Coping With Death: 4 Steps To Take After The Loss Of A Loved One

The death of a spouse or close friend ranks as the most stressful life change we can experience.

In addition to working through our grief, we often have many necessary things to take care of after someone passes. There’s a funeral or memorial service to plan, as well as carrying out any final wishes our loved one might have had.

How can you juggle everything you have to do while maintaining your composure? Here are four expert tips for coping with death and grief.

1. Notify Family Members & Friends

As difficult as it is to make that phone call, this is a necessary first step.

As soon as you learn that your loved one has passed, you need to notify their immediate family members. If possible, deliver the news in person, using clear, uncomplicated language. Soften the impact by first stating that you have bad news to share.

Once their immediate family is aware of what’s happened, you can deliver the news to extended family members, friends, neighbors, and work colleagues.

2. Take Care of Necessary Details

The immediate plans you need to make will depend on the nature of your loved one’s passing. Whether they died at home, in the hospital, or in an accident, you’ll need to arrange for transportation of their body to the funeral home. If possible, check to see whether they were an organ donor and, if the answer is yes, notify the hospital immediately.

If there are any pets, children, or others that the person normally cared for, make temporary arrangements for someone to look after them. You can make long-term plans for their care in the coming days or weeks.

3. Plan a Funeral or Memorial Service

A memorial service is a beautiful way to honor your loved one’s memory and give everyone a chance to say goodbye. It can be as simple or elaborate an occasion as you care to make it.

Some services include religious traditions or ceremonies, while others steer away from religion and focus on personal memories or eulogies. Music, prayers, hymns, or poetry readings are common inclusions. You may also choose to light candles or have moments of reflective silence in honor of the deceased.

4. Honor Any End-of-Life Wishes

Many people record their final wishes in an advance directive or a last will and testament.

These documents don’t just outline details about the person’s physical assets. They may also include detailed instructions surrounding their burial or cremation.

For example, they may want a particular song played at their funeral or a certain religious rite performed at their burial. Or, they may wish to be cremated and have their ashes scattered in a specific location.

If it’s within your power to honor their last wishes, do so. It will give you comfort and peace of mind knowing you’ve helped to fulfill their final desires.

Successfully Coping With Death & Grief

The death of a beloved friend or family member is one of the hardest things we have to endure.

While you make final arrangements for your loved one, refer back to these tips for coping with death. Nothing can ease the pain entirely, but by making small steps today, you can start to move forward and recover from your loss.

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