’s not uncommon for us to wait 30 days or more to receive payment. Also that we will only receive OUR portion, not yours! Your payment will be sent directly to you. Ok, they say. or they ask why it takes so long. . Then a week goes by and that same person is calling, AGAIN, complaining that it’s taking too long. Not my problem.. As I stated TWO TIMES  already, call the insurance company!
We ask our families who will be coming in to pick up the flowers, the family items (sign in book, extra prayer cards, death certificates, anything we removed from casket prior to closing casket, etc). We always ask them the evening before the funeral. We also ask if they would like the cards from the flowers removed and put in the bag with their family items. We explain to them that whoever they list will be the only people we will release the flowers to as well as anything else! It seems lately that this has become a big deal. Some people, wether it be family members or friends, feel that they are doing the family a favor by coming to the funeral home and trying to pick up everything for them “so they don’t have to worry about it”. Well, that’s nice and all, but we can’t let you take anything”. This seems to piss people off. They can’t grasp that flowers are “that big of a deal”. I don’t care personally, but the family does! Also, there are personal items as well, like jewelry, donation envelopes, cards, death certificates, etc. How do we know you aren’t going to help yourself to the jewelry or the donation envelopes and then say you didn’t take anything and blame the funeral home? When there are several children or siblings or whoever and they have to split up flowers because one person wants this plant and another wants this arrangement, do it at HOME! And NO, we do not take photos of each flower arrangement! And again, if you want to take pictures of each arrangement, DO IT AT HOME! I hate when family arrives to pick their things up and they stand there going back and forth over who is taking what and then arguing over it! I don’t really care if your employer sent that one or this one, just someone take it already! As far as the cards being removed, it’s really annoying when they have told us to remove them then when they come to pick them up, someone mentions that now they won’t know who sent what and now when doing Thank You cards your not gonna know!! You do not have to write in the thank you card that you are thanking them for the flowers they sent. You simply write the deceaseds name… and since I’m speaking of Thank You cards, you do not need to send a prayer card with each Thank You card! If you are sending out a Thank You card to someone chances are you are sending it to someone who came to the visitation and or funeral, right? So, more than likely when that person came to funeral home and or church, they took a prayer card! And what do most people do with those cards anyway? They hang on to them for a little while maybe.. or they put them away someplace and I bet most of them end up in the trash. I’m sure there are those who do keep them, but I’m sure most throw them away…eventually. But, anyway, unless someone wasn’t able to make it, but did send something, then yes, by all means, send them one, but if they signed the book, don’t waste your money by ordering more! I have so many families come back and ask if they can have more just for that reason. I always tell them they don’t have to send them, but…they want them anyway. I will usually just give them away, unless they want alot or if there was a photo on their cards. I had one family who wanted more and there was a photo on these particular cards, so not only did it take a day for us to get them ready for them it cost them over $100 because they wanted 100 cards! It’s just kinda ridiculous to spend that money on them when you already did and you are now going to send another card to the same people who already got one.
Most of our State is now on edrs, which just means we can file death certificates electronically. But there are still a few cities who aren’t on it, which makes it very inconvenient for me. I can’t do a death certificate on edrs if the city in which it files in is not using it. Also, many doctors still haven’t grasped that they can now sign a faxed copy of a death certificate, even when I try my hardest to explain to them that they can and why! Even though they have ALL been notified by the State of what edrs is and that they can sign a faxed copy! It just makes it all so much easier on us because otherwise we are running around dropping off and picking up death certificates. The doctor can be an hour away and when we go to their offices they don’t just sign them while we are there, we have to leave it and wait for a call letting us know its ready, so then we have to go to their office again to pick it up! Most doctors are not so cooperative when signing either. There are laws regarding time frame, but they really are not enforced and there are times when doctors will just leave it sit on their desk for days and we are calling the office asking if its ready yet. The office staff aren’t always pleasant to deal with either, which just makes the whole experience a pain in the ass!
Well, those are my recent rantings…
Hope you all are enjoying Spring, now that it has arrived!

Life at a funeral home – I’m still here

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2016 by thefuneralbizz

just wanted to let ya’ll know I’m still here..
Have had alot going on the last few months. Hopefully I will have a new post soon.
Take care!

