Frequently Asked Questions

It is common to have questions about the funeral process. This section answers some commonly asked questions to help make this process easier for you. If additional questions arise, please feel free to contact us directly at the funeral home.

Etiquette and FAQ’s:

Many of us do not need to arrange or attend funerals regularly, so it can be hard to know what to do first, or what to say and do to comfort friends or family in their time of loss.

Here are some frequently-asked questions about arranging and attending funerals, visitations, and expressing sympathy.

Please give us a call today if you have any further questions. We are here to help.


Making Arrangements:

When you come to our funeral home to make funeral or cremation arrangements, you can expect to spend 2-3 hours with our staff designing a service, gathering information and selecting memorial products.

We will discuss your wishes for a service and plan a ceremony which reflects and honors your loved one’s life. We will also collect information about them for the obituary and official notifications.

Below you will find helpful information about what we will cover at the arrangement conference.


Our favorite creative funeral ideas

Funeral services are often rooted deeply in tradition, whether cultural or religious, and paying homage to the practices of those who came before us can be meaningful and even beautiful. But respecting tradition doesn’t have to mean ignoring creativity. After all, those we love are unique, with varied interests, stories and quirks. The funeral service you plan can certainly do justice to the individuality of the person who has passed. Here are some ideas we’re fond of:

1. Display photos

If you have access to some or many photos of the person who has passed, consider displaying them in an interesting way. Make a photo board or display framed photos throughout the funeral chapel. Better yet, ask your funeral director if he or she will help you put together a photo video to play before or during the service. (Your funeral director will be happy to help you with that.) Funeral attendees will love the opportunity to reflect on the life of somebody they cared about through touching moments caught on camera.

2. Fitting food

Food tends to be deeply rooted into who we are, whether we spend a lot of time in the kitchen or simply at the kitchen table. Why not incorporate those preferences and traditions into the day of the funeral? If your loved one had a “famous” recipe, consider enlisting a kitchen-savvy friend to make it and bring it to a location where attendees will be gathering after the service. If your loved one was more of a take-out fanatic, there’s no rule against serving pizza or tacos to hungry friends and family.

3. Music

Just as is the case with food, the music we love says a lot about who we are. If the deceased has a favorite artist or band, you can easily incorporate a song or two into the funeral ceremony.

4. Create a memorial

You and your friends and family may wish to create some sort of lasting monument to the person who has passed, and there are lots of great ideas for how to do just that. Planting memorial trees has become rather popular, and we also like the idea of having funeral attendees write messages on stones to be displayed in a garden or backyard. Memorial quilts incorporating the decedent’s old t-shirts or favorite colors and designs are an interesting idea. Gathering a few friends to compile a simple scrapbook could also be soothing and provide a cherished object for future reflection.

5. Share stories

Funeral ceremonies often contain eulogies and prayers, but many times it is the first-hand stories that resonate most with mourners. You might ask more than one speaker to stand up and tell a favorite story about your loved one. You could even keep the ceremony more free-form and invite anybody who would like to speak to come to the podium.

6. Host a favorite activity

Was your loved one an avid dominos player? Did he golf all the time? We all have important activities and hobbies, and many times, others will enjoy them, too. We like the idea of hosting an activity of some sort after or near the funeral service. Invite some or all of the attendees to play the decedent’s favorite game or read passages from her favorite book. This is a nice, positive way to feel closer to the person who has passed.


Writing Obituary:

Help writing an obituary for your loved one.

An obituary is a record of your loved one’s life’s experiences and a traditional way to share the news of their passing with the community.

An obituary can be printed in the newspaper for a fee per line or word.  The free placement on our website allows you the freedom of writing as much as you desire, without having to worry about costs.  Sharing the obituary through social media like Facebook allows your wider social circle to learn about your loss and provide support.

Most obituaries begin by describing their life events, including place and date of birth, family members, schooling, career, marriage and children, later life events, and finally, the date of death. Family members who have passed on before, and those who survive are listed.

