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How Does A Celebration Of Life Differ From A Funeral

Published: June 26, 2017

There are a number of similarities between a celebration of life and traditional funeral service. They are both important aspects of the funeral process and both help the family and friends of the deceased come to terms with their loss and cope with their grief. The main difference between the two, however, is that a funeral service generally includes the body of the deceased being present, while a celebration of life is more of a wake and doesn’t usually involve the body being present.

Furthermore, celebrations of life vary depending on social or religious norms. All celebrations of life involve a gathering of people who personally knew the deceased, both large and small, and are a way to get together and remember the good times. Celebrations of life follow, for the most part, a much more loosely defined script, so to speak, than funerals and are not quite as steeped in tradition. Funerals proceed with very definite steps to ensure that everything comes together as it should. They also follow certain traditions and are seen as solemn affairs. Celebrations of life, on the other hand, are a way to focus on the life of friend and loved ones, with more personal details and memories being recounted. This is a time for joyous remembrance of the past and a lighter mood accompanies these gatherings. 

With little formal procedure and process, celebrations of life are much more laid back and allow for a more easy-going atmosphere. Tradition is usually not adhered to extremely closely, which allows for much more personalization. Again, celebrations of life are very much like having a wake, where everyone is expected to be happy about a good life lived, and not upset about it coming to an end. These feelings of sadness will always be present, but being thankful for the time you did spend together is important to acknowledge. Celebrations of life allow exactly that. 

These days, many people opt to have both a funeral and celebration of life. This allows for a traditional and sombre funeral service, while also allowing one to lighten the mood afterward. It’s all about bringing everyone together to remember, with fondness, the better times. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Jerry Spears Funeral Home.


Common Misconceptions About Funeral Directors

Published: June 26, 2017

When it comes to the funeral industry, there are many dated stereotypes that people still cling to. Often times funeral directors are depicted as having a morbid fascination with death and are usually seen as dull or creepy. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. We aim to address these misconceptions and give you a proper sense of what the life of a funeral director entails. These dedicated professionals have dedicated themselves to public service and take their role very seriously. Furthermore, funeral directors overwhelmingly have an incredible sense of compassion and empathy. Their role is to help the family through this difficult time and help them navigate an industry that can be somewhat confusing to the uninitiated.

These lasting stereotypes have no actual basis in reality, instead allowing pop culture to let their imaginations run rampant. Of course, entertainment purposefully exaggerates these topics, but many people unfortunately end up buying into the hype more often than not. We will attempt to address and clarify some of the more common misconceptions relating to the funeral industry in general. 

To begin with, funeral directors do not have a morbid obsession with death. In reality, this is absolutely not the case. Funeral directors are required to approach every situation with empathy and also carefully consider and choose how they address the friends and family of the deceased. Having a stable personality and sound mind are very important here. During such an emotional time, funeral directors are supposed to remain cool, calm, collected, and sympathetic to the issues of their clients. If one were to have an unhealthy obsession with death, this professional engagement would not take place. Furthermore, many people think that funeral directors get into the industry because they can’t relate well to people, instead preferring the company of corpses. A lot of us assume, additionally, that the entirety of a funeral director’s day is spent around dead bodies. This is, once again, completely untrue. Funeral directors are excellent communicators and most chose their current profession precisely because it allows them to interact with the land of the living on a constant basis. Building relationships is an important step for all funeral home directors and one that they overwhelmingly look forward to during their daily responsibilities. While their job ensures that they are not uncomfortable around corpses, the suggestion that it is where they prefer to spend their time is absolutely unfounded in reality. 

People do tend to buy into stereotypes to easily, especially if they are long-standing, such as those surrounding the funeral industry. Instead of being dull, awkward, and fascinated with death, funeral directors are, for the most part, cheerful, friendly, attentive, and, most importantly, sympathetic to your struggle. Funeral directors want nothing more than to help you through this difficult time and will happily lend you their ear or a shoulder if needed. At the end of the day, their job is to ensure that this transition is as painless as possible for the living. Funerals can be hard on everyone involved, but a good funeral director will help share your burden and help you get back to where you need to be after tragedy strikes. 

If you have any further questions that you would like answered, please do not hesitate to contact Jerry Spears Funeral Home. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction or clear up any further misconceptions you may have.

Cremation Vs Burial...How To Decide Which is Best

Published: June 12, 2017

Making the choice between cremation and burial can be a difficult choice. At the end of the day it's also a very personal one. Even if a loved ones wishes go against your own, it is important that you go along with them. If, however, an end of life discussion has not taken place prior to their passing, this decision can be made infinitely more difficult. Ensuring that these preparations are made ahead of time are important. Making the right choice doesn't have to be too difficult. With that in mind, we aim to educate you on all the options available to help you make the best choice for you and your loved ones.



