If you look up “exemplary funeral director,” you would find a photo of Mike Cook. And, if the need arises in your family to call on Mike Cook, your experience would be of the highest quality, personal, and memorable. “For me, each service is about celebrating a life,” Mike shared. “We’re telling that person’s story in a couple hours or a day, and we want to get it right. There are no do-overs with a funeral.” Indeed, every detail, from the first appointment or phone call to well beyond the service itself, is attended to with care and compassion. Mike has filled his funeral home with a professional staff whose reputation for comforting service and personal attention to grieving families is well known in our region. For over 40 years, Mike has honored the family legacy of J.P. Cavin, who established the funeral home in 1925.
“Mike has not only taken care of my family for nearly 35 years, he’s taken care of me,” Vicki Brawley told me. “My brother died in Beirut in 1983, and all those complicated arrangements were taken care of. Mike comforted my mom when Dad passed away, and he was a pallbearer for her just recently. And he was there for me when my husband died two years ago. It’s very comforting to feel secure with someone you trust, someone who has your best interests at heart. Everyone at Cavin-Cook is like that.”
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT FUNERALS
“At least 90% of what we do is family care,” Jeremy Brown told me. Jeremy is a licensed funeral director who’s been at Cavin-Cook for 14 years. “Our staff understands that we’re not finished just because the funeral is over. There are hundreds of decisions to make before, during, and after a funeral, and sometimes this comes as a surprise to families. Some figure they’ve got it covered, because they have a burial plot or because Dad told them he didn’t want a funeral. Unfortunately, there are still matters that will require making decisions, and when those decisions need to be made, families can be overwhelmed. Our job, really, is to guide them through the process of creating an ideal experience, which is different for everyone.” At Cavin-Cook, providing the ideal experience includes offering pre-planning (a worthwhile step for anyone), listening, encouraging families to share their stories and wishes, and then helping them through their journey and all its passages.
PRE-PLANNING - WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Choosing your own arrangements in advance, when you have plenty of time and knowledgeable help, can make all the difference. “Pre-planning is a gift to your family,” Dana Trull, funeral director apprentice, said. “When family members are here, making final arrangements, those who have a plan in place are much more comfortable in the process. They know they are doing what their loved one really wanted.” We know it’s a good idea to plan ahead, but we put off making an appointment. I recommend you do this now for yourself and your spouse and encourage parents to do this when they are healthy and can tell you how they would like to be honored and remembered. You will be guided through every detail of what’s needed for your plan including options for funeral financing, if you so choose. Advance plans can be transferred to any funeral home if needed in the future.
“50 years ago, it didn’t matter who you were, funeral services were very similar,” Mike said with a smile. “People are unique, and I believe each service needs to be personal—it’s OK to be personal! Churches are seeing this transformation, with contemporary services, new music, and so on. With all we do, I really want each family to celebrate life in their own, unique way. We’ll do whatever it takes to make that happen.” I was amazed to hear how families’ wishes were honored at Cavin-Cook: one family brought their dog to say his last good-byes and provide comfort; an avid fisherman’s urn was transported to the cemetery in his prized boat; a gleaming motorcycle was the backdrop for the service of a bike rider; and when a small child’s viewing was held, she was placed in her very own bed so her young siblings could be with her in a familiar setting one last time. Celebrations of life that include personal details and special touches are very comforting—they can raise spirits and promote healing through story-telling among friends and family. “Mr. Cook is service oriented, and I’ve never heard him turn down a family’s request for something special. You have to be passionate to do this work, and he is fully dedicated to making every celebration exactly what the family wants,” Jeremy noted. “I’ve worked at other funeral homes, and it’s not the approach you typically see in this business. We’re not profit-driven. Being family-owned and operated makes a positive difference in the personal service people receive. We hear that a lot.”
Jeremy explained that arranging for care after a death is a life service—he’s always on call—his cell phone is on 24/7. “Within five minutes of a family phone call, we call back, and promptly respond to immediate needs, such as transporting a loved one to our facility. It really is a calling,” he said.
Funeral directors assist with arrangements concerning traditional burial and cremation options (Cavin-Cook is the only Iredell County funeral home operating an on-site crematory, so your loved one never leaves their care), details related to the visitation and service, arrangements for clergy, music, transportation for family and special friends, and perhaps a family meal after the service. Family gatherings are often held at Heritage House, a lovely facility conveniently located on the same grounds as the funeral home. In the days following a funeral, there are additional tasks that require families’ attention, and Cavin-Cook’s staff are there to assist then, as well.
“Our services include assistance even after the funeral,” Dana explained. “We know there are things still to do and offer a checklist, so we can help you get everything done.” Staff can help explain such items as insurance, death benefits, Social Security, and resources that might assist you.
GRIEF SUPPORT — YOU ARE NOT ALONE
The Grief Share support program at Cavin-Cook meets weekly. “Everyone’s journey through grief is different, but it’s something everyone must go through,” Dana continued. “It’s amazing watching people transform from tears to laughter as they receive guidance and support from others on the same path. Because grief can be especially hard during the holidays, we offer additional services at certain times of the year.” In addition, Cavin-Cook partners with providers specially trained in helping families with specific needs, such as coping with the loss of a child or losing a loved one to suicide.
Last February, Noah joined the folks at Cavin-Cook. Noah means comfort, and this particular Noah is a seven-month-old standard poodle who will soon begin grief therapy training and become a certified grief therapy dog. “Some families ask for him to be present at their visitation,” Dana told me, “and it’s wonderful to see peace come over people when they pet him and talk to him. The unconditional love dogs give us does wonders.”
It is truly the people who make Cavin-Cook a very special place. You couldn’t put your family in better hands. Exceptional, professional service, with your needs attended to by compassionate people—isn’t this what we all desire when we’re celebrating the life of a loved one?
Cavin-Cook Funeral Home & Crematory
494 East Plaza Drive (Hwy 150)
Mooresville, NC 28115