Life a Funeral Home-Ugh

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2016 by thefuneralbizz

We have been busy!! I am literally. exhausted. . I usually don’t sleep all that well, I always wake up at least twice during the night… I think out this whole past week, I woke up once total!

on to the ranting… Like I said, we were busy. Now, we had a large visitation scheduled. This person was very well known so we knew it was going to be very crowded, which it was. This particular family came in on Saturday and made arrangements. On Monday we had another new call, they came in on Monday early afternoon. The family who came in on Saturday scheduled their visitation for Tuesday with funeral Wednesday. The family who came in on Monday wanted Tuesday as well. This was not in their best interest! We told them that typically we would not tell anyone we could not accommodate them, but in this instance we were encouraging them to go with Wednesday because well, we could not accommodate them due to the fact that we already have a visitation scheduled and we knew it was going to be packed! We explained that we would have to utilize our other chapels for the overflow of guests. They said, “No, we have to have Tuesday, there is no way we can wait until Wednesday, this is what we discussed with the rest of our family and we cannot do another day”!  Now, it could just be me, but wouldn’t you WAIT to actually make the arrangements BEFORE telling people what day it’s going to be? Wouldn’t you discuss with your family other options? Sounds crazy, I know! Well, we continued with the arrangements and at the end we told them again that they need to reconsider or we would most likely have to turn them away. We explained that never have we turned anyone away, ever! But in this case, we really did not have a choice. Well, thank goodness they decided to take our advice! They weren’t angry or anything, but had they not been flexible and we did cave and let them be there on Tuesday, they would not have been very happy. There were so many people there, the halls were packed, I couldn’t even walk thru. When I finally left work, in the parking lot, people were all over the place! It was a mad house! OH, and yes, there was LOTS of food! Pizzas, subs, cookies, vegetables and dip, chips, pop, water, brownies, gift baskets filled with crap, fruit, Chinese food even! But.. This family was one of the nicest families we have had in a very long time! As many people who were there, as much food as there was, everyone was exceptionally nice, well behaved, neat and cleaned up after themselves! it was amazing! I know that sounds absurd, but those who work in this business know what I mean. I would trade being that busy any day if families and guests were all like that!
However, the week prior, we had a family who were nice, but maybe a bit crazy, at least some of them. We were ‘warned’ about a certain family member who surely was going to create problems and most likely a scene! As I stood there listening to this person ‘warn’ us, I kept thinking to myself, How are WE being ‘warned’!?! This is bullshit! Why can’t we be the ones ‘warning’ THEM that if anyone steps out of line, we would not hesitate to end all visitation and services immediately? Why are we not ‘allowed’ to ‘warn’ them?!? After they ‘warned’ us, my boss says to them,  “well, I hope this family member does behave because we will also have another family here for visitation at the same time “. This person said, “OH NO! There will be?!? Ugh, I don’t know if that’s a good idea”! WTF!?! Really? They feel it’s not a good idea? It isn’t up to them! It’s a freaking funeral home! Most of the time when I visit other funeral homes for a friend or loved one, there is usually always more than one family there. Why is this such a big deal for people! I got that again today when the family whose viewing started today when they brought in ALL their freaking food at 10am! They wanted to see the lounge. Ok, so I show them. They say, “ok, this will work, there is plenty of space. I have a bunch of food and supplies in my car I will need to bring in, there won’t be any other families here, will there”? Uhh, “this will work”? Oh, ok. Well thank goodness, because I hate to see if it wasn’t good enough! Oh and by the way, they weren’t even having an all day visitation! So after bringing in a bunch of soda, two cases of water, three cookie platters…chips, some other family members show up with some more shit. They brought in three boxes. In the boxes were all sorts of sandwiches. I’m not talking small boxes either.. There were probably at least 50 sandwiches to a box. My coworker said to one of them, “wow, that’s a lot of sandwiches “! The lady who carried them in says, “yeah, well we will be here all day, so we are going to have to eat something”! First, no you’re not gonna be here ALL day and second, that’s enough food to feed a small army!

