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Planning a funeral is often harder than planning any other event. In addition to dealing with the pain of loss, the person who has to plan the funeral is usually the one the rest of the family (and friends) look to for emotional support in these trying times. Some people do get to plan relatively “impersonal” funerals (maybe for an estranged family member), which allows them to be objective through the planning and proceedings. Still, it's usually the exception, not a rule.
Choosing the right funeral home is an essential part of planning a funeral. When people are emotionally distressed, they find it hard to make smart choices. But that’s what resources like this are created for, to help ease the process a little bit, and help guide you.
Every culture and religion has its own traditions and ceremonies surrounding the death. And if your method of handling a funeral involves a funeral home, a few steps that can help are:
1. Decide on The Type of Funeral
The most common choice is the traditional, full-service funeral. Some people prefer a direct burial, where the body is put to rest soon after the passing. In some cases, a direct burial might be necessary due to pre-existing medical conditions of the deceased or if the body is not in the appropriate condition for embalming and an open casket. A memorial service can be held on the burial site.
Cremation services are also becoming increasingly popular, and you can have a full-service cremation as well. The type of funeral is the first important decision because, based on how you want to put your dead to rest, not all funeral homes might be the right fit.
2. Compare Services and Prices
When you decide on the type of funeral, it's important to straighten out a few other details as well, especially details regarding what kind of services you might need the funeral home to render. It’s a smart idea to split the list into two pieces: Essentials and options. Maybe you are adamant about embalming, but you don't have to choose the most expensive service. Or you are willing to consider refrigeration instead of embalming (but that also depends upon the type of funeral and condition of the body).
Once you have the list of services you need, you need to compare prices. It might seem odd to some, calculating the cost of a funeral, but remember that the deceased might only care about how you remember them, not how you bury them. And comparing prices from multiple vendors will help you choose the better, more affordable option, and also gives you more leverage to negotiate.
3. Visit/Research Online At least Two or Three Funeral Homes Before Deciding
Unless you have a specific funeral home in mind, approach at least two or three funeral homes that offer the type of service you want to hold. It's not just an economically wise decision, but more comparison points would help you make a better decision. Maybe both funeral homes are excellent in the facility and the services they offer, but one might strike you as the appropriate place to say goodbye to your loved ones. Even if the first funeral home strikes you as perfect, look into just one other to make sure.
4. Talk To The People At The Funeral Home
This is the most important part of all. You have to communicate with the people of the funeral home and make sure you and they are in sync. Ideally, people running a funeral home are empathetic and understanding. They can differentiate between people who just want to get the funeral over with, and families that wish to say a proper goodbye, and can cater to both types accordingly.
If you have any special requirements, make sure you convey them in due time and inquire about the additional cost. Most funeral homes have pre-planned packages, and if you don't want some of the services included from the package you've chosen, you can talk to them and maybe renegotiate the price (or choose another service of your preference). If you don’t think that the people running the funeral home are being reasonable, then you may need to consider an alternative.
Once you have decided upon the right funeral home, all that’s left is to put your loved one to rest. Conduct the service with dignity, and that's all that anyone can ask from you. It’s a difficult time, and grief makes it even worse, but planning the right funeral is also essential. When you are sure, in your heart, that you did right by the deceased, especially in the end, by planning a funeral that helped all loved ones say goodbye properly, you might find it easier to cope with the loss and heal.