I'm sorry for your loss. I know this is a difficult time, but there are some decisions that need to be made soon regarding funeral arrangements. This is often incredibly overwhelming, and it's easy to become confused and paralysed in the face of it all. But don't worry: by getting organized and taking care of the little things, you can help make this process go smoothly. To help you through this process, below is a checklist outlining what needs to be done right away.
When you call the doctor, you will likely receive several pieces of information. First, he or she will advise you on what to do next. If your loved one died at home, for example, the doctor may tell you that it's best to call the police immediately and then a funeral director. If there were other people present when your loved one died and they've already called the police and/or a funeral home (or if they are willing to help with these calls), then it's up to them whether or not they want any additional assistance from their physician or an attorney.
There are certain people you should tell first and others you should tell last. It's best to start with those who will be most deeply affected by this death, such as parents and siblings, then work your way out from there. Once they've been informed, consider telling other family members or close friends directly before posting on social media. Be careful of what you say in emails and text messages; if possible, speak directly with the person in question.
If a friend or family member is upset by hearing of the passing over the phone, offer comfort by letting them know that everything will be okay—that this was not an accident but rather part of God's plan for their life (and the deceased's). You can also give advice about practical matters like whether it's better to donate clothing to charity organizations versus discarding of them so that all proceeds go toward helping other people in need.
The funeral director is the person you will work with to plan and coordinate the funeral service. He or she will help you through the process of choosing an appropriate casket, directing you to a cemetery for burial, and organizing flowers and music for the service. It’s important that you choose someone who has experience helping families in your situation. A good funeral director will also be sensitive to your feelings and needs during this difficult time.
If you choose to have a viewing, decide whether or not to open the casket. If you do opt for open, consider whether it should be closed during some parts of the viewing so that attendees can pay their respects without having to view your loved one's remains.
If a wake is planned, make sure that the location has enough space for all guests and will allow them sufficient time with family members before and after services begin. Make sure that any food/drink provided at this event meets high standards of quality; people may be coming from far away, so make sure there are no surprises in terms of what people will eat or drink!
Arranging a funeral is a big job, and it's important to be prepared for it. Here are some things you can do:
We hope this checklist helps you navigate your funeral planning process. We know it can seem overwhelming, but it’s important to go through these steps and make sure everything is taken care of so that you don’t have to worry about the details too much. It’s a stressful, sad time for everyone involved, so remember that there are people here to help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it most!