For those who also work at funeral homes, you all know that any day can be a busy day. There doesn’t have to be a visitation or funeral going on, no arrangements, nothing.. But we are still busy!! Of course there are those days when it’s soooooo quiet, you can’t keep your eyes open! But I always hear from people who may stop in to pick up death certificates or cremated remains, etc.. how it must be nice to have it be so quiet and have down time.. Uhhhh… well, we don’t really have THAT much downtime! I still have my mom say to me when she asks if I’ve been busy at work, I’ll tell her yes and she asks, “oh, so you have alot of funerals then”? When I say no, she ALWAYS says, “well then your not busy”. Ive tried explaining to her that just because we don’t have funerals doesn’t mean I’m not busy. I can have busier days on those days with no visitation or funerals! There is just so much that goes on, I don’t think people realize that. For instance today, no visitation or funerals but yet I didn’t stop all day! I had a lady call because she needed a photo copy of her father’s death certificate from 2002. I had a family who came in because they wanted to order an urn, a special urn with a certain carving on the wood and then engraved, I had a body that had to go to the crematory, I had three death certificates that needed to be filed (in three different cities), I had several bills to do, I had to type a death certificate, order some pendants for a family, had another family come in to pick up their loved ones cremated remains, I had to contact a life insurance company about a claim / assignment we submitted, I had to contact our local funeral directors association, I had a couple of letters I needed to type, and I had all end of month stuff to complete and in the middle of all of that, the phone is still ringing!
So it bothers me when people assume all we do is sit around when we dont have a visitation or funeral!
Ok.. I’m done for now. I am really trying to blog more!!
hope you all are doing well and getting thru the winter (those of you who have to deal with cold and snow)!
Happy Ground Hog Day!

Life working at a funeral home – Just some ramblings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 22, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

