Casket vs. Coffin: A coffin is a box into which we place the our loved one’s body. A casket, on the other hand, is a box into which we place treasure. These can come in any size. The industry insists on using the word casket in hopes that we will think we are placing our treasure under the earth. What has happened is that now we think of a casket as a box into which we place our loved one’s body. At this point I would say the battle is lost and the industry has no idea that the tides have turned. The point of the change was to make us think we were putting the bodies of our loved ones into a treasure box or to convince us to choose the best and most elaborate boxes to show off our status and that can become a casket. In the end, we place the bodies of our loved ones into the earth or into a mausoleum. I use the term coffin and I urge you all to as well. I think it keeps things into focus and on reality of the situation.
Preplan vs Planning: When I was working at the cemetery, I never gave the term preplan a moments thought. Then it hit me. When have I ever preplanned anything? I either plan or I don’t plan. I never preplan for a birthday party or any other party. I plan it. I might take baby steps in planning, but I am still planning. What the industry does not want you to know is that you are going to die and yes, these plans or other plans will be put into motion and your body or memory will take center stage in a funeral. Think about it. You will begin to see how the language of the death care industry is designed to make you forget you are a mortal.
Embalmed Body vs Unembalmed Body: OK…. why would we modify something that is not modified? That is just not logical. I use the term natural body. While I believe we all should be allowed to make choices, I think you need to know what you are choosing if you choose embalming. If you want to know the embalming process read this little article, I have to warn you that the article might shock your or creep you out. It is, however, one of the tamest descriptions of embalming I have come across. Embalming won’t disinfect you. Embalming won’t hinder the spread of disease. Embalming of a body can only be guaranteed for five days.
Family Service Counselor vs Salesperson: When you find yourself facing the death of a loved one, you head off to the cemetery to finalize details and are greeted by a Family Service Counselor. They are trained to listen to make the best fit for the family and the cemetery. I know I was one once. We were told that even if someone had prepaid we were to let the family know that they could still bury their loved one above ground in the mausoleum, a much more costly form of disposition. Do not let the term counselor fool you, they are sales people. They are there to counsel you on what services the cemetery has to offer, and make a paycheck for themselves. We all have to to make money to feed our children and put bread on the table. I am not disparaging anyone. This is just what they do and how they are trained. I recall the shock I felt when someone from the cemetery referred to me as salesperson. I was in the wrong job.
Burial Rights vs Plots Purchases: When you purchase a plot at a cemetery, you are not purchasing the ground for burial. You are purchasing the right to be buried in that space of land. You will note on the contract (or service agreement) that the term is burial right, not plot. In many cases once you purchase a burial right, you will not be able to get your money back. A cemetery will refund unused merchandise, but not the burial rights. Think before you buy.
Contract vs Service Agreement: We were trained to carefully say Service Agreement rather than contract because we did not want to scare our clients into realizing what they had just signed was a contract.