Glossary of Terms

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Advance Planning - making arrangements for a funeral, memorial, ceremony or other service/plans prior to death. Advance Planning can involve simply recording one's wishes (Pre-Planning), or making financial arrangements (Pre-Paying). Also known as "Pre-Need." Call us at 804-355-3800 for more information on making arrangements in advance. For additional information, please visit our Planning Ahead page.

Aftercare - one of many terms used to describe services available to family members after the death of a loved one. Aftercare is called "Post Service Care" at Bliley's, and is a free resource when you have questions or need assistance with anything from where to find a grief support group to applying for government-related benefits. For more information, please call our Post-Service Care Coordinator, Rob Hagen, at (804) 355-3800 or see our Resources/Grief Support page.

Alternative Containeris an enclosure designed to protect human remains. Typically made from wood or a non metallic material without decoration or inner lining, "Alternative Containers" are rigid and resistant to leakage.

Ashes - see "Cremated Remains"

Autopsy - thorough inspection of a body after death by a medical doctor in order to determine the cause of death.



Basic Services - describes the basic services provided by Bliley staff: transporting remains, coordinating funeral details, assisting with administrative tasks such as completing a death certificate, applying for benefits, etc. Also see "General Price List."

Body Donation - donation of the entire body for purposes of medical science and education. It may be possible for a portion, or portions, of the body not used for study to be cremated and made available to a donor's family.

Burial - placing remains in a space in the ground.

Burial Vault - see "Outer Burial Container."



Casket - a rigid container designed for human remains. Usually constructed of wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, or like material, it is often ornamented and lined with fabric. For more information see our What Bliley's Offers page.

Cemetery - land reserved for graves (burials), tombs or funeral urns.

Chapel Ceremony - a funeral or memorial ceremony held in a Bliley's Funeral Home or a place of worship. Bliley's caring and professional staff will also assist with arranging services.

Closed Casket - describes a visitation or ceremony in which the body is in a closed casket, not available for viewing.

Columbarium - a wall that is used to house cremated remains. A columbarium can be freestanding, or located within a chapel or mausoleum.

Committal - the portion of a funeral ceremony at the gravesite where last words are said before interment

Conglomerate - a large group of companies under the same ownership. Many independent funeral homes have been sold to these larger regional or national companies. But Bliley's is proud to remain an independent, family-owned company. This allows us to continue our focus on delivering personal care to our clients, as we have since we began in 1874.

Coping With Loss - describes the difficult period following the death of a loved one. See also "Aftercare" and "Grieving

Cremated Remains - what remains of a body following cremation. See "Ashes"

Cremation - is a heating process which incinerates human remains into ashes.

Cremation Casket - a casket designed specifically for the cremation process. This casket can be used for viewing the body prior to cremation

Crematorium/Crematory - facility where the cremation of the deceased occurs.



Death Benefits - when a loved one dies, survivors may be eligible for benefits from Social Security or the Veteran's Administration. Bliley's can help determine what, if any, benefits are available to survivors, as well as help apply for them.

Death Certificate - a legal document signed by a physician that shows the cause of death as well as other information about a person who has died. Certified copies of the Death Certificate are required to file various claims - such as insurance or death benefits claims.

Death Notice - a type of notice placed in a local newspaper or on the Internet to announce the death of a person. This notice usually includes information on a funeral service if one is held. Bliley's funeral directors help each family with these notices.

Direct Burial - a burial with no viewing or visitation, usually consisting of care, transportation and burial of remains. A ceremony may be held at the graveside.

Direct Cremation - cremation occurs without previous ceremony, viewing or visitation.



Embalming - a procedure in which human remains are chemically treated by injection and/or topical application for temporary preservation, including, but not limited to, the act of disinfecting, preserving, and restoring the human remains to natural life-like appearance. The preservation is intended to allow for adequate time to plan a funeral ceremony and for friends and family to travel from out-of-town, rather than for any long-term protection from decomposition.

Eulogy - words spoken at a ceremony to celebrate the life of a person who has died.



Family-Owned and Operated - Bliley's is proud to remain an independent, family-owned company. This allows us to continue our focus on delivering personal care to our clients, as we have since we began in 1874.

FTC Funeral Rule - The Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule outlines specific requirements for funeral homes regarding funeral goods and services. The Funeral Rule demonstrates one of many ways the industry is regulated to protect consumers and ensure a high level of professionalism within the business. See also "General Price List."

Funeral Ceremony- the ceremony or group of ceremonies that marks a person's death, held before he or she is buried or cremated.

Funeral Chapel - see "Funeral Home"

Funeral Coach - vehicle designed and used for transporting remains. See "Hearse."

Funeral Director - the Bliley staff member who works with a family to arrange burial, cremation or other funeral services. The director, who must be licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia, will also help prepare remains.

Funeral Escort - individuals who escort a funeral procession, such as law enforcement officers.

Funeral Procession - two or more vehicles accompanying the remains of a deceased person, usually transporting remains to a final resting place.

Funeral Service - any services which may be used to care for and prepare human remains for burial, cremation or other final disposition. Funeral Services also include the arranging, supervising or conducting the funeral ceremony.



General Price List - a list of prices detailing services rendered by a funeral home. The Federal Trade Commission requires this list to be made available to anyone who requests it. Click here to view Bliley's Price List. See also "FTC Funeral Rule."

Grave - a space in the earth for the purpose of burying remains.