There are some big differences between cremation and burial that must first be pointed out. When a body is cremated it is reduced to ash. This is a cheaper option and an urn is also less onerous to transport. A burial, on the other hand, allows you to present your loved one's body at the funeral service. This option, while being more traditional, is also more costly. Tradition is an important aspect of a funeral service as it helps many people feel more connected to their ancestors when paying respects in the same way they did. For a lot of people, this will be a driving factor when choosing between the two.



On the other hand, a lot of people, especially in the younger generations, are moving away from traditional values and opt to create their own traditions that instead reflect their own personal values. There is no right or wrong answer here. The choice should ultimately be the one that feels best for you. It should be noted once again that the wishes of the deceased should always take priority, regardless of anyone else's beliefs.  Burials involve a lot more steps than cremation. There is the preparation and embalming process to help preserve the body. Caskets, hearse rentals, and burial plots are also considerations to keep in mind. In order to find the perfect plot many people will reserve theirs years in advance. While this ensures that their final resting place suits them perfectly, these added steps can also add financial and emotional stress. Most burials end up costing upwards of $10,000 and, even with the help of a qualified funeral director, take careful planning and preparation.


Weighing the Two

Cremation is infinitely cheaper and more efficient. Cremation also allows the scattering of your loved ones ashes in a more personal place for them. It also allows you to keep your loved ones close, presenting the urn either in storage or a visible place in your home. A lot of people feel close to their loved ones when they choose this option. It should always be noted that your loved ones' wishes are your number one priority when making any end of life decisions. If they have a preference or their religious beliefs go against a specific choice, then you should absolutely honour and respect those requests and guidelines. A compromise is always welcome, as well, with a traditional service followed by cremation.


If you do have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jerry Spears Funeral Home for any additional information.

5 Tips For Proper Funeral Etiquette

Published: June 12, 2017

Funeral services can be a hard time for everyone involved. Proper etiquette, therefore, is an important consideration when attending any service. Being aware what is acceptable behaviour is a good first step and will help ensure that the service proceeds as it should. We here at Jerry Spears Funeral home have compiled a few of the most important considerations to keep in mind before, during, and after the service.


Proper Attire

Your first consideration should be with regard to your clothing. Dressing appropriately is vastly important. Maintaining a simple and professional air is always your best bet. Colours should be subdued, with gray or black on white being preferred. Bright colours should absolutely be avoided in order to avoid being a distraction.


Silence is Golden

With so many distractions these days, it is imperative that all phones, pagers, and other noisy devices be turned off throughout the service. There is no reason to attend to other business at any point during any funeral service. If a matter does require immediate attention, removing yourself and stepping outside before engaging in a conversation will ensure that you do not frustrate the proceedings. We hope you understand that a funeral service is for solemn remembrance. Turning ringtones off and refraining from boisterous conversation is therefore advised.


Arrive on Time

Punctuality is important when attending a service. Funeral services do follow a timeline and to arrive late is to interrupt the proceedings. To properly show your respects, arrive early, but not too much so. Arriving early allows you to offer condolences to family members and other attendees, as well as allowing you to remain relaxed throughout. Arriving late and flustered will unnecessarily distract other attendees as well as be potentially embarrassing to you. If circumstances do lead to a late arrival, enter quietly and sit or stand as far back as possible to avoid being a distraction.


Paying Respects

If you're unsure of the proper way to pay your respect to the family and offer them condolence, you aren't alone. This can be a difficult engagement with many being unsure of the right sentiment to give. Speaking from the heart is always recommended. Writing out what you plan to say ahead of time can help, but absolutely avoid any scripted words. If you open up, speaking with honesty and respect, your words will be appreciated.


Seating Arrangements

If not an immediate family member or close friend, we recommend finding a seat closer to the middle or back rows. On most occasions, the first few rows are reserved for family, with those immediately behind being occupied by close friends. As with dinner etiquette, remaining standing until the family has first taken their seats shows respect and will also help you determine where you should sit.


By following these simple guidelines you can be assured that you can help a funeral service proceed smoothly. A funeral can be a trying and difficult time for all involved, but it doesn't have to be. Keeping these tips in mind is a perfect way to pay your respects without any fear of showing disrespect or causing any undue stress to gathered friends and family.


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jerry Spears Funeral Home. We are always glad to offer our assistance or answer any questions you may have.

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