Archive for funeral home

Life Working at a funeral home – VENTING!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2017 by thefuneralbizz

I’ve been working on another post, but I have to vent!

First of all, I want to say to anyone who may be reading this that the reason I started this blog was so I could vent my frustrations. over the past 9 years, I’ve had a few comments about my bitching.. my purpose was and is not to argue with anyone or start arguements, but I do realize that it happens, especially on the Internet. I haven’t really really vented in a while, but right now I just need to. So if anyone is reading this and gets upset by what I write here, I make no apologies and I will not respond to any comments that lead to a back and forth arguing.

I’ve mentioned in other posts about how I feel about people, that they are rude, no one has any manners anymore and everything  is now now now! It has just got out of hand and I for one am just beyond fed up! I’m tired of having to bend over backwards for people! I get it, I work in the funeral business, but I’m still sick of rude obnoxious spoiled people. I am tired of the people who I have to deal with including ‘some’ of the families we get. Why don’t people LISTEN?!? We are NOT at the funeral home 24/7! We are NOT there just sitting around waiting just incase you want to stop by at 5pm on Sunday evening because you want to drop off the pictures for the visitation you are going to have on Tuesday at Noon! NO! We are not going to sit and wait around on you on a Saturday evening because you want to drop off clothing that we TOLD you to bring in by 5pm on FRIDAY! ! It doesn’t work that way! We have hours of operation just like other businesses! The only difference is that we make ourselves available after hours incase a death occurs. Of course we will answer a call at anytime of the day or night for a death call. We are not available anytime of the day or night because someone needs a work or school excuse. You actually think that we are going to stop what we are doing on a Sunday afternoon  (the funeral home is closed if there is no visitation), and run to the funeral home because someone forgot to get a work excuse while they were there for the funeral? NO we aren’t! It’s just dumb shit anymore. I have people call during the evening or on weekends when we are closed and say that they are at the funeral home but no one is answering the door! Nine times out of ten, they are annoyed that no one is there! Really? You just decided to show up and you’re mad? Then to find out its just because they have a couple cases of water to drop off for their visitation the following day! Look, you set times for your visitation, you get a family hour! How long does it take really to carry a few cases of water into the funeral home? Maybe ten minutes TOPS?!? I hate when we set times and the family hour is all set and the next question I get is, ‘so what time can we all come”? Are you kidding me?
Want want want, but don’t put forth the effort to get what you want! You want grandma in a certain dress, she cannot wear anything else. Fine, that’s understandable, but when you are told that we MUST have that dress by a certain time, BRING it by that time!! You want a photo on the prayer folders, we tell you we must have that photo by a certain time in order for them to be ready by your visitation, then have it to us by that time!
Another annoying thing, when families start telling everyone when visitation and funeral will be BEFORE they even come in to make arrangements! DO NOT DO THAT! Don’t post on social media about it, nothing, until you have actually made the ARRANGEMENTS with the funeral home!!
You may want your viewing on Tuesday and funeral on Wednesday and you want specific times, and usually we can and will accommodate that, but sometimes we can’t! Also it may not even be us who is unable to accommodate those days and times, it could be that your priest or pastor is not available at that time, or the church is not available at that time! USE COMMON SENSE! Just because someone died, the world does not stop! And I absolutely hate when the attitude comes out because they don’t get their way!
Same thing with the God forsaken death certificates! It’s sometimes the only thing some people are focused on. You’ll get the freaking death certificates, but we cannot force the doctor to sign it any faster! Believe me, if we could we would! They are becoming harder and harder to accomplish anymore and when we try and explain the process of getting a death certificate signed, no one listens! If people would just shut up for two seconds and stop being so selfish and understand that there are some things that you just have to wait for! Trust me when I say I want nothing more then to get the death certificate signed and give to you asap!
Food, yes, my biggest pet peeve! I dislike those of you who bring in food! I’ve always bitched about it, but never really came right out and said I can’t stand those families who feel the need to bring in a shit load of fucking food! It’s like the biggest concern, not the deceased, but the freaking food! And.. why? Why do you need to bring in so much food anyway? Some snacks, water, even some soda, fine, but people, STOP it with your freaking food at the funeral home! You do not need to feed the people who are coming to pay their respects! especially if you plan on having a luncheon! ERGHHH!
As I have said before, if you are here for visitation and will be all day, then leave for an hour to go eat! Or bring “yourself” some thing in. I just get so irritated with the families who make it all about their food, when can we bring in the food? is there enough room? do you supply plates and utensils? cups? water? napkins? is there tables for everyone to sit at, should we bring in our own table? where will we keep the food that needs to be kept cold? And I just love when they bring in their crock pots!

