Making funeral arrangements at funeral homes after your loved one has died will be difficult emotionally and mentally. Since funeral arrangements are usually made with 24 to 48 hours after your loved one’s death, you will still be in the early stages of shock and grief over your loss.
Your loved one may or may not have left instructions for the type of funeral they wanted to have. If they did, then this will make it much easier to make sure that everything they wished for is included in the funeral arrangements that you make with the funeral director.
If your loved one did not leave instructions for the kind of funeral they wanted to have, then you will likely be walking into the funeral home without any kind of firm idea about what funeral arrangements you want.
That’s okay. Your funeral director is there to help you with the process, guide you through the decision-making, and to ensure that everything is exactly as you want it to be.
One tip for making funeral arrangements is to rough out an outline of what you know you want in the funeral. These would include things like what cemetery your loved one is to be buried in, whether you want a visitation or a viewing (or both), and whether you want a graveside service. If you have ideas about who you want to officiate the funeral and who you might want to participate in the service, then write those names down as well.
Another tip for making funeral arrangements is to make sure you have all your loved one’s important documents with you when you go to the funeral home to meet with the funeral director. These documents include their birth certificate, their social security number, and their marriage certificate (or divorce decree, if applicable).
If your loved one is a military veteran, they are entitled to free burial in a national cemetery (with a grave marker) and military funeral honors, which include a gun salute, playing of “Taps,” an American flag folding ceremony, and presentation of the flag to a family member.
If you would like burial in a national cemetery and/or military funeral honors to be part of your loved one’s funeral, then you should also bring a copy of their military discharge orders (Form DD-214) with you to the funeral home when you go to make funeral arrangements. Your funeral director will make all the arrangements with the appropriate parties.
The funeral director will guide you with the details of the funeral, including the funeral service itself, the funeral procession from the funeral home to the cemetery, and the graveside service. They will also help you compose an obituary if you or your deceased loved one do not have one already written.
If you want to make sure that all the plans and the obituary are exactly the way you want them before agreeing to them, the funeral director will be happy to give you details on all the funeral arrangements and a draft of the obituary to review and make changes to, if needed, before it is published on the funeral home’s website.
Your funeral home and funeral director want you to be totally satisfied with the services they are providing for your loved one, for you, and for your family, so don’t hesitate to ask them about anything. They are there to make this process as easy for you as possible.
If you need more information about making funeral arrangements at funeral homes, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you.