For some, working in the funeral industry is the best thing there is, while others don’t have to think about it. Everything surrounding the funeral is a world in itself with a lot happening. There are many different positions in this industry, ranging from administrative to executive. Functions are often combined so that you are not just a driver, for example, but you experience the entire journey of a deceased person. A look into the world of the funeral and its functions.
Funerals, do you know what is involved?
Sooner or later everyone will have to deal with the loss of people in the area. After a death, for a few days the focus is mainly on the deceased and the surviving relatives. In many cases, the deceased is transferred to a funeral home, with closure after a few days in the form of a funeral or cremation. As an outsider you do not see everything that happens in the funeral, but behind the scenes of the funeral a lot of hard work is being done in many different functions.
What happens when someone dies?
Every funeral is different, but there are a number of things that occur at every funeral. A brief overview of what is involved. Not all situations can be outlined because there are many conceivable situations.
When someone has died, the funeral organization is called. Depending on the situation, the wishes regarding the further course of events will be discussed in consultation with the surviving relatives. Information is recorded and the wishes regarding the days that follow are discussed. One of the matters discussed is whether the deceased should be laid out at home or whether this should be done at the funeral home. There are a number of issues that are discussed.
After the conversation with the relatives, the drivers/caregivers take action. As agreed, the deceased is cared for and laid out at home or transferred to the funeral home where the care and laying out takes place. In principle, the deceased remains in the same place until the funeral or cremation so that family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues can say goodbye.
In parallel with the above, the funeral director goes to work. The funeral director will discuss all wishes regarding the funeral with the relatives. The funeral director plans everything, so to speak, from that moment until the funeral or cremation. The funeral director ensures that everything surrounding the funeral goes as desired and takes a lot of work off the hands of the relatives by arranging various matters.
When a deceased person has been laid out in the funeral home, it is self-evident that regular checks are made to ensure that the deceased is still neat and tidy. When someone has been laid out at home or in another place, this is a bit more difficult, but here too an employee of the funeral organization will visit to carry out this check.
On the day of the cremation or funeral, the funeral director and drivers are present at all times. Of course, the catering staff are also indispensable on this day. After the day on which the last farewell is said to the deceased, relatives can look back on a very emotional but often beautiful day with good memories, although the latter will often only sink in much later.
Is working in the funeral industry something for you?
As mentioned, the funeral industry is the most beautiful thing there is for some people, while others don’t have to think about it. What is striking is that a very large proportion of people, when you ask if they would like to work in the funeral industry, indicate that they think it is important and nice work, but that they would not be able to do it. You often hear that you must have been born for it. The latter is also completely correct.
If you want to work in the funeral industry, it is important that you realize that it is a very beautiful but also emotional world. What is outlined below is quite direct, but it is something you should take into account when choosing whether you want to work in the funeral industry.
Fortunately, the vast majority of funerals are for people who have died at an older age, people who have had a good life. On the other hand, you have to realize that you also have to deal with deceased babies, children and younger people, which is more intense. In addition, it often happens that people have ended their own lives. Victims of accidents also pass by. It also happens that the deceased are only found later. Not everyone can handle these last three situations. Realize that if you have an executive position, you must be able to deal with these situations professionally.
Functions in the funeral
There are many functions within the funeral industry, more than most people know. A number of functions are often combined. An example of this is the position of driver. This function is often combined with caregiver and carrier. Below are a number of positions within the funeral industry with a brief description.
The funeral director is an important link in the whole. After the death has been reported, the funeral director will visit the surviving relatives as soon as possible to discuss the funeral. The wishes of the deceased or the surviving relatives are taken into account as much as possible. However, the funeral director must also continue to view the whole thing from a business point of view. The funeral director must be able to work very well independently. After the conversation with the relatives, the following matters are quickly arranged by the funeral director: Taking care of the printing, addressing, ordering the coffin, coordinating funeral visits with the funeral home, ordering hearse and support cars, making arrangements with the cemetery or crematorium, make appointments with the church, go through the ceremony, arrange music, order flowers and order refreshments. All in all, a very extensive position with a lot of responsibility. Being able to keep a good overview of the whole, and that for multiple funerals, is a requirement. Nowadays it is important to have an understanding of the various beliefs and associated rituals.
The funeral director is the person who ensures everything runs smoothly on the day of the funeral and arranges everything that happens that day. In these emotional circumstances, the funeral director needs good improvisation skills. This position is often (partly) combined with the position of funeral director.
Caretaker of the deceased / mortuary employee
The caregiver is the person who cares for the deceased behind the scenes. This includes washing, dressing, closing the mouth and eyes, caring for hair and nails, caring for the face, caring for jewelry and, if necessary, shaving or applying make-up. The caregiver ensures that the deceased is completely neat and as agreed in the coffin, after which they can say goodbye.
The function of caregiver is usually combined with the function of driver and porter.
Support car/hearse driver
As mentioned, this function is often combined with the function of caregiver and carrier. It therefore often happens that the driver meets relatives when transferring the deceased to the funeral home. The driver’s duties include transferring the deceased to the funeral home. In addition, transporting relatives on the day of the funeral. It is important that you are calm and professional.
Separate teams are often available to carry the coffin on the day of the funeral and can be hired. However, it is usually the drivers who will carry the coffin on the day of the funeral. With a combination of carrier, driver and caregiver, you must be able to withstand heavy physical work.
In addition to the above, most well-known functions, there are a number of other functions within the funeral industry. A number of examples of this are: catering employee, embalmer, cemetery manager, crematorium manager, music employee (also often combined), auditorium employee, ovenist, administrative employee and aftercare employee.
Working in the funeral industry continues 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. It is often running or standing still. One moment it may be quiet and as a driver you have all the time to clean the car or do other things or prepare, and the next moment you may be busy all day / night. There are often on-call shifts, so when you have a day at the beach, a birthday or a nice Christmas celebration with the family, you should always keep in mind that you can be called at any time to get back to work.
Working in funerals is absolutely wonderful work, but consider for yourself whether you say “yes” on all points before you start a career in funerals.