Most people in North American die either in hospital or at home. When someone dies, arrangements are made with a funeral home to get the body and prepare it for burial. Funeral homes are private businesses. They usually handle most or all aspects of a funeral, except for providing the burial plot. That usually has to be purchased separately.
Funeral homes may operate in many kinds of buildings. Old roomy private homes and new modern one-level buildings are common types. When the funeral director receives the body, his staff embalms it so it will not decay quickly and will look lifelike at the funeral service. For one or two days before the burial, friends, relatives and acquaintances are invited to visit the funeral home and pay their respects to the dead person. The deceased person is usually dressed in their best clothes, and lying on their back in a coffin.
A coffin is a large wooden or metal chest designed to hold the body. Members of the dead person’s immediate family usually act as hosts for the funeral home visitation. They greet the mourners and talk to them about the deceased. Usually, there are happy photographs of the dead person near the coffin. Gifts of flowers also surround the coffin. Usually the mourners are asked to sign a guest book.
The funeral service may take place at a church, if the deceased person wanted that. Frequently, however, the service is held at a chapel at the funeral home. Attending a funeral is considered a sign of respect, and people will often travel a long distance to attend. Usually friends and relatives will take a day off work for the occasion. Notices are put in the newspaper for several days before, so that people will know when to come.
A minister or priest usually conducts the funeral service. There will be hymns, prayers, and perhaps a sermon, like a regular church service. Sometimes, the minister will speak at length about the dead person. Sometimes, a member of the family does this. Opportunity is allowed for other people to talk about their memories of the dead person. At the end of the service, the coffin is wheeled out to a waiting car, called a hearse, which drives the dead person to the burial place. The mourners go to their cars and follow the hearse to the cemetery. At the cemetery, a hole has already been dug to receive the coffin. Usually there is a short ceremony at the grave. Sometimes, flowers are put on top of the coffin as it is lowered into the grave.
A handful of soil is tossed on the coffin, indicating burial. Usually the mourners leave before the cemetery workers cover the coffin with earth. Then the mourners may all go back to a church hall or restaurant for a meal. A funeral can be quite costly. Even an inexpensive coffin can be several thousand dollars. Sometimes, the deceased will be placed in an expensive rental coffin for the visitation and funeral, but buried in a less expensive coffin.
Even so, a full funeral rarely costs less than $5,000, and usually quite a lot more. And this does not include the price of the burial plot or the stone grave marker. Sometimes poor people are buried at government expense. It is traditional in North American to bury the whole body in the ground. However, cremation is becoming more popular. The advantage of cremation is that it is less expensive, uses less land, and it appeals to people who don’t want an elaborate funeral.
Some people may wonder why so much attention is paid to a dead person. But funerals are really for the living. They are a way of saying goodbye to the dead person and receiving mutual support and encouragement from friends and family. Some funeral homes help to organize grief counselling or support groups to grieving family members. Usually the funeral service is performed in the Christian tradition and refers to the hope of resurrection or rebirth from the dead that Christians believe in. It is now becoming common for people to plan their own funeral service before they die. And usually attempts are made to make the service appropriate to the person who died. This makes it more satisfying and memorable for the family and friends.
to do the things that are necessary to complete a job
I handled most of the paperwork.
The case is being handled by a top lawyer.
The finance department handles all the accounts.
Computers can handle huge amounts of data.
one part of a situation, idea, plan etc that has many parts
Dealing with people is the most important aspect of my work.
Alcoholism affects all aspects of family life.
▶PIECE OF LAND◀
a piece of land that a particular family owns in a cemetery, in which members of the family are buried when they die
a burial plot
to treat (a dead body) with special chemicals, oils, etc., in order to prevent it from decaying. Dead bodies are almost always buried or cremated (CREMATE) in Western society. In the US a body must by law be embalmed before it is buried.
a lifelike picture, model etc looks exactly like a real person or thing
a very lifelike statue
being a very close or exact representation:
a lifelike photograph
friends and acquaintances
my acquaintance with him started two months ago
a further (or closer) acquaintance
have a nodding (or passing) acquaintance
make someone’s acquaintance
a long box in which a dead person is buried or burnt
American Equivalent: casket
people who are very closely related to you, such as your parents, children, brothers, and sisters
someone who attends a funeral
Crowds of black-clad mourners gathered in a funeral procession held at the Azadi Stadium and Hejazi’s body was then buried in Tehran’s Behesht-e Zahra cemetery.
someone who has died, especially recently
The deceased left a large sum of money to his children.
the house belongs to one deceased brother and two living sisters
the deceased has two sons and three daughters
a small church, or a room in a hospital, prison, big church etc in which Christians pray and have religious services
[countable] a written or printed statement that gives information or a warning to people
ￚsee also sign The notice on the wall said ‘No smoking’. I’ll put up a notice about the meeting. obituary notices (=about people who have just died) in the newspaper
a priest in some Christian churches
ￚsee also pastor, vicara Baptist minister
someone who is specially trained to perform religious duties and ceremonies in the Christian church
a man with religious duties and responsibilities in some non-Christian religions
[transitive]to carry out a particular activity or process, especially in order to get information or prove facts
conduct a survey/investigation/review etc
We are conducting a survey of consumer attitudes towards organic food.
conduct an experiment/a test Is it really necessary to conduct experiments on animals?
conduct a campaign
They conducted a campaign of bombings and assassinations.
conduct an interview
The interview was conducted in English.
The memorial service was conducted by the Rev. David Prior.
It was the first time that I had conducted business in Brazil.
a talk given as part of a Christian church service, usually on a religious or moral subject
give/preach/deliver a sermon (on something)
The vicar gave a sermon on charity.
a large car used to carry a dead body in a coffin at a funeral
a piece of land, usually not belonging to a church, in which dead people are buried
ￚsee also graveyard
to throw something, especially something light, with a quick gentle movement of your hand
toss something into/onto etc something
She crumpled the letter and tossed it into the fire.
toss something aside/over etc
Toss that book over, will you?
toss something to somebody
‘Catch!’ said Sandra, tossing her bag to him.
toss somebody something
Frank tossed her the newspaper.
[uncountable]the substance that plants grow in
soft/bare/damp etc earth
footprints in the wet earth
a lump of earth
to put someone who has died in a grave
bury somebody in/at etc something
He was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s.
at someone’s expense:
a with someone paying the cost: He had his book printed at his own expense.
b (esp. of a joke or trick) against someone, so as to make them seem silly:
He tried to be witty at my expense.
to burn the body of a dead person at a funeral ceremony
carefully planned and organized in great detail
a very elaborate telecommunications network
mutual support, help etc is support that two or more people give each other
MAMA puts new mothers in touch with each other, for mutual support and friendship.
the return of Jesus Christ to life after his death on the cross, which is one of the main beliefs of the Christian religion