do unto others
The holiday season can be especially stressful for funeral directors. You may not get time off like everyone else, or you may live far away from your family. Often, due to the demands of your profession, you can’t travel to be with your own loved ones.
When a death occurs during the holiday season, it can be especially difficult for the families you serve. As a result, the family may take out their anger, along with other negative emotions associated with the passing, on you. As a funeral director, you have no choice but to let them vent.
Sacrificing time with your loved ones and dealing with the misplaced distress of families happen year-round. However, these issues become more pronounced during the holiday season.
December brings some of the coldest, darkest days of the year, yet people use this time to spread joy and make happy memories. In the spirit of this wonderful season, let’s take a moment to find the bright side. Read the rest of this entry »
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Death from suicide provides a unique set of complications for the affected family, their friends, and the funeral service professionals who serve them. Offering comfort to the bereaved also becomes a bit more difficult. What should a friend or funeral director say? Is there anything to avoid mentioning? If you’ve lost a loved one to suicide, how should you respond?
Here are some tips for coping with the loss of a loved one to suicide and comforting the family of a suicide victim. Read the rest of this entry »
As a funeral director for over 30 years, I have been fortunate to help thousands of families through one of the darkest times in their lives. With September being National Suicide Prevention Month, I wanted to share a personal story with you on how suicide has touched the lives of my family.
It was a beautiful evening and I was sitting at the top of the Marriott Marquis in New York City at a cocktail party when my phone started to ring. It was my mother informing me my stepbrother had taken his life. In that moment, I knew I would have to put on a brave face since I was in a very public place. I equated it to the way President Bush must have felt when he was sitting in a classroom full of children when he was informed about 9/11. It was truly one of those heart-stopping moments. Read the rest of this entry »
Jeni Stepien’s father was murdered ten years ago, but his heart lives on in the body of donor recipient Arthur Thomas. When Ms. Stepien got engaged in October, 2015, she struggled with deciding who would walk her down the aisle. The thought that a piece of her father could be present during her wedding ceremony led her to ask Arthur if he’d be willing to escort her. Mr. Thomas agreed, and after he walked her down the aisle on Friday, Jeni shared “My dad is here with us, and this man is here because of us.”
Such a beautiful story has us wondering what role the funeral director played in the Stepien and Thomas story. How can funeral service professionals serve families like the Stepiens? Funeral directors are well-positioned to provide donor families with the support and information they need and make a powerful impact in each family’s life, but is there anything they can do specifically? Read the rest of this entry »
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of OGR’s Independent magazine. Many thanks to Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. for sharing his insights into the why of funeral service.
If you are reading this article, you are probably aware of a significant truth:
Many people are questioning the value of and the need for funerals!
If there was ever a time to be reminded of WHY you do what you do related to creating meaningful funeral experiences for those you serve, it is RIGHT NOW!