What do Funeral Directors Actually Do?

woman choosing flowers with help of funeral director

Many of us don’t have much experience in organising funerals, but if someone close to you has passed and you have the responsibility of getting funeral and cremation/burial arrangements in order, then you may be looking for a funeral director you can trust.

But what does a funeral director actually do? In this simple guide, Affordable Cremations has explained the role of a funeral director. Once you have a better idea about how they assist with making your goodbye personal and memorable, it should be easier for you to choose someone you’re comfortable with.

The role of the funeral director

Primarily, the funeral director is there to provide a service for you, your family and friends, to honour the person that has recently died. They’re there to listen to your wishes, and help to combine them with practical actions and legal requirements, to build a funeral service that is suitable.

A funeral director should be compassionate during this sensitive time. Choose one that provides a warm, personal service, with the experience to guide you through the process and ensure you’re happy and comfortable with what they can provide.

Funeral directors are there to lessen the burden on you and your family, playing a major part in the funeral preparations, while ensuring that the wishes of you and your loved one are honored.

How can they help before, during and after the service?

As you navigate this strange time, your funeral director can become a stable point-of-contact to help you make arrangements before and after the service, and to guide you through the process on the day.

  1. They help you realise any known wishes. Sometimes, the recently deceased person discusses what they would like during their funeral service. Your funeral director can help you realise these, if they’re possible. If there’s something they can’t help you with, they should be able to refer you to someone who can.
  2. They assist with the organisation details. Planning a funeral involves a lot of organisation and tiny details. A funeral director can help you with these details – from choosing between a cremation and a burial, to deciding who should lead the ceremony, they’re there to bounce ideas off and to provide the professional guidance you need.
  3. They help you to personalise the ceremony. The life of a person is unique, and their goodbye ceremony should be too. Your funeral director may ask you some questions about the person that has just died, such as their favourite song, hobbies or even the flowers they liked. They can also provide support in the writing of the eulogies, if required, to help ensure the ceremony is a true reflection of the person’s life.
  4. They can help to organise the wake. If needed, the funeral director can help you to make arrangements for the wake following the service. They’ll have local contacts for venues and caterers, to make organising much easier on you and your family.
  5. They take care of legal matters for you. You’ve got enough on your plate at this time. Funeral directors can take care of logistics such as the registration of death and the transfer of the deceased to the funeral home.

There are endless other details a funeral director can assist with, such as liaising with the clergy or funeral celebrant, organising floral arrangements and booking times with the church or crematorium. Simply ask them for guidance and support where you need, to make the organisation as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Contact Affordable Cremations

We offer an affordable Direct Cremation service in New South Wales. We’re a family-run business that takes a personal, supportive approach to gently guide you and your family through the process. To learn more about our service, contact us online or call 1300 95 95 35.

What Makes a Farewell Personal?

Burning candle on table in darkness

A funeral is a highly personal experience; it marks not only a person’s death, but also their life, personality, memories and the effect they had on others. Many families in NSW want to plan a funeral that’s unique to their lost loved one, but they’re concerned that this will run up a bill they might struggle to afford.

In fact, an unforgettable farewell doesn’t have to be about white gloves, top hats, fireworks, marching bands and other extravagences. It’s about the memory of your loved one, and the most meaningful farewells are ones that are symbolic and highly personalised to the recently departed person. To help give you some inspiration, here are some ways you can make a farewell more personal.

Leaving old-school funerals in the past

Just thinking about a funeral can be painful, and this often causes people to leave arrangements to the last minute and settle for a standard or traditional funeral – forgetting about those little touches that make the day personal to your family.

A funeral director should listen to your wishes and ensure you know that the choice is in your hands, so you can feel free to speak about your wishes. Traditionally, a funeral takes place around one week after a death. It includes a ceremony in a church or non-religious location, followed by a cremation or burial and then a wake, and guests wear black clothing.

