Everything you need to know about funerals.
What is a funeral?
The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.
What type of service should I have?
Only you can answer that question. The type of service conducted for the deceased, if not noted in a pre-plan, is decided by the family. The service is usually held at a place of worship or at the funeral home. The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgment of friendship and support. A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family's community and religious affiliations.
Can I personalize my funeral service?
Absolutely, in fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life. Our funeral directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. It may be personalized in many unique ways. Contact us at to explore the possibilities.
Why should we have a public viewing?
There are many reasons to view the deceased. It is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is explained well.
Why do we need an obituary notice?
An obituary notice serves to celebrate the life of a loved one. They’re also nice for friends and family of the deceased, as they detail the many memories and stories of a persons life. Publishing an obituary can also help take some of the burden of having to notify many people about funeral details off your plate. For more information, check out our guide on how to write a beautiful obituary.
What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their administrative duties, they make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. In order to earn the title "funeral director" in the state of California, one has to have at least a junior college education, and pass the state licensing examination. As caregivers, funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.
What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is place a call to us at . If you request immediate assistance, one of our professionals will be there within the hour. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. Then they will come when your time is right. Greenlawn does NOT contract with a transportation company for removals within the Kern County area. You will meet members of OUR staff who will take every effort to ensure that the removal process will be done in a respectful and professional manner.
What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
Your funeral director can assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe. Contact Greenlawn immediately. We will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased person to our community. We may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as our agent.
What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness. It 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. Embalming the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.
Is embalming mandatory by law?
No. But, certain factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming is be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another state or country where local laws need be observed. Greenlawn will require that embalming be performed if the services you select include an open casket and public viewing, and if we are to dress your loved one for a private or public viewing.
Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.
Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.
How much does a funeral cost?
Depending on the families selections, traditional ground burial and services at either Greenlawn location can cost between $6,000-$13,000. This would include, but not limited to, removal from place of death (within the Kern County area) embalming or refrigeration of remains, basic services of funeral director and staff, filing and preparation of legal documents including death certificate, and merchandise. The merchandise can include your selection of casket, memorial book and folders, flowers and clergy fees. (You may download a copy of our General Price List here). Meeting with one of our funeral directors before a death has occurred, or at time of need, will enable you to see all of the options available to your family, and experience our level of service that is both comforting and reassuring.
Has this cost increased significantly?
Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items.
Why are funerals so expensive?
In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or birthday celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer. Not only that, a funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Greenlawn is a family owned business and has always operated on a modest profit margin.