You Can Have it Your Way – By Ryan M. Lee

by MSO

Funeral directors will take the time to help you make all your preferred decisions for a personalized funeral.

There can be more to funerals than the 23 Psalm and “The Old Rugged Cross.” You really can do whatever it is that you would like to memorialize your loved ones. The only obstacle in your path is clear communication with your funeral service professional. You may have the “perfect” memorial service pictured in your mind’s eye however you need to effectively communicate your desires.

While in Mortuary College one of my instructors drilled into my brain the notion that if a family’s request is not illegal, immoral, and no one gets hurt; then we should do it. While I have done a number of things professionally that have raised the eyebrows of some of my colleagues, I have always known that whatever ribbing I may receive in the office has been a sincere expression of respect for my desire to serve the needs of others.

Generally speaking, funeral directors are a kind lot of folks who desire to serve those who have hired them. A willingness to serve and a want to perform does not deliver “perfection.” Funeral directors must work in tandem with the families who they serve, and family representatives must communicate their desires clearly in order to achieve the “perfect” funeral.

Funeral Directors are not “mind readers” and it should not be taken for granted that they will automatically know what you will want them to do. Gone are the days of “cookie cutter” funerals that are conducted by an unknown clergyman who scarcely knows the name of the deceased. Consumers want more options than the compact disc renditions of “Amazing Grace” and a generic memorial folder with nothing more than names, dates and times listed on it.

The “Perfect” funeral is achievable. The first step to creating it is “visualizing” it. Once you have it visualized, and understand who will be speaking, which musical selections will be played and other similar details; then you will be able to articulate to your funeral director what your basic thoughts are. It is then up to them to present you with options as to how to complete the picture in your mind. There are as many personalization options available today as there are people.

Incorporating personal items, photos and other visual cues is only one of your funeral director’s goals. Including, via web cam, a family member who is away at college or in the military may be another of their goals. Offering uniquely customized memorial products may be another option offered to a family. Being offered a service, or even a product for that matter, should not be confused with salesmanship. It is important not to shut down communications because of the number of personalized options available. Communicating clearly with your funeral director will quickly and effectively narrow down the options that you will hear about. Speaking in vague generalizations such as “We just want a simple funeral,” or “We want cremation,” will ultimately lead to a mutually exhaustive questions and answer session between funeral director and client.

Ryan Lee is the best-selling author of A Day in the Life of Death, editorial contributor to Funeral Business Advisor Magazine and owner of Ryan M. Lee Mortuary Consultants


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