Day in the life of a funeral director
The start of the day – 3am
The day starts with a 3am call-out to one of our lovely local nursing homes. Even in the early hours, respect is shown by the staff of the home who line the hallway as we take a much loved lady into our care. The care shown by them to their beloved resident is now handed to us and it is always a huge honour and one we do not take lightly.
Back to our offices at North Petherton and Mrs G is tucked up carefully in our mortuary area. Paperwork signed it is back to bed for an hour until the alarm sounds at 6.15am.
Lel and Sarah are back to the office for their usual 7.30am start. It is easier to start on paperwork before the phones start ringing at 9am plus we need our daily natter and mug of tea!
World put to rights, we carefully place the coffin of our first funeral on our removal van ready to go to the local Crematorium at Sedgemoor.
A non attended cremation today
Many families are choosing what is known as a direct, non attended cremation. This is where Lel and Sarah take the deceased to the crematorium but no family attends. Arriving at the crematorium, the name plate is checked and the coffin covered in our special cover and a small floral display and is wheeled into the chapel. The family chose a lovely peice of music to play as we walk in and as the curtain closes, all present staff bow and we turn and leave. A telephone call to reassure the family that everything went perfectly and a time set to take the cremated remains home to them the next day. A family memorial is due to be held in a week or two – a prefect send off, just as the family and the deceased wanted.
Back to base
Back to base to await our lovely florist, Graydon. In a flurry of pink roses and gerberas, in he rushes, quick gossip before we wave him and his lovely, smiley mum off to their next delivery – his one man band amazes us every day and the room soon fills up with the sweet scents of his amazing workmanship (together with his signature ladybirds hiding beneath the foliage).
Next to arrive is our hearse – polished and ready for the day. Our usual driver, who we have nicknamed ‘Kiss me quick’ arrives and on goes the kettle for the tenth time and he settles for a natter with Sarah as Lel pops off to change into her frock coat and polished heels.
Next – a traditional funeral
Today is the funeral of a lovely local gentleman. His wife sadly passed away some six years ago and today his cremation will take place with the interment of cremated remains later in the week, laid to rest with his beloved wife.
Lel checks she has everything in place – and after carefully checking coffin details and making sure the coffin is polished and flowers in place, off they go for the short drive to the local Crematorium.
Our bearers meet us at the crematorium. They are always a reassuring sight as the hearse pulls into the sweeping driveway. They bow their heads as the hearse passes – family gathers around and tears fall – the hearse arriving is always an emotional time for those who grieve. The next hour is all about the deceased – his life, his loves and family. It is a time to remember and to love.
Following the ceremony and after the family have left the Crematorium, it’s back to the office and the kettle is switched on again ready to answer messages and emails.
Familes at the heart
Families are at the heart of everything and we spend a lot of time on the phone, checking in to make sure all ok. We are always on the end of the phone for them, day or night.
There are a lot of legal formalities that need to be completed for funerals to take place and we deal with a lot of outside agencies making sure everything is correct from Bereavement Officers to Registrar’s to Coroner’s Officers to Ministers and Celebrants. Sometimes you feel like you have spent the whole day on the telephone!
2pm sees Sarah and Lel leave with their removal vehicle and head to Musgrove Hospital mortuary to bring a gentleman into care. The mortuary is run by a brilliant team, incredibly busy all the time with phones ringing and funeral directors arriving constantly, it’s a job neither Sarah nor Lel envy.
Paperwork signed, gentleman safely onboard and it’s back to base to North Petherton. Once safely tucked up the are family called to say he is in our care
A Funeral Director is on call 24/7
4pm and the phones are put over to Lel, who is on-call tonight. Either Sarah or Lel are always on call, something they have never been able to hand over to anyone else – being first point of contact is so important!
Being a funeral director is 24/7. Even though both at home with their families, emails trickle in and WhatsApp messages ping from families needing guidance – but Lel and Sarah wouldn’t want it any other way!