One of the first questions a widow faces at the death of her husband is: “Which funeral home should be called?”
Many times, the answer is made easier. The deceased may have pre-planned their funeral or expressed a preference for a particular funeral home. Perhaps a family member works at a funeral home. Sometimes, families have a tradition of using a specific funeral home. In some cases, there may be only one funeral home in town.
Often, however, the answer is difficult, made worse by the emotions of the situation. It is important to remember that just like choosing a doctor, attorney or bank, no matter how emotional the situation may be it is still a business decision and should be made with as much logic as can be applied under the circumstances.
Factors to Consider
1. Locality – a funeral home in the town or neighborhood where the deceased lived will be practical for making arrangements, dealing with the deceased person’s body, and hosting calling hours and funeral services. If the deceased died while on vacation, it may be preferable to make arrangements for care of the body locally and then additional arrangements for services back home.
2. Type of Service – some funeral homes provide a full spectrum of services while others are limited in their offerings. A funeral home that only handles cremations is not a good selection for a family wishing for embalming and open casket services.
3. Denominational – religious practices of the family should be considered during this time. Some religions have ceremonial requirements that may not be met by all funeral homes.
4. Cost – as with any service, there will be costs associated with the funeral home’s services. Preliminary phone calls may be made to several area funeral homes prior to making a selection to request basic pricing. The family may wish for more elaborate or conservative services than a funeral home can provide.
5. Reputation – most funeral homes operating in small towns have the benefit of being long time members of the community. These funeral homes have built reputations over the years that will assist the family in the decision making process. Of course, there are long standing family owned funeral homes in larger cities as well. However many times a larger population base allows new funeral homes to open and these companies may not have built a reputation.
6. Recommendations – family members, neighbors, religious leaders, and other respected members of the community may be able to guide the widow in her selection.
While selecting a funeral home at the time of a loved one’s death may be difficult, by understanding the widow’s wishes for her husband, a choice may be made.