What is a funeral?
A funeral is a gathering of family
and friends who come together to honor the
memory of a loved one who has died. Funerals
provide an important rite of passage.
Similar to rituals which mark other
transitions in life--such as baptisms,
graduations, and weddings--funerals provide
a time for family and friends to celebrate
the life of the loved one and share their
feelings concerning the loss of this person
in their lives. Coming together like this
helps people accept the death, which is a
critical part of adjusting to the loss.
Funerals can be
as unique as the people planning them. While
they are often held at churches, synagogues,
or funeral homes, they may be held in any
location requested by the family. Funerals
that remember the loved one in personal ways
can be very healing. We all carry memories
and it is helpful to share these memories
through readings, music, or other forms.
Funerals are an
important ritual in our lives. They affirm
our basic beliefs about life and death, and
help us through our loss.
Why do I need the
services of a funeral home?
When a death occurs, people seek the help of
a funeral home. Funeral Directors are
licensed professionals who are knowledgeable
about state and federal laws. Cheshire
Family Funeral Home can help you plan a
service that will meet your needs and guide
you through this time of emotional distress.
There are more than one hundred decisions
that must be made during the funeral
process. The best time to choose a funeral
home and to make these decisions is before
the death occurs.
funeral process it is important that you
have confidence in the funeral home to
attend to every detail. Mistakes at such a
highly emotional time can add undue stress
to the family. It is important that the
funeral home have adequate facilities and
staff to serve your family and friends.
The funeral home
you choose will play a very important roll
in helping you through the grief process.
The better funeral homes will offer support
groups and aftercare materials to help
families after the loss of a loved one.
Why have a funeral?
Commemorating the important events which
occur throughout the course of our lives is
important to most of us. Christenings and
baptisms, graduations from high school and
college, weddings, birthday and anniversary
celebrations, and funerals are all examples
of important events. These events are
acknowledged through some form of ritual or
Funerals serve a valuable function by
providing a time and place for commemorating
and acknowledging the life of an individual
who has died. Funerals confirm and reinforce
the reality of death, assist in the
expression of grief and feelings of loss,
begin the process of reintegrating the
bereaved back into the community, and convey
our values and beliefs regarding the meaning
of life and death.
Funerals may be as unique as the individual
whose life they celebrate. A funeral
director can provide many suggestions and
options for ensuring that a funeral, for a
loved one or for yourself, truly honors and
celebrates the life that was led.
What do funeral
The primary role of a funeral director
is to assist and serve people experiencing
the death of a loved ÷`¯â¸Ú”øÆôù|s is
immediately after the death has occurred,
but increasingly it involves planning well
ahead of the time of need.
The funeral director relieves the family of
many details. The director transports the
body to the funeral home, arranges for the
wake and gets information to the proper
authorities for the death certificate. The
funeral director places obituary notices in
newspapers and helps fill out claim forms
for Social Security survivors benefits,
Veterans benefits, and life insurance. He or
she also secures the location for the
funeral and arranges for someone to
officiate the service. On the day of the
funeral, the director takes care of
transportation and other logistics. The
funeral director is also responsible for
preparing the body of the deceased for the
service and making certain that its
presentation fulfills the wishes of the
In all of these activities, the funeral
director is the primary organizer and
counselor to the survivors of the deceased.
What is embalming?
Embalming is the process of sanitizing and
chemically treating the body of the
deceased. This process retards decomposition
of the body, and restores an acceptable
physical appearance. Embalming is the first
step in the process of preparing the body
Embalming is usually not required in cases
of immediate burial or immediate cremation,
and for some religious groups who bury
within twenty-four hours of death. Most
funeral homes require embalming if there is
to be a public viewing, if the body is to be
kept more than twenty-four hours, or if the
body is to be transported across state
In addition to embalming, preparation of the
body also includes shaving, hair dressing,
make-up, dressing, and placing the body in
the casket prior to viewing and services.
Why is embalming
The cells of the
human body begin decomposition immediately
after death. Embalming is the process of
sanitizing and chemically treating the body
of the deceased. This process prevents
decomposition for a period of time which is
often necessary to allow family members time
to gather for funeral services. Embalming is
also a step in the process of preparing the
body of the deceased for viewing. When there
is to be a viewing of the body, either
public or by the family, embalming restores
a more healthful physical appearance. This
preparation helps modify and remove signs of
accidents or disease, and can provide
survivors a more acceptable memory of the
family and friends to view the body of the
deceased at a visitation or wake, or during
the funeral service can be a valuable
experience. The most important reason for
viewing the body is to help people accept
the reality of the death that has occurred.
An important part of the grieving process is
the acceptance of loss, and viewing the body
may be a cathartic way to help survivors
toward acceptance, and to start the process
of healthful mourning.
director will discuss the option of the
viewing the body with the immediate family
when services are being planned. The
survivors may choose whether the casket is
open or closed during the public visitation
Insisting that a
person, especially a child, view the body is
not recommended. Children have many
questions concerning death, and it is often
helpful for them to view the body and
receive factual answers. However, viewing
the body is a personal choice for both
adults and children, and no one should be
forced to do so against their will.
Viewing the body
can be an important part of the funeral
experience. Talking with a funeral director
about your thoughts and concerns can help
you reach an understanding of what choices
would be best for your family. Viewing may
also be possible without embalming in
circumstances prescribed by your funeral
director. Please consult one of our
professionals for more information.
