Confessions of a … Funeral Director?

Hopefully you’ve not had to bury many loved ones in your life. But, the inevitable part of life is death, and sooner or later you’ll experience it.

In September of 2012, we buried our beloved grandfather. It was the first funeral of a close family member in my life and the only one I’ve ever been involved in planning.

Going through that as an adult, I got to see the business side of funerals. The cost that comes with nearly every single thing. The fact that if you don’t have life insurance (my grandfather was uninsurable; ironic for a man that sold insurance for his career), everything comes out of pocket. The way that you can save money by doing things for yourself (putting together a digital slideshow yourself will save $50-100). And how a good funeral director will be there to help you get through it all, a caring presence in a time of mourning.

I’ve been working on a short story for BizVoice® about the use of Skype at funerals so family members that are far away can be involved (check it out in our upcoming March/April edition). It’s just one of the ways technology changes even the business of death. I stumbled onto this really interesting blog called “Confessions of a Funeral Director: Working at the Crossroads of this World and the Next.” At some point, I’d suggest you give it a read.

Instead of the creepy, pale images of morticians you get from Hollywood (which is not the case at all, in reality), you get a chance to hear more about the industry and why people choose this particular profession. The writer is a young man named Caleb Wilde, whose sincere honesty and a quick wit make for an interesting read in a subject that many people find easier to ignore.

One recent post is about firing your funeral director when they try to gouge you for money at one of the saddest and most confusing times in your life.

He writes: “If you EVER feel pressure from a funeral home or funeral director to buy something more expensive — or something you don’t want — FIRE THEM! Seriously, just fire them. Walk out if you need to. The fact is that your mind is already clouded by grief and the last thing you need in your life is something trying to squeeze money out of you … because they will. You just experienced a death in your life. You need people who love you, NOT people who want to exploit you.”

Most people probably don’t question funeral costs, just thinking that’s how it goes when someone passes away. But you have to be a smart consumer, even in times of sorrow.