Do you know what a funeral director does? Many people assume that they simply manages and directs the process surrounding a funeral—as the name implies—but in fact, their roles and responsibilities extend beyond the funeral in many ways. A funeral director provides care to your loved one from the time of passing until the time of burial. Thoroughly understanding their role can provide some familiarity and comfort following the death of a loved one.
Care of the Deceased
The funeral director is initially responsible for the transportation of the deceased to the funeral home and is charged with the task of washing, embalming, and grooming the deceased to restore their natural look. It often brings comfort to families and friends to see the deceased in a healthy, restful state when they say goodbye. They can often even restore the deceased following organ donation (see Saving Lives with Organ Donation). Care of the deceased is provided with great respect for modesty and dignity at all times.
The funeral director works closely with the family of the deceased to plan the funeral service. He learns about the life and legacy of the deceased and the family’s vision of the services and burial of the deceased. He allows them to share their photos and memories as well as songs or literature they may want incorporated in the service. He respects the grieving process and works to bring comfort to the living through the rituals that follow death.
The funeral director is responsible for compiling information provided by the family about the life of the deceased to write an obituary. The funeral director’s goal is to accurately depict the deceased, especially his or her memorable qualities, to bring comfort and memories to the grieving.
The funeral director also has many formal obligations, including obtaining adequate copies of the death certificate and filing necessary affidavits, certificates, and authorizations. If beneficial to the family, he or she may also work with them to arrange counseling, social security benefits, veterans insurance, or other items by request.
Funeral Planning & Directing
The funeral director plans every aspect of the funeral based on the family’s wishes. This includes scheduling the funeral, making church and clergy arrangements, designing and printing prayer cards, making arrangements with the burial grounds, arranging for the family’s choice of pallbearers, planning for music and arranging for accompaniments and vocalists if requested, publishing of the obituary, arranging the flowers, and providing the guest book. On the day or days of the service, the funeral director directs viewings, services, and burial. Read about an interesting experience from a funeral director here.
In summary, a funeral director’s work requires compassion, empathy, and the utmost respect for the deceased as well as a genuine desire to assist the loved ones as they grieve. Through all of their roles following the passing of your loved one, they aim to bring you comfort and carry out your visions for the services and burial.