As a funeral professionals, we are subject to comments, some true and some false. This current pandemic has brought some interesting comments.
A Common Misconception of the Funeral Industry
“You are lucky, your business must be booming during all of this.”
A common misconception of the Funeral Industry – that we profit off of pandemics and mass fatality. This is due to a lack of understanding, and perhaps lack of proper communication on our industry’s part.
The funeral homes and cemeteries that are serving an influx of families right now, such as New York, are not making more money. They are working 24/7 (as always) but at twice the speed and with twice the risk. Funeral Home/Cemetery staff likely will be compromised by the virus, suffering staff shortage increasing the workload or completely shutting down the location.
The families they serve might not have insurance, or they lost their savings to the hospital, or they had already lost their jobs; but they need a funeral director. In this instance, Funeral Directors will drastically reduce his or her fees to accommodate what these families might afford. Multiply this by many. Multiply these same factors across the country. The majority of services selected are simple burials or direct cremations.
Funeral directors are going into the line of fire to retrieve a deceased family member from a COVID-19 death in the hospital or into a home with unknown other family members, risking exposure constantly despite their Personal Protective Equipment.
What the Funeral Industry Actually Does
Ultimately, during a time of crisis, Funeral Professionals…
Must and will care for the decedent, whether by embalming or sanitary care prior to cremation. It is surprising to families and they are extremely grateful that we are there to serve them and that we will even bring their loved one into our care, but it’s our calling. We serve our families.
Will still meet with the family of the deceased, sometimes remotely, but more likely in person.
Must think of unique ways families can have a final tribute without gathering mourners. Maybe non-attended funerals live streamed, slideshow tributes on funeral home websites or Facebook. There are many creative ways to honor loved ones without a full service.
Funeral service has always been there regardless of the adversity. From flu and yellow fever to depression to times of war, funeral service has served the public, many times at risk to themselves, health-wise and financially.