When a loved one dies

What to do when your loved one dies.

When you receive word that a loved one has died often it won’t seem real and you may not fully accept it because you could be in shock. You don’t have to follow a list or do anything right away. There is no one way or a correct way to react, it is what it is. If you feel like you need to cry do so, if you don’t that is fine.

Reading through some of these suggestions and ideas before a death occurs can help prepare you to help yourself and others. Filling out a will and instructions for what your wishes are will also help your loved ones if you were to die.

1. Notify those people that can offer you support including religious leaders if you desire. Make a list of things that need to be done and delegate.

2. Notify the Medical examiners office to obtain the death certificate and tell them which funeral home you have chosen. Determine if burial or cremation is right for your family. Decide where the funeral and burial will be and who will participate. There are churches that do not charge for the building although the funeral home does charge for transportation. Choose the clothing your loved one will wear.

3. Cremation options can be around 500 to 1000 or no cost for low income families. Funeral services could be as low as 7000.00 or can easily exceed $12,000.00

4. Decide if organ donation is an option for your situation. Many people have already decided this and it is listed on their drivers license.

5. You will need to get the death certificate in order to process the paperwork with the social security administration and to process insurance policies.

6. Meet with family to go over insurance policies and how much money will be available and what bills need to be paid and how much can be spent. What you do not want to do is enter into debt and cause more stress.

7. Ask someone to stay in your home during the services to prevent theft.

8. Remember to take deep breaths and to take care of your health which includes remembering to eat and drink plenty of water. Try to sleep even though it will be difficult.

9. Recognize that everyone grieves differently and there is no proper sequence that has to be followed.

Suggestions to comfort those that mourn

There is no best way to comfort because everyone is different. I would say that love should be the common denominator no matter what method you use to comfort and consul.

One of the most important ways you can help is to be there when needed. Take time to listen, help with cleaning, cooking and child care when required. Pay attention to what the needs of the family are, sometimes friends and neighbors want to help and cause more stress by overwhelming the family when what they may need is some time alone.

Prayer can help comfort although there is a time for prayer and a time not to pray. Honor the wishes of the family. If you are a neighbor you can leave your phone number with the family and explain that they can call if they need anything. If you are religious you can pray on your own.

This is not meant to be a complete list and comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Death comes to all of us so as we prepare whether it be for us or to help someone else through this life experience let us do so with love in our heart.