A funeral represents a purposeful opportunity to reflect on the meaning of a loved one's life. Celebrating the impact of that life is a time-honored tradition for both family and friends. At its core, the traditional funeral service represents a time for sharing in its deepest sense. There is no right or wrong way to plan a funeral service. You and the ones you love are at the very center of the process. The choices you make will determine its significance for you. As you participate in the planning of the funeral service, you help create a meaningful experience for everyone.
At Sunset Hills, our goal is to help surviving family and friends in honoring and celebrating a valued life. We strive to do this in a climate that encourages each person to give and receive emotional support. During the funeral service, family and friends have the opportunity to relate to each other at the deepest levels and find mutual strength.
Traditional Funeral Service
While there is no typical approach to planning a funeral, a "traditional funeral service" is the most traditional and comprehensive approach. This includes preparation of the deceased for viewing and a family or public visitation. Following the visitation, a service is held. This is often at the funeral home or in a church but can be at any location that holds significance. At the conclusion of the service the family typically follows the funeral coach in procession to the gravesite. This ceremonial act of staying with your loved one until the very end is concluded with a brief committal service at the graveside, followed by burial of the casket. A reception or gathering is often held following the service to commemorate the life lived.
Caskets can vary in cost depending upon how they are made. Most cemeteries require that a minimum grave liner be used to encase the casket with earth burial. These liners are typically constructed of either concrete or polypropylene and are designed to protect the casket from the weight of the earth and maintain the integrity of the gravesite. A sealed vault may also be used. Burial vaults are also constructed of concrete and are designed to protect the gravesite, and they are also manufactured with inner liners that restrict the entrance of graveside elements such as water and earth while increasing the strength of the vault.
The graveside service is often planned in lieu of a traditional funeral service in a facility, though some families take an additional opportunity to say goodbye at the graveside. The graveside service usually follows a time of visitation at the funeral home. The casketed remains would then be transferred to the cemetery, where a graveside ceremony and burial could take place.
Traditional Cremation Service
A traditional cremation service differs only from a complete funeral service in that it is followed by cremation as opposed to a casketed burial. Such a service can be accommodated with a cremation casket, which is designed for cremation. Rental caskets are also available. This approach allows for a traditional hardwood casket to be present at a service or viewing, after which the interior insert containing the remains is cremated.
Once ceremonies are over, the interior insert containing the remains is cremated. A new insert is used after each use. Following the viewing, service or ceremony and cremation, the cremated remains can be buried, properly scattered or returned to the family for safe keeping. An urn is used to hold the cremated remains. Urns can be constructed out of basic materials such as cardboard or plastic or constructed of more protective materials like basic and semi-precious metals, ceramics and woods.
Immediate Cremation Service
The immediate cremation service can be arranged as a direct disposition of the body but is often followed by a memorial service in a church, funeral chapel or other location. The body is not typically present at a memorial service. At Sunset Hills, we recommend that those who select an immediate cremation be allowed time for a private viewing prior to the cremation.
For many of those grieving a loss, viewing of the deceased is a very important step in acknowledging that the death has occurred. A service or ceremony is often a key ingredient to a healthy recovery from a loss due to a death.
At Sunset Hills, we encourage families to create a personalized service in keeping with their family’s traditions because we believe in honoring each life. It is important to acknowledge in death the person we loved so much in life. Personalizing the service also gives friends and the community a way to celebrate and remember. At Sunset Hills, we offer many choices to memorialize a person who was special and unique. We strive to help you find just the right way to commemorate your loved one in an individualized way that is comforting to family and friends.
How Your Funeral Director Can Serve You
When a death occurs, your primary responsibility is to yourself and the ones you love. Though there will be several things that require attention simultaneously, know that we are here to help. No matter the time of day or night, Sunset Hills is always prepared to respond to your needs quickly and competently. The funeral director's main function is to assist with the necessary details of the death care process. Among the services funeral directors provide are:
Arranging Funeral Plans
- Securing necessary permits and death certificates
- Notification of the death to the Social Security Administration
- Assistance with filing burial insurance claim
- Care and custody of the body
- Coordinating all details with the clergy
- Arranging the music that you have selected
- Placing obituary and funeral notices in newspapers
- Assisting in arranging for burial or cremation
- Arrangements for cemetery space, grave opening and closing, flowers and monuments
- Arranging transportation for you and the members of your family prior to, during, and after the funeral
- Supervision of the funeral or memorial service, celebration of life or other commemorative event
- All necessary arrangements for transportation, funeral service, and burial if the deceased is to be sent to a distant location