So I’m trying to keep up and blog alittle more instead of waiting so long in between..
I wanted to blog a bit today about some stuff I was thinking about and most likely my usual rantings…
First thing I wanted to write about is all the articles I read on line about funeral homes and how we are always trying to charge people so much or how these articles talk about how funeral homes won’t disclose their prices, their GPL’S (General Price List) and how funeral homes are required to do so but make it so hard for the consumer to get one. I cannot speak for other funeral homes, I can say that the funeral homes in my area gladly present their GPL when asked, including the one I work at. We get many people who come in and ask for a GPL and they are always readily available. If and when people call us for pricing, we also gladly do so. Never ever have we told anyone that we will not give them pricing. Even when families come in to make arrangements, we give them a gpl. We are, by law, required to give them when asked, but again, why wouldn’t we give them out!?! In these same articles, I often see that they talk about why funeral homes in the same area have such price differences. Again, speaking in terms of my area only, the price variances are not that great. What I mostly see as far as price difference is in the Basic Services and Embalming, then maybe what they charge for Hearse, and then merchandise. So for instance, Funeral Home A may charge  $1700 Basic Services of Funeral Director & Staff and $800 Embalming. Funeral Home B may charge $2000 Basic Services and $500 Embalming. Give or take. So it’s where that particular funeral home charges more or less for certain things, but pretty much adds up to be around the same as the other funeral home. There is also charges for ‘Other Prep of body’, which is approximately  $400, again F.H. A may charge $400 and F.H. B may charge $350. When it comes to hearses, some funeral homes own their own hearse and or Limos, so they may be able to charge less then a funeral home who does not own their own vehicles. Funeral Homes who do not own their vehicles get them from local companies that they usually have worked with for years and since that funeral home obviously has to pay that company a fee, they have to make up some of that cost, so that gets passed on to the consumer. And rightfully so. If we did not, we would be paying for it and not making any money and being a business, just like any other business, that is how we keep our doors open, pay employees, purchasing office supplies, funeral upkeep, heat, electric, etc….Anyway, then there are charges for merchandise. Caskets, Vaults, these are items we purchase from the Casket companies and Vault Companies. We purchase these items from them, we up the cost. Maybe F.H. A sells a particular casket for $1250 but F.H. B sells it for $1500. It just depends.. but F.H. B may only charge $500 for a CRB (concrete rough box) and F.H A charges $695. What I think these people who write these articles are only looking at the prices but not comparing ‘WHY’ certain items are more at one place and less at the other, if they looked closely they could see that basically the prices are pretty close in comparison.
Another topic that irritates me is, Embalming and how these articles talk about how it is not necessary but the funeral home will tell you it is, how there are services available that do not require embalming. Yes, there are services that do not require embalming, but those services typically do not allow for viewing/visitation. They also state that funeral homes are required to have refrigeration, that may be true in some States, but not all. Mine does not.
There is always those people who come in for viewing and say things like, “he looks so good” or “it doesn’t even look like him”. We have had people mad because their loved one doesn’t look like the way they remember them then we have families that can’t thank us enough because their loved one looks so good. . We have had people actually complain to us, but let me just say that the people who usually do the complaining are not even family members. They seem to think they are doing the family a favor by telling us that “they” think we could have done a better job. This doesn’t happen often, it’s happened maybe three times out of all the years I have worked at a funeral home. People also like to feel they are important so they will come to us and tell us that the family needs more prayer cards or the family is upset about something or the family needs more time or they tell us that they will come back and gather all the family items so the family doesn’t have to worry about it. What they don’t understand is, we aren’t going to release any items to anyone but the family unless the family specifically tells us that a specific person may come to get them. Same thing with food (my favorite), people call all day long asking if food is allowed. I want to say NO, but I cant! People feel it’s this big deal that they want to deliver all this food but don’t want the family to know who brought it. Believe it or not, all families don’t bring food or want food, they are far and few, but nonetheless, some just don’t want any. So I think it’s important not to overstep, your intentions may be good, but stop and think for a moment. Also, I’ve been thru death before, having a funeral, spending all day at a funeral home. Yes, you get hungry, but most of the time, everyone else ends up eating that food you brought in, not the family. The family is too busy with guests. So basically you are feeding people you don’t know.. if you want to only have that food for the family, send it to their home, AFTER the funeral or in the days leading up to the visitation. The family is busy, they are most likely tired and sad. They will appreciate it more if they don’t have to cook or worry about what they are going to eat. So, in speaking of families and food.. We recently had a family who brought in some food, for themselves, ONLY! They came in with some donuts, cookies, a lunch meat tray and some bread. It really wasn’t that much however, when they came in they said to us, “could you please put this some place no one else will see it, we would like to have it later and last time we were here (the mother had died about a year ago and this funeral was the father), we brought in food but never got any of it because everyone else who came in for visitation ate it all”! Uhhhm, well, then you shouldn’t bring it in at all. And, where are we supposed to put it! Well, needless to say a few hours later they were hungry and asked if they could have their food set out. All we did was put their stuff in our storage closet. It’s not refrigerated, but it’s cold enough. So we got it out and set it on their table in lounge and thet started eating. About an hour goes by and they came to one of our greeters and asked them if they were going to put their food away? A this point I said, “No”! We don’t really have the time to stand around and watch to see,when you all are done eating and to go get it out each time they wanted something. So anyway, it’s just funny how most people bring in a ton of food because they think they have to feed every visitor that shows up but then here are these people who don’t want anyone to get any!
And…why is that the shortest visitations always have the most food!?! We have quite a few visitations that are 3 hours sometimes even 2 hours, they are usually cremation afterward, so everything concludes in same day. But these are the families who always bring in the most food and sit in lounge the entire time.
Then there are just the downright nutty families. Everyone in the family seems to be just totally loopy! I’m not kidding either. People are just whacked out anymore. Had a funeral couple weeks ago…every single one of them was just nuts. Either slurring their words and just acting odd and the other half all angry. Caught one lady stuffing tissues into her purse. Not the whole box, but actually taking each tissue out of the box and stuffing them in there. Not just a few, but like 2 whole boxes!  not joking!
Well, hope everyone has a great Christmas! !
and a Happy New Year if I don’t post before then!

