Funeral Resources: Loosing the Life of a Loved One
Organizing a funeral is never an easy task, especially with so much grief and personal memories that accompany it. The best thing to keep in mind is that it is a much-needed and helpful way to allow loved ones to come to terms with a person’s death. While some funerals are very religious in content, non-religious funerals can also be arranged. The prayers can usually be substituted for well-chosen parting words to suit the family’s beliefs.
- Kids Dealing with Death: Death is a tough enough subject to grasp, but perhaps more so for kids. This minisite offers true stories and suggestions to help guide children through the grieving process.
- Saying Goodbye to a Loved One: Facing the death of a spouse or partner is heart breaking but step-by-step planning can help.
- Coping with Grief: Read about coping with overwhelming feelings of grief, depression and sadness following the death of a friend or family member.
- Dealing with a Sudden Death: Learn how to cope after a sudden or traumatic death.
- A Guide to Funeral Planning (PDF): When planning a funeral, don’t forget to thoroughly look through the person’s will as they may have indicated certain funeral or burial preferences. This guide also includes important phone numbers and a form at the end for collecting vital information.
- Funeral Consumer Rights: Thankfully, many funeral homes do the bulk of the work in funeral planning, but keep in mind that according to law, consumers should never be forced to agree to unwanted additions to the service.
- Choosing a Funeral Director: Learn how to choose a reliable funeral director and what aspects of the funeral they can help with.
- What to Ask the Funeral Director: This page contains a helpful list of details which should be discussed with the funeral director when planning the funeral.
- Including Children at the Service: The question of whether to include children at the funeral service is dependent on many factors, including their age, vulnerability and relationship to the deceased.
- Funeral-Planning Resources: This list of articles covers approximate costs, checklists and planning guides.
- Funeral Ideas for a Young Person: A funeral for a young person can creatively incorporate a number of ideas to celebrate their life and their memory.
- Comparing Service Prices: This is a very useful printable worksheet for comparing the key services among four funeral homes. It also serves as a useful introduction to the services offered by funeral directors.
Booking a Minister
- A minister or priest can either be booked directly at the community church. Alternatively, funeral directors can also book an appropriate minister, especially when a non-denominational pastor is needed.
Choosing the Right Music
- Choosing Funeral Songs: Today many people like to choose music pieces that were favorites of the deceased. The music does not necessarily have to be church hymns but can also come from a variety of genres.
- Choosing Music for an Elderly Person: Browse through a selection of well-chosen and meaningful songs for elderly people. This article also includes a few tips at the end for choosing and requesting additional music.
- Music for Funerals: This website includes a huge compilation of appropriate music for a funeral including classical pieces, hymns, patriotic songs and contemporary music. When choosing music, remember to plan out the setlist in advance and make sure that discs or files are properly labeled and provided to the person in charge of cuing and playing the music.
Preparing the Eulogy
- Eulogy Guidelines: Learn how to form an outline for the eulogy and what to include in the content. A few select family members may also contribute a few words for the eulogist to read.
- Choosing a Eulogist: The person delivering the eulogy should be chosen with care. Someone who had a close personal connection with the deceased and who may be able to speak without becoming overly upset would be an ideal candidate.
- Eulogy Tips and Examples: Browse through this selection of tips on how to draft a eulogy. It also contains samples of eulogies, related Bible verses, quotes and poems.
- A Short Eulogy: Often, a short eulogy can be most poignant and impactful due to its conciseness. A digital slideshow in the background during the eulogy can also make it a very powerful moment. Always double-check that everything is in fully working order well before the funeral.
- General Symbols: Lighting candles, sprinkling holy water and placing a Bible on or near the coffin all have religious meanings that add to the sobriety of the funeral.
- Pall: A pall is a funeral cloth that is draped over the body in Christian funerals. It symbolizes hope and the afterlife.
- Releasing White Doves: Releasing white doves at a funeral is a beautiful and uplifting way to symbolize the release of the deceased person’s spirit. There are many companies that breed and sell white doves specifically for weddings and funerals. A colorful alternative for a child’s funeral is the use of balloons instead.
- Personal Items: Including personal items into the coffin is a nice way to help funeral attendees remember the deceased’s interests, hobbies, achievements or personality.
Committal of the Body
- Funeral Rites & Committal: The funeral service can be performed either with the body in the casket, with the body present and cremation afterwards, or simply with the cremated remains. Many people choose to have the body present since it is the most visual reminder for mourners.
- The Committal Rite: The committal involves placing the coffin in the ground or drawing the curtains while the mourners are still present. This serves as a visual cue that the deceased is now finally departed.
- Example of Committal Ritual: This page offers an example of the rituals and prayers that may take place during the committal.
Video and Photographic Footage
- Photographing At a Religious Service: Apart from the tips offered in this guide on photographing religious events, it is also important to be sensitive to people’s emotions during a funeral. They likely will not want to be photographed while crying. While it is generally inconsiderate to photograph the actual body, it is acceptable to take a few pictures of the casket.
- Videotaping the Funeral: While it is not commonly done, it is still acceptable to videotape a funeral. This can be especially thoughtful to send to family members abroad who may not be able to attend the service. Always check with the presiding minister before filming or videotaping.
- Funeral Service Sheet Template: This free downloadable template will take some of the work out of designing the funeral service sheet.
- Sample Service Sheet: This is an example of what a standard funeral service sheet looks like. It is customary to include a photo of the person (not in an unwell state!) on the cover page and include some of the favorite hymns or poems inside along with a program of the whole service. Don’t forget to thank the participants at the end and include details about the gathering afterwards.
- What to Include in a Funeral Program: Browse through this list of points to include in the funeral service program and have a look at a few real programs as well.
Timing of the Service
- When Should the Service be Held?: Ideally, the funeral service should be held as soon as possible following the death, usually with one week. The service itself normally lasts around thirty minutes. Since it is such a difficult and heavily emotional event, it is recommended not to schedule a very long service.
- How Grief Counseling Helps: While some may be hesitant to seek a counselor, this article explains how it can be extremely beneficial.
- Counseling for College Students: Coping with death can be a very confusing period for college students and adolescents. This article outlines effects of the grieving process and what to expect.
- Grief Myths & Facts: Learn what to expect when dealing with grief and how ignoring it or being strong is not necessarily the best tactic.
- Complicated Grief: When grieving, there are plenty of factors that can make our experiences far more complicated and more intense. In these instances, a counselor can help to put it in perspective and guide us through the grieving period in a healthy manner.
- How to Find a Counselor: This article outlines how to seek and find the right counselor to help someone coping with death and grief.
- Grief Counseling for Children and Teens: Helping children from infants to teens cope with grief involves very different explanations and strategies. This page offers some advice on how to bring it to their level appropriately.
- Client Rights: If a patient ever feels uncomfortable during grief counseling, it is important that they should know their rights. This article provides information on consumer rights and also gives information on what to expect during a counseling session.
Choosing Burial or Cremation
- Why Choose Cremation: An overview on the advantages of cremation and how it compares with a burial.
- All About Cremation: This page contains a very extensive list of commonly asked questions regarding cremation, permits, law and obtaining the ashes.
Edited by Joanna Cliff