There are those who I believe are obligated to help families plan funerals and burials. I believe that members of the clergy must play a central role in assisting members of their congregation prepare for death and all the rituals that follow. Clergy are often one of the first ones called in a death and should have a basic understanding of the death care industry and how it works. I know one clergy member who attends every meeting at the funeral home with his people. Some members of the industry do not like clergy attending. Some clergy do not feel that it is their place to be with the family as they make choices about a funeral. I am of the opinion, that having an objective person benefits families not only with the religious aspect of the funeral, but to help his or her people who are often overwhelmed in the face of planning the funeral.
So, what of those who do not belong to a spiritual community? Are they at the mercy of the industry? I hope not. I hope that those who read this blog and books of similar topics will be ready when and if someone asks for your advice. When someone close to you dies, offer your time and let the family know you will do what they need for you to do. If you are open about death, those around you will know that you are someone they can approach. It’s a great gift to them that someone they know will not flinch when death is the topic. Don’t be fooled. I have brought down more parties and gotten more odd looks in restaurants while talking about death than I care to count. I will go right on speaking. I might not give all the details, but I will continue to speak and I encourage you to as well. Our free words about such a taboo subject help bring death out of the closet one conversation at a time. In doing this, we help those around us.