We are always happy to answer any questions you may have, but here are some of the most commonly asked questions we receive. Please reach out if you need clarification or don’t see the answer to a question you may have.
What is the purpose of embalming?
The embalming process sanitizes and cleans the body to help extend the length of time between death and final disposition. Embalming is helpful in situations where families need more time to make plans or travel after the death of a loved one. Preservation chemicals and cosmetics are used to help the deceased have a normal appearance, even in situations involving illness or injury to the body. This is especially important when you are having a viewing so the person looks as close as possible to how their family and friends want to remember them.
Is embalming required by law?
You are not required to choose embalming, but we do highly suggest it if you are holding a viewing. Certain conditions need to be met if you want to hold a viewing without embalming first. We are happy to explain your options or help you choose a service that does not warrant embalming, such as an immediate burial or direct cremation.
What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?
Knowing what to say after someone loses a loved one can be complicated. When you see someone in a public setting, your conversation should be based around whether or not you have already spoken to the bereaved since their loved one passed away. If this is the first time speaking to them since the death, it is best to avoid directly bringing up the loss in public. You might ask them to meet you for lunch or arrange a visit in a private place where you can speak about it, while also letting them know you are thinking about them during this time. If you attended the funeral or have already expressed your condolences, you can simply ask how the person is and give them warm wishes.
Should I bring my children to the funeral?
While it can be important for children to have an opportunity to express their grief and mourn the person they’ve lost, you should use your discretion when deciding whether it is appropriate for your child to attend the funeral service. If the child is old enough to understand death and not be disruptive during the service, attending a funeral can be a meaningful way for them to process the loss. You should try to prepare them for what to expect during the service and remind them they need to be on their best behavior.
What do funeral directors do?
A funeral director handles all aspects of funerals and related services, both in a caregiving capacity and as an administrator. They are licensed professionals who provide a wide variety of services, many taking place behind the scenes so that the family does not have to worry about them. The funeral director is responsible for coordinating the removal and transportation of the deceased, completing all necessary paperwork, and implementing the choices made regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. They also play an important role in guiding, supporting, and helping the family during their time of grief, whether with completion of tasks or with grief counseling, answering questions, or any other assistance the family may need.
Can I personalize my service?
Yes! A funeral or memorial service should be unique and honor the person who has passed away. We enjoy learning about families and the interests, hobbies, and lives of those we serve. Our team is experienced in arranging personalized services that represent your loved one’s life and their wishes. Do not be afraid to ask us if there is something you would like to include in your planning.
What do I do when a death occurs away from home?
Your first call should be to first responders, such as the police or emergency services. If possible, you may call the non-emergency services number for your local police department and report the death. Once you have done that, your next call should be to the funeral home. We will help you make the necessary arrangements for transportation and help coordinate all of the details with you.
Can I still have a viewing with cremation?
Yes, you can absolutely have a viewing before a cremation. Whether you choose burial or cremation makes no difference in the type of services you are able to select for your loved one, including holding a viewing. We encourage viewings as they can help provide a sense of closure and start the grieving process for a lot of friends and family members of the deceased. We would love to work with you to create a service that is meaningful to your family, whether that is a viewing and funeral prior to cremation, a service after the cremation, or something else you have in mind.
How long does the cremation process take?
The length of time for a cremation can vary depending on several factors, but the process usually takes between 3-5 hours to complete.
How can I be sure the ashes I receive are my loved one?
Funeral services and cremation are highly regulated. We must follow strict procedures and maintain the highest standards possible. In addition to the protocol required for a cremation, we include a metal disk with a unique ID number with your loved one throughout the entire process, including during the cremation. This helps ensure the cremated remains you receive are those of your loved one.
Are there restrictions on scattering ashes?
There may be restrictions on scattering ashes, depending on where you would like to scatter them. There are no restrictions on scattering ashes on private property. You should get permission from the landowner if you intend to scatter ashes on property owned by another person. There may be local laws or regulations on scattering ashes in a public place such as a park. We recommend contacting your local government or the group responsible for that space to determine what they allow. Scattering ashes is generally not an issue provided you are respectful and release them in a manner that is not disruptive to anyone around you.
Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?
Organ donation and autopsies do not prevent you from being able to hold a viewing or a visitation. We have restoration techniques to help your loved one look their best during these services.
What is a columbarium?
A columbarium is an above ground place where people can place urns containing the cremated remains of their loved ones. Typically columbariums can be found in mausoleums, chapels, or memorial gardens. These locations will usually have multiple small niches or compartments designed to hold urns.