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The Basics of How to Organize a Funeral

When someone dies our world is thrown into turmoil. The avalanche of anxiety has a hundred different questions about what to do and how running around our heads at once. Most people think more of what they don’t like about funerals than what they would enjoy about one, and how to organize it. Those who are religiously affiliated have their traditions to fall back on. Tried and tested rituals have served them and their families for years. If you’re not religious, you might be interested in a more individual approach to funerals. The options are endless, but here are some guidelines which can serve as a basic road map for organising, or helping to organise a funeral.

Getting Organised

The sense of shock that accompanies the death of a loved one can make it extremely difficult to make rational and clear decisions about the funeral that will take place in the days ahead. It is important not to put too much pressure on yourself if you are the principal organiser. Give yourself time to make the right decisions, and ask for specific help should you need it. Different families have different dynamics, some will have members who want to help as much as possible, and others will rely more heavily on the professionals such as funeral homes and directors. It can be difficult to know what to do, so be aware that you don’t have to rush into decisions and “fix” things immediately.

Ask for Help

If you have lost someone very close to you such as a spouse, sibling, close relative or long-time partner, it can be very difficult to deal with planning the funeral. Ask someone for assistance, if only to be there with you while you’re making the arrangements. While it’s a good idea to have someone who can act as a sounding board close by, simply knowing someone is there can relieve immense pressure, and even energize you to do what needs to be done. If you are an independent type, it may be difficult to ask for help, but you might be surprised just who is waiting in the wings for you to ask.

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Many people are lucky to have large families who pitch in with cooking, cleaning and other chores, but not everyone is so fortunate. If you are fortunate enough to have this sort of circumstance, take advantage of it. You have been through a terrible loss, the emotional upheaval is tremendous, and getting proper rest is of the utmost importance. If you are somewhat alone, ask the local priest for help, there are bound to be charitable people in your community who would be happy to help. The important thing is not to jeopardize your health, mental or physical, by overloading yourself with responsibility.

When making Decisions

A good rule of thumb to go by when someone close to you dies is not to make any decisions for twenty four to thirty six hours. Give yourself a chance to adjust to the situation as much as possible, and then discuss things with family members before casting them in stone.

Some friends or family might not agree with some of the things you suggest and may try to stop you from making a painful choice, but be true to yourself. If you know of a wish that the deceased had about their funeral and you don’t fulfil their wishes, you’ll be saddled with guilt for a long time. Take your time, thing things through, and have faith in your choices.

If you prefer, simply contact a reputable funeral director. Ask neighbours or the parish priest who they would recommend. By the nature of their profession, most funeral directors are reliable and trustworthy, but it doesn’t hurt to consider cost and keep your options open by approaching several for quotes. Most of all, don’t feel pressured to purchase everything they suggest. If you want a small, simple inexpensive funeral, a decent funeral director will help you with that rather than try to up sell you an extravagant package that only serves to line his or her pockets.

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