The Caregiver's Soapbox

Volume 17    www. thedead-beat.com    Issue 4

Mortuary Muse*     Mortuary Muse

*to think or consider deeply; meditate By Lowell

A wheelbarrow load of expensive waste paper still sits on shelves above the music equipment in our former funeral arrangement room.  Flower acknowledgment cards, cards for casket bearers, musicians, ministers, memorials and gifts.   There are also register books, extra pages and who knows what else?      Another closet upstairs has unused service folders, numerous lamination supplies, other funeral related paper products.

Declining business volume, direct cremation and less mourner participation accounted for much of this accumulation—but SO DID THE CLOUD!!!

Yes, we plunged into the NEW technology for greater service personalization.  The plunge itself is expensive and sometimes very frustrating when a small staff is short on IT experience and the “cloud” expert is fast asleep somewhere.

While writing this I phone visited with colleague A.J. White in Greenfield, Missouri.  He also has a closet full of material he has not been able to give away.  One bright spot for us is our Lamcraft laminating materials.  They will prove useful in the former funeral chapel’s makeover into an Art Gallery.

Thirty years ago we closed out a greeting card department by giving it to the local Girl Scout troop.  They packaged the cards into assortments and sold them door-to-door.  Hmmmm...with every box of cookies you get 6 casket bearer cards, 2 musician cards and a celebrant thank you.

Is today’s end of life service consumer less concerned about honoring the memory of a loved one or the cost of any final services?   I have seen funeral directors shake their head and grumble that the next-of-kin have no respect.  In the 90’s funeral service providers were attending many seminars and reviewing studies about the grief processes that may or may not effect the survivors.  Most of us at least installed a rack of appropriate pamphlets or books explaining facets of grief to give survivors and caregivers.

Holiday memorial services have become a staple with some larger firms having a therapist on staff or available.  We studied the ins and outs of grief to make our services more relevant to our clients and hopefully better ourselves emotionally and financially.

A funeral director writing in one of the final issues of “Mortuary Management” magazine expressed the viewpoint that the study of grief issues at conventions and seminars was a waste of time and money.  Even though we may sometimes perceive that some of our clients are only interested in the cheapest possible final disposition, we as a profession must continue a never ending study of human grief. 

Enhance your listening skills!!

About the Author:  Lowell Pugh has had funeral director and embalmer licenses in Missouri and Texas.  He is publisher of The Dead Beat which began in 1999.  He can be contacted at The Dead Beat address. 

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