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FAQs

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

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

Contact the local medical authorities first (as well as the police, if appropriate), and then make sure to call us 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.

What do funeral directors do?

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 the 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?

Can I personalize my service?

Absolutely! Our staff has years of experience getting to know families and incorporating their loved ones' 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” — no detail is too small and no dream is too big. We’re honored to work with you to create a service that truly reflects and celebrates your loved one’s individual life journey.

Can I still have viewing and funeral services with cremation?

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 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.

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

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 in most situations.

Why have a viewing?

Why have a viewing?

A viewing — also known as a visitation, 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 healing.

Should I bring my children to the funeral service?

Should I bring my children to the funeral service?

Use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death and whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them or to others. It’s important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. The presence of children can also be a great source of comfort to some grieving families. It might be appropriate to ask the immediate family how they feel about having children present - every family and person is different. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure you communicate your expectations for their behavior ahead of time. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing those who are mourning.

What is the purpose of embalming?

What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming is a process used to temporarily preserve a loved one’s body. The process of embalming involves using preservative chemicals as well as cosmetics to make them look as they were when they were alive. It also can be used in instances of visible illness or damage to return a loved one to their normal appearance for a viewing.

Is embalming required by law?

Is embalming required by law?

Embalming is not required by law, but we highly recommend it if you want a public viewing. It is possible to have a viewing without embalming, but certain conditions have to be met. If you want to know more, feel free to give us a call.

How long does the cremation process take?

How long does the cremation process take?

It depends, but generally it takes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours. Due to the paperwork process and transport time, it usually takes 6-8 business days for us to deliver the ashes back to the family.

How can I be sure the ashes I receive are my loved one?

How can I be sure the ashes I receive are my loved one?

Cremation is a regulated process with strict procedures to ensure we’re holding our services to the highest standard possible. We work with a small crematory run people we know and trust personally. We choose them because we would trust them with our own family, too. In addition to following standard procedures, the crematory keeps a metal disk with a unique ID number with your loved one throughout the process, including during cremation. That metal disk accompanies the ashes even when they are delivered back to our funeral home.

Are there restrictions on scattering ashes?

Are there restrictions on scattering ashes?

That depends. If it is your private property, there are no restrictions. If it is someone else’s private property, you must have their consent, and it’s a good idea to get it in writing. If it’s public land such as a park, contact your local government or the agency in charge of that space to see what their policies are. In general, if you’re not sure, just scatter them in a respectful way in a place where you are sure they won’t be disruptive to others.

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

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

In general, the government does not regulate the scattering of ashes. Most public parks, including national parks, ask that you submit a formal request and may have restrictions on where you can scatter. If you wish to scatter on private land, consult the landowner first. In most cases, as long as you do your due diligence about checking for rules beforehand and are considerate, it’s more of a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

What is a columbarium?

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.

What can I do to help the bereaved after services?

What can I do to help the bereaved after services?

The grieving process doesn’t end with the funeral. It will take time for the bereaved to heal. The family will need your support for months to come. 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.

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

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 wellbeing. If this is your first meeting since the death and you’re in a public setting, it’s best 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.

McGeehan Funeral Homes Martin Chapel in Chesaning
Phone: (989) 845-3420
316 W. Broad St., Chesaning, MI 48616

McGeehan Funeral Homes New Lothrop Chapel
Phone: (810) 638-5077
9405 Butternut St., New Lothrop, MI 48460

McGeehan Funeral Homes St. Charles Chapel
Phone: (989) 865-6838
209 Entrepreneur Dr., St. Charles, MI 48655


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