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Funeral Director

A funeral director is a professional in the business of performing funeral rites.

As funeral directors in southern Alberta, we are very proud of the services we provide to our community members. Something we have come to discover is that people are curious about funeral directors and how we get into this line of work. It is tough and there are many challenges but also many rewards. Here you can learn about the difficulties, the rewards and the skills needed to be a good funeral director.



Duties of a Funeral Director

In order to direct funeral rites, a funeral director needs to be able to perform a multitude of tasks. Depending on the type of ceremony requested, these tasks can vary on how or if they are performed. The tasks funeral directors are typically known for are embalming and/or cremation and/or burial of the dead. In addition, funeral directors make all of the ceremony arrangements based on the wishes of the family members or the deceased. Other duties can include dressing, casketing and cosseting which is the cosmetic part of dressing the deceased. 

The Challenging Role of a Funeral Director

We can produce a personal tribute video that can be played at the service and online. Simply provide us with the photographs you want to include and we will transform them into a video celebration of your treasured memories. DVDs or digital files of the video are also available.

Physical & Emotional Drain

due to the unpredictability of the business, we need to be available to our community 24 hours a day. This means we are always on duty and when times are busy, we are constantly on the move. Transportation of the body to the funeral home might have to occur in the middle of the night depending if the hospital has a refrigeration room or not. When there are multiple funerals in one day, a funeral director has to arrange logistics for people and equipment to various locations at various times of the day. From carrying caskets and equipment to arranging times and people means this job is both physically and mentally draining.

Dealing with Loss

Even though there are times the deceased may not be known to us personally, we can’t help but feel the loss of the family. We often hear the touching stories of the family members about the deceased. This is just another part of the emotional drain experienced by funeral directors. 

Requires a Vast Array of Skills

Funeral directors need to be a jack of all trades. They need to be:

1. Good at business or the business will fail

2. Know about the safe use and disposal of chemicals (used for embalming)

3. Skilled in funeral cosmetology (Desairology)

4. Know about merchandising for funeral/cremation products

5. Be an excellent manager of people and time

6. Be a friendly, approachable and supportive person

Pressure to get it right

with funerals, you only get one chance to do it. A funeral director needs to make sure everything runs correctly. This pressure is felt by the funeral director again demonstrating the mental stress. Add the pressure of doing multiple funerals in a day and that becomes a tough day. 

Understand the mourning process

as people deal with loss in a variety of ways, the behaviour people exhibit during their time of loss can vary greatly. Understanding their behaviour means you know how to interact with them and this can make them more comfortable during a difficult time in their lives. Additionally, some people rely on a funeral director as a confidant with whom they can discuss some personal feelings that they may not be able to discuss with family. The key is to be supportive and understanding. Being able to provide information about resources such as grief support groups is an important role of a funeral director. It's not uncommon to deal with angry individuals. Some people manifest their grief in anger and frustration. It’s important to remember it’s nothing personal, it is simply how they handle loss. Again, it's important to be understanding and keep your composure. 

Paying the Bills

I guess this comes under the business management category. Speaking about money with clients who are mourning is a difficult process because money seems so far away from the current situation. Understandably, people may not think it through as they would under normal circumstances, they just want the best for their lost loved one. As a funeral director, I consider it important to make sure the client understands the expenses they are accumulating with various options. This helps to avoid the confusion with the bill after the funeral services have been completed. 

The Best Parts of a Funeral Director’s job

After hearing all the difficulties a funeral director experiences, I think it makes sense to highlight the best things and the rewarding aspects of the job. 

When not performing funeral services, funeral directors have many other jobs many of which are mentioned above. Considering all of the tasks, having great staff is imperative and we are fortunate to have a great team. Without a team, no funeral director could perform their duties. They enrich our daily routines with positivity and professionalism. The team make the multitude of tasks achievable and we are thankful for them.

The most rewarding thing about being a funeral director is centered around the fact that we, as funeral directors, are helping people get through one of the most difficult times of their lives.We know our help is needed because making arrangements at a time of loss is not something anyone wants to have to do. For the funeral attendees, it allows them to just focus on themselves to get through their grief. Being able to help people through the process is probably the most rewarding part of the job. From providing resources for grief assistance, advice on merchandise, advice about ceremonies to simply running the funeral ceremony, we know we are doing our part to help. “Thank you for doing everything for us” is something we hear all the time from our clients and that makes the long hours, mental drain and hard work worth every minute. 

Funeral Rites
Funeral Director with flowers
Funeral procession
Graveyard Funeral
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