Common Questions

We’ve provided a list of answers to questions we frequently receive regarding our services and other activities related to funerals. If you don't see the answer to your question here, feel free to contact us. We'd be happy to give you more information and clarify any of your concerns.

 

Why should I choose McNearney Funeral Home and Cremation Services?

It is not about us. From the moment you walk through our doors, the focus is on you and your family.

What is a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, honoring, and remembering the life of a person who has passed away. While specific customs, traditions, and practices differ across different cultures and religions, all funerals serve the key purpose of giving the bereaved a special time and place to say goodbye and find comfort and healing in one another.

Why have a viewing?

A viewing—also known as “visitation,” a “wake,” or “calling hours”—can involve an open or closed casket, and is seen as a vital part of the grieving process. Having their loved one present often helps family and friends to accept the reality of their loss, especially for those who may not have seen him or her in a while. The opportunity to come to terms with the death and say a final farewell is an important step on the road to closure and healing.

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming is a process used to sanitize and temporarily preserve the body of a person who has passed away. It can also enhance the appearance of a person that has suffered damage from an accident or illness. By preserving the body through embalming, we can give you and your family time to make personalized and meaningful arrangements, including a viewing if desired.

Is embalming required by law?

No. Except in rare circumstances, embalming is not required by law. However, most funeral homes do not permit public viewing without embalming. If you opt to not use embalming, oftentimes we can offer families the opportunity for a private viewing prior to burial with minimal preparation excluding embalming.

What should I say when I run into the bereaved in public?

What you’ll say depends upon whether or not you’ve already had contact with the bereaved. If you’ve already offered your condolences, or attended the visitation or service, simply greet the bereaved warmly and express an interest in their well-being. If this is your first meeting since the death and you’re in a public setting, it’s kinder not to bring up the death directly. Instead, say something like, “I understand these must be difficult days for you,” and perhaps ask about when might be a good time to visit, or suggest that you meet for lunch.

What can I do to help later?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral, and it will take time for the bereaved to heal. The family will need your support for months to come, so make sure to check in on a regular basis. Drop a note, make a phone call, and continue to invite them when you make social plans; they’ll let you know if and when they are ready to participate. Reach out to the family on special occasions, like birthdays or anniversaries, especially during the first year following their loss.

Should I bring my children to the funeral?

You should use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death, whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them. It’s important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure that they know the importance of being on their best behavior. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing those who are mourning.

What do funeral directors do?

A funeral director is a licensed professional who specializes in all aspects of funerals and related services. They provide support to the family, guide the arrangement of visitations and funeral ceremonies, prepare the deceased according to the family’s wishes, and ensure that everything goes according to plan. They also arrange for the removal and transportation of deceased throughout the process, and assist families with any legal or insurance-related paperwork they might need to file. They’re experienced at recognizing when an individual is having an extremely difficult time coping with a loss, and can provide extra support and recommendations for professional help if needed.

Can I personalize my service?

Absolutely! Our staff has years of experience getting to know families and incorporating their loved one’s hobbies, activities, interests, and unique requests into meaningful and memorable services. Don’t hesitate to make a request because you think it might be too “out there”—we’re honored to work with you to create a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

What do I do when a death occurs while out of town or away from home?

It’s important that you contact the local medical authorities first (as well as the police, if appropriate), and then make sure to give us a call as soon as possible. We will work with you to make the necessary arrangements to get you and your loved one back home as quickly and easily as possible. Calling us will also help you to avoid duplication of efforts and fees.

Can I still have viewing and funeral services with cremation?

Definitely! In fact, we encourage you to do so. Choosing cremation only indicates how you’d like to care for your loved one after the service and doesn’t exclude you from celebrating and honoring their life in any way. Whether you’d like to have visitation beforehand, arrange a funeral service before cremation, or wait and hold the service after the cremation, we’re happy to help you design a meaningful service to accompany the cremation.

How long does the cremation process take?

This usually depends upon two things: the size of the individual and the type of casket or container used. A thin person in a cardboard container will take approximately 3 to 4 hours while a heavier person in a wooden casket could take approximately 4.5 to 5 hours.

How can I be sure that the remains I receive are those of my loved one?

First of all, cremation of multiple people at the same time is illegal in the US and many other countries, so the cremation chamber is not designed to hold more than one person at a time. In addition, cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures we follow to ensure we’re holding our services to the highest standard possible. All necessary paperwork and fees must be completed with local authorities, and then a checklist is completed at the crematory. A metal disk with a unique ID number accompanies your loved one from the time we receive the person throughout the cremation process, and after cremation occurs we attach the metal disk to the bag containing the ashes. Knowing the level of respect and meticulous care with which we treat your loved one, you can rest assured that you are receiving only your loved one’s ashes.

Where can I scatter my loved one's cremated remains? Are there any restrictions?

In general, the government does not regulate the scattering ashes. Make sure you check with your local regulations beforehand, but most locations are usually okay as long as you are considerate and dispose of the container properly. If you wish to scatter the ashes on private land, it’s good practice to consult the landowner first.

