Thursday, September 6, 2012

Plan For Your Future

Although the majority of my readers are my friends or people I actually know in real life it's still probably best to point out that I am a licensed funeral director/undertaker/mortician/embalmer/whatever the kids are calling it these days.  I have been working in this industry for 16 years now and luckily for me I can honestly state that I still enjoy my career/job overall.  Sure I have down days but who doesn't? 

Saw this on Facebook today and thought how appropriate!

Anyway, the point of me stating that is because I'm going to do a tiny PR post about the benefits of pre-arranging your funeral and then I'll finish with a funny example of a pre-arrangement that I've encountered. 

I've borrowed a blurb from my company's website on the benefits of planning your funeral arrangements ahead of time. 

"No one wants to think about their death any sooner than they must, but planning your funeral and cemetery services in advance, called “preplanning” or “prearranging,” is a responsible, caring act that can reduce stress for your grieving loved ones. It’s easy to understand how making decisions now about your final arrangements can help assure those left behind that your wishes are being honoured.
  • Take responsibility for your own arrangements.
  • Eliminate guesswork for your family.
  • Personalize your service.
  • Avoid emotional over spending.
  • Find the value and quality you want.
  • Lock in today's prices.
Whether you simply want to ensure that your wishes are carried out, or you want to protect your family from making difficult decisions at a time of loss, planning your final arrangements in advance is an important responsibility, and one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones."
There, now that that is out of the way and I feel like I've done my good deed for the day on to a fun pre-arrangement that I've come across in my 16 years of service.   Every funeral is different because every life and every family is different.  I think that statement alone is what makes me still enjoy my job after so many years.  Nothing is ever truly the same twice.

People always suggest to me that I should write a book about all the interesting, crazy, fun, unique things I've encountered in my time.  And they're right, I probably should.  But I'm not going to.  Besides, there are a lot of books written by Funeral Director's about interesting stuff that happens on the job day in and day out already, so why bother?  There have been some funny and true to life TV shows out there as well.  For now though, here's a fun story for you.  All names, of course, have been changed to protect the innocent.  I'm going to copy verbatim otherwise what we have on file for said person.

Dr. Virginia Mable Smith (fake name, just reminding you! Oh and by the way, she's not really a doctor, but that's the title she has given herself.  Maybe she likes the ring of that versus Mrs. or Ms.)
Cremated, gravesite opened and re-opened (Huh?  How many times do we need to open this thing?) of Mable Virgina Smith, Death-Valley Life Cemetery, City of Somewhere.  I am to be buried with the following items:
  • Card parliament building (I don't have a clue what this is and I've never heard of it.  Perhaps her old age security-social insurance card with a picture of the Canadian parliament buildings on it?)
  • My kids pictures (completely normal)
  • 6 grand children (I'm going to hazard a guess that the parents of these 6 grandchildren won't support this idea!  Just a hunch.)
  • The necklace I made (Now I know I can take my crafts with me too!)
  • My purse strap and junk earrings I wear all the time (I can't get over the request for the purse strap only.  I'd love to know the thought process behind that.  And thank goodness she wants her junk earrings, since they're junk anyway I'm sure her family won't mind parting with them.)
  • Bible (Legit, that's pretty normal.)
  • Christmas card (Any particular card in mind?  Is this a card she received?  One she made?  A blank one?  So vague.)
  • Divorce papers (I'm a staunch supporter of this one!  hahaha)
  • Final Decree (Probably not the most logical place for your final Will and Testament, but what do I know?)
And my father is to be moved out of that grave site first.   Mother, although already dead still beckons to me - He tortured her and beat her, she wants him to kindly be removed.  Mother and I will be at rest with eternal peace together forever, without him.  (While the historical information behind that statement saddens me, I find it interesting that her mother continues to haunt her to have him removed, kindly too!  I mean really, why be kind about it at this point?  Just yank those cremated remains outta there!  And for the love of God, why did she bury her mother beside him in the 1st place?)

I was adopted and my birth name is Darla Mary White (I hate that name).  I did a legal name change with a lawyer and Virginia Mable Smith is rightfully mine.  (Well she paid good money for that name change, so rightfully so!)

No autopsy, keep your f*cking hands off me or I will sue you
(I'd be interested to see how.) or my kids will.  (Oh, that's how.)  And I will haunt you forever.  (That's enough of a deterant.)

These are the pending lawsuits I have.  If I don't sue you before I die, my children have been left instructions to sue you all.  You will not be free of me when I die. 

Bell telephone 
(Who doesn't want to sue Bell?)
Creek Developments 
Ex husband  (If I thought I could benefit from this I might follow suit.)
Government   (How does one sue the government?  I'd like to know.)
4th Avenue  (A street?  She's suing a street?!?) 

And there you go ladies and germs, a sample of a pre-arrangment to get your ideas flowing.  So put your thinking caps on and give some thought to your final wishes.  It will make things so much easier and clearer for your children.  There won't be any confusion over who they are supposed to be suing.   And, you wouldn't want to overlook anything now would you? 


  1. Can I add a line to that "what people think I do" poster? I want you to have a "what writers think I do" line and you looking over an error rife manuscript. Also, now that I know you're a funeral director, may I please pester you for details the next time a character of mine dies and needs in-story funeralage or burial?

    1. You most certainly can! Can I call myself an expert resource or whatever they are called?

  2. Great blog Holly, I enjoyed it!! Funny story: we were watching My Girl the other day (Clare and I) and she asked what the dad was doing with the dead body and I explained that Roan's mom does the same thing, and she said "Really! Cool", then she wanted to know what you do with all the blood and how you get the other fluid inside the body. You will have to give her a tour some day! :)

    1. You can tell her the blood goes down the drain into the sewer system and the other fluid is pumped into the body through a tube in the carotid artery by a machine that mimicks the heart.

      Clear as mud right? :)

  3. Thanks for the laugh! Ha! But On a more serious note - I totally agree with preplanning of funerals and services. And not only that.... but getting your affairs in order LONG before you ever, EVER imagine that you'll need to. Life is short, friends. Unbelievably short. My husband and I didn't start talking about pre-arrangements until his dad passed away. And then it would sometimes come up. I'm so glad it did. (little did we know that exactly 6 months later, to the day, I'd be thinking about and planning his funeral) I had a better idea of what he wanted at his funeral... BUT IT WASN'T WRITTEN DOWN! When you're in the moment, you don't remember these things! You're grieving harder then you ever imagined you would and your mind is in a fog. It happens. So the last conscious moment he had (well one of the last) in the ICU, I laid with him and asked him what he wanted. Who he wanted to speak, hymns, etc etc. While I do not regret this decision AT ALL -- (I'm VERY glad I took that moment to get the info, I got the things he wanted written down, it made planning his funeral so much easier. So much) I do sometimes wonder if I missed a good opportunity to just talk with him about life, not about his impending death within the next two days. Though I think that we had run out of things to say at that point -- but I digress.
    Thanks for posting this - Important, but hard, topic!!!!

  4. Oh, I wish you would write about your experiences! Really! I'd be an avid reader.

    1. Maybe I'll just do random blog posts like this one, once in a while. Will that keep you satiated? :)