But an obituary does not have to be just a dry recitation of facts.  Above all, you want to give the reader a sense of who your loved one was as a person – what made them uniquely “them.” 

This is your chance to share their life’s passions, favorite activities, and accomplishments. 

What made them laugh, and how they made you laugh.  You may also name their close friends and organizations or causes that were important to them, tell memorable stories, and share their beliefs or life lessons that they shared with others. 

Before you sit down to write, look through photos to stir your memories.  Think about their proudest moments, and their saddest.  Share disappointments and triumphs, and lessons learned along the way.  Describe their favorite activities, hobbies, and how they spent their time.  Remind family members and friends of how much they were loved. 

Share their life philosophy or spiritual beliefs and discuss the legacy that they left behind.  You may also list a charitable organization or two for anyone who wants to make memorial contributions. 

Publishing an obituary is a good way to make sure that everyone in the community knows that your loved one has passed away, so they also can mourn and pay respects.  Please talk to our staff about placing an obituary for free on our website and viewing messages of condolence from family and friends.


What to expect from the arrangement process?

If you have never made funeral arrangements before, even thinking about the process can be emotional and intimidating. You may be worried about how much it is all going to cost, or not know how you are possibly going to get through it.

Our staff is here for you. They are experienced professionals; experts in helping grieving families navigate through this difficult time. We will handle all the details; allowing you to spend time with family and friends.

When you call us after your loved one has died, we will ask for some basic information and then come take your loved one into our care. Then, typically within a day or two, you and your family members will come to the funeral home to make arrangements. It will be helpful for you to bring several things with you to the conference. Please see our list of what to bring with you to the funeral home.

At your appointment, we will gather biographical information and learn about your loved one through your stories and anecdotes. Then we will help you craft a service or gathering that honors their memory and celebrates their life. You will be able to select the types of services and merchandise like a casket or an urn that fit your needs and your budget. We will also help you write an obituary to place on our website and in a newspaper, if you desire, sharing the news of their passing with the community.

After the conference, we will coordinate with your church or other service venue, cemetery or crematory and the appropriate government agencies to make all of the arrangements. During this time, we will also care for your loved one and prepare them for the services you selected. Then, on the day of the visitation or service we will be there to support you and handle all the details.


What to bring with you to the funeral home:

When you come to our funeral home to make arrangements, it will be helpful for you to bring a number of items with you.


First, please bring the clothing, undergarments, shoes, glasses, and jewelry that you want them to wear during the funeral service or cremation. Please also bring a photograph of your loved one that we can add to their online obituary on our website and in the newspaper if you so desire.


We will also need to record certain biographical information for the paperwork required by the state. This includes their Social Security number, date of birth, wedding date, parents’ full names and birthplaces, schools and employers, physician’s name, and details about their military service, if applicable. Bringing as much of this information with you as possible is a good idea.


Please bring copies of life insurance policies, cemetery paperwork, funeral prearrangement and military discharge papers (DD 214 form) if applicable.


We would be happy to make a Life Story memorial video about your loved one’s life to play during the visitation and before and after the service. This is a picture slideshow set to music and comes on a keepsake DVD for you and your family to take home afterwards. Please collect 20-50 photos for the video and bring them to us as soon as possible. We will need at least 24 hours before the visitation to put the video together; more time is preferred. Photos need to be removed from frames. You can also email them to your funeral director if that is more convenient.

For the visitation and service, you may want to set up memory tables with framed photos, memorabilia, awards, crafts etc. for guests to view at the visitation or before or after the service. You can bring these items in with you the day of the event.

Here’s a handy checklist of what to bring with you when you visit us. If you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call.


Attending a Service:

Many of us do not attend funerals regularly, so it can be hard to know what to say and do to comfort friends or family in their time of loss.

Here are some frequently-asked questions about attending a funeral or memorial service, and how to express your sympathy.

Please give us a call today if you have any further questions. We are here to help.


Should I send flowers?

Sending flowers is a traditional and beautiful way to pay tribute to someone’s life. While not mandatory, they are one-way people express their love for the deceased and concern for the family.

