Frequently Asked Questions

What purpose does a funeral serve?
It is the customary way to recognize death and its finality. Funerals are recognized rituals for the living to show respect for the dead and to help survivors begin the grief process.

What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are caregivers and administrators. They make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paper work, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. Funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help.

Why have a public viewing and funeral?
Funerals and viewing are for the living. While we honor, celebrate, and grief the loss of our loved one it is this act of visitation and a funeral that brings support and comfort to the survivors. Public viewing and funerals acknowledges a life has been lived and allows people to remember and honor their loved one in a special way. It serves as a central gathering place for family and friends to give emotional and physical support to each other. It initiates the grieving process and confirms the reality and finality of death. And a public viewing and funeral helps survivors better cope with their loss by sharing their thoughts and feelings so they can begin to move forward through grief and to healing.

What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. In fact, according to FTC figures for 1987, direct cremation occurred in only 3% of deaths.

So, I’ve decided on cremation. Can I still have a funeral or viewing?
Yes. Justin Ford Funeral Home can assist you with the many options for a service of cremation. Options may include, but are not limited to: traditional viewing and funeral with cremation after the service and scattering or interment of the ashes at a later time; gathering of family and friends with the ashes present and a memorial service with scattering or interment of the ashes following the service; or gathering of family and friends and memorial service without the body or ashes present and scattering or interment of the ashes at a later time. Many families choose to keep the ashes in a keepsake urn. Sometimes one person in a household may choose cremation while the other chooses a traditional funeral. We can advise you on the many options available to fit your wishes and your budget.

Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?
Yes. A person who dies of an AIDS-related illness is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe. Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.

How much does a funeral cost?
In 1998 (nearly 20 years ago) the charge for an adult, full-service funeral, was $5,020. This includes a professional service charge, transfer-of remains, embalming, other preparation of the body, hearse, limousine, and casket. The casket included in this price was an 18-gauge steel casket with velvet interior which may or may not be the most common casket chosen. Vault, cemetery and monument charges are additional. (Source: 1999 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations)

Like everything else costs of funerals continues to rise. That is why we recommend pre-planning your funeral so that you can make the best choice of costs when you are not under stress resulting from death. However, Justin Ford Funeral Home understands that often decisions must be made at a most emotionally stressful time. That is why we work closely with you to help plan a funeral that is a personal reflection of the loved one you are remembering and is within the price range you wish to spend. We live, work, and worship with many of the families we serve. It is our goal to assist you with all aspects of funeral costs so that you can make an informed and wise decision during a most stressful time in your life.

Why are funerals so expensive?
When compared to other major life cycle events, like births and weddings, funerals are not expensive. A wedding costs at least three times as much; but because it is a happy event, wedding costs are rarely criticized. A funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with facilities (viewing rooms, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin. The statistics below may be helpful in assessing the true economic picture of a funeral home:

  • Family-owned 85%
  • Firm in business for 63 years
  • Average calls/year 167
  • BEFORE tax profit 11.3%

(Source: 1995 NFDA Survey of Funeral Home Operations)

What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
Justin Ford Funeral Home staff is available 24/7. Please call us at 901.661.9682 and a Justin Ford Funeral Home Funeral Director will be available to assist you with late night and weekend deaths.

Will someone come right away?
Justin Ford Funeral Home staff will respond as soon as you wish. If you are waiting for other family members to arrive to say good-bye to the deceased this is acceptable and expected. We will arrive when you are ready for us to begin final care for your loved one.

If a loved one dies out of state, can Justin Ford Funeral home still help?
Yes, we can assist you with out-of-state arrangements. And it is preferred that you call us first before contacting a local funeral home. Often we can save you time and expense by handling arrangements for you. If you need assistance with transferring the remains to another state we can assist you with those arrangements, too.

For more information about our funeral home services, please contact us at 901.661.9682

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