Frequently Asked Questions
Our experienced, knowledgeable staff is prepared to answer any questions you may have concerning the planning or attendance of a funeral. No matter what you need to know, you can depend on us to provide the answers.
In the event of a death, who do I call?
When a death occurs—whether at home, in a hospital, or in a nursing home—call the funeral home that will be in charge. We will assist you in making all the necessary arrangements for transportation.
What's the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?
The body is present at a funeral, either in a closed casket or open for viewing. In a memorial service, the body is not present.
What is the purpose of a funeral? Do you recommend a public viewing?
Yes, we do. A funeral helps the bereaved begin to overcome grief by more readily accepting the fact that a death has occurred. Funeral services also have value in offering family and friends an opportunity to honor their loved one. A funeral, not unlike other rituals that distinguish our lives like baptisms, graduations, and weddings, serves to recognize a significant event in a person's life. The funeral recognizes the final event in a person's life and offers loved ones a chance to say their final goodbyes.
How much does a casket cost?
Price can range from $625 and up, depending on the material it's constructed from, interior fabric, finish, the gauge of metal or type of wood.
Will you obtain the death certificate?
We prepare the death certificate, get proper signatures and obtain the certified, stamped copies for you. The death certificate is a legal record showing the date, time, place and cause of death. Certified copies are required for life insurance and other benefits, including Social Security, and for probate in order to transfer property to survivors. The first one is $20; each additional is $3 each.
Is embalming required if cremation is chosen?
If you select immediate burial or direct cremation, embalming is usually not necessary. You must have embalming done when you cross state lines or ship by common carrier – unless the family objects to embalming on religious grounds. (As a precaution, the body must be enclosed in a strong, tightly sealed outer case.)
Do cemeteries require a vault for burial?
Most do. A burial vault makes it easier to maintain the cemetery and to provide upkeep for the grave. The vault provides a clean, dry place for the casket and the body.
Can we move a loved one from one cemetery to another after burial?
Yes, we can assist you in all the arrangements.
If we choose cremation, do we still need to purchase a casket?
A simple fiberboard container is the minimum required for cremation. For the funeral service, you can rent or purchase a casket.
What else is required for cremation?
Cremation requires permission from the family, a signed death certificate, and written permission from the county medical examiner. We will obtain these for you.
How do we obtain Social Security death benefits?
We will submit all the necessary paperwork for Social Security death benefits for a spouse and children.
Can I pay for a funeral ahead of time?
Yes and many people do. We can inform you of the appropriate funding vehicles to meet your needs. Contact Joanne Abbs, our on-staff family service counselor, for more pre-planning assistance by calling (262) 542-6609.
Can I select what I want my own funeral to include?
Yes. If you have special wishes for the type of service, casket, flowers, music, or any other details, talk with us. We will keep a record of your wishes.
How should one address infant mortality?
It's hard to talk about the death of somebody's child. And that's because grief is really raw and it's really intense, and most people are really uncomfortable with that. It's really uncomfortable to sit with somebody when their soul is just laid bare.
What is grief?
It's a normal and natural reaction to loss. Are there really 5 stages of grieving? Probably not, but it's a comforting thought that you can go from here to there and then you're done. Unfortunately, grief isn't linear. It's very cyclical. There are so many emotions that people go through and every aspect of a person is affected by grief. One day you may be experiencing one thing and the next day something else. You may think you're doing really well and then a week later, you're not doing so well. It's kind of an ebb and flow. It's a roller coaster.
Sometimes it seems people try to escape or hide their grief, as if it were a weakness.
In today's society, we don't talk much about death and dying. It's kind of a taboo subject. We're a fast-paced society and grief takes a long time to get through. If you look at it historically, we allowed people to express their grief. They wore black armbands. They dressed in black. They put black crepe on their doors. There were a lot of rituals associated with death.
Today, it's not the same. There isn't a lot of opportunity to grieve publicly. Those who express loss feel that they have to stuff it and not express what they are feeling.
Organizations give you three days for bereavement, and then you're supposed to come back to work and be working at 100%. That doesn't happen. At three months, a lot of families are still grieving. People say, "Shouldn't you be getting back to normal?" and are worried about them. So a lot of times, people try to not express that yes, they are still very sad.
It sounds like what you are talking about is "active grieving." Does grief ever go away?
Grief never goes away. We never get over it. It's something that continues and is always kind of there. We call that shadow grief. Active grieving or the intense emotional response that hits you in the beginning tends to dissipate. We know that active grieving really takes about three to five years, especially if we're talking about the death of a child. But everyone grieves differently.
Is grieving the loss of an infant different than, say, the loss of a parent?
Yes. The loss of a child seems very, very unnatural. A child is not supposed to die before the parent.
As a parent, you want to nurture and protect your child. When your child dies, you may feel that you failed in some way. You wonder what you could have done differently.
If the child is an infant, then what the parent is grieving is different, but how they are experiencing their grief is the same. They'll go through the same feelings, have the same thoughts, struggle with the same spiritual issues. Physical symptoms may be the same and the intensity is definitely the same. What they grieve as secondary losses will be different. They're also grieving the dreams and the hopes—all the things that they'll never know about their child. What would they have done with their life, what would they have been. They grieve because they'll never know.
What should I say to someone who is grieving?
The number one thing you can do is just be present. Listen. Be there for them. There are no magic words.
Don't be afraid to mention the person who died or say their name. Often people are afraid to bring up death. They think it will make the person grieving sad. The truth is that person is already sad. You can't make them sadder. In fact, they want to be able to talk about the person who died. They want to be able to tell their story and they want to hear your stories if you knew their loved one.
You can also offer practical help. Don't just say, "How can I help you?" or "If you need anything, call me." Do something. Mow their lawn. Make a meal. Visit. They're not even thinking of those things—but those things need to get done.