What does a Funeral Director do? - Part 2

By: Nathan McKinlay
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What do Funeral Directors do for Families?

2) Time Management

There are many logistical elements to planning a funeral, and while “Time Management” may not show up on anyone’s Top 5 List, it is an essential skill when coordinating a funeral event. Funeral directors need to anticipate all of the potential variables, micro-events and ‘thrown wrenches’ that could prevent the live-stream from starting on time.

One example would be a Catholic Funeral Mass, which we would typically run with two teams. One team would be set up at the church registering and seating guests, coordinating final details and saving seating and parking for the family. The other team would be at the Funeral Home with the family leading a prayer service and preparing the family for their final good-bye at the casket. If a Catholic Mass is to start at 11:00am, that means that the family is to arrive at the church in procession just prior to 11:00am in order for the Mass to start on time. To do this, there are a number of factors we need to anticipate:

  • ·        How long will the family take to say their good-byes at the casket before we go to church? (ie. Are there 3 family members, or 30 participating? What are the circumstances?)
  • ·        What route are we taking from the Funeral Home to the church (ie. Were we taking the procession by the family home? Is there construction to avoid?)
  • ·        What weather were we anticipating? (Is there three feet of snow? Torrential rains? A beautiful sunny day?)

In addition to being at church on time, we would also need to anticipate our arrival at the cemetery and any reception venue in order for the day to go as planned. In the Buddhist and Taoist traditions, it is not uncommon to schedule the burials around lucky days and lucky times. On the day of the burial, we would often have prayers at the Funeral Home, before driving past the family home and ultimately going to the cemetery. If the lucky time is before 11:00am on that particular day, and the burial is in Oakville (which is not uncommon, as there is a beautiful Buddhist area in the cemetery there) you have to time out a very early day accordingly. Toronto traffic, for instance, is not quite as forgiving as our local morning commute! Exercising proper ‘time management’, and anticipating what variables are likely to come is an important skill for any aspiring Funeral Director to hone. 

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