Funeral Director Jeffrey M. Dames Talks on Time-Tested Traditional Funerals

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Fifth-generation funeral director Jeffrey M. Dames, president of Fred C. Dames Funeral Home and Crematory, a licensed funeral service continuing education provider and a founding member of Professional Partners, LLC, in honor of July’s Bereaved Parents Awareness Month discusses healthy grieving and healing and the role of the traditional funeral.

Fifth-generation funeral director Jeffrey M. Dames, president of Fred C. Dames Funeral Home and Crematory

Funeral director Jeffrey M. Dames, president of Fred C. Dames Funeral Home and Crematory

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Bereaved Parents Awareness Month is a time for supporting friends and loved ones who have experienced a loss. Confronting death head-on is often difficult and unpleasant for many, as society has veered toward the social surrogacy of a smartphone instead of the things that enrich the quality of life such as personal human connection. Attending the funeral of a loved one is never an experience to look forward to. However, it is an essential step on the path toward complete and healthy grief recovery.

At a funeral, one’s deepest emotions rise to the surface, and they are able to confront them in the company of friends and family, with the guidance of an experienced, ministry-driven funeral service professional. Individuals witness with their own eyes that someone has truly died, and everyone around them witnesses the same thing, making it impossible to deny. This forces people to truly accept the death and creates an opportunity for them to purge emotions and start to heal.

The traditional funeral is a time-tested method of allowing people to begin healing and avoid keeping their emotions bottled up inside. For countless generations, people have relied on this practice to help them grieve. Sadly, though, there has lately been a shift away from traditional funerals. When planning for death, a growing number of people are choosing to forgo a funeral service entirely. Instead, they look to memorial services, celebration-of-life services, and even simple cremation services. Of course, some families find solace in these kinds of tributes. After all, when people come together for a shared remembrance it can be therapeutic. With that being said, the circumstances for any final earthly tribute should always be carefully considered by all who it will affect.

Some people make the decision to avoid a traditional funeral for economic reasons. This is a time when many people are struggling to find stable jobs with opportunities for advancement. When meeting basic needs becomes an everyday struggle, they are likely to reduce spending wherever they can. This means that even in times of loss, people are likely to put financial concerns ahead of the need to cope with grief. Many people also believe that they will spare their family and friends from pain and suffering by avoiding a traditional funeral. They think the loved ones they leave behind will simply be able to move on with their lives as if nothing had happened.

Despite the good intentions of the people seeking alternatives to traditional funerals, they could be unknowingly doing a disservice to the family and friends they leave behind. Without the chance to gather with others in the presence of the deceased’s body, people in some cases are unable to fully process the death of their loved ones. The loss may not be fully realized, and survivors are left to carry their emotions with them for the rest of their lives, buried deep inside. Whether the surviving family’s preference is cremation, burial or donation to science it is the gathering with the deceased present that reaches the deepest emotions within everyone. People who express their feelings and truly deal with them, in any situation, do better in life than those who keep their emotions repressed. The attempt to save money and avoid pain will lead many to end up paying a far greater cost in the long run.

To listen to Jeffrey Dames discuss healing the human condition on the NALA’s NASS, visit

About the Life’s Work of Fred C. Dames Funeral Home & Crematory
Fred C. Dames Funeral Home & Crematory, which has been serving Will County, IL, and the surrounding area since 1854, believes that the process of grief is not a business proposition, but rather an emotional, human passage to be treated with dignity and conscience. It is dedicated to healing the human spirit. For more information, call (815) 741-5500, or visit

For media inquiries, please call the NALA at 805.650.6121, ext. 361.

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since: 05/2010
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