Children.. they are YOUR kids, NOT MINE! I will not watch your kids. If you must bring them with you then you need to keep them under control and they should be on their best behavior! They should not be permitted to run around like wild animals. There are things that they can get hurt on. Our funeral home is not child proof and you should not assume it is. We have steps/stairs and when your brats are let loose to run wild, well, when they fall or go rolling down the stairs and crack their heads open on the tile, it’s no one’s fault but your own! It’s is also not a place for their screaming! It is still a place of business and we are still working here. Use common sense!! Your kid is yelling and screaming, would you allow that at home while you are on the phone? Do you allow them to yell and scream and run up and down and up and down and up and down your steps? Probably not! Then don’t let them do it at the funeral home! Sometimes there are more then one family using the funeral home and that other family does not want to hear your kid! Have some respect for others!
If and when an employee does tell your child to quiet down or stop running, do not give them dirty looks, if you were doing your job as a parent, then the employee would not have had to say anything! I think it’s ridiculous that you bring your small children to a funeral home all day anyway. Get a sitter! Go home! take turns with your spouse or other family member. Bring them some books to read or color, do not assume they will be ok unsupervised! You may not be the only family using the funeral home, you have no idea what kind of people are here or who can walk in the door! We do not stand at the door and ask who every person is as they come in.
Flowers. . We get flowers all throughout the day and we have to carry them into the chapel. So if the family and visitors are here and flowers come in, we have to walk in the chapel with a stand and a flower working our way past everyone. Be polite and MOVE for us would ya?!? Also, when we set the flowers down, don’t stand over my shoulder waiting to look at the card! Wait a minute until I walk away! Also, if you don’t see your flowers you sent, sure you can ask us about it, but if we don’t have your flowers and they aren’t on our sign in list, then you need to contact the flower shop. I’m not sure why we get asked, “why aren’t my flowers set out”? Well, if they didn’t get delivered then I can’t set them out.”
Then comes the… “why were my flowers not delivered”? I don’t know, call the place you ordered them from!
It’s just stupid shit really.. But it adds up and pisses me off! We had a very busy few months and people have been really more annoying than usual.
There is alot to do and think about once someone passes, but it still is not an excuse to be an asshole! And yes, I’ve lost loved ones and yes, I’ve been the one who made the arrangements. And during those times I was not a jerk to anyone just because.
I received a comment recently.. it was said that I was quick to judge. There may be times when I am, sure. But, probably more so outside of work. It is difficult to judge those people/families I work with because I actually get to know them. I’ve never met these people before, so when they come in I meet them for the first time and immediately get to know them. I work with them from the moment I speak to them on the phone or the moment they walk in the door so I don’t really get the opportunity to judge anyone before getting to know them, especially in this business. If there is an insurance assignment, it is to pay the funeral bill, anything left over goes to the beneficiary/beneficiaries. I hear the stories!

So, there it is, my rant. I’m just burnt out. . I’m sure those in the business can understand.

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 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

Life working at a funeral home-??

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 20, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

I’m surprised I don’t drink and or self medicate! Ugh…

Will post soon.
Hope everyone is doing well.

Life working at a funeral home – Family Items & other stuff

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 16, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

