Funeral pre-planning is best
If loved ones indicate, either verbally or in writing, their preferences for a funeral in advance, family tasks can be significantly lessened. A prepaid funeral or cremation package, with a list of favorite flowers, colors, songs, scriptures, minister, church, preferred pallbearers and other specific details often eliminate many family questions. Unfortunately, Many times advance planning doesn’t occur, and the family is left to make arrangements. It’s difficult to broach the subject, but asking questions of your loved ones now, can save critical time in the future.
Creating a phone number call list of relatives, co-workers, neighbors and friends is invaluable in saving time once notification is necessary.
Make a list of tasks to be completed for a funeral
Jot down everything that comes to mind involving funeral arrangements (i.e. location, date, time, obituary preparation, flowers, music, minister, who will give the eulogy, pallbearers, and food to serve after the service).
Many times family and friends will coordinate potluck dishes to bring to a reception following the service. You may also receive offers to call others, relaying pertinent information. If no one offers, ask for help, and most will gladly assist. If out-of-towners need rides from the airport, don’t hesitate to ask!
Stay focused during funeral arrangements
A funeral/burial is usually held within three to five days after death. Time is of the essence. Following a funeral, there will be opportunity to grieve, reflect and reminisce. If the deceased is cremated, a memorial service can be held weeks or even months later.This is not the proper time or place for family strife!
Individuals grieve differently. My Sister and I couldn’t begin to imagine having enough composure to give an address at the memorial service for our Mother. Our Brother came to our rescue, providing a wonderful eulogy to honor her, and we handled flowers, songs, and other arrangements, with concurrence from our Brother, so the burden was lovingly shared.
Give detailed assignments for the funeral
Members of the immediate family can share in completing arrangements. The load need not be placed on just one person. If an elderly surviving spouse is wrought with emotion, a close family member or dear friend needs to accompany this person, offering help and consolation the days before and directly after the funeral. Decisions will be hard to make alone, so a shoulder to lean on, and sound advice is key.
Manage time and health while making funeral arrangements
During the days before a funeral or memorial service, immediate family members need privacy. Funeral arrangements must be tended to, and clothes readied . By appointing a representative, this “go to” person can be a direct conduit between immediate family members and well-meaning relatives and friends. Resting and eating properly also helps each member of the immediate family to better cope with the loss.
Defer big decisions for at least six months following a funeral
Don’t rush into major decision-making right away. Let matters return to as normal a routine as possible. Matters such as estates, deeds and permanent re-locations can best be handled after six months or more, and with sage advice from professionals.
Nothing can ease the emptiness felt for the departed loved one. However, knowing they were memorialized thoughtfully, lovingly, and with dignity, gives the family lasting comfort.