What purpose does a funeral serve?
The funeral ceremony is a customary way to recognize death and its finality.
Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and
to help survivors begin the grief process.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters, caregivers and
administrators. They make the arrangements for transportation of the body,
complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family
regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. They have experience
assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to
answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty
coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link
survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
Do you have to have a funeral director to bury the dead?
In most states, family members may bury their own dead although regulations
vary. However, most people find it very trying to be solely responsible for
arranging the details and legal matters surrounding a death.
Why have a public viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists
believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize
the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process
is explained and the activity voluntary.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process,
and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness.
Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final
disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the
type of service most comforting to them.
Does a dead body have to be embalmed, according to law?
No. Most states, however, require embalming when death was caused by a
reportable contagious disease or when remains are to be transported from one
state to another by common carrier or if final disposition is not to be made
within a prescribed number of hours.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's
final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service.
Why are funerals so expensive?
A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing
rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into
the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only
merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making
arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers,
florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Our
funeral homes are independently owned and operated with a modest profit margin.
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the
A funeral director is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You
should feel free to call us at any time.
Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend a short
time with the deceased to say good bye, that is also acceptable. We will come
when the time is right.
If a loved one dies out of state, can Higgins Memorial Home still help?
Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state arrangements, either to transfer the
remains to another state or from another state.
So, I've decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or a viewing?
Yes, quite often some sort of viewing precedes the actual cremation. Your
Funeral Home can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a
cremation following or a memorial service.
What government agencies help defray final expenses?
Usually, Funeral Directors will help gather the necessary information to apply
for financial assistance from Social Security, Veterans, retirements and any