Flowers convey warmth and caring and provide a pleasant diversion from the nervous tension that may be present at a visitation or funeral service. Families are grieving, yet they feel they must mingle with well-wishers. Friends stopping in want to pay their respects but are anxious about what to say. Either way, flowers can be a comforting topic of conversation. Their natural beauty represents growth, new life and movement forward.

Although there are no hard and fast rules about sending flowers, there are some guidelines that can help you decide what to do.

While sending flowers is traditional, the arrangement you provide does not need to feel stuffy or outdated. The type you send depends on where you are sending them and the nature of your relationship to the loved one and/or the family. Here are some of the different types:

Wreaths: circular floral arrangements which represent eternal life. Ideal for funeral homes and gravesites. Floral arrangements: from cut flowers to basket and container arrangements. Best for funeral homes or when sending directly to the family’s home. You may consider if the loved one had a favorite flower or favorite color and include that in your selection. 

Sprays: Large casket sprays are often provided by family members. Standing sprays are appropriate for stands in the funeral home.

Live plants: their symbolic meaning of life and growth helps keep the memory of the loved one alive.

You may send flowers on your own or get together with others for a larger, more elaborate arrangement. Co-workers, club members or groups of close friends may choose to do this.

Members of the immediate family can order any type of arrangement they like. These are typically placed closest to the casket during the visitation. A casket spray or wreath is generally from immediate family.

There are a wide range of options for extended family, including a standing spray. An informal arrangement works well because it can go home with the family or be taken to the cemetery.

The best options for close friends and business associates are standing sprays, wreaths, basket arrangements, bouquets in vases and live plants that can go home with the family.

Be sure to include a card with your first and last name and a simple and sincere message, such as “You’re in our thoughts,” or “With deepest sympathy”.

Flowers can be sent to the funeral home for the visitation or service, the location where the service will take place or to the family’s home. If you choose to send flowers to the funeral home or church, they should arrive prior to the start of the visitation or service.

Some people choose to send flowers to the family’s home a few weeks or even months after the funeral service when the initial chaos has passed. This is a nice gesture that reminds the family you are still thinking of them and their loss. A simple note could say, “We’re thinking of you and hope that these brighten your day”. 

There are times when sending flowers is not appropriate. If the family has directly expressed not to receive them or has requested donations in lieu of flowers, it is best to follow their wishes.


What to say to a grieving person: a simple guide:

When somebody we care about is dealing with a loss, we often find ourselves at a loss for words. We want to be comforting. We want to make them feel better somehow. At the very least, we don’t want to say anything that makes them feel worse.

It’s easy to resort to clichés – the same types of things that we’ve heard others say in the past. Sometimes that’s OK, and sometimes those very clichés are actually a little bit destructive. We’ve put together a quick guide for you of some good things to say to a grieving friend and some others you might want to avoid.


Five things to say to a grieving person:

  • “I’m sorry for your loss.” To-the-point and honest, this is one of those clichés that stands the test of time.
  • “Let me help you with _______.” Rather than asking your grieving friend what she’d like help with, simply make a suggestion. “Let me take care of mowing your lawn for the next few weeks.” “I’m running to the store, how about I grab you some groceries?” It can be difficult for a griever to ask for help or to specify what she needs. If you see opportunities to help, just offer.
  • “Would you like to talk about it?” Your friend may not be ready to discuss how he’s feeling just yet, but if he is, lending an ear can be a major benefit to his recovery. Offer to listen. If he says he’s not ready, accept that answer. If he is ready, really listen, and try not to interject with “you should’s.
  • “Can I tell you my favorite memory with your loved one?” This is an easy, genuine way to help your friend celebrate the life of the one they lost.
  • “I’m here for you if you need me for anything.” Loss can make the griever feel lonely. Just letting them know that they have a friend willing to pick up the phone at any time can be enormously soothing.

