March 11th is National Funeral Director and Mortician Recognition Day, an important occasion for us here at Roupp Funeral Home. We have to admit it’s a pretty awesome day for us to not only thank each and every one of our clients, but funeral homes all over the world for what we do for one another.
In honor of that, we’ve compiled a list of 10 facts we felt exemplify our commitment, dedication and hard work as funeral directors. Each fact focuses on a different way funeral directors like us go beyond the call of duty to serve families. The series was created by ASD to give directors an opportunity to share information about their profession and help more people understand the nature of funeral service work.
Here are 10 facts about funeral directors:
1. Unless they have planned a service for an immediate family member, most people don’t realize how much support funeral professionals provide to families before, during and after a funeral service. Directors remain available during every stage of the arrangement process. After the service is over, they provide guidance on estate documents, social security and memorial products. Some also hold grief counseling sessions, holiday remembrance services and community events to comfort those in the community affected by a loss.
2. Funeral directors must be careful listeners who think creatively. Most people don’t realize how many small details directors consider when planning a service with a family. Personal touches, like having the funeral home staff wear the deceased favorite color or flower, are often added by the director without the family even having to ask. Thinking outside the box while paying close attention to the family’s wishes and memories of their departed loved one allow funeral directors to plan a truly personalized service.
3. Funeral directors must carry an inner strength in order to guide families through the toughest times of their lives. However, they also must possess robust physical strength in order to handle more labor-intensive tasks. Most people aren’t aware that a high percentage of funeral directors suffer from back issues. Too often, directors will put the needs of the family above their own safety. As a result, funeral professionals sometimes injure their backs when moving or repositioning the deceased all in an effort to alleviate some of the stress family members are feeling.
4. Funeral directors are tasked with assisting families who are often reacting to events with extreme emotions. Family members often disagree over how a loved one’s services should be handled. Most people don’t know that Funeral Directors are often forced to step in and mediate when this occurs. A dispute among relatives can delay services and make a painful situation even more difficult for family members. For this reason, directors will often act much like a family counselor to ensure everyone’s wishes and feelings are heard. Helping loved ones compromise and work together can make all the difference when it comes to planning a meaningful ceremony in such a short time period.
5. On a daily basis, funeral directors must deal with economic, operational and emotional stress, as well as the demands of providing compassion to the bereaved. Most people don’t see the emotional toll this takes on a person. Like emergency responders and hospice nurses, many directors suffer from feelings of compassion fatigue because they focus so much energy on the needs of others. The hectic and unpredictable schedule can make it difficult for directors to find time to carve out for personal fulfillment. Despite this, many are able to find a happy medium by sharing duties with other employees, using technology to streamline tasks, and finding hobbies that are in sync with their work and schedule.
6. Even after completing mortuary science degree programs and internships, funeral directors never stop learning. Most people don’t know that funeral professionals are required to take continuing education classes to keep their license active. Directors attend conventions and seminars to learn new approaches and technical advancements in their field. They will often pick up insightful tips and bring home information to enhance services at their funeral home. Even the most experienced directors will find time in their busy schedules to continue their education.
7. Most people don’t realize the lengths funeral directors go to in order to provide support to families at all times. When a significant loss is felt in the community, others can break down and display their feelings of grief outwardly. However, funeral directors must always be the steady hand in public and will continually put the needs of others ahead of their own. In many towns, a local funeral directors’ association allows directors to meet together and gain support from their colleagues who understand the unique challenges of funeral work.
8. Funeral directors dedicate a lot of their “spare” time to their communities. Directors meet with families where and when it is most convenient for them. They often make home visits to help the elderly set up pre arrangements in a comfortable location. They also help families after hours and on holidays after a passing, often sacrificing their own personal and family time to remain available to the community 24/7.
9. Most people don’t know that funeral directors have an incredibly short window of time to plan a service that memorializes and celebrates an entire life. This requires expert planning skills as well as insight into what will make the event meaningful for everyone in attendance. With such expertise, directors are often recruited to help with other functions behind the scenes. Weddings, charity runs, movie nights and tours are just some of the ways funeral directors get involved with their community while utilizing their exceptional planning skills. Many will also host events and seminars specifically for senior citizens to help them find resources or connect with other seniors.
10. There have been many achievements throughout our history made by funeral professionals. From mayors to governors to federally elected officials, there are countless examples of funeral directors influencing positive change through politics. Many are familiar with the outstanding poetry and essays by award-winning writer and funeral director, Thomas Lynch. Others have read about funeral director Almon Stowger, who invented the first automatic telephone in 1888. However, most people overlook the extraordinary work by their local funeral directors.
Wondering how to observe #FuneralDirectorMorticianRecognition ?
If you’ve ever needed the assistance of a funeral director or witness the work of a mortician, take time to thank them for their time and consideration. There are several ways to show your appreciation of their services and recognize the work they do.
Send a thank you card letting them know how much their services mean to you.
Recommend their services to others.
Put your funeral in the hands of the business that has already proven to you they can care for your family. Plan your funeral in advance.
Be sure to use #FuneralDirectorMorticianRecognition to share on social media.
Thank you to everyone for their support.