What to Do When a Loved One Passes

When someone important in our lives passes away, it is tremendously difficult. Even if we were to focus entirely on our own feelings about the moment, we would take some time to fully make peace with them. And, unfortunately, we rarely can take that time. Other responsibilities are pressing in, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of a death.

This is a difficult time, but you can get through it. Take the steps one by one, give yourself as much time and space as you can, and consider the following guidelines, suggestions, and reminders.

What to do immediately after a loved one passes

If your loved one dies in a hospital, you will hopefully find plenty of caring professionals around you to help you manage the moments immediately after the death. If, however, your loved one did not die in the hospital, you need to call 911. Some things need to be done soon, including the completion of a death certificate and the transfer of the body to a morgue.

Next, you’ll need to call your loved one’s doctor or the county coroner, unless you have been told that someone else will be taking care of that step. Notify your loved one’s employer, too — and inquire about any life insurance policies he or she may have had through work that you might not have known about.

You’ll need to contact your loved one’s relatives and friends. This is a difficult task, to say the least. Focus on empathy. You share the grief, so share the loss — don’t say that you’re sorry for the other person’s loss. Try to avoid saying things that may paint the death in a positive light; while it may be true that your loved one has “gone to a better place,” that’s not usually what people want to hear when they’re feeling upset.

Ask close friends and relatives to spread the news for you. You shouldn’t have to make every call.

Make arrangements

Take a day or two for yourself before you take up your next few tasks. Ask someone else to take care of household responsibilities that your loved one may have left behind — like watering the plants or feeding and caring for a pet — and focus on feeling your grief. Then, a day or two later, try to focus on the next steps.

If your loved one has made prior arrangements for final rest, you’ll have an easier time with this step. But even if you have to take all of these measures yourself, you should find sensitive and helpful allies in the talented and kind men and women who work in the death care industry. Individuals in these lines of work see it as their mission to care for the living as they guide them through the process of their loved one’s death.

You’ll have some decisions to make. You’ll need to decide between burial and cremation, both of which can be beautiful choices, explain the experts at Heritage Cremation Provider. You’ll be picking out a casket and making arrangements for the wake and memorial service or funeral, if you choose to have one.

You’ll find that juggling these responsibilities is made as easy as is possible under the circumstances by the experts who provide these services. Funeral directors may do much of the legwork for you, and it is usually possible to have all of the services billed at once later on, rather than paying for them up-front or one at a time. Simplifying things down to just one bill can be a big help when you’re stressed.

Contact an attorney

Your loved one may have left a will. You need to work with a wills and estates attorney to probate that will and deal with your loved one’s estate. This may be the same lawyer who helped your loved one draft the will, or it may be a new one.

This process can take some time, but once you have a trusted attorney helping you to handle the details, you’ll be able to take more time to focus on yourself. Taking care of these kinds of responsibilities is a difficult honor, but don’t forget to take time to feel your grief and experience the things that you need to experience. Grief is difficult, and you need to care for yourself.

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