Five things not to say to a grieving person:

  • “It was her time.” Any statement insinuating that your friend’s loss was necessary or intentional should be avoided. You would never tell a sick friend that it was “just her time” to get sick, would you? Along those same lines…
  • “This was a part of God’s plan.” This one, like “It was her time,” assumes that your friend’s loss was purposeful. It also assumes that you know something about the loss that she doesn’t. Sometimes hard things happen, and we don’t know why. That’s OK to recognize.
  • “You need to stay strong.” Your friend is allowed to feel however he feels. If he wants to cry, he should be allowed to. If he shuts down emotionally, that’s his right, too. Stay by his side if you can, but don’t force a griever to grieve in any particular way.
  • “He is in a better place.” No matter what your beliefs, in the eyes of the one grieving, the very best place for their lost loved one to be would be here on Earth, alive.
  • "I know how you feel.” Everybody’s situation is different. Although you’ve probably experienced something similar to what your friend is going through, you don’t know exactly how they feel, and saying that you do diminishes their experience. Better would be to say, “I don’t know how you’re feeling, but I’m here for you.”

What clothes should I wear to a funeral or visitation?

When attending a funeral service or visitation, you want to show respect for the deceased as well as the loved ones mourning his or her passing. You can do this through your behavior, but also through your attire.

Funerals today can be more casual than in the past.  If you ae attending the visitation or service of a family member or friend, you probably know best how they lived their life and what the family may expect. 

The important thing is to be comfortable and to make the family comfortable.  The purpose of visitations and funerals is to connect with others and share in their loss.  If you feel this is best accomplished with a suit and tie, then go in that direction.  If the deceased’s favorite athletic team’s jersey will accomplish that, then wear that.


Weather

Considering that many funeral services are followed by outdoor burials at a cemetery gravesite, it is also essential to plan an outfit that is comfortable and appropriate for seasonal weather.

However…

There are exceptions to the recommendations above. For the funeral of a veteran, it is perfectly acceptable to dress in a military uniform. Or if your religion or the religion of the deceased calls for a specific style of dress, you should certainly follow those rules.

Many people consider funerals a celebration of life rather than a sad occasion. If the family asks attendees to dress in a more upbeat manner (such as in the colors of their loved one’s favorite sports team, for example), you should feel free to follow their request.


Should children attend funerals?

The death of a loved one can have a profound impact on a child and should be handled carefully. For kids who have not yet had to experience funerals or the concept of death, these events can be frightening. There is no “right” age when it comes to allowing your child to attend the funeral or memorial service of a loved one. If you believe that attending would help them to grieve, then it is appropriate to bring them. Here are some tips for helping them through the experience:

Make sure that they will be able to sit respectfully

Many kids are not used to sitting still for long periods of time without a video game, phone or other toys to distract them. This is typically fine at a doctor’s office or even a church service but may not be acceptable at all funeral services.  If you do bring electronic toys, make sure that their volumes are turned off during the service.

Explain to them what to expect

Funerals are not easy for anyone to deal with and can be especially stressful for young children who have never experienced them before. To ensure that your child is prepared to handle the experience, give them an idea about what will go on at the funeral. Explain that the occasion is a sad one, and that they may see the people they love crying. Note that this is normal, and that they are free to cry too if they are feeling sad.

Explain to the child how they will need to behave throughout the duration of the service. They will not be able to get up and take a break out in the hall with Mom or Dad if they start to get antsy. Make sure they are prepared to sit quietly for an extended period of time.

Talk with the child about death

For many kids, a funeral is their first experience with death and mortality. This can be unsettling and confusing. Try to explain the ideas and concepts involved simply, in a way that they can understand. The death of a loved one can be used as a way to talk about human biology or spiritual beliefs with your son or daughter, including what happens when you die. You can express your own personal beliefs on these matters and ask your son or daughter what their thoughts are on the subject. While your child may not fully understand, it is good for them to gain exposure to and understand this part of life.

Be prepared to continue discussing the subject

Funerals can have a significant impact on children. Your child may want to continue talking about the funeral after it is over. If it is clear that they are struggling with the idea of death or the passing of a loved one, spend some time discussing the issues further. You may want to read children’s books on the subject or take some time to answer lingering questions that they may have. When parents help children navigate this often confusing and scary situation, it makes it much more manageable.


