Among the many issues at hand when a loved one dies there are two important ones to decide: planning for the timely disposition of the body and commemorating the life that was lived.
A funeral service is with the body present and is usually planned within a few days of death. A memorial service can be delayed as long as you want, to meet the convenience or needs of the family.
Multiple services may be appropriate in some situations--a simple graveside service for the immediate family at the cemetery, followed by a memorial service in the community where the deceased more recently lived.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of embalming and is it required by law?
The purpose of embalming is to sanitize and preserve the body, retard the decomposition process and enhance the appearance of the remains. Embalming also makes it possible to prolong the length of time between death and final disposition. In the State of Maine embalming is not required by law. The funeral home requires embalming if the family has selected a funeral service with a public visitation. The law does require that if the deceased is being transported by common carrier, the body must be embalmed.
Can a body be viewed without embalming?
Yes, immediate family members may briefly view the deceased when they have made arrangements with the funeral home in advance to do so.
What if my loved one dies out of state?
If a death takes place out of the State of Maine, there is no need to contact a local funeral director in the state where the death occurred. Doing so may result in additional expenses for the family. Jordan-Fernald can make all the necessary arrangements through agents with whom we have relationships throughout the country. All you need to do is call us toll free at 1-800-667-2595 and we will handle the rest of the details.
What is the difference between a funeral and a memorial service?
The one real difference is whether or not the body is present at the service. When the body is present we call the service a funeral. Without the presence of a body, we refer to it as a memorial service, or a service conducted in memory of the deceased person.
Why is a funeral service important?
In earlier days, the purpose of the funeral ritual was to properly send the decedent on his or her journey into the next life. Today, psychologists and other experts agree that the benefits of the funeral are for those who are left behind. For family and friends to adjust to their loss, survivors must have a meaningful way to express their grief. People must face openly and realistically the fact that a death has indeed occurred. A funeral provides that opportunity.