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FAQs

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.

 

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.

The COVID-19 situation

During difficult times, McCullough Funeral Home is here. The COVID-19 situation is complex one, and we want to keep you updated:

UPDATE: 8/12/20 We continue to integrate guidance from both the CDC and GA Dept of Public Health. Social Distancing is in effect. We suggest, but do not require, masks for guests.

AIR PURIFICATION UPGRADES: We have installed the REME HALO LED air purification systems on all 12 of our HVAC units in the funeral home and the 2 units in the Farmhouse. This system is used in hospitals and other high traffic buildings to actively attract, filter, and kill 98-99% of air AND surface contaminants and was highly succesful in use against the SARS virus. The system utilizes an ionized hydroperoxide plasma that is actively spread throughout every square inch of the building through the ductwork. (August 2020)

ONGOING SCHEDULED SANITIZATION: Monthly, our facilities are hydrostatically disinfected/sanitized by Ecovasive. They utilize electrospray technology with EPA registered disinfectants/microbial solutions that work for up to 90 days after application. We choose to repeat the process every 30 days in an abundance of caution.(March 2020)

We continue to participate in web/conference calls facilitated by the NFDA, GFDA, and the CDC.

Making funeral arrangements during these times:
If a death has occurred, or is expected to occur soon, please know we remain available 24/7 to assist you. We will walk families through the process just as we have been doing for 75 years and we will work with each family to honor their wishes safely. Whatever your questions, we will answer them in detail. Arrangements can be made in a myriad of ways, including from a distance via phone, e-mail, Facetime or Skype, or through the use of forms on our website. If you wish to come in person, that will be accommodated. Together, we can manage these challenges.

Services:
Attendance at services has naturally decreased due to public awareness about COVID-19. As a result, we have not had significant issues with funeral services and being able to space people appropriately. People who do not cohabitate together should socially distance; of course we can't know who does and does not live together. Therefore, we rely on the common sense of guests and families being served to police themselves accordingly. We also encourage friends to reach out to our families via our online guestbooks at mcculloughfh.com/obituaries. There you can read and share the obituary, leave a memory and condolences for the family to read, and watch Video Tributes. Additionally, we continue to discuss the availability of live-streaming services with each family and we do this in any case where a family wishes us to do so.

The future:
As we are learning, this situation changes from day to day; we never thought we would still be facing this so many months later. Still, as we work to serve our families in uncertain times, we will strive to provide ways for everyone to participate and surround one other with support during times of loss, and we will do so while doing our part to maintain the safety of our families, their friends, our staff and community.

We will keep this space updated and please know you can call on us at (478) 953-1478 and we will do our best to answer your questions and help you find resources to get through this time. We want to thank our community in advance for your understanding as we move forward into unprecedented territory.

417 South Houston Lake Road  Warner Robins, GA 31088  Phone: (478) 953-1478

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