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Curt Moore

Did they really have to have the afterburner on when they loaded the shipping container into the retort, or was that for dramatic effect. Our machine would have shut down if one of the burners was engaged and the door opened.

So much for PPE in the dressing area as well.

The grave digger was in the hole without any support of the walls around him.

OSHA should have a field day with this one.

Realistic yes - but not putting our best foot forward in terms of safety for our operators.


My impressions of the Frontline program:

1) As always, Thomas Lynch spoke quietly and passionately about our profession without being "preachy." Tom's monologue -- more of a very pensive soliloquy -- about his own death at the grave when it was being filled in was very touching and heartfelt.

2) I'm glad to see Tom's family is as diligent regarding personal protective equipment in the prep room as I am.

3) The story about the little boy was heartbreaking and yet one all of us see at least once or twice every year.

4) The scenes of the grave being opened left me cold (then again, I'm a cremation kind of guy.)

5) The show portrayed cremation very favorably. Although the comment made by Mr. Moore regarding the cremation chamber door being open and the afterburner being visible is VERY valid, people DO NEED to be reminded that there is INDEED fire going on in there.

6) An hour was long enough. Truthfully, I was getting bored after 35 minutes.

Do I think this show will have any impact on our profession? No. Within our industry, people will talk for a day or so and that will be it.

People that believe in funerals will continue to arrange funerals. People who want direct cremation will continue to arrange direct cremations. In fact, I think people who are on the fence regarding the disposition of their body may now jump to the cremation side because the show portrayed cremation so well.

My two cents.


Wow. I was blown away. The previews did not do this program justice.

I did think they went a bit too far with some of the embalming and cremation footage. On the other hand, if we're looking for a brutally honest look at the industry that shows how difficult death, dying and grief are, and the significance of the work we do, we have to take the whole package.

Already there is feedback on the Frontline website from people who feel comforted that their loved ones are cared for so respectfully, or that they wished they had done more to recognize their loved ones. I'd say its a job well done.



Sorry to post another comment, but I just finished reading a few comments on the PBS Discussion board regarding the show and I came across this comment from a contributor:

"The show certainly gave me a lot of food for thought. Until now, I have been rather cynical about undertakers, funeral homes and the roles they play. I have always considered the funeral business -- especially all those the ads exhorting us to make "pre-arrangements" -- to be more about making money than performing a service the public wants. That is because funerals have become so expensive, even simple ones. Ours ran about $12,000. "Final arrangements" are not cheap.

This show presents the funeral business from a perspective I had never considered. I listened with interest, sometimes blinking back tears, to what each person said, and I think I may have to re-examine my feelings about undertakers in general, death and the importance of the customs we surround ourselves with when someone dies. Thank you again for airing The Undertaking."

The phrase "What we have here is a failure to communicate" has been uttered in a number of motion picture (the first was in Cool Hand Luke for you trivia buffs). But it seems to me that this phrase is most appropriate to our overall situation.

Are we conveying the VALUE of a $12,000.00 funeral or are we simply trying to sell them? Efforts to SELL anything without explaining the benefits of the purchase will ultimately lead to failure. Given the flip-flop of services from full service to direct cremation that many are experiencing, the time just might be right -- duh, ya' think? -- to start COMMUNICATING with our client families.

I leave your fine blog with this quote: "Those who fail or refuse to communicate will spend their lives taking orders from those who do." Don't ask me who originally wrote that but they are definitely words to heed.



Robin Heppell, Funeral Futurist

It is nice to see a positive portrayal of funeral service - which has been a long time in the waiting. I feel that it gives a great perspective from the family's point of view, and supported by the Lynches. Agreed - it depicts smaller town, "traditional" funeral home that is not faced with as much of the diversity that metro funeral homes deals with in their communities. That said, I still feel that the documentary is good for funeral service, good for grieving families, and for the general public. I have posted a complete review at my blog. Thanks again BT for keeping the profession informed and on its toes!

Arvin Starrett, CFSP

A beautiful and moving film featuring a funeral service family who knows "the rest of the story." Congratulations, Lynch family--thanks, Frontline. You've outdone yourselves.

GJ Charlet III

This is the letter I sent to FRONTLINE:

I am a third-generation funeral director in rural Louisiana. My
brothers and sisters are all also funeral directors. My mother and
father, my uncle, my cousins, and my grandfather have all served as
funeral directors. Thank you for this beautiful program showing the
love and compassion that go into this profession.

The Lynch family serves their families with dignity and honor, and
provide the most delicate care to those in the darkest times of their
lives. Their firm is a credit to our vocation.

The most important message conveyed in this program is that funerals
serve the living. Again and again, throughout the program, the
families remark that the ceremonies they chose provided them with the
much needed closure they required. At our core, we are a society of
rituals and customs. These rituals sustain us when we don't know where
else to turn. Every family must choose for themselves how they honor
the lives of those they love. A decent and honorable funeral director,
like the ones highlighted in this program, asks the family what they
require and then facilitates it for them, with mercy and grace. In our
time of grief, funeral directors set us upon the road to recovery.
They gently guide us towards a place of acceptance and peace.

Jeff Staab

It was really nice to see the funeral profession portrayed so honorably. The Lynch family is running a quality and dignified business as they have for so many years. Only thing is except for the decor and the increased cremation rate, it might as well had been 1950. Like so many funeral businesses theirs is steeped in tradition, traditions that the boomer generation and those to follow will soon leave behind. Sure the Lynch family did a good job, like so many firms that do, but I saw nothing of any of the new of the challenges and ideas that are available today. If the funeral profession does not get with it and expand their service options, the boomers will find someone who will. Its great that a blog like this has so many great ideas that address this new generation of educated consumers but reading about it and implementing are two different things. I hope the funeral professionals of today will start to listen more to the families they serv, but to listen without responding will only put Wal-Mort in a better position when they open their doors.

Puma Clyde

Your opinion is very unique! Very own set! Rarely see such an article! I think you would probably a lot of thought in it now! I appreciate your talent

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