Funeral homes continue to embrace change.

I was taught in mortuary school that one of the purposes of embalming is to leave a memory picture of the deceased with their family. Years ago, most families absolutely expected to see their loved one in a casket. But times are changing. I am sure long ago, when the practice of embalming became prevalent, it was a pretty challenging thought. Perhaps, in addition to excellent embalming, the memory picture we are supposed to leave is a new one based on modern technology. The challenge is, with limited time to plan unique services, how can we gather what we need to make a more meaningful memory picture?

We could expand the arrangement conference to start before the death occurs. We can exceed the expectations of our families in much the same way that families were amazed centuries ago when embalming was first introduced. What a surprise and cherished keepsake for the family!

The technology is readily available to us to capture as many video obituaries or slide show pictures as we can and store them for the family. Funeral directors have highly unique and specialized knowledge, we just need to revamp it and use it in a different way. We can become the keeper of treasures to be produced at just the right time and used in just the right way.

Successful funeral homes of the future will provide of both types of memory pictures: those where embalming is used to help with closure from the earthly body and pre-recorded video obituaries, pictures and captured memories provided by the deceased as part of their own celebration. I believe it is possible that if we become specialists in both types of memorials, we will increase our relevance in our communities to a level where no final disposition method will replace what we mean to families.