The funeral

In the event of a death, the family or someone you trust can contact us.

The first information we will ask is the identity of the deceased and the place of death. When a death occurs in a hospital the first procedures are carried out by the hospital staff. When the death took place at home or in a care or retirement home, we usually take care of the first procedures ourselves. This does not in any way mean that the family would be excluded from performing the first procedures themselves, if so desired.

After the first procedures, we make an appointment to discuss and prepare the funeral ceremony in all its aspects, both administrative and ceremonial. If a declaration of the last wishes exists, the wishes of the deceased will be fulfilled. In the absence of such a declaration, it is the relatives who decide upon the organisation of the funeral. The funeral director will only offer and comment on the choices, opportunities and advantages and disadvantages of these choices. It is always the family who decides where, when and how the ceremony will take place.

The choice of funeral director is always free. There are, however, police services, hospitals, nursing and care homes that have an agreement with a funeral director to immediately transport the deceased to a funeral home. This does not mean that the family is obliged to choose this particular director to organise the funeral.

Below you will find a schematic list of the questions we will ask you.

The choice between cremation or burial is very personal. It is independent of the fact whether or not a church ceremony is chosen.

With cremation, the family will have to make a decision regarding the ashes: scattering or burying and in which way: immersing the ash urn in the sea or keeping the urn at home. The scattering or burying of the ashes in your own private garden is also a possibility.

There is no general rule for determining whether a cremation will be more or less expensive than a burial. Much depends on the local requirements of the chosen cemetery.

The death certificate from the doctor  is used to report the death to the Civil Registry. The municipality issues a written permission for cremation / burial and an extract from the death certificate. This excerpt is the official document that serves as evidence for various authorities.

The choice between cremation or burial does not necessarily influence the choice of the casket. The coffin is in fact rarely chosen from a purely rational standpoint. A coffin is required by law. Each deceased is wrapped in a shroud. These shrouds meet strict environmental standards. In Belgium, coffins are mainly made of solid wood in different shapes and styles. The choice of the casket by the family is always motivated by a mix of rational and emotional aspects.

Imparting a bereavement is usually done through death notices. There is an extensive choice of mourning letters.

Usually remembrance cards are distributed during the ceremony and / or thank you cards are sent afterwards. We are fully equipped to prepare, print and finish all the print work you require.

The obituary should be considered as a supplement to the death notices. Usually an obituary notice is placed in a newspaper to reach the people, of whom the addresses are unknown. This may also be for many other reasons.

Sometimes an obituary is published as the only notice. In such a case, it is absolutely necessary to mention this on the obituary: “This message is the only notification”.
Do not underestimate the cost of an obituary in a newspaper.
Depending on the newspaper, millimetre rate is calculated multiplied by the number of columns. Usually an obituary appears in a double column width.
We organise the publication of the obituary.

When we speak of burial, a grave must be planned. There are free graves, these are places where only one person can be buried. However, a free grave will exist for only 10 years. In most municipalities, however, this period is somewhat longer. But this period is still quite short and the family will be confronted, in the worst case, after 10 years, to make a decision on the grave, either for evacuation or a new grave for the deceased. The cemetery designates the place of the grave. After these 10 years, the legal tomb rest has expired and the grave is released. This happens when necessary (lack of space). ‘Buying’ a grave is possible. In practice, you rent your own grave, depending on the cemetery for 20, 30 or 50 years. There are no more cemeteries that grant ‘perpetual’ concessions that cannot be cleared away. A concession makes it possible to bury, in a single grave, several designated persons. A cinerary urn may also be buried or placed in a columbarium or in a plot for the burial of the urns. The maintenance of the grave or, better still, of the tombstone, is the responsibility of the family. The cemetery, the roads and the general maintenance of the green space etc. are the responsibility of the municipality. In Belgium, the operation of private cemeteries is prohibited by law.

Transport of the deceased must be done respectfully.
Transporting the deceased takes place in a ‘certified’ hearse, as required by law.
Different hearses are used for ceremonial and functional transport.
For the transfer of the deceased from the “house of mourning”, clinic or nursing home a functional hearse is usually used so that it is not recognized in the streets as being a hearse. The interior of these hearses is also equipped with the necessary tools that allow transferring the deceased, in a professional manner, to the funeral home.

You can express a lot of personal things with flowers. Sometimes someone looks for a specific type or colour. We can guide you in this as some factors must be taken into consideration in the choice of flowers. A flower arrangement placed on a coffin must, for example, be portable, it cannot be too heavy and water cannot flow out of it when lifted. In most cases, it is the wish of the family and loved ones to have the opportunity to show their participation in grief by offering flowers. Sometimes, flowers are not desired but rather a donation to a good cause. It is advisable to mention these particular wishes in the obituary.

A funeral ceremony can proceed according to everyone’s religious beliefs. In a neutral environment like our funeral home or crematorium, beliefs can even be combined. The ceremony can be quite extensive, but can also be very simple and sober. If family members do not feel the need to share the occasion with a lot of people and want to keep the ceremony small, a funeral service in an intimate circle offers a solution.

There is a difference between a secular funeral and a religious funeral.

In a secular funeral we can provide a person to determine, together with the family, the course of the ceremony and the person will also take the lead during the actual event. The family can also be responsible for one or more speakers to prepare and look after part of the ceremony. Some preparation is desirable to avoid an “empty” feeling afterwards. One can recite a poem, lay flowers, light candles or form a circle. Photographs can also be displayed, music can be played and movies can be shown. The service is entirely dedicated to the deceased.

In a church service, in our region, the funeral service is not a Eucharist mass. The service will however be a carefully prepared service of word and prayer, which will be particularly linked with a postponed remembrance service. The Eucharist mass for the deceased is not done away with but is taken to a mass in the parish church where the funeral took place. The funeral is conducted according to a strict regimen. Of course any input from any family remains possible, certainly in consultation of the person in charge of the service (the priest or a layman) taking any regimen into account. In short, a word and prayer service can be much more flexible with the classic schedule and a more personal touch with friends or family is possible. The priest is responsible for the smooth running and ensures that the Christian resurrection message is in some way addressed. Because a word and prayer service is a full liturgical service.

The family can choose the music themselves. It is also possible to select live music, usually a church organist, you can also hire a band. You might want one of the relatives (child?) to sing or play an instrument. A choir is also possible.

Are there children attending the funeral? If they want to and they are well supervised, is it a valuable experience, because then they do not feel as though they are locked out of the family rituals. It can also be good for the grieving process as they experience death as a reality. Children can have a clear role: carrying or spreading flowers, laying down a drawing, music, prayers, etc.

After the ceremony, family and friends are welcome for a chat at the coffee table. Our coffee table selection of pastries and drinks is also available as a buffet. Here the family and guests have the opportunity to move around freely among the guests and reminisce about the deceased and share their memories. However, it is important to provide seating for the older generation.