Updated April 17, 2020
If you’re the family member of a funeral director, you know the sacrifices that are made, both by the funeral director, and the rest of the family, in order to serve families who are going through one of the most difficult times in their lives. The phone can ring at any time, day or night, summoning the funeral director to help a family in need of compassion and care. That call can disrupt a family’s sleep, an outing, or even a family celebration. But as the family member of a funeral director, you understand that he or she has selflessly committed to this special calling.
Now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, you may find calls are increasing, as well as your concerns about the safety of your funeral director family member and the family itself. While you’re addressing the challenges of how the pandemic is affecting you and your family personally, the funeral director (or funeral directors) in your family are also feeling the weight of addressing how they can best support the families they serve and provide them with thoughtful ways to say goodbye to their loved ones. In a time when being close to each other, hugging and, in some cases, traveling to anywhere other than the grocery store are off limits, your family member is likely struggling with how to best provide a meaningful experience. We are living in unprecedented times and your family member, as a funeral director, is on the front lines.
There are several things you can do, however, to support the funeral director in your family.
- Encourage self-care. See our Top Ten List of Self-care.
- Have conversations and invite your family member to talk about how he or she is feeling about the current situation, how it is affecting their work, and how it is affecting them personally. Make sure to also talk about things that are not pandemic-related – perhaps a book you’re reading, a vacation you’d like to take when things return to normal, etc.
- "Escape" when you can, even it if means not leaving home. Enjoy a movie together, prepare a meal, play a game or put together a puzzle. Sometimes it’s is as simple as everyone picking up a book and enjoying a literary escape to another time and place
- Recognize the need for solitude. Sometimes, after a long, difficult day, your family member may need quiet time to relax, reflect and unwind. Be respectful of his or her need for this personal time. However, if you feel your loved one has begun to distance him or herself from others or is spending too much time alone and excessively ruminating on the current situation, encourage him or her to seek the assistance of a professional.
- Encourage your family member to seek support. If he or she needs help working through the stress of the situation and needs better ways to take care of himself or herself, the NFDA Work/Life Resource Program is an excellent resource. It’s free, confidential, and available to NFDA members and their families – that means it’s available to you too!
- Say “I care,” “I love you,” “You’re making a difference in the lives of so many families,” or make other statements of support that will be most meaningful for your family member. Knowing you support him or her in their work will be appreciated as they continue to answer the call of serving families.
Take Care of Your Funeral Director and Your Family
The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful for every one.
Now, more than ever, you need to take care of yourself, your funeral director and your family.
That’s where the NFDA Work/Life Resource Program - which is available to funeral directors and members of their immediate family - comes in!