I met Carol Austin back when I was first starting Sunny Care Services and was doing research on where each end of life business interacted with a family in grief. In our first conversation, I could tell that Carol stood out among the rest with her deep empathy, personal connection to the business, and her desire to go above and beyond for the families she serves. In my interview below we will talk with Carol about their company, Austin Funeral & Cremation Services, what you need to know about cremation and if this choice is right for you and your family.

Tell us about Austin Funeral & Cremation Services and what services do you offer? We are all about helping people celebrate their loved one’s life. We are available 24/7 and respond initially when we are notified there’s been a death. After that initial call, we then find a time to talk with the family about the logistics of what has to happen so they can rest assured we will take on everything that needs to be done leading up to the services. Some of the things Austin Funeral & Cremation Services is doing behind the scenes:

  • We work to prepare the death certificate for the physician to sign and get certified copies for the family.
  • We come to the family to discuss what they envision for the services and work with their church or other place where they would like to have a service to help in implementing that plan.
  • We provide all merchandise needed for a service, whether it be caskets, outer burial containers, urns, acknowledgement cards – whatever is needed for the type of service a family selects for their loved one.
  • We gather pictures from families and make tribute videos honoring their loved one, all typically within a tight 24 or 48 hour time frame.
  • We help in writing obituaries, submit to both local and out of town newspapers, order flowers, provide guest books that lists all family members and have online guest book as well.
  • If the family has chosen traditional burial or has decided to bury an urn we coordinate with cemetery on timing of when that will take place.
  • Because we know there is a lot to keep up with, we take pictures of all flowers and who sent them so you can see them later. This also helps in writing notes to thank people if you can see what was sent to the service.

Ultimately, we try to take care of everything we can so that the family can concentrate on being together.

Can you tell us some reasons why people choose cremation and why others would not?

  • Why? Cremation is certainly more cost effective of all the options and perhaps the simplest as well. Cremation is also a good option for people who do not want to worry about buying merchandise such as a casket or outer burial container. However, we should note that even if you do choose cremation, you can still have a traditional funeral service and if you prefer to have a casket present at the service, we can provide a ceremonial casket as well. Urns can also be buried or placed in a columbarium. This can provide a sense of place for families to go and visit.
  • Why Not? For some families, a casketed burial feels more comfortable to them. It may be their family’s tradition or they may not like the idea of cremation. Ultimately we find the decision of what to do with their loved one’s body is for the people who are left behind and what brings them peace. That is why we believe it is so important to talk about what your wishes are ahead of time and know what is most beneficial to helping your loved ones grieve.

What are some misunderstood things about cremation?

In order to cremate, we do have to have the family’s permission which is typically the next of kin. If their spouse has already passed away, then we have all children sign the authorization. That can sometimes be an issue if all children don’t agree on what to do with their parent’s remains. If there is a power of attorney (POA) for healthcare in place (it is usually one of the children) and if it designates that they can authorize burial or cremation, then the Power of Attorney can sign the authorization. That is why we say, again, it is so important to talk about this ahead of time. Death stops you in your tracks- it deeply affects you and all of a sudden you are having to make many decisions at one time and it can be agonizing.

Thank you so much for this information, Carol!

If you are interested in learning more about the services at Austin Funeral and Cremation Services, we encourage you to reach out to Carol and her team. They are extremely conscientious and professional.

We also want to encourage you to let your family know if cremation or one of the other options we will feature in the coming weeks is what you wish done with your body. It cannot be stressed enough that it is such a gift to be clear and open with your family!