For some reason that is beyond logical reasoning, many people feel that it is almost sacrilegious to be expected to pay for a funeral. Oh, they know it will cost something, but when they get a final tally for the selections made to have the funeral service and cemetery property they want for their loved one, they get mad. Believe it or not,
family service counselors and even funeral directors, at times, get accused of pushing people to buy what they don’t need in order to “pad” the bill.
It is possible that some funeral homes and cemeteries seem more aggressive than others, but isn’t that how all of life is? For instance, I personally have had a lady become very verbally abusive one time early in my career when I was a fairly new manager. It happened in Florida, but could just as easily happened anywhere in the country.
She came to the cemetery to make arrangements for the burial of her father. Apparently he liked living near the ocean but did not really like going into the water. When she came to the cemetery, directly from the funeral home arrangement conference, she wanted to find a pretty spot near a palm tree and the counselor helped her find just the right grave space. It was quiet, within view of a pond, and the price seemed to fit her needs.
During the paperwork process, the counselor happened to glance at her funeral bill, which was pretty high, even for those days back in the early ’90’s. She bought a bronze vault and a bronze casket for her father…top of the line stuff. The counselor should have talked with her then about why she went so heavy in products, but he was trying to help her through this very emotionally difficult time in her life, and did not want to interfere with her decision to purchase bronze. Experience shows that bronze is used quite often when a person is to be interred in the ground as it will offer the best protection against entry into the vault of graveside elements, including water. Nobody can guaranty that a vault or casket will prevent entry of these elements forever, but it does offer better protection than minimal containers.
Back to how she got mad at me. About a month after her father’s burial, she had the occasion to attend a committal service in our mausoleum. She left the service and came directly to the office and so we met. She was very upset that she was not offered mausoleum entombment for her father. She did not know that we had a mausoleum, nor did she ask, nor did the family service counselor tell her. The counselor honored her request to be near a tree, and never tried to “sell” her something more expensive. This particular counselor did not like to push people, and it seemed that she knew exactly what she wanted from the time she walked in the door.
What she wanted was a final resting place that would be free of any water disturbing her dear father’s burial space. She was educated enough to know that a crypt is above ground, clean, dry permanent and dignified, and in her case, she would have paid anything to not have her father subject to water concerns.
The solution was to disinter her father and put him in a crypt. Such a process, though momentarily disturbing from an emotional aspect, it was the right thing for her to do knowing her father’s fear of water. What happened to the bronze vault that was in the ground all of one month? We set it aside for her and she sold it at a great loss.
There is a fine line between high pressuring a family into arranging something a little nicer but with a higher price tag and educating a family on all of the possibilities and let them pick what best suits their needs. During such a delicate and painful time in their life, families quite often just want to get things done as quickly as is possible so they can get away from the cemetery office and cemetery “sales people”.
I believe every adult in this country should take advantage of sitting with the pre-need department of their cemetery and funeral home, or if you live in Lake or Porter counties, one of our counselors, and see what options are available. Stopping in to learn about all that is involved in “disposing of dead human remains” when everyone is alive and well is not as difficult as waiting until the time of need. It is wise to make choices, and even contract for your cemetery and funeral needs when you are able to so as to freeze the price and know that you will be getting exactly what you want. In fact, Calumet Park will let you set up monthly installments with no interest, whether you wish to make your complete arrangements or do a little at a time.
Family service counselors are people just like you. They needed a job, looked into the profession, and discovered they could make a living doing something that is truly rewarding in many ways while earning a decent paycheck. The first time a counselor gets a hug or a note from a grieving family that thanks them for helping them through such a difficult time is actually worth more than any money that might have been made on selling the arrangement. Conversely, good counselors have quit the business when they are “beat up” by a family who looks upon the entire process with disdain.
Please keep this in mind: you get paid to do your work; doctor’s and dentists, store clerks and teachers and even ministers get paid to do the work they were hired to do. Cemetery and funeral home personnel are trying to make their way through this journey called life, and they truly are interested in helping you, the consumer, unravel the mystery of making cemetery and funeral arrangements.
Stop in or call 219-769-8803 to set up a meeting with one of our pre-need counselors and keep yourself from ever having the feeling of being victimized when you are forced to come in to make funeral arrangements on the worst day of your life. Visit our web site for more info at calumetparkcemetery.com or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org