As a psychology student at LMU, we normally take part in some interesting activities. I'm currently in a Human Development class, which picks up with adolescent years and ends with a study of death and dying. I just finished up doing 12 nursing home hours and needless to say that was an experience, but a good one at that. Our last assignment of the semester involves us planning our long term care plan and visiting a funeral home for arrangements. This of course raised some eyebrows because of the funeral home, but personally I thought it was kind of neat. I was nervous though until Kasey, a friend of mine, and me decided we would go together!
We arrived at Reeces Funeral Home in Harrogate this afternoon and made our way in. I happened to know the lady working the front desk, so this was able to take some more stress off. We told her why we were there and what we needed. She surprised us by asking if we wanted to take a tour! We could not turn that down!
First, we visited the room where families go to make arrangements. Next, we went into the casket room. This was pretty awesome. I never realized all the different ones there are to choose from. My preference was the Cedar wood with crepe lining while Kasey chose the copper. I have to say, the copper was pretty cool. There were also stainless steel ones...who knew?! After searching through the caskets, we made our way on through the home.
We came to the chapel, which was beautiful. She showed us an extra room that attaches onto the chapel itself. She said for families who come in for someone who has died and there is a step family involved, the extra room is for the families who do not get along and do not want to be seated in the same room during the funeral. This stunned me, that a family could not get along for a family member they all once knew. Next, she took us to a room that I will never forget.
The only room left in the home for us to see was the room where everything happens- the embalming room. I was kind of eerie at first about going, but since Kasey was there with me I figured I could go. It of course was not nearly as bad as I imagined it to be...it wasn't like there were any bodies or anything. Just the machines in there though were enough to make me want to head back on down the hallway.
The lesson I took away from this is even though death is not a topic anyone really wants to discuss, especially among family members, it is really important and helpful! The lady at Reeces told us how often children will come in there trying to plan a funeral for a parent and ends up bickering over which casket would be the best. As she said, that is the time for grieving, not arguing with the people who can ultimately be your support system. I at first saw this assignment as a nuesense, but not I see it as an assignment everyone should take part it. This way, there are no questions about your wishes once you are no longer able to wish them. It is not something you really do for yourself, but for those who are left behind you once you are gone.
Special thanks to Reeces Funeral Home for inviting us in and helping us out!