Funeral FAQs

If you still have questions, call us at 757.455.2838; we are here to help.


What is a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for mourners. It provides an opportunity for friends and family of the deceased to share in the loss and express their love, respect and grief. A funeral or memorial service is the first step toward emotional adjustment to the death of a loved one.


What type of service should I have?

The type of funeral or memorial service you wish to have is a very personal decision. If not noted in an advance plan, the family of the deceased decides the type of service. The service is generally held at a place of worship or at the funeral home. It may vary in ritual according to religious denomination or the wishes of the family. A private service is by invitation only. A memorial service is usually a service without a body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the family's community.


Can I personalize my funeral service?

We recommend that you do. A funeral or memorial service is a celebration of life. Woodlawn Funeral Directors are happy to discuss all options and ensure your funeral is tailored to your wishes. A funeral or memorial service may be personalized in many ways. Call us at 757-455-2838 to explore the possibilities


Why should I have a public viewing?

Viewing the deceased is part of many cultural traditions. Many grief specialists believe that viewing aids the grief process by helping the bereaved recognize the reality of death. 


Why do I 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, if you are having your service at Woodlawn, you may have an online tribute space for your obituary where friends and family can post memories, photos, videos and musical selections.


What do funeral directors do?

Woodlawn Funeral Directors are both caregivers and administrators. In their role as administrators, they make 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 for professional help. Funeral Directors also link survivors with support groups at the funeral home or in the community.


What should I do if a death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

Woodlawn Funeral Directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just call us at 757-455-2838. If you request immediate assistance, one of our Directors will be there within the hour. If the family wishes to spend a short time with the deceased to say goodbye we will come by at the time you specify.


What should I do if a death occurs while away from home?

Woodlawn Funeral Directors can assist you no matter where a death occurs. Contact us immediately and we will assume responsibility and coordinate the arrangements for the return of the deceased to their community.


What is the purpose of embalming?

Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body, slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of a body adversely affected by traumatic death or illness. It lengthens the time between death and final disposition so that family members have 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 many, particularly for those having difficulty dealing with the death.


Is embalming mandatory by law?

No. However, certain factors of time, health and possible legal requirements might make embalming either appropriate or necessary.


Is cremation a substitute for a funeral?

No. Cremation is an alternative to earth burial or entombment for the body's final disposition. Cremation often follows a traditional funeral service. Woodlawn Funeral Directors 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.


How much does a funeral cost?

This depends on the services you choose for yourself or your family member. A general price list for Woodlawn Funeral Home can be accessed HERE.


Why are funerals expensive?

In some respects, funerals are similar to weddings or birthday celebrations. The type and cost will vary according to the tastes and budget of the consumer. 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 but services as well. These services include but are not limited to: making arrangements, filing appropriate forms, dealing with doctors, ministers, florists, newspapers and other media, and seeing to all the necessary details.