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help, first time handling funeral
Old 10-15-2018, 08:48 AM   #1
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help, first time handling funeral

my grandma passed away two days ago, Forest lawn came and picked up her body that night. will be having a meeting with Forest lawn rep today. I know my grandma had purchased a service plan along with the plot/casket but dont have the details yet.

We'd like to keep things as simple as possible. Maybe just a simple viewing and a burial, that's it. Planning to have the funeral this weekend.

what exactly is embalming, seems it's different from makeup? From what I read, it is not required by law, but since body would have been refrigerated for a week, it'd be nice to have.

other things I should be aware of?

She was a Christian and her friends from church can help out with things.
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Old 10-15-2018, 08:56 AM   #2
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Sorry for your loss.

Embalming is preservation of the body for the viewing period. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embalming It is different from makeup. The folks at the funeral home can explain.

Don't be afraid to ask questions of them. That's part of their job.

The basic thing is to realize that you can do whatever you like. They will accommodate your wishes. Also realize that they have a wide array of items and services to sell you. Don't feel like you have to buy them all. You can choose whatever would make your family happy.

When my mom passed earlier this year, my sister and I arranged everything. We decided to keep it very simple. It's good to have more than one person go to make the arrangements as some of the options can be confusing. But if you bring more than one additional person, everyone will want to add items and things will get elaborate (and expensive) quickly. I say this from personal experience when my mother-in-law passed away many years ago.
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:01 AM   #3
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I was told by our funeral director that embalming is a long term preservation of the body. It is required in my state. I was told that if the remain were dug up 5 years down the line that the body would be intact as long as water did not breach the casket/vault. He was offering to sell optional casket sealer at the time, so who know if this was accurate. FWIW I declined on the sealer.

If you will need to purchase a casket, you may wish to not choose from the inventory of the funeral director. Big markups in these cases. I have a thread here back in Apr/May 2014 time frame on how I dealt with this issue with very positive outcomes.

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Old 10-15-2018, 09:54 AM   #4
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But if you bring more than one additional person, everyone will want to add items and things will get elaborate (and expensive) quickly. I say this from personal experience when my mother-in-law passed away many years ago.
By the time you read this, your decisions might have already been made. For the benefit of others though, IMO, it's OK to listen to input from others while at the funeral home, BUT, the person who is financially responsible for paying the bill, needs to have the final say in the matter.
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Old 10-15-2018, 11:37 AM   #5
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My FIL prepaid his funeral. He died about a year ago. It was very easy with the funeral home. One thing he wanted though was a full military service. He was a WWII vet, Gun salute, etc. The funeral home could not do the gun salute. But there were service members there to present the flag to MIL. Just a mix up from when FIL purchased the plan.

We were able to do the service in the way MIL wanted it. It turned out very nice
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Old 10-15-2018, 11:49 AM   #6
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My mom had prepaid for her funeral years ago. She picked what kind of casket etc she wanted. When she passed 3 years ago, my dad and us 3 girls all went to the funeral home. It was speedy and done very fast.

The funeral was peaceful and nice. So happy she took care of this way before it was needed.
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Old 10-15-2018, 03:05 PM   #7
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Sorry for your loss.

Stay alert...the funeral home may try to upsell you....high-end metal casket instead of an equally beautiful but much less expensive oak or pine one, sealed vs unsealed vault, huge floral displays on or near the casket, guest books, thank you notes, limousines, lengthy visitations, etc.

There are differences in local regulations/requirements which MUST be abided-by...but so many of the other choices are totally up to you.

Note: Typically, opening and closing the grave are expenses that the cemetery will charge you. Additionally, a grave marker/gravestone is another expense. Usually it is not installed until after the soil has settled a bit, so you will not typically have to make that decision this week. For the funerals I was involved in handling, one was in a city-owned cemetery so we dealt with an office of the city to order the marker. For another, about 6 months after the funeral, we went and ordered the gravestone at a company that specialized in making and installing them.

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Old 10-15-2018, 03:19 PM   #8
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Sorry for your loss.

Stay alert...the funeral home may try to upsell you....high-end metal casket instead of an equally beautiful but much less expensive oak or pine one, sealed vs unsealed vault, huge floral displays on or near the casket, guest books, thank you notes, limousines, lengthy visitations, etc.
+1

The funeral industry is notorious for this, and while it is a business and they do have to make a profit, some are "ethically challenged" and those will do their best to use grief and guilt to induce you to spend more.

BTW, you do not have to buy a casket or urn from the funeral home. Costco sells them as does Amazon and many other online sellers. Many if not most will ship overnight. At least reviewing prices there can give you a reference point for what is a reasonable price.

Amazon even sells one you build yourself from a kit!
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Old 10-15-2018, 03:44 PM   #9
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I own a funeral home and I am a embalmer. Embalming not required by law, however if you want a public viewing we require embalming because of OSHA and blood born pathogens ect. To protect public health because people kiss the deceased. Slows
Down decomposing so we can have a Viewing.
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Old 10-15-2018, 06:22 PM   #10
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thanks for all the info.

went over the plan with forest lawn rep. looks like it covers pretty much everything (basics), that's all we need.

She lived a frugal life, although she didnt earn much but she didn't want to burden us with anything.
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Old 10-16-2018, 09:51 AM   #11
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went over the plan with forest lawn rep. looks like it covers pretty much everything (basics), that's all we need.
I'm glad the plan is going to work out the way you had hoped.

My wife and I chose our burial plots a couple years ago. Our cemetery has a natural burial option that we are going to choose. No embalming, no fancy casket, no concrete liners, etc. Basically, they just wrap your body and place it in the ground to decompose. They keep adding soil on top as the ground settles, then plant grass once it has stopped settling.

I think they have some other biodegradable casket options too.

I'm a woodworker and asked if I could build my own casket. They said they might allow it but each would have to be approved by the cemetery. Apparently some people built beautiful caskets themselves but did not use biodegradable finishes and hardware and could not be used without a liner to prevent leeching chemicals into the soil.

I'm perfectly fine with the simple wrap. Cremation seems to be more popular these days, but I still prefer traditional burial. I'm not sure why, just tradition I guess.

I don't need a fancy funeral either. When I'm gone, stick me in the dirt. I think it's silly for a bunch of people to come to my funeral who never visited me while I was alive.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:01 AM   #12
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I’m surprised to hear that embalming is required. My family is Jewish and the tradition is to wrap the body in a shroud and use a wooden casket. Viewings are very rare. Generally burial takes place within 2 days of death and the mourning begins after the funeral and burial. I’ve been through this twice, my parents both died in the past 11 years. Both of them wanted everything as simple as possible. Unlined wooden casket. Still cost a lot. Embalming is very rare.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:06 AM   #13
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Sorry , let me clearify . WE require embalming at our funeral home for viewing, except for religious reasons. Of course the Jewish do not embalm.
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:17 AM   #14
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A graveside service rather than one at the funeral home simplifies some things. Someone mentioned a military honor. We had that for my Dad, we were very impressed. It included 2 military officers, the flag folding ceremony and presentation, playing of taps and gunshots.
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