The First Few Hours
If the deceased had pre-selected a funeral home you should contact them as soon as possible after death. If no funeral home was selected prior to death, you will need to search for one or get a good recommendation of a funeral director near you. One of the best ways of selecting a funeral home is asking for references from your family and friends, or visiting the NFDA or National Funeral Directors Association or even the local memorial society.
After you’ve established contact with a funeral home you would like to work with, the next step is to call your loved one's clergy or pastor. Let the funeral director know who the clergy person is so he can coordinate with him regarding the services. Clergy needs to be notified as soon as possible because they need time to plan when scheduling a funeral service. The funeral home and clergy can help you determine the funeral order of service schedule and the overall flow of the Ceremony.Furthermore, family and close friends of the deceased should be notified.
After notification to the immediate family members, consider delegating or asking someone to make the remaining phone calls to close friends and extended family members. By setting the plans for the deceased in motion, you are initiating your own grieving process by affirming in your mind to death as you proclaim it and announce it to others. During this time it will be difficult for family members and you will experience great strain and stress. It’s not easy losing a loved one and then having to plan a service in the middle of your grief. Thoughtful friends and relatives can help with things such as food, childcare or even shopping. When people ask you how they can help or if they can help, accept it and thank them for their willingness to support you during this time of need.
What Can Be Delegated?
Here is a short list of helpful things that you can delegate to a friend and get assistance. Some of these bullet items may seem like a small task but every little bit will help you during the planning process. Choose which of your friends or family members would be best to accomplish each task:
- Make a list of family and friends who need to be contacted. Have them call or email the people on the list.
- Make arrangements for members of the family and close friends to answer all of your telephone calls or if someone is staying with you to answer the door. You may be surprised how many people will call or visit to show their support and inquire about the death.
- Arrange for babysitting or childcare if needed. If you have young children at home get help from a sitter who can watch your children while you tend to the arrangements.
- Run any special errands for you that you may need help with.
- Help the family decide on decisions such as what type of flower, the funeral program, what other printed materials they would like to include in the service, or what organization they wish donations to be sent to.
- Coordinate shopping and the cooking of any meals. You may not want to feel like doing much cooking and by delegating someone to tend to this area will be helpful to keep your strength up physically.
- Coordinate the food for the service or visitation by preparing it or catering.
- Accompany the family members to the funeral home to help provide clarity of mind when making any decisions
These are just some of the ways that you can get close friends or extended family to assist you that will be most helpful in the long run. Don’t hesitate to ask for help even if you’re not the type of person who would, because you will be glad that you did during this time of loss.