After nearly 30 years in the industry – a decade working for another funeral home and nineteen working as the director of his own, Jason Lucas of the Lucas Memorial Home has seen it all. He’s been caring for families in their most vulnerable times. As a professional in this field, he’s also seen shifts in the industry and witnessed every kind of grieving. In the latest edition of the Conversations with Funeral Directors Series, we dig deeper into what it takes to be a care professional.
Changing trends for funeral homes
Jason Lucas, the Cleveland based funeral director became familiar with funerals at a young age, attending funerals with his father, a local pastor. The regular funeral attendance helped a young Lucas to decide that he wanted to serve others in their most trying times.
Since he began working in the funeral industry, Lucas has noticed a steady rise in the number of funeral homes as well as changes in the families’ requests. Attitudes in cremation have also shifted. Just a few years ago, it was a somewhat taboo procedure, but as funeral costs rise and cultural attitudes evolve, more people choose that option today.
Another significant cultural change has also impacted how funeral directors deliver their services to families.
“We’re an internet society,” he explains. “People go online and price out services. Younger people especially are more comfortable searching for a funeral home and picking the services for their loved ones online. Few people’s first step is to call the funeral home anymore and word of mouth is less important when choosing a funeral director.”
While this has been a challenge for Lucas, he works to stay ahead. He strives to offer the best for his families, including technology that families now expect.
Given his affinity to technology, Everdays was a natural tool for Lucas. Families are asking more of him than ever before, so this free and powerful platform has been invaluable. Many families are hesitant to using apps as they can be difficult or counter-intuitive. Lucas’ families have embraced the ease and simplicity of Everdays.
Putting families first
Whether a funeral brings in 3,000 loved ones or just a handful, Lucas cares first and foremost about the families. “Where families come first” is his business’ motto and guiding principle. He emphasizes that every single time he walks into a room to meet with a family, he gets in the proper frame of mind.
“They’re going through the worst times in their lives,” he says. “I think about how I would be if I were in their shoes.”
As for the families who didn’t expect the loss or have a plan for a funeral, it’s quite common. When someone dies without the money to pay for proper burial services, there are options that Lucas is able to offer. Lucas works with private groups that help anyone struggling financially to pay for their loved ones’ funeral services. Losing a loved one is already extremely difficult. The burden of paying for it is another hardship.
After nearly three decades of being surrounded by the grieving, it’s interesting to note that there’s no common one-size fit service for families. “No one grieves the same way. Everyone should do what’s best for them. There’s nothing wrong with crying,” he explains, “I know it’s hard, but you have to face it; that is what helps you heal.” As long as you’re aware of your grief and willing to accept that you are, in fact, grieving you can get through it.
Many thanks to Jason for sharing his wisdom and being on the front lines of helping families in a vulnerable time.
About Jason: Jason Harper Lucas was born in the Cleveland area. He graduated from high school in Kansas City, Kansas. Jason attended Morehouse College and is a graduate of Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. After graduating, he furthered his skills at E.F. Boyd and Son Funeral Home in Cleveland, Ohio. In December 1999, his dream of having his own funeral home came true with the establishment of Lucas Memorial Chapel.