For some, the activities related to the death care industry are simple enough: arrange a viewing, comfort family members, and bury the dead. It’s a three-step process.
But the reality is more complex and difficult.
Funeral directors, for example, have to go through years of studying to earn their certificates and/or degrees in funeral operations and mortuary managements. Aside from the financial side of the business, they also have to deal with the day-to-day managerial tasks of running funeral homes.
Not to mention, they also have to know how to handle grieving families.
To combat this idea, here is a list of the tasks that funeral directors undertake for their business.
1. Deal with the legal aspect of a death.
Aside from making funerary arrangements, funeral directors also have to face the legal implications of a death. This includes obtaining the medical (or coroner’s, in case of a crime-related or sudden death) certificate from the proper authorities, filing the death certificate with the local civil registry, and requesting permits and affidavits for burial or cremation, as needed.
The repatriation of corpses for interment and/or cremation are also usually arranged by the director. The idea behind this is that the family is too aggrieved to deal with the paperwork. Having a third-party handle these tasks will be beneficial for the process of moving forward.
2. Coordinate with various employees and individuals.
Arrangements with embalmers, drivers, funeral assistants, and pallbearers are organized by the funeral director. Most of these employees are available in funeral homes, but if the family requests, for example, pallbearers from another organization, the director would have to make that arrangement.
Upon the choice of the family, ministers, priests, monks, or other funeral celebrants are also contacted and scheduled.
If the funeral home does not have an in-house crematory, an outside arrangement will have to be made. If the family chooses a traditional burial, the cemetery of their choice must also be notified, and transportation from the mortuary to the location is organized.
The distribution of obituaries for the local press, as well as online (when applicable), also falls under the duties of a funeral director. He/She may also assist with contacting relatives and friends of the deceased.
Lastly, floral arrangements, memorial plaques, urns, caskets, and family keepsakes (such as celebration of life DVDs) are coordinated by the director to ensure the smooth operation of a funeral.
3. Guide families through the grieving process.
Apart from the business side of the equation, funeral directors also deal with the human side of death – the grieving family of the deceased. From the planning until the end of the funeral, a director must always be around to supervise and help the family deal with their tragedy.
The after-care is also just as important as the events that transpire during the funerary rite. This is when the sadness really sets in for most families, and directors have to be willing to assist in these times also. Some funeral homes might even offer grief counselling to ensure that families are well taken care of emotionally.
Assistance with death benefit claims may also be offered to alleviate the family’s worries.
At the end of the day, being comforting and compassionate are the best traits that any director should have.
The operation and management of funeral homes is not a three-step process; it’s more than that. Being a funeral director is a vocation that not all individuals are a proper fit for. It requires managerial skills as well as people skills to help customers make sense of their loved one’s death. It’s a care-focused industry, and it underlines the respect all human beings – dead or alive – should be given.
Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel and Crematory has been the premier North Knoxville Funeral Homes since 1948. We can accommodate any need, and any budget.