More recently, funeral personalisation has become popular, and if the standard traditional funeral sounds outdated to you, you can personalise it in a way that feels inclusive for guests, and may even help with the healing process.

Funeral personalisation ideas

What makes a funeral personal is not expensive trims – but photographs, music and memories that honour someone’s life. It should reflect their personality, and there are a few ways you can make the farewell unique to the individual. For example:

  • Play a memorial DVD or slideshow with photos and videos, for a powerful tribute with memories all guests can relate to
  • Think of symbols that mean something to you and the family; write notes and send them off to the sky in balloons, release butterflies as a symbol of peace, or look for other types of symbolism that makes the day unique
  • Hold a candlelight ceremony for a peaceful gathering that provides the chance for everyone to reflect and honour the life of a lost loved one
  • Hold the ceremony or wake at a place that was special to the person that has passed. Perhaps they were a huge fan of a particular sport, they loved the beach or they visited a certain restaurant each week without fail
  • Ditch the old-school, all-black dress code of traditional funerals and instead encourage guests to wear colours or clothes that reflect the personality of your loved one

Planning a funeral

Our sister company, Personal Farewells, offers a simple 5-step process to planning a funeral. Call them on 1300 95 95 33 to talk about their services and how they can help you to personalise a farewell to make it unique and meaningful for your friends and relatives.

My Loved One Has Passed and I Haven’t Cried Yet…Is This Normal?

Sad women sitting near window alone

When a friend, family member or loved one dies, many people think there are certain ways they’re “supposed” to feel. However, the passing of somebody close to you will undoubtedly come as a shock, and sometimes people just don’t experience or show the emotions they expected to.

Grief is surprising and unpredictable, and it’s different for each individual person, so if you’re yet to cry after the death of a loved one, it’s important to remember that this is perfectly normal. There are a whole host of reasons why this could be happening, and we’ve listed just a few of them in this article.

You’ve already experienced “anticipatory grief”

If the recently deceased suffered from a long-term or terminal illness, you may have already experienced anticipatory grief, which could explain why you haven’t cried since you lost them. Anticipatory grief is an emotional response to loss before it actually happens; you were expecting the death and so you’ve already felt the attached grief.

This pre-acceptance can affect the way you grieve following the death, and may even ease your sense of loss. Remember that this is a normal process, so try to go easy on yourself when you don’t cry the way you expected when a loved one passes.

You’re still feeling numb from the shock

A natural response to the passing of someone close is to feel numb. You may be expecting to experience anger, depression, loneliness, frustration or something else, but emotional numbness can commonly kick in and lead to feelings of nothing at all. We understand how awful this can be, and you may feel as though others cannot relate to you – especially when they seem to be more “in touch” with their feelings. This is a confusing time; it’s likely that your feelings will return, and know that this is not a negative reflection on you or your relationship with your loved one.

Often, the expected grief comes later, and may be triggered by events such as funerals, anniversaries or conversations with people close to you.

You’re private about your grief, or you’re protecting other family members

Grief is very private to some people, and it’s normal to keep your emotions inside to provide a strong support system to others that are affected by the death. Grief is a complicated emotion, and you may not be showing yours through tears simply because you’re confused about the way you feel, or you don’t want to make others feel worse than they already do.

We all cope with loss in our own ways. When you’re ready, talk about your feelings with someone you trust and remember that you’re allowed to feel whichever emotions you have.

Are you still feeling confused?

At Affordable Cremations, we’re there for families across New South Wales who are dealing with the death of a loved one and require a sympathetic funeral planning service. We’ve seen people deal with grief in so many different ways, and we can confidently say it’s normal to be less emotional than you expected right now.

Of course, if you’re still struggling to make sense of your emotions on your own, you could consider seeing a counsellor who can talk through your recent experience and the feelings that you have. Just remember that whether you’re feeling distraught, confused, overwhelmed or nothing at all, there are people that can help you to get through this time.