Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers from our professionals to frequently asked questions about all types of event planning.


Why is viewing our loved one important??

Viewing of the body provides the family and friends with the confrontation that death has in fact occurred - seeing is believing. Without viewing it can be difficult for the family and friends to persuade their own mind that their loved one or close friend is gone. These mind sets of denial can cause a person to continually expect their deceased loved one to someday "just walk through the door." Viewing the body is a very special time that allows the family and friends to begin the transition into their new life. That new life is continuing to live onward without the presence of their loved one. The Visitation or Viewing time is a very important time since it allows the family and friends to say goodbye to the deceased in their own personal way. During this time the family members and friends that gather can support each other with the grieving process. It is a time for remembering, expressing love, sharing tears and condolences by all. Regardless of the method chosen for final disposition of the body a public visitation can be of great help to family and friends in dealing with the grieving and mourning process. Viewing of the body should always be considered before final disposition. Open casket viewing is THE Most Personalized part of any funeral ritual or ceremony. Not having the body present at a funeral ceremony or ritual is like having a wedding ceremony without the bride or groom being present.


What is embalming??

The definition of embalming as: The process of chemically treating the dead human body to reduce the presence and growth of microorganism, to temporarily inhibit organic decomposition, and to restore an acceptable physical appearance. Embalming is not required by law however under certain circumstances it may be required or considered the most desirable method for preparation of the body. It is well known throughout funeral professionals that embalming is the most desirable method to prepare the in order to achieve an opportunity to present the body for viewing by the family and friends. Contrary to what some individuals may believe embalming is not an archaic or gruesome procedure. One should understand that there are many variables to the embalming and restorative procedures. Things such as, but not limited to, the presence of disease and trauma may alter the procedures performed by the embalmer. To enable you to better understand the process we have briefly listed the basic procedures below. The body is bathed; features such as eyelids and the mouth are positioned closed. To accomplish the injection process the embalmer will make an incision or incisions to gain access to an artery or arteries. An incision is made in an artery and a small tube is inserted into it. The embalmer will then mix the appropriate amount of preservation chemical into an embalming machine. The preservative chemical is injected under pressure into the arterial system. As the preservative chemical in injected into the artery a pressure, similar to living blood pressure, is built up in the vascular system and a vein will be opened to allow the escape of the majority of blood volume form the body. The essence of the process termed arterial embalming is to replace the majority of the blood volume with a preservative and disinfectant chemical. Following the injection into the arteries it is necessary for the embalmer to further preserve the internal organs. This procedure is performed by making a small incision in the abdominal wall and inserting a pointed hollow tube called a trocar. This tube will be inserted into the various organs and the gases and fluids will be withdrawn from the body. This process is called aspiration. Upon completion of the aspiration process of the cavities a preservative chemical will be injected into the internal organs and the small incision closed and sealed. Other procedures and care will be performed to make the body ready for viewing such as, but not limited to, fixing hair, make up application and dressing the body in attire selected by the family. Restorative or Reconstructive Surgery Procedures: Following a natural death the restorative measures may involve basic care procedures associated with embalming. However when death from severe disfiguring trauma has occurred it may be necessary for the embalmer to perform a variety of additional procedures, similar to plastic surgeons, in order to achieve an acceptable and identifiable body. Disfiguring injuries can occur during different types of fatal incidents. When these deaths are investigated by appropriate officials the family might be told that due to the condition of the body it is not viewable. Typically physicians, coroner’s and law enforcement personnel are not qualified to make the determination whether a body can be reconstructed for viewing purposes. Often these officials are not aware that an embalmer may be able to restore the body to a viewable state. There are also embalmers that specialize in reconstructive surgery that can be called in to the funeral home. These specialists have advanced training and can reconstruct some of the most severe traumatic injuries. Family should always consult with the funeral home embalmer to make that determination and may wish to seek a second opinion. Benefits of Embalming and Restorative Procedures: Delays the natural process of body decomposition. Allows for delayed final disposition. Allows additional time for family members ad friends to travel and father together. Allows additional time for viewing and ceremonies with the body present. Allows additional time for reconstructive procedures, if necessary, to restore the body to a more acceptable and identifiable conditions for viewing be family and friends. Typically provides an additional comfort for the family and friends enabling them to see and spend additional time with their loved one before final disposition. Why is it important to have a final viewing of my loved one following a natural death or severe traumatic death? Before deciding whether to view or not to view your loved one before final disposition carefully consider: Your loved one only dies once and your family has only this one opportunity to make selections and decisions. Carefully think it through and make choices that will appropriate and comforting for you, your family and your loved ones close friends. The psychological needs of the family members and close friends of the deceased. Having the body present is the most personalized way to honor your loved one. From infancy all of us are taught that it is proper to say Hello and Goodbye. Viewing periods allow each family member and friend an opportunity to visit the deceased, show their love, pay their respects and say goodbye in their own special way.


Should I join a Memorial Society?

A Memorial Society charges a membership fee for which you receive paperwork for organizing your pre-arrangement and a recommendation on a funeral firm who would provide services at an agreed upon price. There is no need to join a Society because we offer the same pre-arrangement information and alternatives to the traditional funeral and will commit to the cost. We can provide the same service without charging a membership fee.


Why not eliminate all the fuss, bother, and expense of flowers and funerals and donate the money to charity?

