Ryan Hobbs, January 2013
In my last blog post, I briefly answered the question, "Why
would anyone want to be a funeral director?"
In that particular post I wrote about why I personally enjoy this
work, which related directly to serving families at a very
difficult time in their lives. I would like to expand upon my
answer to the above question, this time focusing on why
compassionately serving families at a time of death is of great
importance not only to them but assists in the greater good.
When someone we love has died, our emotions obviously run very
high. Simply put, it hurts when we lose people we love.
It is in difficult moments such as these, when people are most
vulnerable and emotional susceptible, that they need to know there
are others who care. When we as human beings are in pain, we
Compassion is defined by Webster's as "the sympathetic
consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to
alleviate it." The prefix "com" means "with" while
"passion" essentially means to suffer. So to be compassionate
is to be aware that the other is hurting, be concerned for the
well-being of that person, and desire to take away their pain...it
means we want to walk with them in their suffering and do our very
best to help. Take a moment to consider a time in your life
when someone showed you great compassion, when someone stood by
your side in a difficult circumstance. These moments are
certainly poignant to me and I am pretty sure we would all say the
This matters because of how we are made as human beings.
Our two greatest needs as persons with eternal souls are to love
and to be loved…to accept and to be accepted. This truth is
one of the reasons it hurts so bad to lose people we love. An
object of our affection and someone who loved us is now missing to
our bodily senses. When another person responds with care and
compassion to our loss, it can fill a void. This is not to
say that anyone can replace our lost loved one, but simply that
some of our higher needs are being acknowledged and met. This
most often does not require a single word to be spoken, but simply
a caring presence for the bereaved.
When love is shared in this way, we experience a piece of the
eternal good that we were made for and there is peace in that
eternal good. It uplifts our soul. Compassion is a
great witness to those to whom it is offered and it encourages the
recipient to offer the same gift to another. I think it is
contagious no less than the common cold. Indeed, it is in our
suffering that we most need and can meet Love Himself through the
people who care for us. Any time we are exchanging the gift
of compassion, walking with others through their pain, we are
creating a better life for that person and helping to facilitate a
What a great privilege to be entrusted with the task of
regularly caring for families in need. May all who read this post
embrace opportunities to care and therefore greatly assist the
recipient of our efforts.
Ryan Hobbs, October 2012
Why would anyone want to be a funeral director?
It is interesting in the course of conversation when the
seemingly inevitable question - "so what do you do?" - is asked of
me, the funeral director. Responses vary, ranging from
sincere interest followed by a variety of curious questions to a
sudden change of facial expression that perhaps suggests the
thought that "this guy is creepy".
The truth is that I have known some funeral directors who might
fit the description as being a bit creepy. (But I suppose
that could apply to just about any occupation!) For the most
part, funeral directors are women and men who have genuinely caring
hearts and are committed to helping families through the most
difficult time in their lives, the loss of a loved one.
When I was growing up it was clear to me that I would end up in
a career that involved caring for people. We all have a
unique set of interests placed on our hearts and we are each gifted
with a particular set of skills. It is, of course, in
matching our skills and interests that we find work that is
meaningful and fulfilling. Funeral service has accomplished
that for me.
Being a funeral director is not easy. For obvious reasons
it is very sensitive work and requires the utmost care and
compassion. This concern applies to all areas of where we
might spend our day, whether it is making funeral arrangements,
working visitations and ceremonies, or carrying out tasks in the
preparation room (also commonly known as the embalming
room). A deep respect for the feelings of others is
paramount, as is a fundamental understanding that the body of
someone who had died is very dear to the family of that person and
should be treated as such.
It is in carrying out these acts of kindness and mercy that most
funeral directors find their satisfaction. This is certainly
the case with me. It is not unusual that we build strongly
bonded and lasting relationships with the families we serve.
Providing caring concern for friends and neighbors in their time of
loss is truly a unique privilege and a satisfying
David Bogner, September 2012
Some answers to your questions about cremation…
With the popularity of cremation growing, we have more people
asking us questions. They want to learn more about their
options and what types of services we make available to families
who choose cremation for their loved ones.
When someone chooses cremation, rather then burial for their
family member, they actually have even more options available to
them. There are several things to consider when deciding what
type of services to have. First of all, one should consider
why we have funerals at all. We have a funeral to mark the
passing of a loved one and to celebrate the life that has been
lived. While this is important, it is no less important than
the fact that having a funeral can help the survivors to go
on. A funeral is a rite of passage that helps us transition
from our life with someone to our life without. You may have
heard the saying, "The funeral is for the living".
A funeral can be provided in many different forms, according to
the needs of the survivors. Some choose to have a private or
public viewing of the deceased and an opportunity for family and
friends to gather and offer support, followed by a traditional
funeral service either at the funeral home or at a church.
With this option, the cremation would take place following the
funeral ceremony. Others choose to have the funeral home
cremate their loved one, then have a gathering at the funeral home
or church, followed by a memorial service. Rather than having
the body present, one can have a photo of the deceased
displayed. Another option is to have a private memorial
service for the family and invited guests. This can be held
at any one of many places, such as the funeral home, church,
gravesite or even the family's home. Whatever type of service
is being considered, we encourage our clients to discuss with their
family what type of service would be helpful to them.
Another element of choosing cremation services involves
considering what to do with cremated remains after the cremation
has taken place. Having a designated location to visit and
remember a loved one can be very important. The cremated
remains can be interred in a grave or placed in a columbarium,
which is much like an above ground mausoleum used for casketed
remains, only specifically designed for cremated remains.
Another option is to have a family member take the cremated remains
home. This can be difficult for some and at times places a
burden on the survivor with which they may not be
comfortable. In addition, this option is not permanent.
Eventually the family will be left again with the question of where
to place the remains. Still another option is to have the
cremated remains scattered. This can be one on ones own
property, but can make parting with the family home much more
emotionally difficult later. Scattering in public areas
requires permission. Another service that we offer is to
scatter the cremated remains at sea.
However we decide to memorialize our loved one, we should keep
in mind that the funeral is for the living and consider all our
options before making this very important decision. We only
have one opportunity to provide a meaningful funeral for our loved
one and in turn for ourselves.