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Understanding Funeral Jargon

So you have perused the all mighty oracle whom we refer to as Google, to become an informed consumer of funeral services. As you hop from one gloomy site to the next, crossing your fingers that you don’t accidently bring up a site that shows old mummified bodies, pictures of ghosts or worse yet a real life-dead person (AH!), you hope to get the low-down on death.

You along with millions of others prefer to online inquire because you feel talking about death and dying is either morbid or uncomfortable.

Don’t worry, as I said there are millions of people out there who are still stuck in the mentality that talking about death means that your dying like talking about dieting makes you skinny or talking about money makes you rich.

Wait, if that’s the case I should start writing my blogs on money and keto… right….

So now that we have gotten over that common misconception I can get to the part where I help you understand common funeral lingo that you will hear repeatedly in the Funeral Profession.

Wait, I can explain!

First of all a funeral, a memorial, a celebration of life and a ceremony are all words used to describe the service that is held for someone who has passed away.

I wholeheartedly believe that people read or hear these words and think entirely different things. Many think a funeral is-religious, sombre, dreary and traditional; a memorial- a small gathering after cremation; and a celebration of life or ceremony- unique services that are more upbeat an individualized – not at all like a funeral.

Words don’t set the tone

The truth is Funeral Directors don’t have a page that they refer to listing a variety of prices depending on what you come in calling the type of service that you want. No matter what words you decide you want to use to describe the service, it is the elements that make up the actual service that really set the tone.

Ashes to Ashes- cremation defined:

Assuming that in your inter-web travels you have a general understanding of what cremation means I am going to skip to some of the terms used that coincide with cremation:

  •   Cremation niche is an above ground space to accommodate a cremation urn.
  •   Columbarium is something that is located within a mausoleum or chapel and constructed of numerous niches designed to hold urns.
  •   Cremated Remains or Cremains commonly referred to as “ashes” which are processed remains of a person who has elected to be cremated.
  •   Lastly a witness cremation is a type of cremation where the family has decided to be present while the body enters the crematorium.
Six Feet Under- burial defined:

For those who wish to be buried, interment (not internment – that would be jail) is the process used to describe the burial of the casket.

A companion crypt which is actually quite common where the term perhaps isn’t – is when two interments are side by side, such as a husband and wife or children and parents.

Open and close – the professionals who essentially open (dig) and close (fill in) the grave at a graveside service

Closing Remarks

A viewing or a visitation on the other hand, is a small gathering before the service where people are able to view and pay respects to the person who has passed away.

The Paperwork

Some other items you may have come across are service folders – the card you receive when attending a service, and funeral director statements of death (FDSD) – the certificate you receive from the funeral director that states official proof of passing (needed for closing accounts, etc).

Funeral directors understand

These are the most common terms but keep in mind, every funeral director expects that for you speaking about death may not come easy, but they are the experts so if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call.