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Preparing for that final journey we all must take

There was a time when almost all funerals followed a generally accepted pattern. The deceased’s body was prepared and laid out by the funeral home and there was an evening visitation. The next day, there were funerary rites at the church, and then a caravan of vehicles followed the hearse to the cemetery, where the service was concluded. Family and friends then went their separate ways, perhaps gathering at the family’s home for a meal.

While those traditions remain to this day, funeral services and rites have changed quite a bit, said Jerry Andrews, owner and manager of Andrews Funeral Home in Gloucester. With two-earner households and employers tightening down on leave time, it’s harder for people to take off twice for services, so they combine everything into one day. In addition, more people are choosing alternatives to traditional burial these days, such as cremation and green burial.

An increasing number of people also want to manage for themselves the way the...

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