I generally don’t make it a habit to tell other people how to do their jobs, but this one time I need to make an exception.
This is a shout out to funeral directors: You folks need to change how visitations at funeral and memorial services are conducted these days. Somewhere along the way, the model changed, and not for the better.
The last three visitations I have attended went something like this: People arrive at the church or funeral home. They are told to stand in a single-file line. The line backs up. The people wait. And they wait some more. And some more. If they are lucky, they get there early enough to get a chance to hug and console the survivors of the deceased. They quickly pay their respects. And they quickly leave, because they know the eyes of all of the poor souls behind them in the line are upon them.
At one service last year, I waited in a line outside of the church for 45 minutes. When I finally moved up in the line to get into the church, I discovered that the line weaved in around the narthex and the church for another 45 minutes. I saw several old friends I would have loved to reconnect with in line about 100 people ahead and behind me. But I could not go to see them, because I had to keep my place in line. I never did get to talk to them that day.
Eventually, because the process is so monotonous and tedious, the funeral director regrettably had to inform the dozens of people in the back of the line that the visitation was ending, and invited them to stay for another hour or so at the actual service. They never did get a chance to express their condolences to the family.
Here’s the thing. Many people at the service may only know the father of the deceased. Or the mother. Or the brother. Or the sister. Or the son. Or the daughter. Whatever. They only wished to attend the visitation and give that one person they know a hug, pay their respects and move on.
There was and is a better way: Station the family members in different parts of the church or funeral home. Allow people to mill about between them. Allow them to socialize with each other,
console each other and support each other. It would be a much better process for all involved, especially the loved ones of the deceased. As I looked into their eyes when it was finally my chance in line, they were glazed over by the monotonous, impersonal assembly line of it all.
Please, when the time comes, do NOT make my friends and family have to stand in a long line. I want them to celebrate my life with each other and support each other. It should feel more like a collaborative, social event than a line to get your physical when you enlist in the service or a TSA screening at an airport.
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
Published July 18, 2014
The Milwaukee Cultural and Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force invited business leaders from Oklahoma City, Denver and Cleveland to discuss a new arena, mass transit and other infrastructure projects in Milwaukee.
Published July 9, 2014
Though it may seem counterintuitive, there are times when the customer is not worth the drama, and the customer must be fired.
Published June 25, 2014
Kay Plantes, an MIT-trained economist, author and expert on business model innovation, recently predicted the next big wave of innovation in health care.
Published June 11, 2014
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently voted to open up recently proposed rules concerning the future of the Internet for public comment. The changes could end net neutrality.
Published May 29, 2014
To many of my colleagues in the baby boom generation, the rising generation of millennials is a mystery.
Published May 15, 2014
Could Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Energy Corp. or Madison-based Aliant Energy Corp. become takeover targets for renowned investor Warren Buffett? Possibly, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg.
Published April 30, 2014
When Harry S. Dennis III walked into the room, more times than not, he was the smartest guy in that room. So it is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that I inform OnMilwaukee.com readers that Harry passed away on Sunday, April 27, from complications of pulmonary fibrosis.
Published April 22, 2014
After a national search, Marquette University decided that the best candidate to be its next president was sitting in an office five miles across town. Sources said it was Marquette that pursued Michael Lovell, rather than the other way around. After all, Lovell will leave behind a strong legacy of achievement at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Published April 18, 2014
Sheboygan-based Johnsonville Sausage LLC says it is "as much amused as it is surprised" that the European Union, in negotiating the terms of a new trade deal with the United States, is pushing to trademark several different foods - including bratwurst - that have originated in an EU country.
Published April 16, 2014
Despite news that the two new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks and outgoing owner Herb Kohl will contribute $200 million to a new arena, that leaves at least another $200 million to be raised for a new arena. And that is where a series of unanswered questions lies, beginning with how much public tax support will be needed to build a new arena?