A Word On Putting The “Service” In Funeral Service

As an employee in the service industry (food service industry, to be exact), I make it my personal responsibility to go above and beyond for every table that walks through my restaurant’s doors.

But the other day, something interesting happened to me. After greeting a table and making small talk with them, my manager took me to the side and told me that I was doing a great job, but, she said: “You’re just serving steaks, Krystal. You don’t have time to wow every table you have… you should try to care a little bit less.” When she said that, I did my best to pick my jaw up off the ground, smile, turn around and continue doing my job. But as hard as I tried to forget it, that comment stuck with me.

Sure, if you want to get all scientific about it, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a server is “a person who brings your food and drinks at a restaurant”. Nothing more, nothing less. But also, according to the dictionary, a funeral director is “a person, usually a licensed embalmer, who supervises or conducts the preparation of the dead for burial and directs or arranges funerals”.

And as a writer in funeral service, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between my own job and funeral service. No, I’ve never helped a family through a difficult time, and I’ve never been in a prep room before. But, we both belong in industries that are defined by the word “service”.

So my question then, is: does the word service go no further than its dictionary definition? Or, is the word service what separates the weak from the strong, the average from the best?

I like to think that service is more than it’s bare bones definition. I like to think that it’s exceeding your customers’ or families’ expectations. Let’s be honest, the average person (with the right training) could embalm a body, prepare the documentation, and manage the nitty gritty details of a funeral service. But if you’ve been in any service industry for more than a day, you know that service is so much more than that.

True service is when you’re hugging a crying widow who just lost her husband, offering her comfort and words of hope and inspiration that no one in this world could even try to string together.

True service is, when months after a death, you write a family a handwritten letter thanking them for choosing your funeral home, and attaching a copy of an inspiring poem you found that reminded you of them.

True service is getting to know your families’ loved one so you can offer them a funeral that’s personalized, unique and meaningful.

Anyone can plan a funeral. But not just anyone has what it takes to put the service in funeral service. It takes a BIG heart, a lot of listening, and an amount of compassion so incredible that most people can’t even imagine it.

The “service” aspect of funeral service is what makes families feel comforted after a loss. It’s what compels them to tell their friends about you. It’s what keeps the same families coming back to you, generation after generation.

No one wakes up one day and decide you wanted to prepare the dead or serve steaks. No, they wake up and realize they were put on this earth to help people in a way that they’ll never forget. That’s what I’m here for. And I hope you, are too.

After all, it’s not just called the funeral industry, it’s called funeral service.

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments.