What is a  funeral?

The text book answer: The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.

The Clayton’s answer: Whether you call it a funeral, a memorial service or a celebration of life, a gathering of this kind has and will always serve the same purpose. We come together as a fellowship of family, friends and community to share a singular pain we are feeling due to the loss of someone we care about. As we share in this pain through stories, memories and ceremony we realize a fundamental truth. We are not alone after all and that we need not carry the burden of grief alone as we mourn. We can take this opportunity to share what we feel and transform our relationship with this person we can no longer see or hear and touch into a relationship with a living memory. A living memory we can carry forth with us into our lives and enrich our lives in the process. We honour them this way and keep all that was special about them as part of ourselves and we are forever the better for it.

A funeral need not be the stale, ritualistic and dogma controlled ceremonies of the past that so many people now a turning away from. Like anything in life funerals can be what we choose to make them. There is no need to spend a great deal of time or money to create a fitting tribute for someone you love. The most important thing is whatever you choose to do, that it be meaningful for you and reflects the person you are honouring.

So whether it is a traditional service with personal touches or an original idea like a fishing derby, a campout or a musical concert in the honour of the person you are missing, it is a suitable funeral. If it feels right to you and reflects the values and personality of the one being honoured then it is a success. Ultimately only those closest to the deceased get to decide what is appropriate or not.

At Clayton’s we see it as our mission to do what we can to make what you want and need possible.


What type of service should I have?

The simplest answer to this question is:

Whatever kind of service you want and need. This process belongs to you. We are here to help.

At Clayton’s we want you to have the type of service that makes sense to you, your family, your culture and, when possible, in some way also reflects the values, life lived and personality of the person you are honouring. If this means, a traditional church service with the body of the deceased present followed by a burial in a cemetery, this is okay. If this means, a hike in the woods with a scattering of their cremated remains at the top of a hill, this is ok too. The possibilities are only limited by our imaginations and the constraints of the law.

We at Clayton’s want you to feel free to create a service that is meaningful to you and will help you in any way we can to make it possible and successful.


Can I personalize my funeral service?

Absolutely. The funeral service we design together for your loved one can be a reflection the life they lived in any way you feel it needs to be. We are happy to discuss all options, from the mundane to the absurd. Appropriate is a word best reserved for footwear. We will do whatever we can and ensure your funeral service is tailored to your wishes.

A service may be personalized in simple ways by playing favourite music, by donations in lieu of flowers, or by having close friends say a few words.

Our chapel can be decorated in a way that reflects the personality of your loved one. We have had chainsaws, motorcycles, artwork and personal items such as clothing set up at services, to mention just a few options.


Why have a viewing or visitation?

Viewing is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is encouraged for children, as long as the process is explained and the activity voluntary.


What do funeral directors do?

Here at Clayton's we see ourselves as caregivers and administrators. We make the arrangements for transportation and care of the deceased. We complete all the necessary paperwork, registrations with government agencies and implement the choices made by you regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body.

We are listeners, advisors, supporters and facilitators. We figure out how to take your needs and choices and turn them into action. We have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death and the choices that need to be made as we assist you through this process. We are trained to answer questions about grief and recognize when a person is having difficulty coping. We are here to help in any way we can.

We are trained to walk you through the initial legal steps that need to be taken to implement the wishes of your loved one and the choices you have made. We share our experience and knowledge to inform you of the many options you have to celebrate and memorialize your loved one in whatever way makes sense to you, for your culture, and your family. This process belongs to you and we are only here to facilitate and empower you to make decisions you can be comfortable with.

At Clayton's we believe we have succeeded in our many duties when you walk out of our building feeling better than you did when you first walked in.


What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

The Clayton’s staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the year. Depending upon where the death takes place you or facility staff can inform us of the death and we can then make arrangements to pick them up and bring them to our funeral home.

Late night, weekends and holidays we can answer your questions and help you get the information you need for the next steps in the process.


Will someone come right away?

If you request immediate assistance, yes. If you and your family or friends wish to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, it's acceptable. We will come when your time is right and not a minute sooner.


If a loved one dies out of province, can the local funeral home still help?

Yes, we can assist you with out-of-province arrangements, either to transfer the remains to another province or from another province. We can also act on your behalf and as a conduit with the funeral service provider of your choice in the area where your loved one is or needs to be taken too.


What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?

This is a 2-part answer for 2 very different situations.

Part One:

We can assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe. With your direction we will be able to coordinate the arrangements for the return of your loved one to Quesnel or wherever in Canada you decide they need to go. We may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as our agent (same as for out of province). Or we may employ the services of an international repatriation company that specializes in bring people home from anywhere in the world.

Part Two:

What if you, as the next of kin or executor, are out of town at the time of death?

If you or the deceased has pre-arranged funeral plans with us this can be very straight forward. If there was no previous preparation this is an inconvenience, but will not hinder the arrangement process in any serious way. Virtually all that we do here regarding, identification, personal information, registration of death, document signing and payment can be done remotely via fax, phone and/or email.


What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of a body disfigured by traumatic death or illness.

Embalming makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them.

Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country where local laws need be observed.


Is embalming mandatory by law?

No. But, the factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. The law requires embalming when the body is shipped into or out of BC or by public carrier.

Embalming the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.


Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. Your funeral home can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.


Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?

Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.


Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone dies of AIDS?

Yes, a person who dies of an AIDS-related illness is entitled to the same service options afforded to anyone else. If public viewing is consistent with local or personal customs, that option is encouraged. Touching the deceased's face or hands is perfectly safe.

Because the grief experienced by survivors may include a variety of feelings, survivors may need even more support than survivors of non-AIDS-related deaths.


How much does a funeral cost?

In BC, for an adult, full-service funeral, consumers choose to spend an average of $5,000 to $7,000 depending upon region. This includes all professional services, transfer of remains, embalming, other preparation, use of viewing facilities, and the use of facilities for ceremony, hearse, limousine and casket.

Direct disposition is NOT a Funeral. (Direct disposition includes registering the death, a basic casket or container, and transporting the deceased to a cemetery or crematorium). It is just the fulfillment of basic requirements for registering, cremating and returning the cremated remains of your loved one to you.


Has this cost increased significantly?

Funeral costs have increased no faster than the consumer price index for other consumer items.


Why are funerals so expensive?

In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or birthday celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer.

A funeral home is a 24-hour, labour-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.); these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral.

Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin.


What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?

While most funeral homes provide outstanding services, sometimes things can go wrong. Funeral service is regulated by the Board of Funeral Services and province licensing boards. In most cases, the consumer should discuss problems with the funeral director first. If the dispute cannot be solved by talking with the funeral director, the consumer may wish to contact the Funeral Service Consumer Assistance Program. FSCAP provides information, mediates disputes, provides arbitration and maintains a consumer guarantee fund for reimbursement of services rendered. (To contact FSCAP, call 1‑800‑387‑4458).


Who pays for funerals for the indigent?

Other than the family, there are veteran, union and other organizational benefits to pay for funerals, including, in certain instances, a lump sum death payment from CPP. In most provinces, some form of public aid allowances is available.

Most funeral directors are aware of the various benefits and know how to obtain them for the indigent. However, funeral directors often absorb costs above and beyond what is provided by agencies to insure the deceased a respectable burial.


Are there government agencies that help defray final expenses?

Usually, funeral directors will help gather the necessary information to apply for financial assistance from CPP, BC Government Ministries and any others.

Created by

Legal notice