Click on the questions below to reveal each respective answer.
What is the purpose of a funeral?
Funerals provide surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to recognize the death of a loved one, and to share thoughts and feelings about that person. Funerals are the first step in the healing process.
Attending a visitation, and/or funeral/memorial service provides many benefits including:
- Providing a social support system for the bereaved
- Helping the bereaved understand death is final and that death is part of life
- Integrating the bereaved back into the community
- Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one
- Providing a safe haven for embracing and expressing pain
- Redefining one's relationship with the person who died
- Providing a time to say good-bye
It is possible to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.
I've never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?
At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This may not seem like an attractive proposition, but we are known for both the comforting, homey, yet professional approach of our staff and atmosphere of our funeral home. As soon as you make contact with us we hope you will sense that we genuinely care about people and about making the whole experience through dying, death and bereavement as helpful and life affirming as possible.
We do offer these tips for smart planning
What do funeral directors do?
- Be an informed consumer and ask questions. There are no “dumb” questions, except those that are left unasked
- Choose an independent funeral home and a licensed funeral director that people you know have worked with, and speak highly of
- Discuss all service and payment options during the funeral arrangements
- Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home's General Price List
- Be prepared and make decisions and organize details in advance of need
- Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony to help you begin healing
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the deceased.
Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. 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.
What types of funeral services exist?
Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and if so, whether the casket will be open or closed for family and friends, and whether the remains will be buried or cremated.
Why have a viewing?
Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions and the activity precedes recorded history. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Whether the viewing is just for the immediate family or offered to extended family and friends is an important decision made by the family. Viewing is encouraged for children as long as the process is explained and the activity us voluntary. People often say, “I want to remember him alive” and that is something most everyone agrees on. However, often the last days and hours spent with someone dying we witness suffering and the appearance is really at the person’s worst. Inevitably, we hear from grateful family and friends that we have been able to provide them with the opportunity to see their loved ones body at peace, although dead, no longer suffering. And it is this safe, familiar appearance which helps the family begin to bridge the gap that death has created between a relationship based on a physical presence to one based on memory, love or the spirit of a loved one.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, delays the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of someone disfigured by suffering, traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final burial or cremation, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.
Is embalming required by law?
No! However, embalming may be required or requested when a deceased is to be transported from one province, state or country to another by common carrier, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed period of time. When a winter death occurs the local winter vault, which is used to store caskets until spring burial, has a by-law requiring all bodies placed in the vault to be embalmed. In our funeral home, we request permission to embalm the body if we are expected to accommodate that deceased person longer than 24 hours in our facility.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No! Cremation is an alternative to earth burial. Just as with burial, the consumer has a complete range of choices from the full service funeral to the very basic services required for immediate cremation. As more people are choosing cremation, funeral service professionals strive to give consumers a true sense of what their many options are for a funeral service.
Often we find that people have a preconception that they have fewer choices for a ceremony when selecting cremation for themselves or a loved one. Consequently, they may request direct cremation and deny themselves and other surviving friends and family an opportunity to honour the person with some form of activity or ceremony - a funeral, celebration of life, memorial service, visitation, "meet and greet", etc.
In actuality, cremation is only part of the commemorative experience. In fact, cremation can actually increase your options when planning a funeral. Cremation gives people the flexibility to search for types of tributes that reflect the life being honoured. But this doesn't mean that aspects of "traditional" funeral services have to be discarded. Even with cremation, a meaningful ceremony that is personalized to reflect the life of the deceased could include:
- A visitation prior to the service
- An open or closed casket
- Special music
- A ceremony at the funeral chapel, your place of worship or other special location
- Participation by friends and family
Commonly, cremated remains are placed in an urn and committed to an indoor or outdoor mausoleum or columbarium; interred in a family burial plot; or included in a special urn garden.
Cremation also gives families the option to scatter the remains. This can be done in a designated cemetery garden or at a place that was special to the person. Today, cremated remains can even become part of an ocean reef or made into diamonds. A portion can be kept in a keepsake urn or personal jewellery.
Where can I get more information on cremation?
We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral or memorial service with a cremation. For more technical information about the cremation process, we encourage you to view information on-line at the Ontario Funeral service Association, the Ontario Association of Cemeteries, Crematoriums and Funeral Professionals, the Funeral Service Association of Canada, or the National Funeral Directors Association.
Funeral Cost Questions
What does the average funeral cost?
In 2006 the average charge for an adult, full service funeral was $5,771.73. This includes a professional service charge, transfer of deceased, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, limousine, and casket. The casket included in this price was a simple casket which may not be the most common casket chosen. Concrete burial vault, urn, taxes, crematorium or cemetery, newspaper, flowers, music, luncheon, monument and other costs are additional as chosen by the family. (Source: 2006 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations)
What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?
In Ontario funeral service is regulated by the Ontario Board of Funeral Service (BFS). In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. Funeral directors do not want additional stress to be added to the grief of a funeral consumer and will work with you to rectify the situation, or satisfy you to the best of their ability. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the BFS. The Board of Funeral Service licenses funeral homes, transfer services and funeral directors, provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration, and maintains a consumer guarantee fund for reimbursement of prearranged funeral services funds. (To contact BFS, call 1- 800-387-4458).
What to do if Death Occurs
What should I do if a death occurs at home?
When death occurs, our personnel are available to assist you at any hour, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world by calling 705-724-2024.
Will someone come right away?
If you request immediate assistance, yes. If the family wishes to spend some time with the deceased to say good bye, that is absolutely appropriate. Our staff will come when the time is right for you.
If a loved one dies at a distance, out of the province or country, can Paul Funeral Home still help?
When death occurs away from home it is to your advantage to immediately have us take charge of all aspects of the funeral arrangements. Having one funeral home in charge, that you know and can easily communicate with, is the best way to reduce your stress and even save costs. We can assist you with all arrangements including the transfer of the deceased to our funeral home if that is what you wish. It is less complicated and less costly to use only one funeral home to make all arrangements so trust us to be here for you whenever you need our help. Please call 705-724-2024 for assistance.