Everything You Need to do Following the Death of a Loved One
The days and weeks after a loved one’s death can feel very strange. You may find yourself forgetting simple things, or repeating basic tasks you’ve already completed. You may not cry at all at first, then break into tears when you least expect it. There are ways to cope with this strangeness. Beginning before your loved one passes on, start making a list of everything you will need to do.
What Does Your Loved One Want?
Talk things over with hospice nurses and chaplain, with funeral directors, and especially with your loved one. If she has an advance directive or living will naming you as the proxy, be prepared to make medical decisions for her. If she wants you to pay expenses using her bank account, be sure she has signed the appropriate forms and that you know her Social Security number. Her life insurance policy, her will or trust and all other important documents should be signed, witnessed and kept in a single safe place. This will help her to have peace of mind as she passes on.
Make a List
This can be an incredibly emotional and confusing time. Making and referring to a list helps to make it easier. Include names of whom to call and in what order, addresses, and the location of important papers. Go over the list with your loved one. Keep the list where you can easily see it, even make several copies and put them in different rooms.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your loved one about funeral pre-planning. It is an absolutely proper and sensible step that should not be misinterpreted as maudlin or extreme. Companies like Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral and Cremation Services Ltd. consultants can provide full information on pre-paid plans and arrange things just as your loved one wants. Keep a copy of the plan with important documents. When it is time for the funeral, take the plan to the funeral home.
Take Care of Yourself
Be sure you are eating, getting enough sleep and exercise, and have sufficient support from family and friends. Don’t stop your usual activities, but don’t bottle up your feelings. Many people write or create art, even talk to their loved one. The grieving process is different for everyone and may involve emotions you’re not comfortable with. Ask hospice to help find you a bereavement counselor or group. Put this information on your list as well.
At some time in our lives we will all lose someone we care deeply about. The present as well as the future may seem very uncertain. By making a list of everything we need to do, we can be at least somewhat prepared.
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