Hello Guest!

HEARTFELT CELEBRATIONS:
RESOURCES

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Apportionment: When cremated remains are divided for separate disposition (i.e. putting some in an urn and spreading some at a favorite location).

Apprentice: Someone learning the funeral business under the supervision of a licensed director.

Arrangement Conference: Meeting with the funeral director at the funeral home to make funeral arrangements.

Arrangement Room: Room at the funeral home where the family of the deceased makes funeral arrangements.

Aspirate: The process that removes gases and fluids from the abdominal cavity. More...

Attorney in Fact: A person who is granted the power of attorney.

Background Drapes: Decorative drapes made of velour that are arranged on a frame to be placed as background behind the casket. More...

Beneficiary: Recipient of the proceeds of an insurance policy or will. More here,  and here

Bequest: A gift of property made in a will.

Bereavement: The period after a loss during which grief is experienced and mourning occurs. The time spent in a period of bereavement depends on how attached the person was to the person who has died, and how much time was spent anticipating the loss. More here and here

Burial: Putting a dead body in an underground chamber of earth.

Burial Garments: Apparel made for the deceased.

Burial Certificate/Permit: Local government-issued legal paper that authorizes burial or cremation. More...

Canopy: Portable canvas shelter or tent used to cover the gravesite during burial or committal service.

Casket (Coffin, Burial Case): A container made of metal, wood, fiberglass or plastic designed for placing human remains for burial.

Casket Veil: Silk transparent net that covers the casket to keep insects off the remains. More...

Catafalque: A raised structure on which the body of a deceased person lies or is carried in state. More..

Cemetery: An area of ground that is set aside for entombment or burial of the deceased.

Cenotaph: An empty tomb or erected monument in memory of a person buried somewhere else. More...

Certified Death Certificate: Legal copy of the original death certificate that is issued by local authorities at the family's request used to substantiate claims for insurance and other death benefits. More here, here and here

Chapel: Large room in the funeral home used to hold funeral services.

Church Truck: Collapsible catafalque used for funerals.

Codicil: An amendment to the will that changes the original provisions. More...

Columbarium: A building or structure containing vaults lined with recesses or niches to house urns holding cremated remains. More...

Committal Service: The final section of the funeral service in which the deceased are entombed or interred

Complicated Grief: Grief that is complicated by adjustment disorders (especially depressed and anxious mood or disturbed emotions and behavior), major depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. Complicated grief is identified by the extended length of time of the symptoms, the interference in normal function caused by the symptoms, or by the intensity of the symptoms (for example, intense suicidal thoughts or acts. More here, here and here

Contest: A legal challenge or question to the validity of a will.

Coroner: A public official, and sometimes a constitutional officer, with the duty of investigating the cause of death if it appears to be other than of natural causes or if no physician was in attendance for a time period prior to death.

Cortege: A funeral procession. More...

Cosmetology: The utilization of cosmetics to help restore a life-like appearance to the deceased.

Cremains or Cremated Remains: What remains of a body after cremation; ashes.

Cremation: The reduction to ashes of a body by fire.

Cremation Permit: Local government-issued certificate that authorizes cremation of the deceased. More...

Crematory: Building housing a furnace designed for cremating human remains.

Crypt: A room or vault used for keeping remains.

Death Certificate: Legal document signed by an attending physician or coroner certifying the cause of death and other vital statistics pertaining to the deceased. More here, here and here

Death Notice: Paragraph in the classified section of the newspaper that informs people of a person's death and gives them details the survivors want published along with funeral service information.

Deceased: Person in whom all physical life has ceased.

Diagnosis: The nature of a disease or the identification of an illness.

Disinter: To dig up or remove remains from a burial place.

Display Room: A room in the funeral home that is set aside to display urns, caskets, burial garments and vaults that are available to purchase

Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR): A request not to have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) done if the heart stops or breathing ceases. More...

Donor: The giver of a tissue or organ, for example, of blood or a kidney.

Door Badge: Floral spray that is placed on the door of a residence to announce a death. More...

Durable Power of Attorney: A type of medical directive in which legal documents provide the power of attorney to another person in the case of an incapacitating medical condition. More here and here (Form)

Embalm: To preserve a dead body by circulating preservative and antiseptic through the arteries and veins. More... (WARNING: Disturbing images)

Embalmer: The person who disinfects and preserves human remains, prepares bodies for transport, and restores features for open casket viewings.

Embalming Fluid: Liquid chemicals that are used to preserve human remains.

