We love to shine a light on our incredible funeral partners who introduce their families to Eterneva. Our spotlight for January 2024 is Terese Henriks, Funeral Arranger for O’Connor Mortuary, in Laguna Hills, California. She has a family-first mindset when it comes to curating personable and memorable ceremonies that honor and celebrate loved ones.
Q: Hi Terese, thanks for participating in our interview! Can you tell us about your roles and responsibilities as a Funeral Arranger?
A: As a Funeral Arranger, I meet with families when a death has occurred or sometimes, when they are expecting a death to happen soon. I greet each family at the door and show them around our beautiful funeral home, trying my best to make them feel more comfortable, as I share our history and tell them about the compassionate team we have at O’Connor.
After showing them around, we sit in an arrangement room and we have an intentional conversation. I ask them how their loved one died, who was with them, was it peaceful, etc. Then, I transition into asking about how their loved one LIVED. This is my favorite part of my job - learning about the person whose family I am helping. These conversations usually relax the families, who often tell me that they are grateful to have the chance to talk about their loved one’s life.
I thank them for sharing their loved one with me and then transition into finding out what they’d like to plan for their loved one. So, I ask a lot of questions and drill down to the plan that works best for them. Once we are in agreement on the right plan, we move into the Memorial Products Room. Before we enter, I let them know that it is my job to make sure they know all their options and reassure them that if they are not interested in something I present; they won’t hurt my feelings. While in the Memorial Products Room, we choose the basics that we need for either burial or cremation and then I show them the special types of keepsakes that are available, including a Diamond by Eterneva.
We return to the arrangement room, where we finalize details and do the paperwork and then we are done for the day. A lot happens after the arrangement… lots of follow-up care calls and emails to the family and, of course, managing all the details with churches, clergy, cemeteries, etc. to help create flawless, memorable ceremonies that honor their loved one.
Q: How long have you been in this industry and/or with this funeral home?
A: I have been in the funeral industry for 8 ½ years and I have been with O’Connor Mortuary the entire time. I will be with O’Connor for the rest of my career, as I truly believe that no other mortuaries in our area support families with the same care and compassion as my team. It comes from the top down; our owners, who are part of the O’Connor family, are men of integrity with huge hearts for the families we serve.
Q: What is your #1 mission every day?
A: Every day, I strive to make each family I serve feel like they are the only family that I am serving. My goal is to make their potentially worst day better than it could have been because they came to O’Connor Mortuary.
Q: What do you think is a myth that people believe when it comes to your industry, and why is it untrue?
A: Sadly, I think there are people out there who believe they will be taken advantage of when they are vulnerable. Perhaps there is history of this in the past in our industry. In my 8 ½ years, I know for certain that all of us at O’Connor have integrity and compassion. We do offer all the options, but help each family make the right choices for their loved one.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: In my free time, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family and my friends. Nothing energizes me more than being with the people I love! I am involved in my church music ministry. I love to socialize and play board games and cards, and go for walks.
Q: What do you love most about the Eterneva Diamond offering?
A: I love that Eterneva gives a grieving family a very special, sentimental keepsake that they can wear every day to be reminded of the love of their person and the significant role that they played in their life. I love the process of how Eterneva keeps the family involved with the progress of the Diamond, giving them hopeful anticipation. Once the family expresses interest in a Diamond, I ask their permission for Eterneva to contact them. Eterneva always follows up with the family and they are consistent with keeping me informed about each referral. They make it easy on me as an arranger.