The REAL Value of Funerals That We Fail To Communicate

Humans have an inherent desire to celebrate a life lived and share their loved one’s story with one another. Yet, the “no service” mentality is taking hold in funeral planning. By abandoning the ritual and tradition of family and friends gathering to share memories and help each other grieve, they are ignoring the real value of funeral services.

Those who choose a low-cost funeral option such as direct cremation and forego a service or viewing family may:

  • Fail to value a set burial place since their family members are so spread out
  • Lack a religious tradition shaping their expectations of ceremony
  • Worry about financial implications of the funeral.
  • But, whatever their motivation, these folks are overlooking the potential emotional costs of their decision. It’s up to you to communicate the importance of funeral services in the grieving journey.

 

Communicating the Real Value of Funerals

Families focusing too intently on saving money with a low-cost funeral can be missing the bigger picture. In helping families really find ways to celebrate their loved ones, we need to take the time to educate others about the value of funerals.

Yes, we can talk about direct cremations compared with traditional funeral services, and offer price comparisons and practical considerations, but as the experts it’s our responsibility to help families understand the many benefits the funeral viewing and services can offer during the grieving process.

A funeral brings people together.

One of the common reactions after a viewing or funeral service is surprise at how many people attended. You might hear: “I didn’t know Grandpa knew that many people” or “It was lovely to see how many people cared about Carrie.”

Then there’s the advantage of bringing those far flung family members and friends together. There’s bound to be at least one person at the visitation who will comment, “we really need to get together for more than weddings and funerals.” The loss of a loved one may even motivate a family member to plan a reunion or start a family newsletter or Facebook group to keep everyone more connected despite crazy schedules and geographic borders.

A funeral helps people heal.

Direct cremation doesn’t do that. Without a vistation or service, there is little opportunity to truly celebrate a life lived. Even if family members doing the planning have seen the loved one regularly, choosing to forego a viewing deprives others of the opportunity to say a final goodbye. Without closure it can be much more difficult for people to accept the reality of their grief and process the many resulting emotions.

A funeral taps into collective memory.

Similarly, without a funeral viewing and service, the grieving family and friends can’t be comforted by the power of story. The wife of 53 years or the daughter whose mother lived with her may think they already know all there is to know about the loved one. But, a funeral service or viewing can prove differently. Only a conjoined twin can truly claim to have been there for every memorable moment of a loved one’s life.

Hearing others’ memories can help everyone celebrate a loved one. For instance, a grown niece sharing Uncle Fred’s marital advice that terrified her in her teen years but makes perfect sense now can give everyone a new perspective on the man — and maybe a much needed laugh at a difficult time.

 

How Best to Educate Families

When educating the family with these talking points, don’t underestimate the value you personally offer. You’re the person who can best support the family during their grief journey. You have the experience and objectivity to strategically and tactfully help families celebrate their loved one even as they face the anxiety, anger and sadness of the grieving process.

With consumers today typically 2/3 through their buyer’s journey before they even reach out to a professional in person, the funeral website makes a valuable first impression. Along with providing an overview of your services, offer a clear explanation of the value gained from each and every element of the service. This can help those doing funeral planning better see what they might miss out on by focusing exclusively on cutting costs.

You can also build trust by sharing testimonials and case studies to show (instead of just telling) about the value of your product and services compared to direct cremation. With social memorial sites and a sympathy store, you can also make it easier for farflung family members and friends to be part of the celebration too.

funeralOne’s f1Connect website platform makes educating families on the value of your services easier than ever. With funeralOne doing the hard work, you can let your website provide families with a healing resource and provide interactive and innovative ways to connect to share memories and celebrate their loved one’s life. Click here to schedule a demo with one of our website success coaches today.

Rochelle Rietow

funeralOne

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  1. Allan Stearns

    As a Certified Celebrant, I conduct an average of 4 Celebrations of Life each month. The families that choose this route appreciate the personalization of the service. Many do not have a religious tradition or affiliation. But they insist on some element of the service to address their, sometimes, abandoned faith experience. When they hear their loved one’s stories (gathered by me at a face to face meeting), and they hear some of their loved ones favorite music at the service, they find comfort. There is also a release of guilt that perhaps they did not want to face by not having a service of remembrance.
    Many people that the deceased person knew, outside the family, want to attend a last opportunity to express their care for the deceased and to tell the family how much the deceased meant to them. I try to avoid the use of the words ” funeral” and “goodbye”. I call my service a Celebration of Life – not a celebration of death.
    All my services are brief (25 minutes) unless there are extenuating circumstances like a long eulogy or an endless parade of well wishers wanting to say a “few” words. People do not like to be preached to at a Celebration of Life, even when scripture is used. This is not the time for an alter call, or an admonishment from a preacher that the visitors need to find their own way to salvation. Inject humor if possible and this disarms the mourners from feelings of total sadness.
    I seek to raise smiles as the mourners hear the stories from the past and they can picture themselves together once again with their dad, grandma, or fishing buddy.
    Lastly, as a non-director, I do not meet with families initially during the purchase and planning meetings. The directors need to explain the above reasons for a service of “remembrance and celebration”. The extra cost will pay for itself time and time again as the family recognizes the value that they received from sharing their loved one’s life one final time.

  2. Funeral Planning

    I totally agree with you and thanks for sharing a beautiful article.

  3. Eric Butler

    Great article, concise. The one word that I have stricken from my funeral vocabulary (and not that I’m suggesting anyone else do the same) is closure. Closure. Hmmmmm. I’ve gotten used to saying “resolution” instead. Some level of resolution, moving in that direction. Why? I don’t know that I’ve ever had “closure” after the death of someone I’ve loved. And I don’t know that I want closure. Just my take, that’s all. Thanks for the great article.