What then does one do when such an expected event takes place? How does one help the members of their family accept death and begin their grieving experience? Both families took decisive action to ensure the realization and acceptance of death for their members. The first family had a traditional service with a visitation and funeral service. The members of this family had ample time to see and identify the decedent, and to allow reality to set in that death had indeed occurred. The second family, however, had selected direct cremation.
Direct cremation does not include services. It is a unique selection specifically designed to exclude service options and to minimize the financial burden imposed upon the next of kin. The second family’s loved one died in a different state from where she lived. Transporting a decedent over land can be rather expensive and with direct cremation, this expense is not realized. The decedent can be cremated in the state where death occurred, and then the cremains can be shipped via USPS to the funeral home of choice and delivered to the family. The second family opted for direct cremation within the state of death.
The first call to accept the case came very early in the morning. My husband and I were sound asleep when the phone rang. I took down the pertinent information from the hospital staff and then called the next of kin to decipher their wishes. It was determined I would have a local trade service cremate my client and send her cremains to my funeral home upon accomplishment of service. As daylight broke, my phone rang again. The decedent’s family was having second thoughts. They were experiencing denial of their loved one’s death and now wanted to see her before the cremation transpired. My husband jumped out of bed, drove to the state of death, and brought their loved one home to Texas.
Due to the driving distance, it was determined that my client’s family would come to the funeral home the following morning to identify their decedent and to finalize arrangements. They were a nice family and made their identification without incident. In the arrangement conference, it was determined that they actually needed a memorial service to allow extended family and friends time to accept that their loved one’s death had occurred. A time of sharing was presented to those attending the memorial service and participation was great. Both friends and family shared their fondest memories of their departed loved one and acceptance was gracefully achieved. This simple ceremony, the memorial service, served the decedent’s community well. As they arrived, they were confused and filled with disbelief. As they left, they were comforted, and peace resided within their hearts.
Final rites and services do not have to be lavish or expensive, they should, however, facilitate and usher in grief recovery for the survivors. The simple and affordable services selected by my client families this past week accomplished both for those in attendance. The opportunity to accept the occurrence of death and to usher in the commencement of recovery are wonderful gifts from the immediate family to those they love, and to those who loved their decedent.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.