We should be educating the public about death, dying and funeral options before the need arises. When a loved one dies, families come to us for guidance. We are not here to sell, we are not here to rush the process. We are here to listen, to counsel and to educate families as to their options for a final goodbye. There are no do-overs. In my opinion, the opportunity to view the deceased in an identifiable state while surrounded by friends, loved ones, mementos, and memorabilia is an option that should never, ever be left out of the conversation.
On nearly a daily basis, I talk to people who say, “I just want to be cremated.” When I query them further, I learn that many of these people don’t look at cremation as a method of final disposition of the body; instead, it’s a replacement for a funeral ceremony. We need to make sure that we educate the public that cremation is certainly an option but that it is only a form of final disposition. I think you will find that most funeral home websites offer far more information about direct cremation than about navigating through grief.
As professionals, I believe we need to help families consider the interval between death and final disposition- the time of grief, remembrance, and adjustment to the idea that life is about to move forward with an empty space.
Our compassion is the reason we walk toward the dead rather than run in the other direction. It’s the force that led us to the funeral profession in the first place.
We entered this profession because we are compassionate. We are professional. We are dedicated. We should be proud of what we do and share our knowledge with the people we serve. Our families and our communities- our very attitude toward death as a society – depend on it.