Life working at a funeral home-Yep, it’s the busy season

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 25, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

So the busy months are upon us. I know, sounds weird coming from someone who works at a funeral home, But it never fails, November it gets busy.
It also means that there is that much more crazy I have to deal with!
Yes, crazy ass people! I’m not sure when people all turned nuts, maybe it’s just because I have gotten older or maybe I just didn’t pay ‘that’ much attention to people before. I dunno. But it seems that people have just lost their minds.
I consider myself ‘normal’, but I suppose each of us have our own definition of what normal means. For example, I am not a nut job, lol! But, I don’t do drugs. I only take my cholesterol prescription, my blood pressure meds, vitamin C, and ibuprofen for pain. I don’t drink alcohol, but not because I don’t want to, i cant, believe me, if i could, i would! grew up in a 3 bedroom home in a nice area, with both parents, who are still married today! One sibling. We ate dinner as a family every night. We went on summer vacations, nothing extravagant. I was a typical smart-ass teenager. I liked boys. ..  Nothing significant ever happened in my young life, no tragedies, no life changing events. so, I consider myself very very very lucky and fortunate. I know not everyone can say that. I also know that when life gets hard for some,  they change and not always for the best, life can change people. I don’t mean any offense whatsoever, I’m not picking fun at those who had it hard. I had a great childhood, but my adult life on the other hand has been a mess. It pretty much just sucks, on and off, but for the most part I would say more then not. But, I just drag my ass out of bed every single day and go to work. Sometimes, I let work get to me. Alot of people ask us funeral people how do we do what we do every day? Well, it’s a job. I think only certain people are able to handle the funeral business, wether you are a Director, a Secretary or a Greeter, or a Hearse driver. We are all affected. We all see death every day and we all see how the families grieve. But usually we are focused on our work. We are making sure everything is running smoothly. No funeral home wants a mistake or a family to not be pleased. So we are busy trying to make sure of that. BUT…every now and then,  you will find yourself feeling sad. I know for me personally, the one thing that will get to me if I let it, is going into the Chapel before the family arrives on the day of funeral, seeing all the pictures the family had set up for visitation. I will usually go in the Chapel before hand to see if there are enough prayer cards, make sure everything is in place, etc. I see the photos and see this person’s whole life. Their family. Pictures of weddings and babies and birthdays, vacation, etc. 99% of the time the photos are all happy photos, everyone smiling. There have been those rare ones where people are not smiling and it makes ya wonder. .. but nonetheless, I see the photos, I see this person laying in their casket, and excuse me for being blunt, but seeing them dead. No more life. They are just gone. No more pictures to be taken, no laughing with their friends or family who are left here. Now this is just how I think…. but as I look at all of that, I can’t help wonder why bother taking photos? Why bother working your butt off all your life, why do we ‘just have to have’ that new car, or whatever. Because in the end, none of it matters. The only thing that will ever matter, is how much YOU loved everyone else, how did you treat your family and friends, and even strangers. Because once you are gone, that’s it. I know we all want to be happy while we are here, at least I know I do!  And yeah, it would probably be alot less stressful if I made more money and I didnt have to worry about how I am going to pay my bills. And even tho I have bad credit and I can’t afford to do a total bathroom remodel, I know that if I die tomorrow, Noone else is gonna give a shit that my bathroom is horrible and that my credit card payment is past due, well the credit card company will, but, too bad for them!
That’s just how I see it, how I feel, sometimes. I know that those photos will bring a smile to the family when they look back on them. They will also bring sadness. When I look at photos of my Grandparents, I wish they were still here, same thing for other family or close friends thst have passed away, I cry when I look at those photos, most of the time, I do the same when I look at my photos of my pets who have passed on. But anyway, that is how working in a funeral home day after day affects me, how it can make you feel depressed about death and well, life in general .
Now, on the other hand, on any other given day, when you have a family who is just not cooperative, who just is not happy with anything, who make constant changes, who don’t bring in a photo for the newspaper when we have told them it is very important we have it by a certain time, otherwise it won’t be put in paper, who drag their feet bringing in clothing and when we call them they feel we are pressuring them. Then we have those who just cannot stop fighting with one another, cannot agree on anything because they don’t like eachother, all the while the person they love is laying in the prep room waiting for them to put their differences aside for an hour and plan a funeral! To maybe just not talk to one another during visitation so that it is as pleasant as it can possibly be.
