Funeral directors perform a unique role in local life, says Gerry Griffin

Gerry Griffin

Reporter:

Gerry Griffin

Helping at the hardest time

Gerry, David and John Mark Griffin

TO BE a funeral director is part vocation, part profession and part trade.

The funeral director must always be available to his client families in times of need. He or she must provide emotional support, expert advice and practical help at a very sensitive time.

Emotional Support

It is a funeral director’s task to help his client families cope with the varying emotional reactions of bereavement - grief, bewilderment, indecision, anger - and to support them through this most difficult time.

Expert Advice

The funeral director’s sympathetic ear is all the more valuable because he is dealing with the practicalities of the funeral. He will listen to the bereaved as they select what level of funeral they would like for their loved one. He will inform them about the types of funeral available, the types of service, the forms to be filled in and the grants available. Funeral directors, as a matter of course, must be up to date with the changes in social welfare regulations relating to funeral payments. They must know how to repatriate a body to and from abroad, deal with different ethnic and religious groupings. The must be aware of the special needs involved in supporting those who have suffered from an accidental or other sudden death.

They will advise on any special legal requirements relating to the coroner, and where and when the death can be registered. They will advise on and place obituaries on local and national newspapers and on the internet.

Practical Help

On a strictly practical side they will, of course, remove the deceased from the place of death to a place of rest, usually the funeral home or family residence, where the remains will be prepared and dressed to allow the bereaved a chance to spend the final time in a comfortable and caring space. The body will be cared for until the time of the funeral.

All the forms will be completed and all the charges paid in connection with the funeral on behalf of the client. Negotiations will be conducted with the Church and a mutually convenient time for the funeral will be arranged. Transport will be arranged for the mourners when necessary. Fresh flowers and hymn sheets can also be provided.

The funeral director will be responsible for the overall supervision of the funeral itself and always be available from the time of death and afterward for help, support, guidance and comfort.

The funeral director carries out a 24-hour-a-day job, every day of the year. Unlike the other professionals , there are no get-out clauses: once he has promised a funeral at a given time and a given place, then he or she must deliver, regardless of the circumstances. The funeral itself must be carried out with precise timing and with the greatest of dignity.

In taking instructions from a bereaved family, the funeral director commits all his experience, premises, equipment and staff to the family's wishes. The rights and welfare of the bereaved clients are protected by the Code of Practice of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors (IAFD). Families who select fully qualified IAFD members will ensure a professional service and the protection which that Code of Practice ensures.

Further information on IAFD members and services may be had at www.iafd.ie.

For more information see Griffin’s Funeral Home’s website www.griffinfunerals.com.