Frequently Asked Questions About Funeral Service
Q: What is the purpose of a funeral?
A: Funerals fill an important role for those mourning the loss of a loved one. By providing surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to share thoughts and feelings about the death, funerals are the first step in the healing process.
The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:
It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.
- Providing a social support system for the bereaved.
- Helping the bereaved understand death is final and that death is part of life.
- Integrating the bereaved back into the community.
- Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one.
- Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain.
- Reaffirming one's relationship with the person who died.
- Providing a time to say good-bye.
Q: I've never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?
A: At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) offers these tips for smart planning.
- Be an informed consumer. Don't be reluctant to ask questions.
- Today's funeral director offers a variety of options to meet your financial needs and wishes. Families should discuss all options with their funeral director when making arrangements.
- When selecting a funeral director, choose one who is licensed and has a good reputation in the community. Give thought to this decision as you would when choosing a doctor, attorney or other professional.
- Be prepared! Avoid the burden of making decision while under emotional stress by organizing details with your funeral director ahead of time. Remember... preplanning doesn't necessarily mean prepaying.
- Plan a personal and meaningful ceremony or service to help you begin the healing process. Getting through grief is never easy but having a meaningful funeral will help.
- Contact a licensed funeral director or NFDA for more information on making meaningful arrangements.
Q: Is it possible to plan a funeral in advance?
A: We recommend that everyone preplan his or her own funeral. Doing so can offer emotional and financial security for both you and your family. By preplanning a funeral you will get the kind of service you want and your family will be unburdened from making decisions at a stressful time. Preplanning doesn't necessarily mean prepaying. If you are considering preplanning your funeral, please visit the Preneed section of this website or contact us for more information.
Q: Can I still have a funeral service if I choose cremation?
A: Yes. Cremation opens the doors to a number of different funeral options. From traditional services to contemporary celebrations, cremation gives you the flexibility to personalize the services for yourself or a loved one. To learn more about cremation, please visit the Cremation section of this website or contact us for more information.
Discussing Death with a Child
Q: Should children attend funerals?
A: Yes. Attending the funeral allows the child to be a part of the family at a time when they need love and attention the most. If the child is leery of the funeral, perhaps you can arrange a private moment before or after the service for the child to say goodbye. Or ask your funeral director if their facility has a playroom where that child could stay until the service is complete. The important thing is that the child is with friends and family and not isolated from the situation.
Q: How can I help a grieving child?
A: Here are five simple ways to help a grieving child:
- Be there for the child. Listen when they need to talk, and hug them when they need comfort.
- Share fond memories about the loved one with the child, and encourage them to share their own memories.
- Encourage the child to draw a picture or write a letter to their loved one. These items could be placed in the casket or displayed during the cremation.
- Frame a picture of the loved one for the child or give the child another memento to remember their loved one by. (i.e. coins that were in their pocket, a favorite pin, etc.)
- Involve the child in the funeral. Let them read a poem or letter they have written, sing or play a song during the service, or even just attend the funeral with family and friends.
Q: How can we protect children from the loss?
A: It is impossible to protect children from the pain of losing someone they loved. Trying to hide the death from them will only delay their inevitable realization that the person is no longer a part of the child’s life. It is better to include children in the mourning experience and teach them a healthy way to deal with their feelings.