Funeral Terminology:

www.newcomercolumbus.com/EtiquetteFAQs/funeral-terminology


Creating a personal service:

A funeral or memorial gathering is an important time to say goodbye and comfort each other. We will assist you with creating a meaningful event which reflects and celebrates the life of your loved one.

Most people don’t attend or plan funerals every day, but we do. Here are some resources that our staff has collected to help you and your family plan a unique and meaningful service for your loved one.

Please give us a call today if you have any questions. We are here to help.


How to choose the best location for a funeral service:

Although traditional funeral services often take place either at a funeral home or a place of worship, many families today choose alternative locations. When choosing the best spot for a loved one’s funeral service, consider the following:


What were their wishes?

If your loved one prearranged their funeral or made their wishes explicitly known to you or their next of kin, it’s best to follow the directions you’ve been given (within reason).


Did they regularly attend a place of worship?

If your loved one was heavily involved in their church, synagogue, etc., it’s very likely that a ceremony held at their place of worship would be appropriate and appreciated. A funeral home will often work with you and a chosen spiritual location to ensure that all arrangements and transportation of the body are handled smoothly and according to your specifications.


What were they like?

It makes perfect sense to arrange a funeral to match the personality and values of the person who has passed away. If a traditional service in a chapel doesn’t feel like the most fitting atmosphere, consider some creative options. Some families opt out of traditional services in favor of a simple service at home. Others get more creative, choosing alternative services, such as tree-plantings or memory walks. If you think your loved one would appreciate a step away from tradition, don’t be afraid to consider different options. If you’re stumped, your funeral director is a great resource for guidance and advice.


What is best for your family?

In a perfect world, all funerals would be prearranged and prepaid, leaving grieving families with very little guesswork and no financial burden. In reality, however, many families are left to make most or all of the final decisions for a loved one’s funeral, and the cost of those arrangements will be the family’s responsibility, as well. When faced with making final arrangements without guidance, it is, of course, important to consider the decedent’s possible wishes, but it is also important to consider what is manageable for you and for your family. It’s not the least bit selfish to consider the financial impact of your decisions, so arrange a service at a location that you can comfortably afford and that will allow your family to properly say their goodbyes.


Creating a beautiful ceremony for your loved one:

A traditional funeral ceremony tends to be a structured, formal event. If you prefer a more informal type of gathering, there are many ways to make a funeral for your loved one unique and memorable, just like their life. Here are just a few ideas.


  • Hold the gathering at a place that was special to them or that they would have liked.
  • Print a large photo of your loved one to serve as a focal point during the gathering.
  • Set out a guest book for guests to read and sign. This can be a simple guest register, or something even more creative. If you like to scrapbook and have the time, create a memorial scrapbook and lay the pages out individually across a few tables. Guests can sign and write a memory next to a favorite photo. When you reassemble the pages later, you will have a beautiful memory book.
  • Create a memorial video with a slideshow of photos to play during the event.  Time spent gathering photos and sharing memories can be a healing experience for you and your family. Our staff can put the video together for you.
  • Set up a memorial table with mementos such as cherished possessions, awards, photographs, artwork, other creations.  If your loved one was an artist, hang their artwork or decorate the funeral chapel with art that illustrates their personality or interests. Was the deceased a quilter? Display some of their best work. Was she a particular fan of Picasso? Why not find some prints to display?
  • Set up a digital photo frame to show even more photos.
  • Select a customized casket or urn. These days, urns and caskets come in a variety of materials, and they can often be customized. When picking out a casket or urn, think of how you can choose one that reflects your loved one’s personality or interests. Caskets come in materials such as metal, standard steel and wood.  Hardware on the casket, such as custom handles and corners, can reflect objects that the deceased admired.  Some examples are flags, favorite sporting team, praying hands and flowers. With both caskets and urns, you can often choose custom engravings or other personalized elements, so don’t be afraid to discuss your options with our staff.
  • Ask guests to write memories on note cards as they arrive, or in the days before the service, to be read aloud.
  • Don’t be afraid to show and invoke emotion.  A meaningful funeral will have both tears and laughter as you mourn, but also celebrate together.
  • If the obituary is not provided in written format, consider reading it during the gathering before a time of sharing.
  • Use readings, eulogies and music to paint a picture of what they saw and experienced throughout their lifetime, including historical, civic and personal events.  Explain to younger guests what life was like for them growing up.
  • Tell their favorite stories or jokes.  Have a storytelling contest among the guests for the best story about their life.
  • Play their favorite music in the background of the gathering or arrange for local musicians to play covers of their favorite songs.
  • Collect memorial donations for their favorite charity or organization.
  • Make copies of favorite photos of your loved one, and paperclip them to helium-filled balloons.  Guests can take a balloon, keep the photo as a memento, and release the balloons together outdoors.
  • A funeral or memorial gathering can be as unique as your loved one.

