Many people want to be remembered after they die. But few people plan for remembrance.
A 2015 survey found that 89 percent of Americans believe in having conversations about their funeral. Yet only 17 percent have made arrangements.
One stumbling block is that most people don’t know how to plan a funeral. They assume it requires a lot of work, so they don’t bother.
It takes some background knowledge and persistence to plan one. But once you get the facts, you can plan and host a funeral within days of someone’s passing. Here is your quick guide to funeral arrangements.
Making Funeral Arrangements
After someone dies, you should contact their legal representative. Their representative should have a copy of the person’s will and their funeral plan. If their will and plan exist, you can follow the instructions in there.
Contact the loved ones and friends of the person who passed away. Even if the person had been sick for a while, some of their friends may not have known. If this would be too overwhelming for you, have someone else reach out.
If they don’t have a funeral plan, you can make your own arrangements. Call a funeral home in the area. Most metropolitan areas have specialized homes for veterans, non-Christians, and BIPOC.
Meet with a funeral director as soon as you can. You may be able to schedule an appointment for that day, or you can talk to them over the phone.
See if they can pick up the body of the deceased person. Dead bodies begin to deteriorate quickly, and they can spread disease if not maintained. A funeral home will store the body until final preparations need to be made.
You do need to decide the deposition of the body. You can opt for a traditional burial, but you can also cremate the body.
You should see if your loved one can donate their organs. If that is not an option, they can donate their body to science.
Consult with family members and friends as you start to make arrangements. You may not want a funeral service, but some people do.
Planning a Funeral Service
There are many funeral ideas that you can base your service on. Many people like to hold a religious service.
This is an event that occurs at a house of worship. Family members perform prayers and rituals. This is a good idea if the person was devout.
But you can hold a secular service. You can host an event at a funeral home or at someone’s house. People can read remarks and gather to share stories of your loved one.
A celebration of life is an informal occasion. Many celebrations involve sharing humorous stories and playing your loved one’s favorite music. It is a good option for a casual person who died of natural causes.
A military funeral service is similar to a religious or secular service. Members of the military attend the service and present a flag to the next of kin. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides free cemetery plots and headstones, but you need to contact them in advance.
Some fraternal organizations like the Fraternal Order of Eagles have their own funerals. You will need to contact an affiliate branch to see what they offer.
You can hold a funeral service after someone has been cremated or donated their body. You do not need to have the body in the room with you. You can bury ashes or sprinkle them in a location your loved one liked to be in.
Take time figuring out the right option. Once you’ve selected one, contact the venue as soon as possible.
Holding a Funeral
You can schedule the funeral for whenever you want. You do not have to have one right away, though scheduling one as soon as possible helps the grieving process.
Let the minister or host of the venue run the event. You do not have to speak or host anything if you don’t want to. Be with your family and friends.
If you do choose to speak, take some time planning out your remarks. You can put things in your own words, or you can read poetry or prose.
Sharing photos and flower arrangements can provide a person touch. Consider placing up a photo of your loved one with the words, “In loving memory.” You can place a memorial book near it so people can write their thoughts and feelings.
After the service itself, you can host a wake. You can serve some food and drinks and allow people to mingle.
Finding Additional Ways to Remember Someone
A funeral does not have to be the end of remembrance. It is a good idea to follow up a funeral with some other actions. It keeps your loved one’s memory alive, and it gives you something to do with your grief.
You can start a fund in your loved one’s name. This is a good idea for people who were involved in an educational or political institution.
You can make individual donations in your loved one’s name. You can give to a charity, food bank, or local community group.
Write down stories and thoughts about your loved one. Remain in touch with their family and friends in the weeks that follow the funeral.
Spend time with yourself and your family. Grief takes time and you should not rush anything. Give yourself space to express yourself and think about what has happened.
How to Plan a Funeral
Learning how to plan a funeral requires some background knowledge. You can follow a plan set out by your loved one. If they don’t have a plan, talk to their family about what to do.
You have a wide range of funeral options to choose from. Find a funeral director who can help you prepare.
Attend the funeral and let the director run things. Find some other ways of remembrance like donating to charity.
Living in the wake of someone’s passing can be hard. But you can get help with the facts. Follow our coverage for more lifestyle guides.