I’m not sure what it is with younger people anymore. I know, I know, I was young once, but what I do know is that I was taught manners. I did not treat people I did not know like shit! I also listened to those who were older than I. If I was in public, I behaved, I said Please and Thank You and I knew that when you were at certain places, you behaved accordingly! And I’m not talking about when I was a kid, I mean when I was a teenager and in my 20’s. So why is it that I am always seeing these younger people behaving like it’s a party at a funeral home?!? Last week there were alot of younger people at the funeral home. As I was was walking thru the crowd of LOUD people, one young woman walks out of the Chapel and announces that she is going to the store and would anyone like anything cuz she’s gotta go get some more smokes! So, had she just been “talking” to another person and not yelling, fine, but she wasnt. It was rude! Plus,we had another family there who had their visitation that day. And yes, the food and drinks, ugh! There are signs posted that say, Please keep all food and beverages in lounge only, so why is it that three young women come walking thru with three coffee’s?  When I said, “excuse me, but you cannot have beverages in the chapel, in the lounge only,  thank you”. I get a dirty look, I get the roll of the eyes, or my absolute favorite, they look at you and keep walking as if they could care less! I want to go grab them by the back of their hair…  But of course I can only imagine that in my mind.
A few weeks ago we had a family, it was a small family, but they were the kind that no matter what we asked or told we needed, they just were not able to do so. The notice for the paper did not get put in on time. They were pissed. They were the ones who did not get us the info on time. No photo, no additions or corrections, nothing. We told them they could come by with the info, they could call, or they could email it. Nope. So I said, screw it! I am not going to continue to call them! I had already had to call these people at least 4 times about this obit. The morning of deadline, I called them and spoke with the daughter and told her I needed the info within 15 min or the obit would not make deadline! She said, “oh, ok, I will call you right back!!” Nope. So, I just said screw it. She called back 2 1/2 hours later!!! She said, “I have the info for you and my son is on his way with the photo”! I told her, ok, but that the notice will not make it in tomorrow’s paper, so the notice will run after the fact and will have to be revised. She was, let’s say, a tad pissed! I let her bitch. I then said, as nice as possible, “we explained to you when the deadline was. There is no leway in deadlines. If we do not have it in by a certain time, then it does not run! She said that everybody always “just” says those things, that I needed to call and just explain what happened and that how can they expect a grieving family to meet deadlines!
To those of you who feel that because you are grieving that the world should just stop, it doesn’t and it wont. Never. I know that sounds a bit harsh, but it’s a fact. The world does not care whatsoever who you just lost, unfortunately and it freaking sucks! There are deadlines. Period.
Same goes for getting to church or cemetery on time. I cannot tell you how many times I have had the church call or the cemetery call the funeral home asking where the service is. Well, for one, I’m at the funeral home, so a bit impossible for me to know just where the service is at. If they had just left the funeral home, well then yes, I would know how long ago they left, I won’t know what time they will arrive, who knows what happened on the the way there! I can only guess! If the service was at church, then I have no clue. But, what I’m getting at is, being on schedule. Families do not realize that we are on a schedule. We can’t very well say, ‘hey! hurry it up, would ya’! Although we are probably thinking it! lol  When we start to get a bit antsy, families sometime pick up on it and they sometime make comments to one another about it, within ear shot of us, pretty sure on purpose. But we aren’t being disrespectful, we are doing our job and our job is to make sure the funeral is going smoothly!
We recently has a disfunctional family. The deceased was only 27yrs old. There were parents and step parents and grandparents, siblings, they all came in to make arrangements. There was no spouse and only 2 minor children. With that being said, the parents were the legal next of kin. They seemed to all be getting along, then it suddenly turned. I’m not even sure how or why really, all the sudden there was just yelling and name calling and finger pointing. At one point I over heard the mother say, ‘well she/he had my last name, so it is my choice’! Then the father said, ‘I’m the one who is paying for this, so no, it’s my choice’! Then, the mother says, ‘oh, so now it’s all about the money, huh’! Back and forth for a good hour! Absolutely absurd! Then came the question of burial or cremation. Now, thank goodness they were leaning toward cremation because once the subject of who has to authorize cremation came up, the arguing started again for a moment. The father said ‘I will authorize the cremation’!! The mother then said, ‘Well if I don’t want it, then you can’t authorize