Undertakers are specialists whose professional life centres exclusively on the care of the dead.
Funeral homes are no-go except when needed. As a consequence, the work of undertakers is swathed in mystery and misconception, and funeral homes are the stuff of dread and giggles. Death once happened in the community and was dealt with by community members.
Today, the dead, the bereaved and those who serve them have been marginalised. Death has become a taboo.
By joining up the specialist care of the bereaved offered by a funeral home to the non–specialist care of the bereaved offered by a FoB, volunteers can transform negative perceptions and help their funeral home to become more integrated with its community – more normal.
By becoming familiar with the way undertakers operate, a FoB may undertake a consumer advocacy role, guiding community members to funeral homes which will look after them best and requiring high standards of their local undertakers, whose commercial activity will be sensitive to such scrutiny.
A FoB can thereby form a human and caring interface between the funeral home and the community, bringing the bereaved and funeral professionals into the social mainstream, and reinforcing the naturalness and normality of death.