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Dealing With Death? Arranging the Funeral? How To Cope With Bereavement & What To Do

Updated on August 31, 2011

Dealing With Death And Bereaved!

Dealing with death? This guide is aimed to focus the next of kin in mental preparation for arranging the funeral during a time of bereavement around the death of loved ones.

At this time grief, coping with death is hard enough whether it is the death of a spouse, a parent or children.

Support at a time when you should be mourning is important.

There is a lot to organise from the practicalities of the corpse to arranging the funeral within constraints of death costs.

This isn't cheap so adds further worries to this stressful time.

The key to this article is about support - not just during this time of turmoil, but later when things have settled down.

Grief and Bereavement Can Make People Irrational

This is a guide to the process of organising a funeral. It has been written to help people go through a process when they are in grief and may not be in a position to function as well as they normally would. Grief and bereavement can make people irrational and as if they are in haze. It is not set out with consideration to religious ritual or beliefs. These are the finer details and the guide is purely an outline – a checklist of considerations to keep those bereaved focus to the task in hand.

Death Costs - Cost Containment - Let's Be Practical!

During this time it is essential to focus. Delegate as much as possible to others – let them do the groundwork – the practical stuff. These include ringing around for best services, finding the right venue for the wake and the costs incurred. I know people don’t want to think about how much something costs them, but just like any other service, it has to be paid for and money is a tool for the living. Unfortunately, these are the facts. You don’t want to live life after your loved one has left, in poverty because you over spent on the funeral. Death Costs and cost containment is not a matter of emotion and guilt; it is a matter of necessity for many people.

Focus, Delegate and Consider Death Costs. Don't Allow Other's Judgement to Effect Your Decisions!

So to summarise here:

  • Keep Focused – this is an emotional time where you are at your weakest. This could lead to your own vulnerability with others taking advantage.
  • Delegate much of the groundwork to others you trust. Get them to research as much as possible for venues, funeral services, times and dates of availability. Ask them to make a note of everything, including costs and report back. It is only after you are armed with the information that you can make an informed choice.
  • Death Costs - Cost Containment – if you are just like most people, fairly ordinary, try and keep to a budget. Your deceased loved one would be unhappy if you put yourself in a position of debt because you have over-spent! Don’t be forced into providing a funeral to impress, just one that covers the wishes of the deceased. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for a basic funeral from the Funeral Director.
  • Judgement – Don’t allow other’s to judge your decisions. Keep strong. Keep focused. Others may attempt to cloud your judgement. This will only lead to confusion and, later, regret. Hindsight is a great thing, but the decisions you made in the past cannot be changed. It is today that counts – so do what is right for you and the wishes of the deceased.

The Next of Kin, Administration and Funeral Death Notices

Now in life as well as death there is always administration. Such administration includes the death certificate, notification to all the relevant agencies of the death and the will. The will of the deceased will follow its natural course. Over time a solicitor will be in touch to make arrangements for its reading. If there isn't a will, my extension hub will help you further - 'Has A Loved One Died? Are You The Next Of Kin? Which Way Now?'.

There may be friends and acquaintances that wish to send their respects. Attending a funeral is important for them to say goodbye. As the next of kin or a bereaved loved one, you will need support from family and friends. You might want to think about advertising funeral death notices in the local papers under obituaries.

Notify All Parties of the Death in Writing

Presumably, if you are reading this you are either the next of kin or someone in close proximity to the next of kin. If there is a will, the solicitor will guide you through this process. However, it is helpful if you notify in writing of the death, so as the wheels can naturally be sparked in motion. It is advisable if a standard letter is processed to notify all parties of the death.

Write to all Agencies

This job could be delegated if you so wish. The people that need to be informed are the decease’s:

  • Banks,
  • Building Societies,
  • Utility Companies,
  • Insurance Companies,
  • Government Agencies (for example, benefits like Pension and Pension Credit, Disability Living Allowance, National Insurance and Attendance Allowance).
  • Personal or Occupational Pension Schemes
  • Employer or Trade Union
  • Mortgage Company, Housing Association or Council Housing Office, Social or Private Landlords.
  • Social Services - Did the decease get any community care services or equipment?

The best things to do, here, is by going through the decease’s paperwork and make a list.

What About You? Initiate Contact Despite Being Bereaved and in Grief!

This time is about change. We are in no doubt that without your loved one, things are not going to be the same again. You never 'get over it' when you have had a meaningful relationship and has been an integral part of your life. Here is about taking each task one at a time - small steps make great strides and you will be amazed at how you will manage to get through the organisation of the funeral.

Once this is over, however, people do have a feeling of being lost. As with the above 'task', each day will need to be taken one at a time. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Many people are not sure how to support someone bereaved. This is where you will need to initiate as most people don't want to interfere.

I have met lots of bereaved people who don't want to ask for help. Unfortunately, they seem to suffer in silence. Don't be like that! Ask and you will start to create a life, slowly by slowly... one step at a time!

Look For Other Areas For Support

People that will help:

  • Your Doctor - Don't isolate yourself, your Doctor can help you get on your feet.
  • Friends and Family - Support you in every way.
  • Social Services - if you need practical help to get around, for example.
  • Citizen's Advice Bureau - Organising budgets and services in the locality.
  • Voluntary Organisations - For example - Samaritans, Red Cross, Help the Aged etc

The point here is that you don't have to live a lonely life... there is more. Your life will never be the same again... it just changes. There is no reason why you can't smile again, if you seek help.

Keep Strong and Good Luck!

Dealing with death and arranging the funeral is probably going to be one of most difficult in life's challenges.  It is normal to have feelings of not being able to cope - bereavement is a devistating emotion.  This article is aimed to give you some focus in a time of turmoil. Deceased love ones are no longer with you to support you through such times and this can be the bitterest pill of all.  Keeping strong when you are at your most vulnerable – particularly if you were close to the decease - is a hard test for the hardiest of people. If you want to learn more on practicalities, practices and procedures on death, I have created an extension hub ‘Next of Kin:: Death A Loved One? Which Way Now?’    It has invaluable information for you and will help you through the process.  Please check out more articles for dealing with death below.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

The Five Stages of Grief

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    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Loveofnight - I am very sorry that you had to fumble your way through, I hope you are able to cope better... thank YOU for sharing x

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      you have my thumbs up, i wish that i had this information available to me when my son passed, you did an awesome job....thx 4 share

    • shazwellyn profile image

      shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Green Lotus... Whoever you organized this for would have been happy in your capable hands. This is a necessary task and I hope people dont feel alone in this x

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thumbs up Shaz. This one's bookmarked too. Not a happy read but one that's mandatory for anyone who's not alone in this world. I've been the designated "organizer" a few times and the key is wisdom, preparation and support, as you have so thoroughly outlined.