When planning funerals at funeral homes, you need to take into account how grief will overshadow everything you do and say in those early hours and days after your loved one dies. Even if your loved one’s death was expected (such as in the case of a terminal illness or a serious chronic health condition), grief is still the primary response to their death.
So, how do you make all those funeral planning decisions when you’re starting the grief journey?
Grief has a way of taking the wind out of your sails. If you’ve been caregiving for your loved one through a terminal illness or a serious chronic health condition, you will be surprised at how exhausted you are, mentally, physically, and emotionally, after they die.
This fatigue will get exacerbated by grief. You may feel paralyzed with decision-making or you may feel like you’re walking through a dense fog where everything is confusing. The funeral home staff knows what grief does to people, and they will be with you every step of the way.
You may cry during your initial meeting with the funeral director to make funeral arrangements for your loved one. It’s okay. The funeral director will provide a lot of support, comfort, and tissues as you process and express your feelings of sadness and sorrow of the death of your loved one.
Expressing your feelings is healthy. Trying to hold them back or denying them may work in the short-term, but, at some point, down the road, you will have to deal with them. Delaying that process can also intensify them when they finally come to the surface later on.
When you are in those initial stages of grief, find a close friend or a family member who can help you as you make funeral arrangements and go through your daily activities. You will be surprised at how hard even the simplest decisions can be and how much you won’t remember in those early days.
Having someone who can be your memory, your eyes, and your ears during this time is critical to making sure that everything gets taken care of, including you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even with the simplest things, like managing your daily medications, or taking notes at the funeral home and in other meetings you may have with banks, doctors, or other professionals during the early days of grieving.
Take your time making decisions about your loved one’s funeral. The funeral director understands that this is a difficult time for you, so they will understand – and will, more than likely, suggest – if you want to take a day or two to make your final decisions about funeral arrangements for your loved one.
Involve your family in the funeral arrangement decision process. If your loved one preplanned their funeral, you should have their instructions, which will make this process easier. If they preplanned the funeral with the funeral home, then the funeral director will already have their wishes on file. All you will be left with is details or arrangements that you want to include.
Having family members involved in making funeral arrangements helps everyone feel like they are part of the process of saying goodbye to your loved one and it can help eliminate hard feelings or feelings of being left out that may cause family tensions later on.