After a funeral the family will usually come back to the funeral home to pick up any flowers and their other items. Other items are usually, the certified copies of the death certificates, the sign in book, thank you cards, any extra prayer cards or folders, any photos or any other items the family had brought in to display for visitation. Once the funeral leaves our funeral home the staff gathers these items and will put them together for when the family comes back.
What is irritating is when families come back and they take photos of all the flowers! Especially when they have alot of them.. Then they stand there and say “well maybe so and so would like to have this one or should we take this one and leave these or…blah blah blah”. Just take the flowers, take your photos home, then distribute them at that time! Also, if you have photos and you have used our picture boards, usually we will not remove those photos. Reason being is we do not want to be responsible for damaging them. Also, some photos may belong to different family members. But…I have removed them before, but usually only if I have worked closely with that family or if they only have a few pictures. What i don’t like is when a family will use tape on the backs of their photos. The older photos are already very fragile and removing the photo off the picture board will sometimes rip the back of the photo.
A tip to families who are planning on bringing in pictures. Make your own boards! Put your photos on a board, cardboard, whatever, then…we can place that in front of our boards. Ours happen to be felt, so we can therefore tack the cardboard to that felt board and place on one if our easels. Now, speaking if easels… We only have so many. We do not have an endless supply of easels. So bringing in hundreds of pictures and or boards, understand we only have so many. Also keep in mind that we may also have another family there who are also using some easels. What i hate is when a family comes in carrying 10 picture boards and hand them to us and we stand there like, uhhhh, and you want me to put ALL of these where!?! We also have several tables around the chapels. Families will bring in framed photos as well. Many times I get… We would like these around or near the casket… Well, uhhhhmmmm, there are flowers around the casket and we can only place maybe a couple near the casket on a smaller easels made for larger framed photos..there are tables everywhere, USE THEM! Of course we always try to do what the family wants, but sometimes we just have to say…No, you can place them where you want. Another issue I often get is when a family brings in photos and picture boards and photo albums a few days prior to their visitation. The problem is they want to go ‘set it up’. That is not always possible because we may be using that chapel for another family at the moment or we simply are unsure what chapel your family will be in. I cannot count how many times i have had this happen and when we try to explain that we cannot let them, but we will keep their items until day of visitation and then we will place them in chapel and when they come in ‘for family hour’ they will have the time to set them up where they want. And…next question I get… Ok, so what time should we get here then? Well…your family hour begins at…’ whatever o’clock’ so that time.

When you are planning a funeral and whether or not the deceased has property at a cemetery, most cemeteries will require the family to physically go to the cemetery to pre site the grave space. Cemeteries also typically require at LEAST 24 hours notice. Alot of them require 48 hours notice. So this means that when you come to the funeral home and arrange the funeral, you must give the cemetery enough notice. If you come in to the funeral home at 3PM and want a burial the following morning….it’s more than likely not going to happen. Also, when we tell you that you need to go to cemetery TODAY to pre site because they need 48 hours (and funeral/burial is in 48 hours) you MUST go. You cannot leave the funeral home and say, well we have to here then here and then here first… no, you must go to the cemetery! We get so many families who don’t listen when we say just how important it is to go…now! It’s different when the actual burial/entombment isnt for another few days, but we often have those who want to have the visitation and funeral asap. And, yes, we have had those families who altho we stressed the importance of getting to the cemetery asap, they do not go and….the cemetery says, ‘Nope’. The family of course becomes upset or angry and it is usually at us and or the cemetery. Not too long ago we had a family who was planning a funeral and part of the family lived out of town. It just so happened that the family who lived out of town were the ones who were in charge of planning the funeral.. Let me take a step back for a minute, this was also a ship in from out of state.. So, the deceased was shipped in from where the other family members were. Now, it typically takes a day or two for a body to be shipped. We will not schedule anything until we have the body at our funeral home. Once we have the body, the family typically comes in to the funeral home and finalizes all the arrangements. If the family is also coming from out of state, they will come in once they get in to town. But in this instance, the family was not going to be getting in to town right away and wanted to do most of the arrangements over phone so once they did get here they didn’t have to worry about coming in prior to visitation. We had also worked with this family and many of their other family members before, so they knew that we knew what they wanted. But…this particular person did not have any property at the cemetery they would be using. All of their family uses that particular cemetery. Well…the issue we had was that the family was not going to be in town soon enough before the burial to go to cemetery and pick out grave space to purchase, even tho their main concern was getting space close to all their other family members. They initially wanted entombment and not burial..but, to purchase the grave space was more within their budget. So they were relying on the cemetery to find a space close as possible to their other relatives. The cemetery told them they had a grave space available, it was ‘near’ the other family members.. The cemetery told them they really did require a pre site. The family then contacted us and wanted us to go pre site for them. We do not do that, ever! We explained that to them and told them the cemetery may agree to fax a waiver of pre site to us, so they could sign it, but the waiver states that the family hold the cemetery harmless. The family agreed and said to fax them the waiver. The cemetery agreed to do so. When the family came in on day of visitation we told them that if they had time, they should go take a look at the gravesite. They insisted that they were sure it was fine. We told them that we do not know where it is at, that noone from the funeral home went to see it because again, we do not do that and that is why they signed the waiver. Well… day of funeral, funeral arrives at cemetery and when they were taken to the gravesite, guess who was NOT happy? So, they were told at that time, if you are not happy, then do not go forth with the burial. They could just conclude the services, go speak to the cemetery and see what, if anything, they could do. One option was paying…again…for the crypt they originally wanted but decided on getting gravespace due to cost. They said, NO, they were burying the deceased and what a disgrace it would be to conclude services without burial.. However, they continued to yell and voice their displeasure the whole time and continue to say how we, the funeral home, screwed up! The director politely reminded them that they signed the waiver and that we made it very clear that we or the cemetery were not responsible for anything. Also if they in anyway feel they do not want to have the deceased buried in that space, then they should not do it because it would be much harder later on if they decide to move the deceased. They continued with burial. A few days later we started to get the phone calls from family complaining about how we screwed up and that they trusted us and they would have never chose that spot for the deceased, etc… They then told us they wanted the body moved! But they did not feel it was their responsibility to have to pay for it! They were told that we were not paying for it and the cemetery was not paying for it and they knew, understood and agreed to siging the waiver and not personally going to the cemetety themselves! This went on for a few weeks. They eventually let up because they knew they were the ones responsible for this, but they still decided to move the body…and pay for more space!!  As a funeral home, we go out of our way to please our families. We get many unusual requests, asked to do things we do not do, etc. But when it comes to approving a grave space or approving engraving on a marker or urn, we will not do that because things like this cost money, is most of the time permanent. Alot of people will say, ‘we trust your opinion or trust it is correct’. But when there is a mistake, guess who is not happy and says they never personally approved it?!?