Grave Liner - see "Outer Burial Container."

Graveside Ceremony/Service - a funeral ceremony held at graveside

Green Funeral - describes funeral, cremation and burial options that are eco-friendly. For example, a casket of biodegradable material may be chosen for burial, or a tree may be planted over a grave as a way of "giving back" to the environment. Bliley's experienced directors will help families explore what options are available for a green funeral.

Grieving - part of the natural process that includes experiencing deep sadness. Bliley's offers free Post Service Care to help with grieving and other issues surrounding the death of a loved one. For more information, please call our Post-Service Care Coordinator, Rob Hagen, at (804) 355-3800. Also see "Aftercare" and "Coping with Loss"



Hearse - vehicle designed and used for transporting remains. See "Funeral Coach."



Immediate Burial - with the exception of a graveside ceremony, the direct disposition of human remains without a formal viewing, visitation or ceremony.



Lead Car - a vehicle used to transport clergy or personnel for funeral/memorial ceremonies and the lead car for the funeral procession, when needed. Also known as a "Service Car."

Limousine - a vehicle used to transport up to nine passengers, usually family members, from the residence to the funeral home, church, cemetery or any other facility for a funeral /memorial ceremony.

Mausoleum - a building designed to house a body above the ground, rather than buried within it.

Medical Examiner - a person who examines a body after death to determine the cause of death.

Memorial/Memorial Service - a ceremony held to honor the deceased without the body present.

Memorial Folder - a printed card available during a visitation, memorial or church ceremony. The name, birth and death dates of the deceased are often included. A prayer or meaningful quote may also be used. Also known as a "Prayer Card."

Memorial Donation - a contribution made to a particular charity or organization in honor of the person who has died. This donation is usually made instead of sending flowers.

Mortuary Science - the area of study in which a funeral director is certified and trained. This intensive educational program leads to the awarding of an accredited associate degree, and includes a wide range of topics - from helping grieving individuals and preparing a body for burial or cremation, to planning a funeral service. All Bliley funeral directors are licensed professionals who have been certified by the Commonwealth of Virginia.



Next Of Kin - a person's nearest relative.

Niche - the space in a mausoleum or wall to hold an urn.



Obituary - a notice placed in the newspaper about a person's death. An obituary can include biographical information about the person who died, as well as details about a planned service. Bliley's will help families write and place obituaries.

Open Casket - describes a visitation or ceremony in which the body is in an open casket.

Outer Burial Container - a concrete, metal or wood structure used to support a casket in the ground. This container helps prevent the grave from collapsing. See also "Burial Vault" or "Grave Liner."



Pall - a religious cloth that is placed over a coffin at the funeral ceremony.

Pall Bearer - a person who helps carry or escort a casket at a funeral or burial ceremony.

Plot - an area in a cemetery specifically set aside for burial.

Post-Service Care - See "Aftercare."

Prayer Card - a printed card available during a visitation, memorial or church ceremony. Bliley's will help families choose and plan the content for prayer cards.

Pre-Need/Pre-Payment/Pre-Planning - see "Advance Planning."

Private Service - a service in which the family prefers to include only the family members and closest friends of the person who has died.

Procession - see "Funeral Procession."



Register Book - Register Book - a book that a family may choose to set out at a ceremony, for visitors to sign as a way to pay their respects to the person who has died. This list of visitors can be of comfort to the family in the days following a ceremony. Bliley's has a variety of register books to select from.



Scattering - the act of distributing ashes.

Service Car - See "Lead Car."

Selected Independent Funeral Homes - an international professional organization, of which Bliley's is a proud member, comprised of independent, locally-owned funeral homes that operate under strict standards and practices to ensure clients receive the best care available.

Service - see "Funeral Ceremony."



Tomb - a grave or other place, such as a mausoleum, used to bury a dead person.

Traditional Full-Service Funeral - usually includes a viewing and visitation, formal ceremony, a graveside service, and burial or entombment.

Transferring - remains may need to be transported to another location. Bliley's will help make any of these arrangements - from addressing necessary permits or documentation to fulfilling specific requirements. Bliley directors will ensure that safe passage is secured to almost any destination in the world.



Undertaker - see "Funeral Director."

Urn - the container used to hold cremated remains after cremation. For more information visit our What Bliley's Offers page.

Urn Vault - a small reinforced container used for housing an urn in the ground. The Urn Vault acts the same as a burial vault does for a casket - to help protect the surrounding ground from collapse.



Vault - a reinforced outer burial container used to house the casket, and to protect the surrounding ground from collapsing.

VFDA - the Virginia Funeral Directors Association. This group, of which Bliley's is a member, is focused on achieving standards of excellence within in the industry, and serving the public with a high level of care.

Viewing - a period of time set aside for friends and family to view the person who has died, usually in a special room within a funeral home or place of worship. Also called "Visitation."

Vigil - religious services or prayers, usually held the night before a funeral. A vigil, as the name suggests, is a time for keeping watch.

Visitation - a period of time set aside for friends and family to visit the family of the person who has died. See also "Viewing."



Wake - A period of time set aside for family members and friends to privately visit and view the person who has died, usually in a room within the funeral home. The body is generally viewed in the casket during this time. Also called "Viewing" or "Visitation."

Water Scattering - a method of scattering ashes in which ashes are scattered on or across a body of water. A water-soluble container can also be used. The Chesapeake Bay Act may restrict this option in some localities.