Why are flowers such a meaningful way to
Sympathy flowers have been a part of funeral
and memorial traditions in nearly every
culture throughout history. Changing trends
in how we say good-bye to loved ones,
however, often leave family and friends
uncertain about how to express their
condolences. Below, the Society of American
Florists answers the most commonly asked
questions about sympathy flowers:
"Is there a 'right' or 'wrong' type of
arrangement to send to people as a sympathy
Although very traditional sympathy
arrangements are still requested, most
florists today are happy to create a floral
tribute that is original and creative. Mixed
flower arrangements that look
"just-picked-from-the-garden," or green or
flowering plants are popular options. These
more contemporary alternatives provide the
family with the option to take them home, or
deliver them to hospitals or places of
worship after the service.
"What can I do
to make my arrangement special from the
To make your
floral tribute particularly special, ask
your florist to create an arrangement that
fits the deceased's personality. For
example, a rustic basket of wildflowers
might honor someone who loved the outdoors.
Whatever you do, the family is sure to
notice and appreciate the effort.
"Sometimes I see
a charity mentioned 'in lieu of flowers' in
the death notice. Is it still appropriate to
help you say what is often difficult to
express, they are always appropriate and in
choose to express your sympathy, any support
will let the family know you care.
What are traditional
A traditional funeral service is a type of
service that a particular family, ethnic, or
religious group has established as being
compatible with its beliefs and traditions.
In most of these
groups, a traditional funeral service
includes several common elements. A
gathering of family and community is held at
a church or funeral home, most often with
the casketed body present. The casket may be
open or closed, and there is generally a
defined order of service. The service is
often followed by the burial, but in some
traditions, may be followed by cremation.
The service is
normally organized by custom, tradition, or
religious law to provide structure for the
mourning and grief process, and speaks about
the death and loss. The traditional service
usually has a time limit, but is also
flexible to meet the individual needs of the
survivors. Traditional services are
group-centered, with family, friends, and
members of the community of the deceased
invited to participate.
A wide range of
services, from simple to elaborate, are
available. Regardless of the type of funeral
service, acknowledging the death of a loved
one can be important to the future
adjustment of the survivors.
What are memorial
Memorial services and receptions differ from
full traditional services in that the
service may be simplified and may be less
expensive. However, it is possible and
reasonable that a memorial service or
reception may be more expensive and
elaborate than a traditional service.
service is generally held at the funeral
home, although a church, meeting hall, home,
or other location may be chosen.
charge a basic fee which covers the common
services which everyone who uses the funeral
home will require. Some of these services
include removal of the remains from the
place of death to the funeral home, use of
the basic facilities of the funeral home,
and staff services for a basic arrangement
In addition to
the basic services, a family may choose
services that involve additional charges for
items such as certified death certificates,
newspaper obituary notices, and a container
for the remains such as a casket. The use of
the funeral home chapel, and/or visitation
rooms, flowers, and printed materials, are
also considered additional services.
Why might I choose
memorial services and receptions?
The deceased or their survivors may not
belong to a community that has a defined
funeral service, or they may be in a
situation where a traditional service would
be inappropriate. In these cases, memorial
services and receptions can be chosen as an
alternative to traditional services. These
events are less formal than traditional
services. Most funeral homes will provide
facilities for receptions or can assist you
with arranging them.
As a focal point
of the service, pictures of the deceased,
memorabilia from his or her life, hobby
items, or mementos may be brought to the
place of gathering. This is a way of
focusing on the life of the person being
remembered. Memorial services can be held at
a funeral home, church, private home, or
almost any place of community gathering.
where coffee and cookies or more elaborate
food is provided, may follow memorial
services, or may be the principle form of
the remembrance service. Receptions give
family and friends an opportunity to support
each other in their loss, to renew
relationship bonds and to formalize new
relationships which no longer include the
active participation of the deceased.
What are the
alternatives to traditional funeral
Today, there are many ways to organize and
conduct celebrations which acknowledge that
a life has been lived and that a death has
occurred. Some personalized formats that are
commonly used include: a service or party at
a workplace, favorite park, or camping spot,
or an open house at a favorite gathering
place. Other formats might include a sports
event, a dinner, an art show, or other
events reflective of the life of the
deceased and dedicated to them. At these
gatherings, family members or friends may
present a program of reminiscence, where
they exchange favorite stories of the
deceased and reflect on the contributions
made by that person.
facet of any of these alternative service
events is to acknowledge the mourning
process, and acknowledge the death and the
loss that follows. It is also important to
encourage the expression of feelings, and
speak directly about the individual life
that has been lived. There are no absolute
standards for an alternative service. An
experienced funeral director will be willing
to help you explore the alternatives which
are best for your family.
What do alternatives
to traditional funeral services cost?
Some families chose to design their own
ceremony or remembrance service. There is no
limitation as to the type of service that
may be designed. The important thing is that
the ceremonies chosen, whether simple or
complex, be fulfilling to the survivors.
There is no right or wrong, just satisfying
or not satisfying.
charge a basic fee which covers the common
services which everyone who uses the funeral
home require. Some of these services are:
removal of the remains from the place of
death to the funeral home, use of the basic
facilities of the funeral home, and staff
services for an arrangement conference.
Some examples of
alternative services are:
A memorial party
held in a favorite gathering spot complete
with potluck or catered food, music and a
time of reminiscence and sharing.
A picnic or
backyard gathering at which the guests are
invited to share stories of the deceased,
pictures, and favorite activities.