Ask Your Funeral Director - Let Me Introduce Myself

By: Jason Meidl
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jason, and I am a licensed funeral director/embalmer. I was born and raised in British Columbia. I settled in Creston a few years back where I completed my apprenticeship as a funeral director and embalmer.

I am passionate about the funeral services, and in turn, the families that I have the privilege of serving. Working in the profession that I do, I see death daily; in this, I am unique from most of our society. How many of us have questions about death, the funeral, the process, but never quite feel comfortable asking? This is what this column is going to do: it will allow you the space to pose these questions. Questions can be sent to jason@crestonvalleyfuneralservices.ca

One thing that we are particularly good at is the ability to distance ourselves from death, and in some ways, we might be described as having a death-denying culture. When people find out that I am a funeral director, the questions and comments inevitably come.

What does it mean to prearrange? Should I prearrange? Do I need a will? Who do I call when my loved one passes? What is the deal with embalming? How do you do what you do?

These are just a few of the questions that I am repeatedly asked, and my hope is that this will be a space where you can feel comfortable asking questions you might otherwise never ask. I am excited to offer my insight and knowledge as we take this journey together. Let’s not brush death under the carpet; it is a normal process in our lives just like the birth of a new child. The death of a loved one can be a time to celebrate a life well-lived.

“Can I help?”

Let me start by saying this is your loved one, not ours. Up until this point, you have been loving and caring for your loved one. There is no need to stop now. There are some things that we cannot have you help us with, such as embalming, but there are so many other things you can help with: helping with the transfer, dressing your loved one, doing their hair and makeup, the list goes on. The takeaway here is that yes you can help as much as you’re comfortable doing.

“What does a funeral director actually do?”

In short, we oversee the logistics that follow a death. This includes completing all the necessary paperwork, arranging and providing for the transportation of the body. We put into action the choices made by the family regarding the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. Beyond this, we provide emotional support and personal guidance in the wake of a loss.

“Can I ride in the hearse?”

Traditionally, the hearse — or the coach as we tend to call it these days — was initially preceded by at a walking pace by the funeral director or a member of the staff. This was done for two reasons: first off, it was a mark of respect for the deceased. In a more practical sense, it allows the cars taking place in the procession to have time to get to their vehicles and join in. In this sense, there was no room for more than just the driver and the funeral director, as a hearse can only seat two people.

Let us fast forward to today. The answer to your question: yes, you can 100 per cent ride in the hearse. For the most part, we only have a driver for the hearse and that leaves one empty seat: it’s your loved one. If you want to be a part of that final ride, then no one should tell you otherwise.

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