Annette Lourigan is a Location Manager for George Hartnett and Metropolitan Funerals where they feel privilege to be able to help families celebrate and honour the lives and values of loved ones.
Notes from the Undertaker – Remember the funeral director works for you!
One of the things I remind myself of every time I sit with a family is – in three months time they need to look back at the funeral service and have no regrets about it, I also share this with them at the beginning of our first meeting.
My role when people “contract” me to arrange a funeral is simple – I am to listen and put together not just a personal service, it must be personable. It must reflect the person who has died and their tribe. Always remember - you contract a funeral company to organise the funeral YOU want, not a “cookie cutter version” of their repertoire of varied service selections.
Where to start – don’t see the funeral director straight away. In those very early stages of acute grief (and more than likely suffering sleep deprivation) you may find the choices you make over the many options which should be presented to you are reactive and at times costly (in more ways than one). The funeral director before you actually see them can start the required paperwork to take someone in to care and they can make bookings at chapels and churches for you. In your mind and in your families mind put together your idea of how you would like the service to be before you see them.
If you are using a crematorium chapel consider booking two chapel times – a funeral service is one of the few times when “buying time” really matters. It allows you to not be restricted to 35 minutes, ensuring that you don’t feel like you are on a funeral factory line as one service is ushered in as the other is ushered out. More importantly it allows you time to physically sit with the person who has died one last time before the actual service starts. Personally I believe more time has greater value than the type of sandwiches served at the wake.
Flowers can be very personal, their smell, colour and texture can evoke and create beautiful memories, if you have the time visit a florist and select them yourself. Do it with your family, make an occasion out of it, share the stories of the ‘flower” moments throughout life – Daughters pinning flowers on to their Dad’s suit at weddings, corsages for Debutante Balls and school formals, the first flower you picked from the garden and gave your Mum. From a single flower to a basket of home grown vegetables flowers are more than an ornament on a coffin, they are part of a story of love.
In many of the choices you make in life you more than likely consider the costs; for example if your budget allows you to buy a brand new Barina, you are not going to buy a Monaro, to be frank funerals should be approached in the same way. Know your budget; know the options that are available to you. A good funeral director will discuss with you what options are available – if they don’t change funeral directors!
A funeral is not just one day in the thread of our tapestry; it is the thread that starts the legacy of life, memory and love. However you choose to celebrate/commemorate a life make it matter, take it from the Undertaker (who is waiting for remission) – life really is too short to live with regrets.
This blog is part of the ‘Did You Know?’ blog series where D2KDay is bringing to life conversations and information around death, dying and bereavement.