Grief & Bereavement Top Tips: Making Final Arrangements

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The AgingCare.com forum is filled with people coming together to share valuable information. We’ve compiled experienced caregivers’ best suggestions for planning final arrangements that honor your loved one’s wishes and bring you comfort.

Insights on Final Arrangements

“The rituals we do after a death are things we do for a reason; they bring peace and comfort at a time when the sense of loss is so staggering that we feel completely blown away. When my mother passed away, it brought me great comfort to write and read a eulogy that celebrated her in a very personal way.” –vegsister

“To get through the death of my brother, I busied myself with preparations for his memorial and I had a very gracious family member, a cousin, with me most of the time. We just socialized as we worked through the preparations, and that seemed to help a lot. I reminisced with some of my brother’s friends whom I had not met, and we told stories about him when we had a few moments.” –sophe509

“The differences between my brothers and I disappeared when we each handled all the arrangements for our mom. (Jewish funerals happen within three days of the death.) We all just spoke from our hearts and everyone said it was the most beautiful service they ever attended. My mom LOVED chocolate and we passed out See’s candies during her service. Do what you need to do to honor your loved one.” –AbbyWilson

“Mom says she doesn’t want any memorial or service at all, but I’ve told her the service isn’t for her. Rather, it is for the people left behind. I believe it should be up to them whether a memorial of some sort would help them with their grieving process. So, I’ve told Mom I don’t know, but I might have some kind of get-together in her memory, even if that means a barbeque with friends, a ‘party’ in a bar, or a more traditional memorial-type service. I don’t think it’s fair for the deceased to dictate how those left behind should process their loss, and sometimes gathering with friends and/or relatives to remember the person and share memories is the best catharsis.” –ImageIMP

“My husband’s cousin died at 60, and he was cremated with no ceremony. Later on, his siblings had a catered gathering in a restaurant, where we dressed in colorful clothes and told funny stories about him. It was a success and very comforting in a unique way.” –Danashel

“As a private, introverted man, my dad didn’t want any type of service. However, he also had lots of people in his life that would have wanted to show their love and pay their respects. He didn’t want people ‘staring at me in my coffin.’ So, we posted an obituary in the newspaper and set up a memorial page on a website for multiple myeloma where people could post messages and make donations. Our family did a private service at my mom’s house. We all wrote something about Dad, my brother made a video, we released balloons and then we spread his ashes at his favorite place. He avoided being put on display, and we were able to honor his memory. It was beautiful.” –Roseannne3

“I think it is good to pre-plan and have general ideas as to what someone wants, but the surviving family should be able to be involved. I helped plan the funerals for my mother, father and husband. The thing I appreciated about doing these pretty much on the spot is that we could deal with the realities as to who and what was available. The biggest thing is that it KEPT US BUSY doing something necessary and useful! If the family is able to work together and clearheaded enough to keep from getting pulled into excessive expenses, it can be a memorable family experience.” –partsmom

“My 91-year-old mother has her funeral prepaid, and I cannot tell you what a relief it is. When you try to make those decisions with your emotions at the time of your loved one’s death, you end up overpaying and buying services you may not need. So, handling these decisions in advance and without all the emotions helps us make better, more informed decisions. There is a lot of benefit to pre-planning and even pre-paying, and my husband and I are shopping now to do our own funerals. I don’t want our children to have all the emotional stress to go through.” –sunnymoon

“Funerals today can be potlucks, too. There’s no need to go broke on the final celebration. You can ask folks to bring what they think the deceased liked best, or maybe have a theme around that person’s life and activities. Personally, I prefer these celebrations to the formal church/catered events. You can connect better with the fellow attendees.” –BarbaraLTC

Ashley Huntsberry-Lett

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Ashley is responsible for the planning and creation of AgingCare.com’s award-winning content. As a teenager, she assisted in caring for her step-father during his three-year battle with colon cancer. Now, through her work at AgingCare.com, she strives to inform and empower the caregivers who devote so much to helping and healing the ones they love.

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4 Comments

I can't believe this article appeared at exactly the right time during my grief process. It's dated May 25 and my husband died of cancer on May 24. We had been caregivers for his 99 year old mom who died just three months earlier, so the second blow has left me absolutely reeling. This article touched on every issue that's been going through my mind in the last four days. I plan to read it often and have passed it on to my family who has been grieving just as hard along with me. This helps so much. Thank you!
You never get over the loss of a close loved one..but you will adapt to it.
When I lost my mom in January it was the hardest thing I have ever done. For two weeks I could barely move off the couch. I cried day and night. I did not eat and rarely drank. All I wanted to do was end my pain. I was scared to open a bottle of alcohol fearing I would become addicted. I had been my mom caregiver for 10 years. In that time I list track of my friends and church. My mom was my only relative. I could barely get off the couch to feed the dogs. That in turn made me feel worse. I lost 40 lbs and I felt weak as a kitten. I ended up in the hospital due to kidney infection due to dehydration. I was placed on andidepresssants. They help but my greif cost me my job and without insurance I could not afford the medicine. What did help me the most was going to greifshare.org I receive Daily emails for a year and gave them my contact information. And they offer greif counseling for free