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Frequently Asked Questions

It’s important to recognize that the Celebration of Life is for the living … for those who are affected by the loss of a loved one. It is through the celebration process that a number of emotional needs are met for those who grieve.

What Options Are Available in Services and Disposition?

A Celebration of Life is similar to other ceremonies in our lives. Like a graduation ceremony, a wedding, a baptism, and a bar mitzvah, a Celebration of Life is a rite of passage by which we recognize an important event that distinguishes our lives.  It celebrates the life that has been lived, and offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.  This will help those who grieve to face the reality of death and consequently, to take the first step toward a healthy emotional adjustment.

Whether a Celebration of Life is elaborate or simple, such events are often individualized to reflect the life of the deceased and to hold special meaning for family and other survivors. A service may reflect one’s religious beliefs as a reaffirmation of faith in a greater life beyond this world. Some families choose to reflect upon the occupation or hobbies of the deceased, and some choose to center the event around an ethnic background or social affiliation.

In our society, three basic forms of final disposition are practiced – earth burial, entombment in a mausoleum and cremation.  Any of these three final disposition choices should be complimented with an appropriate Celebration of a life lived and cherished.

What is the purpose of a funeral?

The funeral fills important needs in our society. It provides for the dignified and respectful care of the deceased. It is a special tribute to a unique life. The funeral service helps the survivors face the reality of death, the first step in overcoming grief. It affords those friends and relatives an opportunity to express the love and respect they feel for someone who was important to them. Seeing how much someone cares can be a tremendous psychological help to a bereaved family adjusting to their loss.

What is embalming?

Embalming is a process that sanitizes and preserves a dead body. It delays the decomposition process and allows time for viewing and services by the family prior to burial or cremation. It restores a life-like appearance to the body and can enhance the appearance of a body that has undergone a traumatic death or illness.

Is embalming required when a person dies?

Embalming is required if there will be a visitation. If the deceased is to be directly buried or cremated, embalming is not necessary. A funeral home or mortuary can refrigerate the body until burial or cremation takes place.

Why does our society view the deceased in an open casket?

Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists affirm that viewing the body aids tremendously in the grief process by helping the survivors recognize the reality of the death. This is the first step in the healing process.

Who regulates funeral homes?

Although laws vary from state to state, the Federal Trade Commission is currently one of the regulating agencies overseeing funeral homes. Funeral homes are required to itemize their funeral service charges and you, as the consumer, then have the ability to tailor-make your funeral arrangements. We encourage families to gather as much information as possible. An informed consumer is a wise consumer.

Can you have cremation with an open casket visitation?

Yes, most families select an appropriate funeral service to take place before the cremation or after. You may still have a traditional funeral with visitation, with the cremation disposition taking place after the service. The psychological benefits of viewing our loved ones and having the opportunity to say good-bye are well documented and are available with cremation.

What happens to a person’s remains after cremation?

After a person is cremated, the remains are placed either in an urn or temporary container. The remains can be returned to the family for scattering or kept as a memorial in the home. Other options include placement of the remains in a columbarium or burial in a family plot. If the remains are to be buried in a family plot, you may be required by the cemetery to purchase an urn vault.

What Does a Funeral Director Do?

It has been estimated that over 136 individual activities must take place in order for one Celebration of Life to be conducted. The funeral director is actually an organizational and event specialist.

Here is a condensed list of some of the more visible activities of a typical funeral director.

  • Removal and transferring the deceased from place of death to the Funeral Home.
  • Professional care of the deceased, which may include sanitary washing, embalming, restorative arts, dressing, hairdressing, casketing and cosmetology.
  • Conduct a complete consultation with family members to gather necessary information and to discuss specific arrangements for a unique and personalized Celebration of Life.
  • File all certificates, permits, affidavits, and authorizations, as may be required.
  • Acquire a requested amount of certified copies of the death certificate needed to settle the estate of the deceased.
  • Compile information and create an obituary for placement in the newspaper and/or website of the family’s choice.
  • Make arrangements with a family’s choice of clergy person, certified Celebrant, church, music, etc.
  • Make arrangements with cemetery, mausoleum, crematory, or other place of disposition.
  • The providing of a memorial guest book, prayer cards, service folders, Life Tribute videos, and acknowledgements, as requested by a family.
  • Offer the assistance of notifying relatives and friends.
  • Arrange for clergy honorariums, music, flowers, death certificates, obituaries, additional transportation, etc.
  • Care and arrangement of floral pieces and the post funeral distribution as directed by a family.
  • Arrange for pallbearers, automobiles, and special services (fraternal or military) as requested by a family.
  • Care and preservation of all floral cards, mass cards, or other memorial contributions presented to the funeral home.
  • Our Celebration of Life associates will direct the event in a most professional manner, and be in complete charge of the funeral procession to the cemetery, mausoleum or crematory if desired.
  • Assist a family with social security, veterans insurance, grief counseling, and other death-related claims.
  • Post-Celebration follow up to make sure all of your needs have been handled to your satisfaction.