By Rachel Galvin
When a loved one dies, there is often shock, disbelief, denial, anger, profound sadness. When the person who has passed has not left their loved ones with their final wishes, conflict can ensue between family members, making the situation even worse. That is why, although it is difficult to think or talk about, doing pre-planning for a funeral is the best and most loving thing a person can do for those left behind, according to Annie O’Mara and Jeff Marsman of Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home in Deerfield Beach.
Planning a funeral after someone has passed is not easy.
O’Mara, the Funeral Director, said, “Putting together a funeral is like planning a wedding in three days.”
She explained that besides picking whether the person will be buried or cremated, there is the selection of the casket, the clothing, the music, whether there will be a luncheon after, etc. There is always the question for those left to do the memorial if they are doing what their loved one who has passed would have wanted.
“Having the discussion before it is necessary alleviates that wondering ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ It also allows for a more rational conversation. They get exactly what they want. When a death happens, the family members are in such a state of shock, it heightens the emotions and makes it more difficult. It is a loving gesture [on the part of the person who makes the pre-planning for themselves. It [eliminates] the burden,” she said.
Marsman, the Director of Family Services, said, “No two services are the same. Every family is unique.”
O’Mara added, “We can accommodate everyone’s religion, cultural beliefs and personalities. If it is possible, I can make it happen. There is no right or wrong way. I can make sure it is as special and individual as the person was.”
She has seen it all. She has been at Kraeer for the last 1 ½ years but was funeral director for 11 years elsewhere on the west coast.
She said, “I have cried with a few people. We sometimes laugh. I cannot change what has happened, but I can make the process the best it can be, make the experience easier.”
One of the other reasons, she said, to do pre-planning is to lock in the price.
“The last 50 years, the average cost of a funeral has doubled every 10 years…,” she said.
Rates for funerals can run over $7000 said Annie and that is just for a service and economical casket. When you add clergy, an obit, escorts for the funeral procession, a luncheon, etc., it can add up. Kraeer-Becker handles A to Z, including clergy, florist, caterer, cemetery and more. Each cemetery, she explained, has different requirements, which she navigates and explains to the customer.
The plans are guaranteed by the state. If something happens to the funeral home or insurance company, the state will make sure it is still honored. If the funeral home goes out of business, another sister home or associated facility will take it over, she added.
“Like the banking industry, we are insured,” she explained. “We [Dignity Memorial] are the largest provider of family services within the country. If you move to California, Texas, Nebraska, [etc., we can transfer the plans]. You don’t have to worry about redoing it.”
Dignity Memorial has over 2000 locations in North America. The Kraeer-Becker Funeral Home in Deerfield Beach is located at 217 E. Hillsboro Blvd. For more information, call 954-427-5544 or visit www.kraeerdeerfieldbeach.com.