Funeral directors have always been deeply valued and esteemed members of their communities. The important work you do can sometimes be misunderstood, feared, or even overlooked — but that does not mean it’s insignificant.
Is your funeral home local and family-owned? Think back to the years of your grandfather or father working as a funeral director. He served as a pillar of the community. His role was as vital as a police officer, firefighter, or town doctor. Even if you are a first-generation director or just starting out, you play a crucial role in your community.
It’s not easy. The job can be physically and mentally taxing. Death knows how to keep you busy. You work nonstop. There are no 9-5 office hours. With all the work, there’s little room for downtime. That means less personal time, less family time. To be a funeral director is to be selfless. The job is demanding, and not just because of the hours.
For example, consider the funeral director in Ohio who had to bury six of the eight family members that were massacred. He was tasked with comforting a 78-year-old matriarch who had lost an entire family. There are the funeral directors in Miami who are going out of the way to create superhero-themed funerals for children lost to gun violence.
You’ve seen the worst. You’ve helped mothers and fathers who have lost a child. You’ve worked with siblings that have laid a parent to rest. You’ve comforted a community in shock over a suicide. You’ve mourned with your families.
But you’ve also seen the best. You’ve brought comfort and a smile to parents. You’ve eased the pain of those siblings. You’ve given a community closure.
It’s no small task. But that’s why many of you chose to make your living this way. You couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s not about the “industry” or the “business.” It’s more than that. It’s a calling.
As the profession faces unique changes, funeral directors matter more than ever.
It’s not news to anyone. New technology has led to a great deal of change. There’s the arrival of 3D printing, which promises new levels of personalization. Funerals can stream live to the web. People are turning to digital memorials and social tributes. Interest in green funerals is rising. People want their final goodbye to be as unique as the life they lived.
Tradition Still Matters
Even with these waves of change, there are those who prefer tradition. There’s nothing wrong with that. Tradition and rituals are comforting. Funeral traditions play an important part of the grieving process and help to combat anxiety, fear, and pain.
More Important Than Ever
More than personalization, more than tradition, people want guidance. Losing a loved one is a difficult process for them. A funeral director is not only there to arrange the final services of the deceased. You serve as a steward of the living, guiding them through the array of choices and decisions. A funeral director provides insight, comfort, and compassion.
If a family wants a modern, unique service, you get it done. You bring the innovative approach, the tasteful touch needed. Funeral directors today are responsible for creating new rituals at a moment’s notice. If a family wants a traditional service, something like their grandparents had, it’s no problem. You excel at setting up a formal, comforting service.
The funeral director is a master of both modernity and tradition. You painstakingly set each little detail for a service because each detail matters. You are storytellers in what will be a person’s final chapter.
That’s why your communities, and the families you serve, hold you in such high regard.