By Jason Meidl, funeral director at Creston Valley Funeral Services
Spring is upon us and I am reminded daily how blessed we are to live in the Creston Valley. There really is no place like it. Creston has always held a special place in my heart, and how could it not? I met my wife here and both my girls were born here. Thank you to everyone who has been sending questions in! Here are a few I received this week:
“What kind of training or schooling do you need to be a funeral director?” – Ron
This is a good question and one I am happy to answer! Every province is different as each province has their own regulatory boards. In B.C., we are regulated by Consumer Protection BC, and they are the agency responsible for issuing our licences both as funeral directors/embalmers as well as funeral home providers. In B.C., we are required to take a funeral services program as recognized by the Industry Training Authority Act. This is a two-year course with a combination of online distance learning, seminars, workshops, and practical experience (on-the-job work experience). In B.C., you can be licensed as either a funeral director or embalmer or as both. I myself am dual licensed. Our courses include Embalming Theory, Safety, Sanitation & Hygiene, Dying, Death & Disposition Funeral Practices, Funeral Law, Funeral Service Ethics, Communications, Anatomy & Physiology, and Business Management. As we are taking these courses throughout our apprenticeship we are also working and learning in a funeral home. Once we have completed our two-year apprenticeship, which also includes 1,800 hours of actual work experience, we are then able to apply for our full license. Once we are fully licensed, we are also required to complete continuing education for as long as we hold a license.
“What sort of support do you provide for the loved ones left behind?” – Debbie
To me, aftercare is a vital part of what I do. I always tell my families that my service to them does not end after the arrangement, and it does not end after the funeral. I am available to them for as long as they need me. Part of my care involves reaching out to my families for at least a year to check in with them and offer any help that I can. This could be as simple as answering a question about a letter they may have received in the mail from the government, to faxing documents, to visiting and having a coffee. At my funeral home, we also send out cards during the first year on special occasions such as birthdays and holidays knowing how hard these “firsts” can be. I believe after care is vitally important especially in my profession where our focus should always be on serving our families at their greatest time of need.
Fun Fact of the Week:
How many of us use the term “saved by the bell”? There is a theory that this expression originates from those days when people feared being buried alive. Taphophobia is the medical term for the fear of being buried alive as a result of being incorrectly pronounced dead. During the 18th and 19th century, safety coffins were produced. Many safety coffins were fitted with a mechanism to allow the occupant to signal that he or she has been buried alive. There is no historical evidence anyone was ever saved by these coffins, but one cannot help but wonder whether the “saved by the bell” expression is somehow related to the fear of being buried alive.
Keep the questions coming! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.