When a loved one passes away, honoring their life with a beautiful ceremony and providing them with a calm resting place is important for the whole family. Most people require the help of experts when planning the funeral and final resting place of their relative. But whom should you contact? What is the difference between a mortuary and a cemetery, and which one should you get in touch with first?

The answer is that you'll receive a comprehensive service when you go to a mortuary, which is where deceased people go before they are buried. There will be a funeral director, who can help you plan the event and find the best cemetery for your loved one. What's more, they can provide various resources for you and the family and work with you to create permanent tokens of remembrance.

What Is the Difference Between a Mortuary and a Cemetery? 

Most people know that cemeteries are places that are set apart for the burial of the dead. They are designed as final resting places and give families a physical location, where they can go to remember their relative. Most people who are buried in a cemetery remain there for many decades and sometimes centuries. In some cases, families can be reunited after they pass away and buried together in the same plot.

In contrast, a mortuary is a place where deceased people are stored until they can be buried in a cemetery. The mortuary offers various services related to the funeral and the burial, and there is often a funeral director who coordinates the events. The aim of a good mortuary is to facilitate the grieving process and take the pressure off the bereaved, who might not feel up to the task of organizing a funeral on their own.

What Happens at a Cemetery? 

Traditionally, a deceased person gets placed into a coffin, which gets lowered into a grave at the cemetery. Nowadays, many people are still buried in this way, and there are cemeteries around the country that can house the deceased. A beautifully put-together grave can be a powerful reminder of the lost loved one and can provide families with a place to go when they would like to remember their relative.

Most cemeteries also offer spaces for cremated people. These graves are usually smaller because they house an urn, not a full body. Cremation offers some unique benefits because it is less cost and time-intensive and more environmentally friendly. While some people decide to place their cremated loved ones in a cemetery, others scatter the ashes or bring them home.

What Happens at a Mortuary?

After a person passes away, they can be brought to a mortuary, which is a facility that stores deceased people until they are either buried or cremated. But mortuaries don't simply store dead bodies. Instead, they offer a wide variety of services that might include transporting the body to its final resting place, planning and executing a funeral, and creating tokens of remembrance for the whole family.

Many good mortuaries can also provide resources for grieving families, and they offer counseling to people who are struggling with their loss. When looking for a mortuary, think about the kinds of services you would like and make sure they are all offered. Not every institution is the same, and doing your research beforehand can ensure that you have a good experience.

Storing the Body 

After a person passes away, they are taken to the mortuary, where they can be stored for three to seven days before the funeral takes place. During this time, the family might be able to visit the deceased and say their final goodbyes. If your loved one has passed away, you will have to decide whether you would like to have them embalmed at the mortuary.

This process involves applying chemicals to their body that preserve them and delay the natural effects of death. Embalming can be a good option for families who would like to see their loved one because it can make the deceased appear more peaceful. However, it can be cost-intensive and damaging to the environment, so it might not be right for everyone. Your funeral director will help you determine whether you should choose to embalm or not.

Transferring the Body 

During the funeral ceremony, the body has to be transported from the mortuary to the cemetery or other final resting place. Most mortuaries offer various options. For example, you can choose between a regular funeral coach, a horse-drawn hearse, a 1947 Cadillac hearse, and a utility vehicle. Together with your funeral director, you will go through these various options and decide which one is most suitable for your loved one.

Depending on your situation, there might be other options or benefits. For example, if the deceased was a veteran, they are entitled to the free use of our horse-drawn hearse because we believe in honoring those who served our country.

Help with Planning the Funeral 

Planning a funeral while grieving can be a major challenge, which is why a good mortuary will offer many helpful services. Once you've decided whether you would like your loved one to be cremated or buried, you can start to plan the end-of-life ceremony. We offer a wide variety of options, ranging from very traditional burials to highly creative events that highlight the personality of the deceased.

For example, you can have your family member's ashes scattered in their favorite place, or you can design the funeral around a hobby or activity they loved. While people traditionally wore dark colors during the service, some now prefer to wear vibrant, life-affirming clothes. Whether your loved one left behind any instructions or not, your funeral director can help you create a personalized and valuable experience.

Creating Permanent Tokens of Remembrance 

The funeral is an extremely important day that allows loved ones to say their final goodbyes. But it is fleeting, and having some more permanent memories can be vital for the months and years ahead. At Sunset Hills, we can help you create beautiful tokens of remembrance that allow you to cherish your favorite memories. We are happy to help you put together a beautiful funeral invitation or a book with the best photographs of your loved one.

Additionally, we will help you create a video that highlights the person's life achievements and what was important to them. Some families also decide to set up a website for the deceased, where everyone who knew them can share their favorite memories and leave comments.

Providing Resources for the Whole Family 

The first year after a family member passes away can be extremely tough. For this reason, many mortuaries have put together resources the families can use to get through those challenging months. Here at Sunset Hills, we have a grief support guide, and we can refer you to various helpful online organizations. We also offer daily affirmation emails and a support group for children, teenagers, and their families.

Additionally, we have a gift shop, where you can buy flowers for the grave or presents for the close relatives of the deceased person. The Sympathy Store stocks everything from bouquets to memorial jewelry to fruit baskets, so you can put together a personalized gift for those most affected by the death.

Who Should Contact a Mortuary? 

Now you know the difference between a mortuary and a cemetery, you might wonder when you should get in touch with your funeral director. Grieving families should contact us as soon as possible because we can transport the body to our mortuary and then help make arrangements for the burial or cremation.

Although we're happy to assist families, the process can still be extremely stressful when there is little guidance from the deceased. If you want to make your passing easier on your loved ones, you should consider contacting us directly and making arrangements for your own funeral. That way, you can organize the ceremony exactly the way you would like it, and you can take the financial and emotional pressure off your family members.

Why Choose Sunset Hills? 

You won't regret going with Sunset Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary because we offer all the above-named services at a reasonable price. Since 1960, we have provided a scenic final resting place in a park-like setting for people from the local area. But don't take our word for it. You're welcome to tour the facilities and meet the team at our comfortable offices. Just reach out to us and book an appointment.

Give Your Loved One the Service They Deserve

A mortuary and a cemetery aren't the same. While the latter is designed as a deceased person's final resting place, the former is the place a dead body is taken to shortly after the person has passed away. A good mortuary offers various services that include funeral planning, storing and transferring the body, creating permanent tokens of remembrance, and providing resources for the grieving family.

If you've just lost a loved one, you should speak to a funeral director as soon as possible because they can help you plan the deceased person's funeral. While funeral directors often work with the bereaved, they can also help people pre-plan their own funerals. This can take pressure off the family and prevent stressful situations. Call or message us at Sunset Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary to speak to a professional about end-of-life arrangements.