A day in the life of a funeral director
08 October 2019
“If I am able to put a service together that is both positive and loving, then I have done my job.” A day in the life of a funeral director with Tom Meek of Christophers’ Family Funerals.
Here, we speak to Tom Meek, co-director of Christophers’ Family Funerals in Devon, about his typical working day, the changes he has seen in the industry and why he has dedicated his career to helping bereaved families to say goodbye to their loved ones.
As an independent funeral director, Tom is quick to point out that no day in his profession is ever the same: “The work varies from conducting a funeral for a family and sorting out headstones, gravediggers, doctors and flowers to putting accounts together and delivering estimates,” he says. Tom generally starts work between 8.30 and 9am, after taking his daughter to school. However, if the situation calls for an early start, he can be at the local crematorium as early as 7am.
Developing relationships with other industry professionals is a key aspect of the work Tom does: “I am always going somewhere in this job, whether that’s travelling to the crematorium to deliver paperwork and collect ashes, or to the hospital, nursing home or a family home to bring a loved one into our care. A lot of my time is spent visiting churchyards and cemeteries, marking and checking graves, and seeing families either in their homes or one of our offices.”
Tom says one of the best aspects of his profession is the personalised attention and duty of care he can give to families: “The things I like most about my job are being able to help people through their time of loss and putting together personalised services that reflect the lives of their loved ones. I personally see the funeral service as the first step on the way to coping with a bereavement. If I am able to put a personalised service together that is both positive and loving, then I have done my job.”
The funeral industry by its very nature involves speaking to people at what can be a very difficult time: “The most challenging thing is the initial meeting with the family,” he explains. “I usually have no idea what they have been through or whether the death was expected or unexpected. It’s hard to see people going through these emotions and talk about their loved ones when the pain of losing them is so raw.”
Tom says he usually finishes work between 5 and 6pm before going home to his wife and daughter to unwind from the challenges of the day. Having worked as a funeral director for many years, Tom is well placed to comment on the ways in which the industry has changed in recent times: “We find that funerals are becoming more and more personalised. The services tend to focus more on the person who has passed away and their wishes. Traditional church services are still popular, but often families will choose to play contemporary music over having religious poems or readings. We are also seeing more services being conducted in more alternative venues, including fields, woodlands and hotels.”
For those with special requirements for their funeral service, taking out a funeral plan is a sensible and cost-effective way to make the arrangements in advance. Contact your local funeral director to learn more about pre-paid funeral plans.