Tina F. Moessner, funeral director and owner at Pelham Funeral Home in Fonthill, sheds light on some of the intricate and often misunderstood aspects of funeral planning.
Moessner explains that the choice of cremation over traditional casket burial is influenced by various factors, including religion, ethnic background, or simply personal preference. Cremation offers flexibility in planning a memorial service in that families are not limited by time restraints.
However, full-casket burials are still quite frequent. In some cases, a full-casket burial offers greater closure when a loved one does pass away.
Misconceptions about cremation services
Moessner and her team at Pelham Funeral Home emphasize their commitment to providing courteous, professional, compassionate services at a very reasonable and fair price.
The price point for an immediate cremation is the same as many cremation services. It is a misconception that all funeral homes are more expensive. Just because a funeral home has the facilities to offer more does not mean a family has to select more.
“It is also a misconception the deceased goes from the place of death straight to the crematorium,” Moessner adds.
“This is not so. Legal documents must be filled out whenever a death occurs. If a coroner is involved, there may be a lapse of a few days before cremation can take place. In that case, the deceased would be in our safekeeping at the funeral home until cremation or burial could take place. There are many other facts in play as well that differ from case to case.”
Moessner stresses the importance of honouring everyone’s life uniquely and respectfully, whether through a traditional service or a more contemporary memorial gathering.
“We often do not realize how many lives we all touch in our lifetime, and it is important to remember funerals and memorial services are for the living, not the dead. We hear ‘celebration of life’ much more often now, which is a positive shift as everyone’s life should be celebrated whether it involves cremation or burial.”
Moessner reinforces the lasting significance of any type of service a family may choose. Funerals of any kind serve a dual purpose: acknowledging the death and celebrating the individual's life while also providing a support network for grieving family and friends.
Understanding the costs of funeral planning
Moessner understands that some families may have financial constraints and can precisely help them in their time of need.
“Yes, there is a cost to funerals, but families should take the time and speak to a professional in person to find out the family’s wants versus their needs.”
When asked about prearranged funerals, Moessner explains that one can pay for their funeral in full or a payment plan can be set up.
Moessner also stresses that if a family already has money or an insurance policy for funeral expenses, it is still important to come in and put down in writing the statistical and legal information needed regardless of what kind of service wanted and the person's final wishes are.
“Even if someone does not wish to pre-pay their funeral, they should still pre-arrange their final wishes. This costs nothing, and the profound stress and burden it will take off a person's loved ones.”
Reflecting on her long-standing career, Moessner shares that her drive comes from the deep satisfaction of helping people.
"It is not necessarily about being thanked or praised. It is about knowing deep down that you've really helped someone in their most difficult time. Compassion only goes so far. I truly believe one must also possess empathy to do this job well.”