A word about embalming. It seems, for some reason, every now again we get families that ask us if embalming is necessary. No, it isnt. However…if you plan on having a viewing then more then likely you will want embalming. A dead body is safer then a live one. So chances of disease spreading is typically not a risk. The reason tho you would want it is…you really wouldnt want to see your loved one decaying before your eyes. It is not pretty. So embalming slows down that process so family and friends can come see that person and, hopefully, see that person they remembered. With there hair done, makeup on, their skin intact. Yes, even men get makeup so the skin looks as if they are only sleeping, which is also why eye caps are used..otherwise it would look bad..the mouth is also sewed shut so its not hanging open, which I know I wouldn’t want to remember my loved one laying there with their mouth hanging open, unless if course that person was always maybe yelling…just trying to add some humor…i said trying. Also, there are gases that build up in the body, the body will also…leak. when it leaks, its not nice to see or sometimes…smell, just like the decay is not a pleasant smell. I can tell you first hand that there is really no comparison to a rotting corpse. Once you do get a whiff, it sticks with you all day…and night, and if you dont shower, then probably the next day too. You just cant shake it. So you really wouldn’t want to walk into visitation and have to endure the smell of decay. Personally, and ONLY my opinion, I would not want to be embalmed..and my family knows this. I do not want to be viewed tho either..I do not want to be buried either…I, personally, want to be cremated, then you can bury my cremated remains.
I think alot of people think of a dead body spreads diseases…but the dead are not actively coughing, sneezing, etc… If they did have a disease, usually that disease will also die within a few hours after death. Not all of them, but most. Embalmers take precautions to protect themselves from diseases and we also rely on the hospital, hospice, nursing home, etc, to notify us of any contagious diseases.
So..theres all that.
I havent had a whole lot of time lately to write, work has been busy as well as my life…and by busy i mean STRESSFUL!
I am however, very glad that the weather has began to get warmer!! If it wasnt going to warm up, I was seriously thinking of not leaving my bed until July!

Life at a funeral home-Tip of the Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 24, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

Yep..I decided today to post a Tip of the Day.
Here it is:
If you need to find out when a visitation/funeral will be and it is not listed on the funeral home website or you just do not have access to the internet and you have to call the funeral home to find out; Do NOT call at 10pm!! It is annoying. Yeah yeah yeah…I know, a funeral home/Director is suppose to be available 24/7…. We are. But for someone to call ‘thinking’ we are actually at the funeral home waiting for the phone ring… Is RIDICULOUS! And even if we are there, chances that our phones will be answered by one of us..is very slim! The answering service will be answering!
And..when you do call at 10pm, and the answering service then connects you to a director because you cannot comprehend why the info is not listed on our website, we do find it a tad, uhhh, whats the word…oh yeah, Freaking Annoying! Then…when you continue to say that you just do not understand why it is not on our website and we say that the only reason it is not or would not be listed is because the family requested it NOT BE LISTED..and you say, ‘…that is odd!’ What I want to say is…’it is odd that you are questioning ME why the family did not want it listed and that you are asking me this at 10freakingPM!

