Funerals are probably the most popular of all the memorial options, as they are the most traditional type of service. There is no one set way to have a funeral – how you proceed depends on your loved one’s religious affiliation, age, and personality. For example, for a child’s funeral service, the parents will often choose to have a more uplifting service and will choose to decorate the area with balloons, flowers, and stuffed animals. Many parents also choose to have their child’s favorite stories and songs read and sung at the service.
A funeral usually will include prayers or blessings and are often directed by a priest, rabbi, or other spiritual leader. They are usually held in a church, synagogue, or in the chapel of a funeral home. If the deceased was not religious, prayers and blessings can be replaced by singing favorite songs and/or reading favorite poems or passages. You can pick how you want the service to proceed. Just discuss your choices with the funeral director to ensure that the service will go as smoothly as possible.
Your funeral director will be your key resource during the funeral planning process. There is at least one funeral director at every funeral home and he or she will work very closely with you throughout all of the arrangements. How closely you work with your funeral director and the amount of organizing the director does for you will depend on your needs. For example, if you need help writing the obituary, a good funeral director will help you with that and will also distribute the obituary to the newspapers of your choice.
The funeral director should explain the funeral planning process, discuss which tasks he/she can perform on your behalf, and help you complete all the steps necessary to complete the preparations. The funeral home will also coordinate transportation of your loved one’s body from the funeral home to the place of worship for the funeral and then to the place of burial. Remember that, in most situations, the amount you will be charged will vary according to what the funeral director does on your behalf and the type of work the funeral home does as part of the preparation and funeral service.
The planning phase of the funeral will likely take a few hours. You simply go into the funeral home, meet with the director and discuss the necessary details. If you or family members are unable to go into the funeral home, the director may be able to come to you. It is also a good idea to have the personal representative or executor of the estate present at this meeting to sign all of the necessary paperwork. If no personal representative or executor exists, then an immediate family member like a spouse, parent, or adult child should suffice.
Here are a few things you need when you meet with the funeral director:
– The clothes you want your loved one to wear in the casket. Make sure you bring a full set of clothing, undergarments included. Shoes are not entirely necessary but will be used if you decide to bring them with you.
– A rough copy of the deceased’s life history, including the names of living relatives, spouse and the places your loved one lived.
– The names of the deceased’s parents, including mother’s maiden name.
– The deceased’s social insurance number. This is needed in order to register the death and make it official.
In addition to coordinating funeral arrangements, the funeral home may also offer additional products and/or services. For instance, the funeral home will have caskets on hand for you to purchase or rent. The cost of a casket will vary tremendously. Keep in mind that often, only the most expensive models are on display at the home. Do not be afraid to ask the funeral director if there are less expensive models you can consider. Many people who are planning a funeral on a budget consider renting a casket for the funerals and viewing, and then buying specially-constructed wooden boxes for the burial.
The funeral home will also likely offer you other basic products that you can personalize according to your loved one’s characteristics. For example, they will likely have different layouts and patterns for service programs and memorial cards. They may also have boards that you can use to display family pictures or other memorabilia. Some homes now offer a service where family photos can be scanned to a CD and displayed as part of a computerized presentation program.