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Fear Not!

Gail Valentine Taylor

Funeral industry research indicates that families that go to a mortuary to make funeral arrangements for the first time have three fears: 1) "Seeing a dead body", 2) Being taken advantage of , and 3) Entering the casket room. The mortuary you choose should be mindful of these concerns and conduct business in such a way as to greatly reduce or alleviate these fears. Let's explore this further.

"Seeing a dead body" is certainly upsetting to most people. When you arrive at the mortuary to make arrangements you will be escorted to a family conference room. You should not be taken into any room where there is a deceased person. When the mortuary takes a decedent into their care, they are placed in the embalming room or in a thermal reduction (refrigeration) unit. These facilities are usually in locked areas that are out of site of the public. If a deceased person is being viewed on the day you go to the mortuary, the viewing takes place in a slumber room or chapel. You should not encounter a "dead body" unexpectedly.

The media has depicted Funeral Directors comically and or as crooks for many years. There are unscrupulous people in every industry, but funeral directors by and large, serve their community with integrity, sincerity and compassion. If you are not familiar with a mortuary, ask a neighbor or long time resident of the community about the reputation of the funeral home. People do business with people they know and trust.

The mortuary staff is there to give you guidance in making decisions, and not to take advantage of you. You should be informed of your choices, options, legal requirements, etc... and then left to make your selections. It is your loved one, and your decision to plan the type of funeral service you desire and are comfortable with. People are understandably emotional, sad, anxious, etc... when they make funeral arrangements . So it is a good idea to bring family members or friends to give you support. You can also call in advance to ask questions about the funeral planning process, options, costs, etc... and address any concerns or fears out front.

Selecting a casket for a loved one is far from a pleasant experience. You can avoid "entering the casket room" to do so, by looking at pictures in a book or online. But a newer trend in merchandising addresses this fear. We at Woods-Valentine, as well as other mortuaries, no longer have full caskets on display. We now have sections of caskets(quarter cuts) arranged in a good, better, best fashion, so you can clearly see the design, quality, special features and cost. A picture of the full casket and a sample of the interior material is also displayed. Feedback from families is unanimous. It is alot less stressful to select from the sectional models than from full caskets.

Fear not! The staff at Woods-Valentine Mortuary, and other mortuaries, know your concerns and fears. We make every effort to make you comfortable and to assure you that we are here to serve you, according to your needs and wishes. It is our aim to be worthy of your confidence.

[Gail Valentine Taylor, M.S.W. Woods-Valentine Mortuary 1455 N. Fair Oaks Ave. (626) 798-8941 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .]


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