By Jason Meidl, Funeral Director at Creston Valley Funeral Services
What I do for self care is a question I get often and is a very important one, especially in today’s climate. Being a funeral director involves being on call 24/7 and even more so in a family-owned and operated funeral home. Personally, I know it is important to take time for myself. Part of my self-care is being active and outdoors as much as I can – everything from gardening, running, hiking with the kids, to coffee on the deck. Some important ideas that I always keep in the back of my mind regarding my self-care are getting rest when possible, eating healthy and staying hydrated, connecting with loved ones, learning healthy ways to express myself, and turning to gratitude and thankfulness. I love my job and count it a privilege to serve my families, but I have learned over the years that if I do not take care of myself, I can’t effectively take care of anyone else. Thanks so much for that question Patricia!
Another question I received this week: Is there any kind of financial assistance to help pay for funeral costs? This is a good question and one we get often in our profession. One form of assistance is called the Canada Pension death benefit which is a taxable one-time payment of $2,500 which is normally paid to the estate and is a benefit that the funeral home will often apply for on behalf of the family. To be eligible for this benefit someone must have paid into CPP for one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period for the base CPP, but no less than three calendar years or 10 calendar years. One thing to note is that most funeral homes cannot wait for this benefit to come in for payment of their services as it can take up to 12 weeks, and payment is taken up front for their services. When a death occurs as a result of a car accident, the estate may be eligible for benefits from ICBC up to $7,000 towards funeral expenses, and further survivor’s benefits may be paid by ICBC. Most funeral homes will provide their services and then ICBC will pay the funeral home directly for the costs up to the maximum of $7,000. When a death occurs in the workplace there is also funds available to help pay for the funeral services and the funeral home will also help you apply for those funds. The Ministry of Social Development also will pay for funeral services which may be provided to pay necessary funeral costs of any person who dies in B.C. if the estate of the deceased person or any responsible person has no immediate resources to meet these costs. There is no requirement that the deceased person, or the person’s family, must be BC Employment and Assistance recipients to qualify for the supplement. Anytime you have a question about funding, do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help. Thanks so much for that question Dave!
I thought I would leave you with an interesting historical fact about my chosen profession. Gravestones were introduced in Britain by the Romans as an imported practice. The first gravestones in Britain were concentrated close to Roman military forts and more urbanised Romano-British settlements. Back then, gravestones were more frequently dedicated to women and children than Roman soldiers. This was most likely because Roman soldiers were not legally allowed to marry, so monuments to their deceased family members legitimised their relationships in death in a way they could not be in life. After the end of Roman control in Britain in the fifth century, gravestones fell out of favour and did not become widely popular again until the modern era.
Keep the questions coming! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.