Undertakers & Planning Their Funeral

    A common question certain people ask those in the funeral industry is if they have thought about or prepared for their funeral.  Thinking about it I noticed something interesting and odd.  How those in the funeral industry saw and experienced the inside of the industry yet their attitudes to their own funeral were not what I expected.

     Working funerals sometimes mourners (or others) will ask the undertaker what they want on their funeral or if they have planned their funeral.  These people see the undertaker as working the industry, thus knowing about the industry and therefore also ready for their own death.  Yet this is not completely the case.

    Almost all undertakers I talked with know what they want on their funeral.  They have some idea, maybe they just know what style of coffin they will have or they know every detail of the ceremony.  Very few had no opinion or thoughts about what they wanted on their funeral.

    So most undertakers have some idea about what they want.  Yet very rarely was this specific and detailed, and even more rare was the undertaker actually ready for it.  Almost no undertaker I talked with had actually started to enact their funeral plans.  For example they might know what coffin they like but they had not bought it or written it into a will.  Or they might know what cemetery they wanted but had not bought a plot.

    It was strange, undertakers might know what they want on the funeral down to the tinniest of details (such as what to put on the tombstone) yet rarely took action.  It was almost never more than talk and  thought for the undertaker.  On the other hand those outside the industry but planning their funeral took action.  It was not dependent on age or health, one woman I spoke with recently was a prefect example of this.  She is in her early 20s and in perfect health.  Yet she has bought a grave plot and found a funeral home she likes.  In the last year she has done more towards preparing for her own funeral than undertakers who have been in the industry as long as she has been alive.  Of course, this type of mourner is rare as most plan their funeral as they get older or sick.  But the point remains, undertakers and mourners might plan their funeral but mourners take more action than undertakers.

    Furthermore the way the funeral is planned is different.  Mourners will plan for what is dignified, respectful perceived quality and sometimes good value.  The undertaker will instead look more for value, actual quality and sometimes how it feels.  For example one younger conductor I knew had picked his coffin because it was high quality, good value and comfortable.  He fit in it nicely, saying it was more comfortable than many others.

    There is a very different way that the mourner and the undertaker see the funeral and death itself.  The undertaker takes a more personal and casual approach, thinking about how the funeral will go from the deceased's point of view.  While the mourner takes a more serious and emotional point of view, seeing their funeral as the mourners who attend would see it.


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