This Alabama Man Started A Funeral Home Business To Help Families In Need | Southern Living

Eric Lusain makes it his business to take great care of families dealing with loss.

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We literally help people all the way
from Sylacauga to Jasper all the way down to Montgomery.
We had a death in the family, and I wanted to save money.
So I found a casket store and I saved $1,000,
buying a casket from a casket store.
And I owned a lot of commercial real estate
so what I thought I’d do instead
of renting out to a tenant, maybe I just put some
caskets in the window and see what I can do.
Pretty soon, it was doing so well,
I created an internet business where I would personally
drive caskets around to any city within 100 miles.
I said I had better open a funeral home,
if I really want to help people.
So, I hired a funeral director
and I opened my first funeral home.
And now I’ve got five funeral homes and two crematories.
So those are just some examples of how we were able
to lower the cost and help more families.
So we don’t do anything like
your traditional funeral homes.
This used to be my brother’s garage. My bother who passed.
So this was a way for me to memorialize him.
We have a facility that we try to make look nice,
as well as vehicles that look nice
because we don’t want people to think
that we offer services any less than what
the big-box funeral homes offer.
The biggest misconception is that you can shop around
funeral homes just like you can shop around
on what grocery store or what clothing store
you wanna go to.
The sad thing is that when a person passes,
you feel pressure to make a decision pretty quick.
When you’re working with a family,
you’re dealing with a person at their lowest point.
Their stress level is at the highest,
they’re dealing with literally the hardest
moment of their life.
So it takes a lot of patience.
The etiquette is as simple as this.
Whatever helps the family grieve properly, do it.
If you think it’s gonna upset ’em, then don’t do it.
Sometimes people need reminding
and sometimes it’s just good common sense.
Every service is unique.
The casket behind me, the family’s very particular
that he has on an Auburn T-shirt,
that he has an Auburn cap on in the casket.
Everyone grieves differently.
There’s different stages of grief,
but when you can offer them a good closing,
and they know that they laid their family member out,
the way they wanted to be remembered.
That really helps them through the grieving process.
So no request is strange, we try to do
whatever we can to make the situation easier.
I had no idea that I would be watching
makeup videos and ordering makeup off the internet,
and learning how to do eyelashes and nails
and doing nail polish.
So I teach my funeral directors how
to make a body look presentable.
Over the five funeral homes,
we’re responsible for about 150 families per month.
My mom is retired. I did not know she was gonna be
such an integral part and helping people
is definitely a calling for her.
One thing I will tell you is that
we have a good sense of humor around here.
It’s not that we’re being disrespectful to anyone,
but I wanna make the family laugh.
If I can just take 10 minutes to remind them
that we enjoyed this person’s life for a while
and we can’t take that for granted.
Try to make ’em laugh because it does make
this sad and grievous moment go by better.