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What is the purpose of a funeral?

Funerals provide surviving family members and friends a caring, supportive environment in which to recognize the death of a loved one and to share thoughts and feelings about that person. Funerals are the first step in the healing process. The ritual of attending a funeral service provides many benefits including:


  • Providing a social support system for the bereaved

  • Helping the bereaved understand death is final and part of life

  • Integrating the bereaved back into the community

  • Easing the transition to a new life after the death of a loved one

  • A safe haven for embracing and expressing pain

  • Reaffirming one's relationship with the person who died

  • Providing a time to say good-bye


And yes, it is possible and normal to have a full funeral service even for those choosing cremation. The importance of the ritual is in providing a social gathering to help the bereaved begin the healing process.


I've never arranged a funeral before. What do I need to know?

At some time in our lives, most of us will make or assist in making funeral arrangements. This will not be an easy time, but we offer these tips for smart planning:


  • Be an informed consumer, ask questions

  • Choose a funeral home with a licensed funeral director

  • Discuss service and payment options during the arrangement conference

  • Make sure you receive a copy of the funeral home's General Price List

  • Plan a personalized and meaningful ceremony that reflects the life of your loved one.


What do funeral directors actually do?

Funeral directors are licensed professionals. They are caregivers and administrators. They make arrangements for the transportation of the deceased, perform embalming and aesthetic services, and guide and implement the choices made by the family regarding funerals and final disposition of the deceased. They coordinate with hospitals, hospices, churches, pastors, venues, musicians, singers, beauticians, newspapers, police escorts, cemetery officials, pallbearers, and others to make sure the day of the service goes flawlessly. They oversee all manner of legal paperwork and death certificate filings. Funeral directors are listeners, advisers, and supporters. They have experience assisting families in coping with death. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.


What types of funeral services are there to choose from?

Every family is different, and not everyone wants the same type of funeral. Funeral practices are influenced by religious and cultural traditions, costs, and personal preferences. These factors help determine whether the funeral will be elaborate or simple, public or private, religious or secular, and where it will be held. They also influence whether the body will be present at the funeral, if there will be a viewing or visitation, and, if so, whether the casket will be open or closed and whether the remains will be buried or cremated. The options are limitless, really.


Why have a public viewing?

Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.


What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the deceased, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of someone disfigured by traumatic death or illness. Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.


Is embalming required by law?

No. Most states, however, require embalming when death is caused by a reportable contagious disease or when a deceased is to be transported from one state to another by a common carrier, or if final disposition is not to be made within a prescribed number of hours. Embalming may be required by the funeral home when there is to be a public viewing or service with an open casket.


What should I do if a death occurs at home?

When death occurs, even at home, M.C. Smith Funeral Home personnel are available to assist you at any hour, seven days a week. Just call us at 478-552-2591 and we will guide you each step of the way based on the situation.


If a loved one dies out of state, can M.C. Smith Funeral Home still help?

When death occurs away from home, M.C. Smith Funeral Home can assist you with out-of-state arrangements and transfer of the deceased to a preferred location. We will assist with all the arrangements needed to return your loved one back to Middle Georgia for your chosen services. Please call 478-552-2591 for assistance if an out of town death occurs.


SINCE 1931
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