There certainly are many worthy charities. Experience shows that most people see value in both. For example, if the person died from cancer, a donation to the Cancer Society in memory of the individual is especially meaningful. At the same time, it is nice to send flowers to the family left. There is nothing like the beauty of flowers to soften the sadness and truly express the caring felt by friends for the bereaved. The best way to understand the value of flowers is to attend a funeral where there are none. Then attend one where different floral arrangements have been sent and listen to the families when they see the flowers and read the attached notes.

Ceremony marks every transition in life; weddings, baptisms, graduation, and funerals. We need the service to recognize the importance of the life that has been lived. Through music, poetry, and often scriptures, friends and family can face the reality of the death and begin to cope with grief. The family draws comfort from the gathering of all those people whose lives have been touched by the person who has died.


What purpose do these fancy caskets serve?

Choosing a casket is a very personal decision. To many people, it is important to select a casket made of very durable steel or semi-precious metal. They feel peace of mind knowing the selection they made protects against the outside elements. Often, families will want to select a casket that seems fitting for their loved one. For example, interiors with quilted patterns, hardwoods with tree designs, religious symbols such as the Last Supper or praying hands and sometimes floral designs, which may represent their family member's favorite color or flower. We believe finding exactly what is right for you is so important; we offer many choices in caskets and vaults.


If my family decides they don't want the so-called "traditional funeral" for me, what other options do they have?

Many people falsely believe that everyone has to have a "traditional" funeral. However, we believe that every service should be personalized in order to honor the person who has died and be meaningful to the survivors. We offer alternatives such as humanistic services instead of religious services, visitations with or without viewing, and unique ceremonies to honor the person who has died. For example, one of the most meaningful services when a teenager dies is to hold the service in the high school gymnasium with the school band playing and the principal or teacher making remarks. We try to be creative in helping the family make funeral arrangements so the decisions truly reflect their personal preferences and the life that has been lived.


Are you afraid of dying?

No matter how much you are involved in helping people cope with death -- you never lose your sensitivity. Being a part of helping other people cope with loss actually reminds you daily how precious life is.


Do you ever have a difficult time performing your job or have you become hardened to it?

It is always hard experiencing the pain and sorrow families feel when someone they love dies. What helps you get through it is hearing people later say "Thank you for helping me get through it." "Thank you for taking care of all the details." You never get used to death. Confronting death gives you a greater appreciation for life... and helps you enjoy your family even more.


I think viewing the body is ridiculous. I don't want anyone gawking at me after I'm dead. After all, what good is a funeral anyway?

Most families choose to have a viewing because it helps them to come to the reality that their loved one is truly gone. If you do not have an opportunity to view, you can fool yourself into thinking the person has not died. Of course, this is an option for each family because you can certainly have visitation and a funeral without a viewing. Remember though, people are gawking because they were friends of the person who has died - not curiosity seekers.


Why do you believe we need death education?

Death education is important because there are so many myths regarding death. If we understand it better, we are then better prepared to cope with grief. Some of the important topics include: "How to explain death to children", "Suicide Prevention", "What are the stages of grief", "How to help friends who have lost a loved one", and "Various religious customs for funerals". We work with the teacher or group leader in creating a curriculum, which is helpful and informative. We find adults appreciate the information as well, since our society tries to deny death, and therefore are poorly informed.


At what age should you tell your children about death?

It depends on the child and the circumstance. If a child has just experienced the loss of a grandparent or other family member, it may be necessary to discuss death earlier than usual. Some children mature faster than others and will often ask questions about life and death themselves. Most parents find that even in the preschool years, children want answers about why their pet died or what happens when you die. The important issue is not "when" you tell your children about death, but rather "how" you tell them. It is important to be honest and not resort to false stories such as "God picks the prettiest flowers" or "Grandma is asleep". We have a practical brochure for explaining death to children, which will advise you step by step on the right words and attitude.


My mother was cremated and now I'm considering it. What do you think of cremation?

Cremation is a very personal decision. Everyone should find out what is involved in cremation and be sure to discuss the choice with other family members to be sure they are comfortable with the decision to cremate. Also, if you are considering cremation, we recommend you find out your clergy person's position. For example, some churches permit cremation, but do not condone it. Whether you choose to be buried in the ground, entombed in a mausoleum or scattered at sea, the most important decision is to have a memorial service. Some people think if they are cremated they cannot have a funeral. A funeral is such a help in recognizing the importance of the life that has been lived. The funeral begins the grieving and healing process for friends and family.


How much does a funeral usually cost?

It is difficult to give an average cost because funeral services vary so much. The total cost depends on three main areas: the services selected, the casket and vault chosen and the automotive equipment utilized. While national average for funeral costs would be from $4,000 to $6,000, in actuality it depends on what you select. We encourage people to ask questions and find out about the costs so they can make informed choices. Our firm is affordable because we offer so many different options, all with dignified service.


Do you have to have a vault to be buried?

Our state laws do not require a vault for burial. However, most cemeteries do require an outside container for the casket. The purpose is two-fold: First, the outside receptacle keeps the earth from settling, thus preventing the unevenness of the land which makes the cemetery less attractive. Second, it allows cemetery caretakers to more easily maintain the landscape, which is an advantage to you in a more beautiful cemetery at a lower cost. A vault provides more durability than a grave liner. The vault is usually selected by the family because of their desire for further protection of their loved one in addition to the casket. There are many types of vaults and we would be happy to show you the differences.

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