Our favorite creative funeral ideas:

Funeral services are often rooted deeply in tradition, whether cultural or religious, and paying homage to the practices of those who came before us can be meaningful and even beautiful. But respecting tradition doesn’t have to mean ignoring creativity. After all, those we love are unique, with varied interests, stories and quirks. The funeral service you plan can certainly do justice to the individuality of the person who has passed. Here are some ideas we’re fond of:

1. Display photos

If you have access to some or many photos of the person who has passed, consider displaying them in an interesting way. Make a photo board or display framed photos throughout the funeral chapel. Better yet, ask your funeral director if he or she will help you put together a photo video to play before or during the service. (Your funeral director will be happy to help you with that.) Funeral attendees will love the opportunity to reflect on the life of somebody they cared about through touching moments caught on camera.

2. Fitting food

Food tends to be deeply rooted into who we are, whether we spend a lot of time in the kitchen or simply at the kitchen table. Why not incorporate those preferences and traditions into the day of the funeral? If your loved one had a “famous” recipe, consider enlisting a kitchen-savvy friend to make it and bring it to a location where attendees will be gathering after the service. If your loved one was more of a take-out fanatic, there’s no rule against serving pizza or tacos to hungry friends and family.

3. Music

Just as is the case with food, the music we love says a lot about who we are. If the deceased has a favorite artist or band, you can easily incorporate a song or two into the funeral ceremony.

4. Create a memorial

You and your friends and family may wish to create some sort of lasting monument to the person who has passed, and there are lots of great ideas for how to do just that. Planting memorial trees has become rather popular, and we also like the idea of having funeral attendees write messages on stones to be displayed in a garden or backyard. Memorial quilts incorporating the decedent’s old t-shirts or favorite colors and designs are an interesting idea. Gathering a few friends to compile a simple scrapbook could also be soothing and provide a cherished object for future reflection.

5. Share stories

Funeral ceremonies often contain eulogies and prayers, but many times it is the first-hand stories that resonate most with mourners. You might ask more than one speaker to stand up and tell a favorite story about your loved one. You could even keep the ceremony more free-form and invite anybody who would like to speak to come to the podium.

6. Host a favorite activity

Was your loved one an avid dominos player? Did he golf all the time? We all have important activities and hobbies, and many times, others will enjoy them, too. We like the idea of hosting an activity of some sort after or near the funeral service. Invite some or all of the attendees to play the decedent’s favorite game or read passages from her favorite book. This is a nice, positive way to feel closer to the person who has passed.


LifeStory videos:

For many guests, the most important part of any funeral or memorial gathering is a video which shows photos of the deceased throughout their lifetime.  Photos uniquely stir our memories and hearts beyond what words can express.

This video tribute is played before and after a service and throughout a visitation, and it can also be placed on your loved one’s online memorial on our website. Our staff will take your photo collection and assemble it into a video.

It is best to show each photo for several seconds, so you will need about 20-50 photos for a 10-minute video. You can email the photos to our staff or drop them by the funeral home. We do ask that you remove photos from picture frames before turning them in to us.

Time spent as a family gathering photos for the video, sharing memories and recalling special times can be a healing experience.