I generally donâ€™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.
Hereâ€™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 April 22, 2015
Several jaws dropped and eyebrows rose in January when BizTimes predicted a robust year of national economic growth for 2015. Well, we're at the quarter pole, and so far, so good.
Published April 8, 2015
Under new ownership, the Milwaukee Bucks made significant strides by building a young pool of talent on the court this season. However, the organization also has quickly assembled an impressive pool of young talent off the court in the front office.
Published March 25, 2015
By virtually every measure, Minnesota is taking Wisconsin's lunch money, according to a recent study by the LaCrosse Tribune, which lies right at the border.
Published March 11, 2015
In his Feb. 23 column for the BizTimes, Steve Jagler observed that each time a project is proposed to propel the city forward, someone or something seems to pop up and attempts to stop it. Judging from the feedback Steve Jagler received in response to his piece, many readers feel the same way.
Published Feb. 9, 2015
Since 1851, Wisconsin's state motto has been "Forward." However, these days, a more appropriate motto might be "Just hold on a minute..."
Published Jan. 14, 2015
If it seems like so many public policy decisions are hanging fire in Wisconsin these days, it's only because they are. And so many of these loose ends seem to be intertwined and interdependent.
Published Dec. 23, 2014
As the legal slog to develop a new streetcar system in Downtown Milwaukee continues to play out in court, in City Hall and at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, proponents and opponents alike would do well to keep an eye on Cincinnati.
Published Dec. 2, 2014
If asked to return for another term as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall says he would be honored to serve again.
Published Nov. 14, 2014
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they've conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.