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Why is a Funeral Service Important?

Psychologists and other experts agree that the benefits of the funeral are for those left behind in order that those who mourn can reconstruct their lives following their loss.  Before family and friends can fully adjust to their loss, survivors must express their grief in ways meaningful to them.  They must accept the fact that death has indeed occurred.  The funeral provides the opportunity to do those things openly and realistically.

What Times Are Available For A Visitation?

While we provide guidance with respect to visitation periods, we leave the actual time up to the family.  Visitations may extend to multiple days or may take place for just an hour or two before the funeral service.  Morning, afternoon and evening hours are available during the week or on weekends.  

Where Can a Funeral Be Held?

Funeral services may be held at a church,  at the funeral home, at the gravesite or cemetery chapel.  The Funeral Director will discuss all of the available options with you.

How Can A Funeral Be Personalized?

It is becoming more common to tailor a funeral service to the personality of the deceased.  Prayers and remembrances offered by family and friends, favorite music, treasured belongings, pictures and mementos can all play a major role in making the final tribute fitting and moving.  The family can choose to assemble a display containing family photographs, favorite possessions, items from their hobbies or awards the deceased received.  These items help shift the emphasis of the services to the memories of the person's life, rather than on the circumstances of his or her death.  

What Cemetery Options Are Available For Burial?

Most funerals in North American conclude with earth burial, which is burying the remains contained in a casket into the ground.  Purchases made for this option generally include a casket, a vault, a cemetery plot and a headstone or grave marker.  Above ground entombment is provided in mausoleums, buildings designed and maintained to house human remains.  Mausoleums are especially popular in certain regions of North America, and the availability and price ranges of mausoleum crypts very depending on geographic location.  In the area, there are several cemeteries that operate mausoleums.

Cremation is also an option and the cremains can be buried in a family plot of entombed in a niche in a mausoleum.  A casket does not have to be purchased.  A ceremonial casket can be rented for visitation and yet it is not destroyed in the cremation process.

What happens to the remains after the service?

There are 3 primary options:

Interment or Earth Burial – the casket containing the remains is buried in the ground. Purchases for this option generally include a casket, a vault, a cemetery plot and a headstone or grave marker.  

Entombment – The casket containing the remains is placed into an above-ground crypt in a mausoleum – a building designed and maintained to house human remains.  Purchases for this option generally include a casket and a crypt in the mausoleum. Mausoleums are especially popular in certain regions of North America, and the availability and price ranges of mausoleum crypts are dependent on the size and location of the crypt within the mausoleum.  Entombment is available in most of our local cemeteries.

Cremation – the remains are incinerated to produce ashes (cremains) that are returned to the family of the deceased.  The cremains can be buried in a family plot or entombed in a niche in a mausoleum.  A casket does not have to be purchased.  Many families purchase a decorative urn (available from the funeral home) in which they place the ashes prior to final disposition.  For visitation purposes, a ceremonial casket can be rented from the funeral home.  

Do you have to have a Funeral Director to bury the deceased?

In most states, family members may bury their own dead - although regulations vary.  A Funeral Director is commonly trusted because most people find it too difficult on their own to handle the responsibilities for the details and legal matters surrounding a death.

How do Funeral Directors work with a family when they are caring for someone in a hospice?

Most hospice programs recognize the value of funerals and have established communication and working relationships with Funeral Directors.  The National Hospice Organization and its standards document recognizes the significant role of the Funeral Director in collaborating with the hospice team at the time of death.

Funeral Directors have become an integral part of hospice care.  When you consider the philosophy of hospice and funeral service, it is clear why funeral service is a "natural extension" of hospice care.

In fact, our Funeral Directors and hospice caregivers typically work closely in order to meet the total needs of families.  Our goal is to make certain that at no time will family members be without support.

Why have a public viewing?

Many grief specialists believe that viewing the remains helps to start the healing process, as it allows the bereaved to recognize the reality of death.  Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity is voluntary.

What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

Our Funeral Directors are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.  You are encouraged to call as soon as you are ready after the death occurs.

If I call you, will someone come right away?

If you request immediate assistance, yes.  If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good-bye, that is also fine.

If a loved one dies out of state/province, can your Funeral Directors still help?

Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state/province arrangements, either to transfer the remains from our location to another state or from another state back to our location.

In addition to the details of the funeral services, what other pre-planning issues should I consider?

When you consider and express your personal wishes concerning the end of life and death care, you should also understand Advance Directives.

What is a living will?

A Living Will is a written advance directive that lists your wishes about medical treatment and end of life care in the event that you are unable to communicate with care providers.  An attorney can assist you with the writing, filing, and safekeeping of your Living Will.  Your right to accept or refuse treatment is protected by constitutional and common law.

For more information or for answers to your questions you can visit the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association.

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