Frequently Asked Questions
This frequently asked questions page contains our funeral information and advice. If you do not find the answer to your questions below, please write, call or drop by today to speak with a staff member.
Do you have to have a vault or grave liner to be buried?
It depends. Virginia state law does not require a vault or grave liner for burial, however, most established cemeteries do. From a cemetery maintenance standpoint, the burial vault is important because it prevents the natural settling of the grave by supporting the weight of the earth above. This translates into less workload for cemetery staff and a more pleasing appearance of the cemetery itself.
How much does a funeral usually cost?
The price of a funeral can vary considerably depending upon the type of service and merchandise selected. That said, the average funeral will usually cost somewhere around $8,000 to $9,000.
I think I want to be cremated. What types of services can I have if I choose cremation?
Just about any type of service you choose.
Whether it be a private mountain top service with family and close friends, or a “traditional” style cremation service held at the funeral home or church, cremation offers the family members a wide variety of options for the type and location of the service held to honor the deceased.
What is ultimately done with the ashes is also very flexible, allowing for unique opportunities and compromise that traditional casket burial cannot offer. Family members can choose to keep the ashes at home, place them in a cremation niche, bury them, scatter them, blast them into outer space, shoot them from a gun, or all of the above. Literally, if you can imagine it, it can probably happen with a cremation service.
How do I talk to my children about death?
The answer depends greatly upon the individual child, their age, and previous experiences (or lack thereof) with death. A good place to start is telling them the truth, or as close to the truth as you judge your child being able to comprehend, and waiting for them to ask the questions they have on their mind.
Try to avoid using euphemistic phrases like, “Grandma is asleep” or similar, as these usually only serve to confuse the child and complicate their understand of the world around them. Using applicable religious concepts and/or emphasizing that death is a natural part of life might also help the child to understand that death, while painful, is OK to talk about.
Here are two additional resources that may help:
Why do you believe we need death education?
Psychologists have theorized that the institutionalizing of death (Hospitals, nursing homes, etc.) has effectively robbed us as a society of our ability to cope with death in a healthy way. We’re shielded from death in so many ways that it makes it more difficult when we inevitably lose someone we love.
Death education is important because there are so many myths and unknowns for most people regarding death. If we understand it better, we are then better prepared to cope with grief. Some of the important topics include: “How to explain death to children”, “Suicide Prevention”, “What are the stages of grief”, “How to help friends who have lost a loved one”, and “Various religious customs for funerals”.
We work with the teacher or group leader in creating a curriculum, which is helpful and informative. We find adults appreciate the information as well, since our society tries to deny death, and therefore are poorly informed.
Is a viewing really necessary?
For many people, the viewing of the deceased is an important part of the grieving process and one that simply cannot be replaced by any other means. Human beings are visual creatures. We usually believe what we see and often have complications coming to terms with things with which we cannot. Because of that, we usually recommend a viewing of some sort if at all possible.
What purpose do these fancy caskets serve?
A “fancy” casket is usually made of more expensive materials (bronze, copper, stainless steel, mahogany, etc.) and will often have more atheistically pleasing hardware and finish options. While there are usually some practical advantages to more expensive caskets (corrosion resistance, etc), it is true that every casket we offer, from least to most expensive, will perform the same basic duty of housing the body before, during, and after a funeral service. Because of this, it’s entirely up to the individual as to whether or not the “fancy” caskets are worth the increased price.
Why not eliminate all the fuss, bother, and expense of flowers and funerals and donate the money to charity?
There certainly are many worthy charities. Experience shows that most people see value in both. For example, if the person died from cancer, a donation to the Cancer Society in memory of the individual is especially meaningful.
At the same time, it is nice to send flowers to the family left. There is nothing like the beauty of flowers to soften the sadness and truly express the caring felt by friends for the bereaved. The best way to understand the value of flowers is to attend a funeral where there are none. Then attend one where different floral arrangements have been sent and listen to the families when they see the flowers and read the attached notes.
Ceremony marks every transition in life; weddings, baptisms, graduation, and funerals. We need the service to recognize the importance of the life that has been lived. Through music, poetry, and often scriptures, friends and family can face the reality of the death and begin to cope with grief. The family draws comfort from the gathering of all those people whose lives have been touched by the person who has died.
If my family decides they don’t want the so-called “traditional funeral” for me, what other options do they have?
While there’s certainly something to be said for continuing traditions and customs, we believe that a funeral ceremony should be as unique as the life lived. From Humanistic services to natural burials and everything in between, we’re here to help make every service as individual as it needs to be.
With decades of experience and more options than anyone else, we're here to listen and guide you through an meaningful, affordable tribute.
From custom caskets to flexible service options and everything in between, we’re here to help you tell the unique story of the person you love.