Life working at a funeral home-I Dunno

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2015 by thefuneralbizz

I really couldn’t think of a title for this post…so, that’s why I just wrote I dunno..
It seems that lately we have been getting alot of people/families who just show up to the funeral home whenever they feel like it and call the funeral home at hours that are just really stupid..I have said it before, but unless it is an emergency, say if someone has passed away, there is no reason whatsoever to call us outside normal business hours! Now, lets say someone in your family has passed away. You have decided on a Direct Cremation. You will be having a service tho, but not at the funeral home, maybe you will be having a Mass at your church or if you belong to a club, like the vfw or some other type of organization. When you come for arrangements we will explain how long it typically takes to receive the cremated remains back. I have explained the whole process regarding cremation before (getting death certificate signed, getting the permit approved by the medical examiner, forwarding permit to crematory, the cremation itself, etc..), this way if the family wants to begin planning for any services outside the funeral home they can do so however, we also explain that sometimes it does not go as smooth as it should and there is always a possibility of delay. It never fails that a day or two later we get a call from the family asking…again…how much longer it will be before the cremated remains are back, because they have scheduled a service on a certain day. Well, if they in fact have scheduled something that is within the next few days, well, we have to tell them we will do our best but we cannot promise just as we explained during arrangements. At this point we now have to do everything we can to make sure we get the cremains back asap. Most of the time we manage to do so, I just wish people would really listen to us when we explain to them that it does take a few days!! Now alot of people also order urns. So now we have to make sure we get that urn as well..some times people get engraving on those urns, this is a different problem. That urn most likely will not be done and delivered in just a couple of days. So anyway, my point…Once we do receive the cremated remains we will contact the family immediately! We let them know that they are back and they can come pick them up. Normally they will ask how late we are there. They will usually say something like, ok, i think i can be there before you close or i will send another person (we of course will get that persons name from the informant so we know who is suppose to be picking them up. FYI if the informant or knext of kin does not tell us that they will be sending someone else to pick them up, we will not release them). So, this is what I really have an issue with; we have now jumped thru hoops to get these cremated remains back asap at the request of the family. We have contacted them, they are suppose to be by to get them by closing time….and they never show up! Maybe they call the following day and say they couldn’t make it but will be by that day but again, what time do we close? At this point we will usually lie and say we close a half hour earlier only because if we don’t, usually we lock up for the night and an hour later someone is calling saying they are at the funeral home and HAVE to pick up the cremated remains NOW! So…someone has to now leave whatever they are doing, eating dinner, shopping, sleeping, etc…to go back to the funeral home so these people can get the cremated remains. Understandable that they do in fact need them but, we were there when we were suppose to be! We are use to being inconvenienced however, in this sort of instance, it really is very annoying. If the family could have said to us that there really is no possible way for them to get to the funeral home by the time we close, we could have and would have asked, what time can you be here, we can have someone here at the time you are able to here. Or, we would have offered to bring them to thst person!! We do this often. Many times older people are just unable to get out and have to rely on orhers and we understand that. We always go to the length we have to in order to make a family happy. Maybe someone is just unable to leave work early, we will most certainly bring them to you at work as well. But to just not call and say you are running late…that is frustrating! Same goes for if you schedule an appointment. If you have made an appt. to come to pre-plan or maybe to have us help you with life ins. papers and you fail to show up and not call to let is know, well that also is very frustrating. Why? Because we have scheduled everything else leaving that time frame open for you. Who knows if we have received a new call and the family needs to come in to make at need arrangements, so we have scheduled them before or after you. It could also be that there is a funeral that day and your appt is prior to that funeral or after. If it was before and you don’t show up but show up later, noone is going to be there to help you. If it was after the funeral, maybe the Director has rushed back to the funeral home so as not to be late for your appt. and yet, you fail to show up.
