In the event that the unthinkable occurs and you find yourself in this horrifying situation, you must first call 911. Once the paramedics have arrived and done all they can, the medical examiner is contacted and must visit to collect important details necessary to determine the cause of death.
In many cases it is then that the funeral home is contacted and we make our way immediately to the home, assuming there is to be no autopsy (in which case the deceased is taken by the paramedics to the hospital). Our role becomes twofold at this point: 1) to bring the deceased into our care with dignity – many times the “scene” of where the death occurred is disconcerting; and 2) speak to you, the family, directly to answer questions and offer as much comfort and solace as possible in the face of tragedy. During that initial conversation we make a time later to meet in person to discuss the next steps. At that point, the funeral home staff is by your side every step of the way to the funeral service, and beyond.
It is important to note that paramedics and police are the first to arrive, and we must be thankful for their patience and compassion in conducting their job. Often, the questions they must ask and their procedures may seem unsympathetic, but it is important they remain dispassionate and professional.
In the end, an experience such as this is likely to be among the worst in a person’s life. It is important that the medical personnel, law enforcement, and funeral home each do their part to bring some semblance of order, and allow a place, even in that tragic moment, for the seed of healing to take root.