Dispelling Myths About the Funeral Profession

With the internet and copious amounts of information at our fingertips, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between myth and fact, even in the funeral profession. You will likely require a funeral professional’s services sometime in your life, and you may have uncertainties about what to expect throughout the process. With the expertise of some Homesteaders’ account executives who have worked in or with funeral homes for many years, this post sheds light on the reality of funerals and the funeral profession.

About Funeral Services

Myth: Everyone’s funeral service is the same.


Fact: You can customize a funeral service to reflect the unique personality and life of your loved one.

Talk to your funeral director about your options. Here are some low-cost ideas to personalize a funeral service. If you’d like further personalization options, discuss these questions with your funeral director or take a look at this blog post about mementos at a funeral service so you and your funeral director can create a memorable and personalized service together.

Myth: I can plan a memorial service on my own. 


Fact: Planning on your own can be emotionally taxing and time-consuming.

Brandon Full, Homesteaders Senior Account Executive notes, “While that may be true, you are potentially taking time away from yourself and your family and friends that could be spent on grieving and self-care instead of tending to all the details that a memorial service entails.”

“Planning a service yourself can be both emotionally taxing and time-consuming,” Brandon continues. “There is immense value in working with a licensed funeral director who can handle each step of the process, giving you time to fully focus on honoring your loved one and starting your grief journey.”

Myth: I don’t need a service. 


Fact: Every life deserves to be celebrated and honored.

“Every life deserves to be celebrated and honored, and a memorial service is a perfect way to honor a loved one,” Brianne Niedermyer, Homesteaders Training & Development Specialist, says. “The funeral is for the living, and it helps you and family and friends who attend the funeral start your grieving journey.”

Gary Weisenbach, Homesteaders Senior Account Executive, notes, “A funeral commemorates and honors your loved one and it can be an important part of bereavement and healing for those left behind. A funeral brings friends and family together to comfort each other during this difficult time, providing closure as well. It is important for us to remember that funerals are not only meant to mourn the deceased but also to remember and celebrate a life well lived.”

Myth: Funerals are expensive. 


Fact: Many funerals can be tailored to a family's budget.

Gary Weisenbach shares, “A funeral has three main components: services, merchandise and cash advances. There are many options and choices when it comes to the type of service and merchandise to fit a family’s budget. Cash advances are what the funeral home pays on the family’s behalf rather than the family having this additional task. These costs are an estimated range (i.e. flowers, honorariums, death certificates, etc.) that a family will set aside if they choose. They would be the same at any funeral home you choose.”

In addition, Jamie Dravecky, Homesteaders Account Executive, adds, “Funeral homes can help arrange gatherings at hotels, parks, restaurants or wherever your family wants to celebrate your loved one’s life.” You can work with your funeral director to keeps costs within your budget and have an equally unique memorial service.

Leaving your family with the gift of your funeral, preplanned and prepaid eases the financial burden for them and allows them to grieve with their community without the stress of planning and paying for your service. Talk to your funeral director about preplanning your own funeral. Not convinced that preplanning is necessary? Read this blog post for six reasons preplanning is a great idea.

Myth: A funeral service must be religious. 


Fact: Non-religious services are available.

Gary Weisenbach says, “While many people opt for a religious funeral service, non-religious options are available. The most important aspect of a funeral service is to decide which gathering best reflects your loved one’s life, beliefs and values.”

Talk to your funeral director about your service options. Consider holding a memorial service or small gathering at a location that was important to your loved one. Read this post for places in nature you can hold your loved one’s memorial service. If you are a funeral director, read this blog post for ideas on serving non-religious client families.

About Cremation

Myth: If you choose cremation, you or your loved one will not have a memorial service. 


Fact: Traditional service options are available with cremation.

Jamie Dravecky says, “Cremation provides flexibility in how you want to be remembered and celebrated.”

Gary Weisenbach mentions, “Cremation is only a form of final disposition. You still have all the service options available that you would with a conventional funeral: visitation hours, the choice of an open or closed casket or a memorial ceremony before the cremation.”

Ask your funeral director about your service options with cremation. In addition, you may wish to scatter your loved one's ashes after the service. Read this blog post for information on scattering ashes and other final disposition options for cremation. 

Myth: The cost of cremation is less than the cost of burial.


Fact: Many factors must be considered for both cremation and burial.

Gary Weisenbach shares, “Cremation can be less expensive if you choose not to have the cremated remains buried. If you’re planning on keeping or spreading the ashes, you don’t have the added cost of cemetery property, outer burial container and monument.”

Consider your loved one’s wishes for final disposition and the importance of holding a funeral service. Having a permanent, physical place to visit, remember and grieve your loved one can be important. Sharing memories and gathering with friends and family can be a crucial time in the grieving process.

About the Funeral Profession

Myth: Funeral directors only work 9-5. 


Fact: Funeral directors are often on call 24/7.

Jamie Dravecky notes, “Funeral directors are often on call, even in the middle of the night or on holidays. They must be flexible and taking care of others is their priority. Often, even after receiving a call in the middle of the night, they are in the office in the next morning.”

“Funeral directors frequently work long, strange hours,” Gary Weisenbach says. “While a funeral home normally has set business hours during the day, the funeral home staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They work whenever a family needs them to help.”

A funeral professional’s job doesn’t end after the funeral, there are still many tasks to complete. Some funeral homes offer aftercare programs, send notes of comfort on special dates throughout the first year of bereavement or hold grief groups for people in their community.

Funeral professionals can experience burnout, even if they are passionate about their work. If you are considering a career in the funeral profession, consider these tips to avoid burnout in your life, so you can serve others when they need it most.

Myth: It's difficult to start a career in the funeral profession. 


Fact: Starting a career in the funeral profession takes work, but you can get started today!

“If you have a heart to serve others, I encourage you to reach out to your local funeral home and start the conversation,” Brandon Full suggests. “Most licensed funeral directors would be happy to answer any questions you have. If becoming a funeral director is not for you, there are a wide variety of jobs inside the funeral profession that may be a better fit.”  

Jamie Dravecky mentions, “While there are some states that do not require schooling, the vast majority do require a special certification to become a funeral director and embalmer. There are also continuing education requirements to keep your license active.”

In many cases, a licensed funeral director must complete an associate’s degree at an accredited funeral service or mortuary science education program. There are schools across the country offering on-site and remote coursework. Read more here about how to start a career as a funeral director.

With so much to learn about the funeral profession, the process can feel overwhelming. I hope this post answered some of your questions and provided you with new options when the time comes. What have you learned about funerals or the funeral profession? Tell us in the comments below!

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