2011-02-09 “Funeral Luncheons”

I often talk about my sister Bev and how her death was a defining moment in my life when I would seriously contemplate becoming a Funeral Director.  I talk about rubber stamp funerals and how we have broken away from them to make a Funeral Service whatever it is that we need it to be.  I talk about the fact that I will do whatever is in my power to make a Funeral Service a true reflection of a life lived and at the same time respect a family’s own physical, spiritual, emotional and financial needs.  When we built the Blenheim Community Funeral Home, Jim and I had many discussions about how we could best meet those needs and how we could incorporate some solutions in the physical structure that we were building.  We talked about some of the changes that future days might bring and we did some contingency planning that would allow us to change with the times. 

One of the discussions that Jim and I had was about funeral lunches.  A recent survey showed that the percentage of funerals being followed by a luncheon is greater in the Western provinces than in Ontario and that we have a higher percentage than the Eastern provinces do, which have an average of just over 50% of funerals having a luncheon.  Sometimes I see families struggling with the question of whether a funeral luncheon is something that they want to do or something that they are obligated to do. 

When my sister died, her daughter was 20 months old and her son was 4 months old.  When I walked into the church after the funeral for the luncheon, I stepped inside the door and then turned around and left.  Instead of spending my time there I went home.  Jason was asleep in his crib and so I sat on the step with Wendy…that’s where my heart was.     

If a funeral luncheon is what you want to do, then by all means, do it.  If the thought of it causes you undue grief or undue financial hardship then don’t put yourself through that.  Follow your heart.