This also goes for walk ins…of course, because you all know by now how much they irritate me! If we are not busy, it still bothers me that people do not call first, but it is not as frustrating as if we are busy, in the middle of a funeral service or another family is already there making arrangements. We recently had a family walk in for only pricing. They had called about an hour later to say that they wanted to come back because they wanted to use our funeral home and that theyvwould be back in one hour. This was in the afternoon. So one hour would be at 4pm. Fine, but…they did not show up. They did not show up at 5pm either. At this point we are thinking they must have decided to not use us or they mistakenly called us instead of another funeral home.. At 6:30pm they called because they were at the funeral home and noone is answering the door! Really! They said they had called us and told us they were coming! Yeah, they called, but 2 1/2 hours earlier! When the Director spoke to them and told them that we were there past 5pm but they did not show up or call, their response was that they are very upset and have had alot to do that day and now noone is at funeral home to help them! No, we are sorry or we apologize, we should have called or anything. So now we are dealing with a family who now has an attitude with US because they didn’t show up when THEY were suppose to! The director offered to meet them at the funeral home, it would just be about a half hour for him to get there. Nope, wasn’t good enough for them. The director asked if they wanted to come back in the morning? Nope. They said…they would let us know if they still wanted to use our funeral home, that they may now use another funeral home. Needless to say we did not hear back from them…and you know what? I am glad we did not!
We always are available. Most funeral directors are. But when we say we are always available, we are always available by phone 24/7 and if it is after regular business hours and you need to meet with us, we will also make ourselves available…even when you call us because you are at our funeral home and want to make arrangements. It may just take someone a few minutes to get there. We do not have the ability to snap our fingers and magically appear! 
When someone calls our funeral home to ask about visitation times for someone and we are not handeling anything for that person, well, we will say that person is not at our funeral home. If we for some reason know where that person is, we will relay that info to the caller. We get alot of people who will question why that person is not at our funeral home. We have no clue! Most funeral homes will service the same family for years, every person who passes in their family is brought to the same funeral home. So when someone passes away from a family that always uses the same funeral home but suddenly goes elsewhere, it becomes confusing for the rest of the extended family and friends to understand why they are at another funeral home. It is also confusing to us believe it or not, because if we are so use to serving that family and all the sudden they go elsewhere it makes us wonder why..did we do something wrong last time? Did we make them mad? What? But anyway, those family and friends who just assume they are at our funeral home will call to ask times, when told they are not at our funeral home, of course they are surprised but also question us as to why they are someplace else…again, we have no idea!! Some people will just show up to our funeral home thinking that the person is being laid out and they come in to find that they are not at our funeral home. Then the questions start…it is always, why not?!? Why are they at that funeral home? The family always uses your funeral home! We really dont have the answers!
And of course the one thing that I complain about alot..Death Certificates. We get that there may be a life ins policy and that maybe the deceased had younger children and you want that money.. But here it goes again…The death certificate may be pending. If so, that policy will most likely NOT pay out until it is amended!! Don’t ask us multiple times or call us later thinking you are talking to someone else and they are going to tell you differently. If it is pending it is pending and there is absolutely nothing we can do! It sucks I’m sure for those who have to wait. But nothing you say to us is going to change it from a Pending staus. You can call us, you can yell at us..you can call the Coroner..it is not going to change until the State receives the correction notice from the M.E. and then it still takes time! I personally think its ridiculous how long it takes to amend a death certificate, but I dont work for the State so I have no idea what the actual process is or why it takes so long except I’m sure they also have hundreds of others they are doing as well. We have younger people who pass away, say in their mid to late 40’s. Usually they have kids who are in their late teens or early 20’s. I am not saying that the kids are not upset that their parent has passed, but ine thing I do know is that those particular kids are difficult to work with when a death certificate is pending because they want that money NOW! It seems to be that whole generation..from my own personal experience or observations, I find that teens, ages 16 up to young adults, in their 20’s have this whole mindset of ‘I want it NOW’ and ‘I DESERVE to have/get what I want when I want it’! They really have no concept of what waiting is or what being told NO is..and I find it very frustrating. Some time I just want to haul off and slap them in the face and tell them that if they want something and they want it now then you have to go and get it yourself, it is not handed to you because you want it to be! You have to work for what you want!
Well..Until next time. Hope everyone is surviving winter (those of you who actually live someplace that has a long, cold, snowy, miserable winter).

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