it’! Dad says, ‘I am the next of kin, I can do whatever I damn well please’! Mom says, ‘No your not, I am, I gave birth to him/her, I am the legal next of kin, you need to know what you are talking about before opening up your God damn mouth’! LOL!! So imagine both of their faces when they were told that they are both equally the legal next of kin and if they could not agree on it, then there would be no cremation! Period! Well, since they wanted cremation anyway, they both signed. But, ya see where I’m goin? They all along knew they wanted cremation, but just because they couldn’t get along they had to fight about it when all they had to do was sign a piece of paper that literally takes 30 seconds to sign. You would have thought that was the easy part, to sign the cremation authorization, but the easiest part was actually them agreeing to separate the cremated remains! ! Ugh!
So, of course this being a younger person, we always expect a large visitation. And we always expect a large part of that visitation to be younger people (the younger people I was speaking of earlier). We happened to get two new calls just the following day after this young persons family had made and finalized the arrangements. We really don’t like to add another family into the mix when we know how crowded it will be. Our place is not that big. We can hold two families comfortably, average size families I suppose you could say. So one family comes in early the following morning and no problems, it was only a direct cremation, no visitation. The second family we have a hard time getting to make appointment for arrangements. They kept saying we’ll just come by later, well, no, you wont! Later, we will not be here! So, when they had not come in by 4pm or called we had to call them and tell them we HAD to set appointment with them for the following day. The granddaughter who was the informant asked if her grandpa would be ready for them to see when they came in! What!?! No! We don’t know what you want even! What casket. We don’t even have clothing! When we told her no, she said, “well I don’t see the point in coming in if he will not be,ready for us to see, we need our closure and our private time with our granpa”! Again, we explained that they have to come in to the funeral home to meet with a Director to make those arrangements, when to see him, what casket, bring us something to put on him, etc! She then asked that once they made those decisions, how long would they have to sit and wait until we put his clothes on him so they could see him because she had a lot of family she needed to let know! We could not make her understand that it did not work that way! So my boss says, “Once you come in to the funeral home to make and finalize the funeral arrangements, which include viewing, any services here or at church or none at all, what day do you want the viewing and service, also if you will be having a burial or cremation and if burial, which cemetery and does your granpa already own property at cemetery, you will also need to decide on a casket, etc.., I am a bit confused as to what you want right now, so it is best if you would come in now and we can figure it out, but just so that we are clear, without those decisions being made, you grandfather will not be available to be viewed. You have not clearly stated if you wish for embalming to be done yet, which is something I really need to know asap and technically at this point, by law, since he is in our possession and it has been over 48hrs, I need to embalm him regardless, but I won’t until I have your permission “.  We only require a verbal authorization for embalming from the next of kin. However, in this case, my boss decided that he wanted to wait until she came in. With ALL of that being said…  The granddaughter says…are you ready? She sayd, “…ugh, I really just don’t have the time for all of this right now. I am running in a marathon this weekend and now having to contact all these friends and family, it’s just so much”!
W T F ?!?!?! And.. she was freaking serious!! After that, my boss said to her that she HAD to come in that day. That he needed her to come in and take care of this immediately, that it would not take more than an hour of her time, he would do his best to make this as speedy as possible! She finally agreed and set a 11am appt. Well, 11am came and went. At Noon, my boss calls her. No answer! Leaves her a message. At 1pm, he tries again. No answer. Finally around 1:30pm, she shows up! ! For someone who just doesn’t have any time, she was at the funeral home making arrangements, for over 3hrs!!!!!!!
Had she bothered listening and paying attention to my boss, she would have been done in less then an hour!
Needless to say, after ALL that, she decided ok a direct cremation with a half hour viewing, just her and her other whack job sister. Makes my head spin just thinking about her!
So, I startes,this post a few days ago, just finished it and realized tomorrow is Thanksgiving. To all those out there who think I hate my job, I do not! I am thankful every day I have a job and a wonderful boss. I hope you all have a great holiday and you stuff yourselves on lots and lots of food!!

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

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on October 5, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

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

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