In reading blogs by other funeral professionals, and in our networking situations, I hear the families being served referred to as “clients.” I suppose in the strictest sense of the word, you are “clients” or “customers.” But we just don’t think of you in that way.
When the phone rings and our services are required, we take a large breath with you and feel your loss. Our lives slow down and we once again are reminded of those intangible things that are most important to us. Things like love, reverence, friendship, and relationship. And we hang up our construction clothes, put aside our creative projects, and focus on why we are here. Even though I am not the funeral director, I am fully aware of an actual shift in our purpose and a change in our priorities.
Now is our time to stand with you and to help you. Through this process, it is amazing how much we learn about each of you. We learn things like your favorite childhood memories with the person you’ve lost; we learn about habits good and bad; we learn of your family heartaches and joys.
I love hearing the inside jokes and the practical jokes that run rampant through families. I think sharing safe/kind humor is evidence of deep love and understanding of those you live with. I am sometimes amazed to learn of the life achievements of your loved ones. Great achievements from people who were very humble or who were from humble beginnings.
In the space of three days, we are welcomed into your private lives and we get to know you in a very intimate manner. Perhaps we have come to your home and spent time with you before bringing your loved one to our home. Perhaps we have prayed with you for peace and strength for the events to come in the next few days. Perhaps we have just hugged you or held your hand; or listened to that favorite story; or advised your family about practical concerns; or shared a post-funeral diner with you. . .
It is because of this that we can never call you, our friends and neighbors, “clients.” We refer to you as our “families.”