The funeral service is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who experience grief. We believe that making the funeral service as meaningful as possible is beneficial not only for surviving family members, but also for those who are in attendance. A meaningful service, coupled with religious and spiritual beliefs, assists mourners in dealing with their grief.
The funeral service helps meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the surviving family and friends.
Whether we recognize it at the time or not, those needs may include:
Acknowledgement that the death has occurred;
Identifying the pain of the loss;
Remembering the person who has died;
Seeing hope for the future;
Receiving comfort and support from family and friends;
Reconfirming our spiritual beliefs;
Confronting the reality of death.
The funeral normally involves a visitation period at the funeral home, a service either in a church or one of our chapels, and a committal service. However, funerals do not have any restrictions and we are able to provide the flexibility to accommodate your needs.
Choices for services include the traditional funeral; simple cremation; simple burial; transfer to another location for services or burial; entombment; memorial services; religious or secular/humanistic tributes; receptions; visitation; and the church funeral, which in our area is still the most common type of service chosen.
Some common questions about funeral services:
What is a memorial service?
A memorial service is a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Some families prefer public visitations followed by a private or graveside service with a memorial service later at the church or funeral home.
Who should be casket bearers and honourary bearers?
Friends, relatives, church members or business associates may be asked to serve as bearers. When the deceased has been active in political, business, church or civic circles, it may be appropriate for the family to request close associates of the deceased to serve as honorary bearers. They do not actively carry the casket.
What is a eulogy or tribute?
A eulogy, or tribute, offer praise and commendation and reflect the life of the person who has died. It may be given by a member of the family, clergy, a close personal friend or a business associate.
What is the proper dress for a funeral?
Wearing colorful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends. Persons attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste, to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion.
Who should take part in the funeral procession?
When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives may accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of worship. The funeral director will advise participants of the traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession.
Should I send flowers?
Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person's continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.
What are mass cards?
Mass cards can be sent either by Catholic or non-Catholic friends. The offering of prayers is a valued expression of sympathy to a Catholic family. A card indicating that a Mass for the deceased has been arranged may be obtained from any Catholic parish. In some areas it is possible to obtain Mass cards at the funeral home. The Mass offering card or envelope is given to the family as an indication of understanding, faith and compassion. Make sure that your name and address is legible and that you list your postal code. This will make it easier for the family to acknowledge your gift.
What is a memorial donation?
A memorial contribution to a specific cause or charity can be made in lieu of sending flowers. Often the family will express a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects which may have been a favourite of the deceased. If recognized as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes. Your funeral director is familiar with them and can explain each option, as well as furnish the donor with In Memoriam cards which are given to the family.
How should we express our sympathies?
Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.
A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as "I'm sorry to learn of your personal loss" is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.
Speaking to a family member by telephone or personally gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them feel you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don't hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased. Be a good listener.
Your presence at the visitation demonstrates that although someone has died, friends still remain. Your presence is an eloquent statement that you care. Visitation provides a time and place for friends to offer their expression of sorrow and sympathy, rather than awkwardly approaching the subject at the office, supermarket or social activities.
Persons may call at the funeral home at any time during visitation hours to pay respects, even if the family is not present. Friends and relatives are requested to sign the register book. A person's full name should be listed, and if the person is a business associate, it is proper to list their affiliation as the family may not be familiar with their relationship to the deceased.
Friends should use their own judgement on how long they should remain at the funeral home or place of visitation. If they feel their presence is needed, they should offer to stay.
When the funeral service is over, the survivors often feel very alone in dealing with their feelings. It is important that they know you are still there. Keep in touch.
Is it proper for children to attend funerals?
At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. The funeral director can advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and can provide you with additional information and literature.
Is there financial assistance available to help pay for the cost of a funeral?
Some, if not all, of the costs associated with funeral services may be offset by financial benefits available to survivors. We will be pleased to assist in determining and applying for these benefits. Depending on various circumstances, assistance may be available from the following:
Canada Pension Plan;
Veteran's benefits through the Department of Veteran's Affairs or the Last Post Fund;
Department of National Defense;
Company and union benefits;
Fraternal organizations; and
Compassionate travel policy offered by most airlines.
Is there help available to deal with grief?
It is healthy to recognize death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Your local funeral director can help family and friends locate available resources and grief recovery programs in your area.
Several web sites address after-care. They are located at www.grieftalk.com and www.bereavement.org.