How Funeral Directors Help Families

Published: March 31, 2023

Most people know that funeral directors are always available to help people who need help planning a funeral burial or cremation. Yet, many do not realize the many varied services a funeral director provides. In this article we will offer you a glimpse into the life of a funeral director.
Funeral Directors Offer Comfort and Support 

Yes, funeral home directors spend time with the deceased. However, they spend more time with families - comforting, listening to their stories, and seeking to honor their loved one in the best possible way. Funeral directors make it a priority to try to meet people where they are in their grief. 

Every family and every death situation are unique. Some people preplan their funerals, so there is an expectation of grief that comes along with facing one’s mortality. At other times, a family meets to celebrate the well-lived, long life of a beloved spouse, parent, or grandparent. However, there are also meetings where a funeral director welcomes a family who is in a fog of grief, stunned by tragedy and trying to figure out the unimaginable: how to say good-bye. And every situation can be characterized by a unique combination of mixed feelings, such as, mourning, thankfulness, frustration, anger, regret, helplessness, hopefulness, joy, sorrow … and always loss. A good funeral director must be a wise counselor and an excellent listener. The family’s comfort and support are of supreme importance. 

Funeral Directors Help with After-Death and Funeral Arrangements

Funeral directors are experts in helping people navigate the many details that accompany death. In a delicate, respectful, and professional manner, funeral directors help families know what to do (and when), how to make choices from many available options, who to contact, and how to find ideas to help them honor their loved one in a meaningful and personal way.

Practically speaking, the funeral director helps by

          arranging transportation of the deceased to the funeral home 

          obtaining a burial permit

          delegating tasks to trusted assistants 

          arranging payment processes

          notifying newspapers of obituary postings 

          dealing with death certificates

          preparing the body of the deceased 

          arranging burials and cremations

          helping families learn where to buy flowers

          arranging musical options 

          making arrangements with clergy

          creating a video slide presentation

          compiling a keepsake-worthy funeral folder

          comforting grieving family and friends

          creating a warm, comforting atmosphere in the funeral home

          overseeing wakes, visitations, funerals, and burials

The funeral director wears many hats and performs many services. And the list above includes only part of the jobs a funeral home director must do. Funeral directors look at their job as a sacred trust, committed to helping grieving families, with the best of their abilities, during times of loss.
Challenges Funeral Directors Face

The biggest challenge that funeral directors face is their unpredictable schedule. They understand that unpredictability is an inevitable part of the nature of their work; yet it can be hard on directors and their families to not be able to plan ahead and occasionally miss special family events. However, they do their best to adapt and can work with the constant changes.

It can also be difficult for funeral directors to carry the burden of grief and sorrow. They are not simply robots performing expected tasks; they genuinely care about their clients, so it can be wearing to see death and grief almost constantly. However, their job is also very rewarding, because they get a front seat view of the legacies of lives well lived and are touched by the honor and respect family members have for their lost loved ones. Where there is love, there is always hope.

Another blessing to funeral directors is when families are gracious in their grief. Sometimes a funeral director has the unenviable task of working with families who are in heated disagreement about service details. Others lash out in anger toward their funeral director, not because something the director has done, but because they are hurting and struggling through their sorrow and loss. 

Funeral directors patiently prepare to face the unexpected. They are ready to meet families wherever they are in their grief and graciously help them move through bereavement and, eventually, forward to a hopeful future. 

As always, we are honored to serve you at Hathaway Family Funeral Homes. We promise to do our best to help you and your family walk through grief with dignity, sympathy, and hope for the future. Please feel free to check out our website or call anytime at 1-508-673-0781.

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