Dr. Gloria Horsley discusses the funeral to cemetery journey with David Goldblatt during the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference. He’s with Beth Israel Cemetery in New Jersey, and knows firsthand just how confusing the funeral and cemetery planning process can be for those in bereavement. While death is of course common, it’s not necessarily common to be the person in charge of handling all of the details. For many bereaved, it’s their first time and they need a compassionate professional to help them understand the process.
As the Family Service Manager, Goldblatt works with families of all faiths as well as Jewish families (in total, he manages four cemeteries—one is Jewish and three are all faiths). Most people don’t realize that funeral homes and cemeteries are separate. That’s required by law in most states, but there are a few states where it’s legal to have a funeral home and cemetery at the same location. Before you can make arrangements with a funeral home, you have to have a cemetery space purchased.
A Question of Logistics
There are several types of plots in cemeteries, and some people prefer alternatives such as a mausoleum. Make these decisions quickly, and preferably with input from the person who is dying if applicable (either in an end of life discussion or using what’s left in their personal will and wishes). You can choose any funeral home you like, and they will coordinate with the cemetery to take care of all the logistics from this point forward with your input.
The most important thing to remember is to bring someone with you, even if they’re not a family member (in fact, that may be better). They’re there for support. It’s paramount to handle this as a business arrangement and not let emotions get involved.