Frequently Asked Questions

We have heard thousands of questions, and chosen to provide you with the answers to some of the more common questions relating to a funeral, a funeral service and funeral homes.

- What is a funeral?
The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect and grief. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis that death may present. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step towards emotional adjustment to their loss.

- What type of service should I have?
Only you can answer that question. The type of service conducted for the deceased, if not noted in a pre-arrangement plan, is decided by the family. The service is usually held at a place of worship or at the funeral home. The service may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgment of friendship and support. A private service is by invitation only where selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. A memorial service is usually a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family's community and religious affiliations.

- Can I personalize my funeral service?
Absolutely, in fact, we recommend it. After all, the funeral is a celebration of life. Funeral directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. It may be personalized in many unique ways. Contact us at (204) 727-0694 to explore the possibilities.

- Why should we have a public viewing?
There are many reasons to view the deceased. It is part of many cultural and ethnic traditions, and many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process, by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. Viewing is even encouraged for children, as long as it is their desire to do so, and the process is explained well.

- Why do we need an obituary notice?
It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held. A notice can be placed in a local newspaper, or on the Internet.  It is more than merely a 'good-bye' to the deceased, this is a farewell, which can, in chronological order, detail the life of the deceased. An obituary also serves as notification that an individual has passed away and details of the services that are to take place. Therefore it's best to check how much room you have before you begin your composition. Remember that the obituary needs to appear in print a few days prior to the service. There are some cases where this may not be possible, therefore give some consideration to the guidelines below when composing the obituary.

- What To Include in an obituary notice?
Naturally, it is vital that the full name, along with the location and date of passing is included so that there is no confusion over whom has died. You may wish to consider placing a photograph (which can appear as black & white or in colour depending on the newspaper's layout) with the text. There are usually extra charges applied if you are thinking of using a photograph. If you wish, mention where the deceased resided.  In a concise manner, write about the significant events in the life of the deceased. This may include the schools he or she attended and any degrees attained, occupation; you may also include any vocations or interests that the deceased was involved with.  Please include preferred charity if desired.

It is common to include a list of those who have survived the deceased. The list should include (where applicable): Parents, Spouse and children, Adopted children, Half & step children, Siblings, Half & step siblings and Grandparents.

- The surviving relatives listed above may be listed by name. Other relatives will not be mentioned by name but may be included in terms of their relationship to the deceased. In other words, the obituary may mention that the deceased had 5 grandchildren; 7 nieces etc. However, exceptions to the above rule can be made if, for example, the deceased only had one grandchild or a nephew who was the only person living in the newspaper's distribution area. These exceptions are obviously made based on each individual case.

- Additional information such as where the body will be laid to rest and any pallbearer's names or names of honourary pallbearer's may be mentioned.

- At this point list the details of the time and location of any services for the deceased: these may include the funeral, burial, wake and memorial service where appropriate.

- Some Do's & Don'ts for obituary notices.

If you don't know where to start, do read other obituaries to gain an idea of how personal and touching an obituary may be.  Do consider if you wish to send the obituary to newspapers in other cities e.g. to a town where the deceased may have resided previously. Obtain copies of the obituary to send to distant relatives and friends.

- Final Considerations for obituary notices.
Any and all information to be included in the obituary should be verified with another family member. A newspaper will have to verify with the funeral home being utilized that the deceased is in fact being taken care of by that funeral home.  Seeing as most newspapers charge by the word when placing an obituary, it may not always be feasible to mention everything that we have stated in our guidelines. Use your own discretion and do not put yourself under any financial hardship. Your loved one would understand

- What do funeral directors do?
Funeral directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their administrative duties, they make the arrangements for transportation of the body, complete all necessary paperwork, and implement the choices made by the family regarding the funeral and final disposition of the body. As caregivers, funeral directors are listeners, advisors and supporters. They have experience assisting the bereaved in coping with death. Funeral directors are trained to answer questions about grief, recognize when a person is having difficulty coping, and recommend sources of professional help. Funeral directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.

- What should I do if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All you need to do is place a call to us at (204) 727-0694. If you request immediate assistance, one of our professionals will be there within the hour.  If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say good bye, that is perfectly understandable and we will come when your time is right.

- What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?
We can assist you if a death occurs anywhere on the globe. Contact us immediately, and we will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for bringing your loved one home into our care.  

- What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, retards the decomposition process, and enhances the appearance of the body.  It makes it possible to lengthen the time between death and the final disposition, thus allowing family members time to arrange and participate in the type of service most comforting to them. Embalming the body enables mourners to view the deceased if they wish. The emotional benefits of viewing the deceased are enormous, particularly to those having difficulty dealing with the death.

- Is embalming mandatory by law?
No. But, certain factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary. Please note that embalming may be required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country where local laws need be observed.

- Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?
No, cremation is an alternative to earth burial for the body's final disposition and often follows a traditional funeral service. We can assist you with the necessary information for a funeral with a cremation following or a memorial service.

- Can I have a visitation period and a funeral service if cremation is chosen?
Yes. Cremation does not preclude having a visitation period and a funeral service. Cremation is simply one option for final disposition of the body.

- Why are funerals so expensive?
In some respects, funerals are a lot like weddings or birthday celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer. Not only that, a funeral home is a 24-hour, labor-intensive business, with extensive facilities (viewing rooms, chapels, limousines, hearses, etc.), these expenses must be factored into the cost of a funeral. Moreover, the cost of a funeral includes not only merchandise, like caskets, but the services of a funeral director in making arrangements; filing appropriate forms; dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and others; and seeing to all the necessary details. Contrary to popular belief, funeral homes are largely family-owned with a modest profit margin.

Cemetery Common Questions

The answers below are here because these are the most commonly-asked questions. If yours isn't listed, we invite you to call us. We're here to provide the information you need, when you need it.

- Are cemeteries running out of space?
Just like other open spaces, cemeteries are impacted by increased population density in both urban and rural areas.  In Brandon and area there are many cemeteries with ample space to last for decades.  There is also land adjacent to the City that could be used to develop future cemeteries.

- What is Perpetual Care?
"Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Permanent Care or Endowment Care. These Care funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to maintain the grounds, roads, and buildings of the cemetery.

- Can the vault be personalized?
Yes, we can show you the wide range of personalization choices, including customized nameplates and military insignias.

- Are there vaults for cremated remains?
Yes, we offer urn vaults, designed for in-ground burial of cremated remains.

- Can two cremations be performed at once?
Never. Not only is it illegal to do so, most modern cremation chambers are not of sufficient size to accommodate more than one adult. Thus it would be a practical impossibility to conduct multiple cremations simultaneously.

- Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?
No, embalming is not required for burial. It is always your choice. Your decision may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public viewing of the body with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; or if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, or because of the length of time prior to the burial.

- Must I purchase a burial vault?
This depends on which cemetery you select.  Rosewood Memorial Gardens and certain sections of the Brandon Cemetery require a concrete liner or vault, for all casket burials.  The purpose of the vault is protect the casket and your loved one and to ensure the ground does not sink over time.  Rural cemeteries typically do not have a requirement for a grave liner or vault, although many families still choose one for peace of mind.

- What is a columbarium?
A columbarium is typically a granite structure with many small compartments (niche) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.  Rosewood Memorial Gardens and Brandon Cemetery both have columbariums with niches available for purchase by the general public.