Can we have a viewing if my loved one has donated organs or had an autopsy?

Yes. Autopsies and organ donation do not affect your ability to have an open-casket visitation.

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium is a place for the interment of urns containing cremated remains. They’re often located in mausoleums, chapels, or memorial gardens, and contain numerous small compartments, or niches, designed to hold urns.

Do you have to have a vault to be buried?

Our state laws do not require a vault for burial. However, most cemeteries do require an outside container for the casket. The purpose is two-fold: First, the outside receptacle keeps the earth from settling, thus preventing the unevenness of the land which makes the cemetery less attractive. Second, it allows cemetery caretakers to more easily maintain the landscape, which is an advantage to you in a more beautiful cemetery at a lower cost. A vault provides more durability than a grave liner. The vault is usually selected by the family because of their desire for further protection of their loved one in addition to the casket or urn. There are many types of vaults and we would be happy to show you the differences.

How much does a funeral usually cost?

It is difficult to give an average cost because funeral services vary so much. The total cost depends on three main areas: the services selected, the casket, urn and vault chosen and the automotive equipment utilized. We encourage people to ask questions and find out about the costs so they can make informed choices. Our firm is affordable because we offer so many different options, all with dignified service.

At what age should you tell your children about death?

It depends on the child and the circumstance. If a child has just experienced the loss of a grandparent or other family member, it may be necessary to discuss death earlier than usual. Some children mature faster than others and will often ask questions about life and death themselves. Most parents find that even in the preschool years, children want answers about why their pet died or what happens when you die. The important issue is not "when" you tell your children about death, but rather "how" you tell them. It is important to be honest and not resort to false stories such as "God picks the prettiest flowers" or "Grandma is asleep". We have a practical brochure for explaining death to children, which will advise you step by step on the right words and attitude.

Why do you believe we need death education?

Death education is important because there are so many myths regarding death. If we understand it better, we are then better prepared to cope with grief. Some of the important topics include: "How to explain death to children", "Suicide Prevention", "What are the stages of grief", "How to help friends who have lost a loved one", and "Various religious customs for funerals". We work with the teacher or group leader in creating a curriculum, which is helpful and informative. We find adults appreciate the information as well, since our society tries to deny death, and therefore are poorly informed.

Do you ever have a difficult time performing your job or have you become hardened to it?

It is always hard experiencing the pain and sorrow families feel when someone they love dies. What helps us get through it is hearing people later say "Thank you for helping me get through it." "Thank you for taking care of all the details." We never get used to death. Confronting death gives us a greater appreciation for life... and helps us enjoy your family even more.

Are you afraid of dying?

No matter how much we are involved in helping people cope with death — we never lose our sensitivity. Being a part of helping other people cope with loss actually reminds us daily how precious life is.

If my family decides they don't want the so called "traditional funeral" for me, what other options do they have?

Many people falsely believe that everyone has to have a "traditional" funeral. However, we believe that every service should be personalized in order to honor the person who has died and be meaningful to the survivors. We offer alternatives such as humanistic services instead of religious services, visitations with or without viewing, and unique ceremonies to honor the person who has died. We try to be creative in helping the family make funeral arrangements so the decisions truly reflect their personal preferences and the life that has been lived.

What purpose do these fancy caskets serve?

Choosing a casket is a very personal decision. To many people, it is important to select a casket made of very durable steel or semi-precious metal. They feel peace of mind knowing the selection they made protects against the outside elements. Often, families will want to select a casket that seems fitting for their loved one. For example, interiors with quilted patterns, hardwoods with tree designs, religious symbols such as the Last Supper or praying hands and sometimes floral designs, which may represent their family member's favorite color or flower. We believe finding exactly what is right for you is so important; we offer many choices in caskets and vaults.

Why not eliminate all the fuss, bother, and expense of flowers and funerals and donate the money to charity?

There certainly are many worthy charities. Experience shows that most people see value in both. For example, if the person died from cancer, a donation to the Cancer Society in memory of the individual is especially meaningful. At the same time, it is nice to send flowers to the family left. There is nothing like the beauty of flowers to soften the sadness and truly express the caring felt by friends for the bereaved. The best way to understand the value of flowers is to attend a funeral where there are none. Then attend one where different floral arrangements have been sent and listen to the families when they see the flowers and read the attached notes.
Ceremony marks every transition in life; weddings, baptisms, graduation, and funerals. We need the service to recognize the importance of the life that has been lived. Through music, poetry, and often scriptures, friends and family can face the reality of the death and begin to cope with grief. The family draws comfort from the gathering of all those people whose lives have been touched by the person who has died.

Should I join a cremation society if cremation is my choice?

No, you do not need to be a member of a society to have cremation as your final disposition. The various cremation societies in Minnesota are simply extensions of existing Funeral Homes. Locally owned and operated, McNearney Schmidt Funeral and Cremation offers a variety of service options for our families who choose cremation as their final disposition.

1220 3rd Avenue East, Shakopee, MN 55379

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