March 2023

Page A4 march 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A Call: 661-250-1507 • Visit: Available Through Quality Suppliers Ladder Racks with adjustable shelves Portable Folding Register Stands Made in USA Quality & Value - Built Just for Funeral Homes! Providing the Best-Designed Tools for Your Services Since 1926. Dozens of products that give you years of service and store compactly when not in use. Lightweight and easy to take to gravesides or churches. Portable Folding Display Table Deluxe Combo Stand By NancyWeil My aunt died. It was fast and unexpected and only a year after her husband, my uncle died. They left behind two adult children, who are my cousins. The funeral was being held graveside in my hometown. I no longer live nearby, so I had hoped to be able to attend the service virtually. When my uncle died the funeral home had a live stream and it allowed me to be there in some way, instead of no way. This time was different. There was to be no live stream. I had to ask my brother, with my cousin’s permission, to FaceTime with me so I could be there and be a part of their farewell. At some point they plan to have a memorial service with their parents; friends and others, and I will be able to be there in person for that. However, this time I was at home – on FaceTime – and witnessed something I have never seen before and pray never will again. This is where the story takes an interesting turn of events. The open grave where the casket sat on the lowering device was covered in greens. It was only when the formal service was over, and the cemetery field staff realized that the family planned to witness the burial, that the greens were removed. This revealed that a wall of the grave had collapsed. This happens, especially during the winter when the ground is wet. It is how the situation is dealt with that can make the difference between a funeral “gone wrong, then right again” and one “gone wrong, then appallingly wrong, then (sort of ) right again.” So begins my tale of one funeral – two views… When something like this happens, you have to move the casket in order to clear out the grave. There are a few options to doing this. One would be to place it on the church truck, but in this case, there wasn’t one. You could take the casket back to the hearse until the grave was fully opened again, but this grave was quite a way from the road. You could also carefully place the casket onto the greens next to the grave. Random Musings Serving as Member Resources Director at the International Order of the Golden Rule, Nancy Weil brings her years of experience working in the funeral industry to funeral directors across the globe. Her professional experience includes serving as Director of Grief Support and Community Outreach at Veterans Funeral Care in Clearwater, FL and at eleven cemeteries inWestern NewYork. Nancy travels throughout the country offering presentations on how to reduce stress, combat compassion fatigue and offer support for thosewho are grieving through her company, The Laugh Academy. With certifications as a Grief Services Provider and Grief Management Specialist, Funeral Celebrant, Soul Injury Ambassador and Laughter Leader, Nancy is uniquely qualified to bring new perspectives into how to best meet the needs of the families you serve. For more information on how Nancy can help you and your company grow, visit her website: www.TheLaughAcademy.comor email F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at funny and fitting, laughing at the absurdity of watching a stranger descend into their mom’s grave only to scramble out a short time later. She said that it gave them the comic relief they needed to break the intense grief they were feeling at the time. She thought that her momwould find the humor in it all, and they were grateful for the short moment of comedy. They never noticed the way their mom’s casket was placed, at a skewed angle and with lack of care. To me, it was like the casket was just an impediment to solving the problem (the collapsed grave wall) and it was carelessly tossed to the side to gain access to the issue. To my cousins, it was just a ridiculous scene playing out in front of them. The man went into the grave with his shovel and later was helped to climb out of it. I still wonder if the funeral director should have stepped in and had the casket moved to a more suitable spot. But perhaps this would have only called attention to how it was placed. I don’t know, maybe doing nothing was the best option. This is not something you train for. To funeral professionals and those who work in the cemeteries, all I can say is to remain aware of the dignity of your work. Remember that what you do – and the optics of how you do it – makes a difference to the family. Not all families will be like my cousins. For some this could have been devastating. So, my advice is to prepare for the unexpected and always, always, respond with the family in mind. One Funeral – Two Views The cemetery field staff chose none of these options. Instead, they picked up my aunt’s casket, laid it partially on the greens and partially on the lowering device, leaving her casket at a precarious angle. It was at this point that I began to fume. “This is so disrespectful,” I thought. “She is shifting in that casket right now.” Another thought I had was “I hope they sealed the casket correctly so that she does not roll out.” Into the grave one of the field personnel went, with shovel in hand. He moved the dirt around until he was satisfied that the grave could fit the casket. He then attempted to clamber out, but found he needed help with this. The son-in-law had to help pull this man carefully out of his beloved mother-in-law’s grave. With this the burial began again and all went smoothly. I sat at home on FaceTime, stunned by what I had just witnessed. I wondered how what I saw had impacted her children and son-in-law. I wondered what – if anything – the funeral director could have done to bring some dignity and decorum to the situation. Following the funeral, my cousin posted on Facebook about her mom’s service, only referencing an “interesting thing happened that I will share another day.” I immediately messaged her privately and gingerly asked her how she felt about her mom’s funeral (fearing she would soon be in therapy after what occurred). Instead, she wrote back that she and her brother found it PEACHTREE CITY,GA— Rollings Funeral Service is excited to announce that since their podcast, A Grave Affair, was launched in 2021, they have been able to reach over 2,000 listeners. The podcast is hosted by Rollings Funeral Service’s director of social media and strategic communications Umberto Putrino and currently has 25 episodes. “When I pitched the idea of the podcast to Greg [Rollings], my goal was to tap into the vast network of funeral directors and their experiences within funeral service in order to educate listeners on everything and anything funeral and death related,” Putrino said. “I’m so happy that we’ve been able to reach over 2,000 listeners since our launch and that our lisRollings Funeral Service’s Podcast Reaches Over 2,000 Listeners Since Launch Umberto Putrino teners continue to grow. The feedback has been great on the content too,” Putrino also said. Throughout the 25 episodes so far, Putrino has interviewed a number of guests both inside and outside funeral service to get their views on various subjects. Ranging from discussing a funeral director’s most memorable services to acting out what happens when a family plans a funeral, the goal is for the listeners to be more comfortable around death and funeral homes. To date, the most popular episodes include a legal roundtable on cremation liability, learning more about death doulas, and getting outsiders’ perspective on death and funerals. “I’m so glad we’ve been able to share more about our industry with everyone and to help push death care forward in a positive direction with A Grave Affair,” said Greg Rollings, president and CEO of Rollings Funeral Service. “We’ve had some incredible episodes and covered some really informative topics and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the podcast,” Rollings also said. A Grave Affair releases episodes monthly on their Apple Podcasts and Spotify channels, and at http:// With 90 locations, Rollings Funeral Service is one of the largest private funeral home owners in the eastern United States. With each of their firms operated on the local level, their managers work directly with Rollings Funeral Service to establish budgets, pricing, and best practices. They also pride themselves on being a great alternative to selling to a publicly traded company and they continue to search for firms that will be a great fit to their growing family funeral of funeral homes. Your first portrait is FREE Custom Portraits from ANY photo