Embalming Table: Operating table made of metal with a porcelain surface where remains are placed for embalming.

Executor: Administrator of an estate.

Exhume: Dig up human remains.

Family Car: Limousine used for the immediate family in a funeral procession.

Family Room: Room in the funeral home that provides the family with privacy at the time of the funeral service.

Flower Car: Vehicle that transports flowers from the funeral home to the church and cemetery.

Flower Stands and Racks: Metal or wooden racks and stands of different heights used for banking flowers around the casket. More...

Funeral Arrangements: Conference with the funeral director and family to complete service and financial details of a funeral.

Funeral Director/Mortician: Certified and trained professional who prepares, arranges and supervises human remains for burial or cremation, maintains a funeral home and counsels, and assists survivors.

Funeral Home: Building used for arranging and conducting funerals and embalming.

Funeral Insurance/Burial Insurance: An insurance policy that covers costs related to the funeral or provides money for a funeral upon death of the insured. More here, here and here

Funeral Procession: A procession of motor vehicles between the church and cemetery.


Funeral Service
: Religious or other rites performed before final disposition of a deceased body.

Funeral Spray: Collective bouquets of cut flowers sent to the funeral home or residence of the deceased as a tribute to them. More...

Grave: An excavation into the earth in which the deceased is buried.

Grave Liner: The receptacle the casket is placed into made of metal, concrete or wood to provide an extra precaution to protect the remains from the elements. More...


Grave or Memorial Marker
: Usually made of stone or metal, it is a method to identify occupants of particular graves, and provides information such as the name of the individual, and the places and dates of birth and death. More...

Green Burial or Direct Burial: The burial of a body without chemical preservation in a simple container to preserve the earth. More here, here, here , here and here

Grief: The normal process of reacting to a loss.

Hearse/Casket Coach: Motor coach designed and used to convey casketed remains from the funeral service location to the cemetery.

Honorary Pallbearers: Friends or members of a social, fraternal or religious organization who act as escorts or honor guards for the deceased, but who do not actually carry the casket.

Hospice: A program or facility that provides special care for people who are near the end of life and for their families.

Hospice Care: Care designed to give supportive care to people in the final phase of a terminal illness, and that focuses on comfort and quality of life, rather than a cure. The goal is to enable patients to be comfortable and free of pain so that they live each day as fully as possible. Hospice care can be provided at home, in a hospice or other freestanding facility, or within a hospital. More here, here and here

ICU: Intensive Care Unit.

Informed Consent: A process in which a person learns key facts about a clinical trial, including potential risks and benefits, before deciding whether or not to participate in a study. Informed consent continues throughout the trial. More here and here

Inquest: Official examination or inquiry before a jury to determine the cause of death.

In State: Custom that presents deceased for viewing by friends and relatives either before or after the funeral service.

Intervention: The act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modifying the outcome. In medicine, an intervention is usually undertaken to help treat or cure a condition. More...

Interment: The act of burying a body in a grave.

Intestate: Having no legal will left behind. More here and here

Inurnment: The placing of cremated remains into an urn.

Lead Car: The car that leads the funeral procession.

License: Authorization from the state that grants permission to perform duties that would otherwise be illegal.

Life Insurance Trust: Trust fund from money provided by life insurance. More here, here and here

Life Support: A therapy or device designed to preserve someone's life when an essential bodily system is not doing so.

Living Trust: Trust that has been established during the life of the trustee. More here and here

Living Will: Legal document detailing the wishes of an individual concerning his/her medical care, particularly in respect to resuscitation and life sustaining technology. More...

Lowering Device: Mechanism placed over the open grave with two or more straps to secure the casket and then used to lower the casket into the grave by unwinding the straps from a cylinder to lower the casket into place.

Mausoleum: A private or public building containing above-ground crypts or tombs.

Medical Examiner: A government official who is usually appointed and who has thorough medical knowledge. The ME's function is to perform autopsies on bodies dead from crime, violence, suicide, etc., to investigate circumstances of death.

Medicare: The United States government's health insurance program for senior citizens (people 65 years of age or older), certain younger people with specific disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant. More...

Memorial Service: A religious ceremony that is conducted in memory of the deceased without the remains present.

Minister's Room: A room in the funeral home designated for the clergyman to robe or make last minute preparations before the service.

Morgue: Place where human remains are kept pending identification or autopsy.

Mortuary Science: The part of the funeral service profession that deals with proper preparation of human remains for final disposition.

Mourning: The process by which people adapt to a loss, such as the death of someone near and dear. Mourning is influenced by cultural customs, rituals and society's rules for coping with loss. More...

