How does a Funeral Home work? This is the process until the burial or cremation.

The Sancho de Ávila Funeral Home was a pioneer in Spain in the introduction of the wake away from home 1968. Inside, a team of dozens of people are working at the against the clock so that in the within 24 to 48 h – as contemplated by Spanish law-. families can say goodbye to their loved one who has passed away in the best possible way before proceeding to burial or cremation..

“The wake is a moment that will never come again and plays a transcendental role in beginning the mourning”. Speak Josep Antón Díazhead of protocol of Mémora in Barcelona who, for 33 years, has been working at the Sancho de Ávila mortuary with the mission of to offer a personalized treatment to the families. He coordinates the arrival of new services and those departing throughout the day. “I’m like the ‘maitre d’ in a restaurant. I receive the family, I explain everything they have contracted, I am with them when they see the deceased and I attend to them at all times to solve problems or offer them whatever they need at any given moment”, he explains. When the families arrive at the morgue, he has already made sure that the room is in good condition, that the flowers have arrived and that everything is in order. I take care of them from the moment they enter until they leave,” he says.

But he is just one of the most visible faces of all the pieces that come into play in the gearing of the operation of the mortuary. Behind the wake rooms there is a set of corridors and spaces in which the different teams, which nobody sees, work in coordination to offer a unique and increasingly personalized service.

The back room of the funeral parlor

And there is no better way to understand it, than to explain it. The work of the mortuary begins with the communication of the death by the hospital, the nursing home or the family itself.. A specialized vehicle moves to pick up the deceased. The deceased is identified and transported to the mortuary, where he/she is the remains are kept in a cold room at a temperature of between 2 and 8 degrees required by law.

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In the meantime, the team of advisors attends the family to inform them of everything necessary in a personal interview.. In this contact all the details of the ceremony are decided. The type of coffin, the memorials to be given, the flowers, the clothes to be worn by the deceased and the timetable, among others, are discussed. “It is essential to explain, inform and offer peace of mind to the families. We convey to them that they are in good hands and that we will take care of everything, always taking into account their needs”, he explains. Núria Gilartadvisor to Mémora.

One of the most important tasks is the conditioning of the body in the thanatopraxy room.. At the Sancho de Ávila morgue, Jordi Fernández and his team prepare the body. They wash it, disinfect it, massage it to break the ‘post mortem’ stiffness and plug it with absorbent cotton. Once inside the coffin the deceased is dressed, combed and made up. Always in a natural way and to offer the best and most real image of the deceased. “My main objective is that the families can say goodbye to their loved one and that the memory is as kind as possible”, Fernandez assures.

At the flower shop, Edith Lozada prepares the wreaths and bouquets That will accompany the deceased person on his or her final journey. “Working here is like therapy. Understanding that bereavement has a process, and living all the phases surrounded by these families, makes me understand that we all, at some point, go through this grief, but we have to move on. This has helped me to be able to encourage others”, reflects the florist of the Sancho de Ávila mortuary.

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Increasingly personalized services

The whole process explained in the previous section, ends with the. opening of the room to the family. At this point, the ball is in the court of the protocol team. Diaz makes sure at all times of the well-being of the family and in attending to all needs and concerns. that may arise until the time of burial or cremation. How will be the funeral procession, parking, catering, the possibility of kissing the deceased… are some of the issues that the person in charge of protocol controls.

The ceremony is prepared to the millimeter. “There is no margin for error and we try to make the process the best way for the family. We listen to them and connect with them. We try to give them peace of mind and the satisfaction that the person has gone the way they wanted. That’s why there are a lot of demands. That everything goes well helps them to begin the mourning process in a better way”, explains Mémora’s protocol manager in Barcelona.

In this sense, Diaz emphasizes that the personalization of the service has become a fundamental aspect in the funeral homes, above all, in the secular funeral homeswhich already represent almost 34% of the services. Personalized music, speeches by family and friends, or videos and photographs to project at the ceremony have become the norm. “Families want the service to resemble what the deceased person wanted and, unlike a religious funeral, there is a lot of leeway. We take it upon ourselves to help them and try to make sure everything goes according to their wishes”; he explains.

The trip ends at the ceremony. At that point, the journey to the cemetery begins. “Each trip to the cemetery or crematorium is a life lesson that helps me to appreciate what I have, especially when I take someone younger than me,” he reflects. David Gonzalezdriver for Mémora.

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