Niche: A hollowed-out space in a wall made to place urns containing cremated remains. More...

Niche Garden: An outdoor garden containing structures with niches.

Nursing home: A residential facility for persons with chronic illness or disability, particularly older people who have mobility and eating problems. Also called a convalescent home or long-term care facility.

Nutritionist: In a hospital or nursing home, a person who typically plans and/or formulates special meals for patients. More here and here

Obituary: Notice of death that contains biographical details of the deceased, usually by way of a newspaper notice.

Opening and Closing Fees: Fees the cemetery charges for digging and refilling a grave.

Opioid: A synthetic narcotic that resembles naturally occurring opiates; any substance that binds to or otherwise affects the opiate receptors on the surface of the cell. More...

Pallbearers: Relatives or friends responsible for carrying the casket during a funeral service. They can be hired, as well.

Palliative Care: Medical or comfort care that reduces the severity of a disease or slows its progress rather than providing a cure. For incurable diseases, in cases where the cure is not recommended due to other health concerns, or when the patient does not wish to pursue a cure, palliative care becomes the focus of treatment. More...

Pediatrics: The area of medicine that is concerned with the health of infants, children and adolescents, their growth and development, and their opportunity to achieve full potential as adults.

Perpetual Care Trust Fund: The portion of burial plot cost set aside in trust for ongoing care.

Pharmacy: A location where prescription drugs are sold.

Plot: The area of ground in a cemetery that is owned by a family or individual that usually contains multiple graves.

Prearranged Funeral: Funeral arranged and paid for by an individual prior to their death.

Prearranged Funeral Trust or Funeral Trust: The method that allows individuals to pre-pay for funeral expenses by holding money in trust until it is needed to pay for funeral costs. More...

Preparation Room: Room in the funeral home equipped and designed to prepare the deceased for final disposition.

Preparation Table: Operating table in the preparation room on which the body is placed for embalming and dressing.

Pre-Planning or Pre-need: Arranging of all aspects of a funeral, particularly the financing before death.

Probate: The court process that proves the validity of a will. More here and here

Purge: Discharge from the mouth, ears and nose of the deceased caused by improper embalming.

Remains: The body of the deceased.

Register: A book made available by the funeral director to record the names of people visiting the funeral home to pay their respects to the deceased, as well as entering data on the deceased (name, dates of birth and death), name of officiant, place of interment, list of floral tributes, time and date of the service, etc.

Reposing Room: Room in the funeral home where the body lies in state when casketed until the time of the service.

Restorative Art: Derma surgery that is used to restore distorted and/or mutilated features on the deceased using plaster, wax, creams, etc.

Resuscitate: To restore to life. (Derived from the Latin resuscitare, "to reawaken.")

Right of Survivorship: Occurs when a joint property owner proves for passing of all property into the hands of the surviving joint owner. More here and here

Service Car: Utility vehicle belonging to the funeral home or cemetery, used to transport chairs, flowers, etc.

Slumber Room: Room equipped with a bed where the deceased is placed, appropriately dressed, and lies in state until casketed on the day of the funeral.

Spiritual Banquet: Roman Catholic practice that involves specific prayers like Masses and rosaries.

Survivors: People who have outlived the deceased, particularly family members.

Testator: Person making a valid will.

Tomb: A chamber excavated from rock or earth to receive human remains.

Trade Embalmer: Licensed embalmer not employed by a specific funeral home, but who provides services to multiple homes.

Transit Permit: Legal paper issued by a local government that allows a body to be transported to burial place. (Additional permits may be required for cremation.) More...

Trust: Monetary fund held and managed by one person to benefit an individual or others.

Urn: A container made of stone, wood, metal or other material to hold cremated remains.

Urn Garden: A garden that contains urn burial sites.

Urn Placement: The permanent placement of an urn into a burial site or niche.

Viatical: Purchase of a life insurance policy from a terminally ill person. More here and here

Viewing: When the deceased is available to be visited and seen by friends and relatives before or after the funeral service.

Vigil: Catholic religious service held on the eve of funeral services.

Visitation: Private opportunity, typically in a special room in the funeral home, that allows survivors and friends to view the deceased before the service.

Visitation Room: A room in the funeral home where the body lies before the funeral service for people to view the deceased.

Wake: A watch that's kept over the deceased that can last the entire night preceding the funeral.

Will: Legal document stating intentions of the deceased on the care of their remains and dispersal of their belongings, along with other relevant issues. More here and here