Funerals: everything you need to know
Making funeral arrangements
At some point, most of us will be called upon to make funeral arrangements. Perhaps you'll make your own while you're still healthy, or maybe you'll be called upon to plan a funeral for a loved one. Understanding the choices involved will help you to be prepared.
Funeral procedures: dispelling the mystery
Many people don't know what to expect the first time someone close to them dies, and this can add to the burden of grief. The best remedy is to learn what happens from the time of death to the funeral and time of cremation or burial.
Funeral etiquette: customs across cultures
When someone from another culture dies, it's helpful to understand the rituals and customs of that culture in regard to funerals and expressions of sympathy. The funeral information here will help you to honor those customs and extend your condolences appropriately.
After a death: what happens at a wake
When a person dies, family and friends often gather together in the hours or days before the funeral to view the body, share memories of the deceased, and comfort and support each other in their grief. This custom is known as a wake.
Planning a funeral service
Funerals are for the living. Although that may seem obvious, it's an important fact to remember when planning a funeral. Nothing will make grief disappear. What the funeral service can do, however, is allow mourners to begin healing by sharing their loss and commemorating a unique and precious life.
Choosing songs and music for a funeral service
The music played at a funeral will live on in the hearts and memories of those who attend. Appropriate music is an important part of a meaningful funeral service, and will comfort and inspire guests as they celebrate the life and mourn the passing of the deceased.
How to write and deliver a eulogy
The purpose of a eulogy is to pay tribute to the deceased and his unique talents and gifts, who will live on in the memories of those who loved him. By sharing your honest, heart-felt thoughts and memories about your friend or family member, you will help begin the process of healing that lies ahead for the living.
How to choose a funeral home or funeral director
Choosing a funeral director used to be a very simple matter, and was typically based on church, cultural or ethnic affiliations, family tradition, or reputation. Today, community ties typically are not as strong as they once were, and selecting a funeral home has become a more complicated process.
What determines the funeral cost?
Funerals involve decisions about one of life's biggest purchases, third only to buying a home or a car. Most of us would never consider making such a big purchase in an emotional moment, without investigating our options; yet every day, thousands of people do.
Choosing a burial casket
The most expensive item on a list of traditional funeral costs is easily a casket or coffin. Choosing a coffin can be the most difficult part of arranging a funeral, perhaps as it gives an immediate reality to the death to see what will be your loved one's final 'home'.
Funerals - what different types are available?
Funerals all over the world are steeped in tradition. Every detail of a traditional funeral, from caskets to prayers and music, is influenced by religious and cultural customs. Today, however, the number of traditional funerals is slowly declining as more people choose alternative funeral services and burial options.
Funeral pre-planning: a practical matter
Although facing the inevitability of one's own death may be perceived as disturbing, there are many reasons people choose to arrange their own funerals. Planning one's own funeral is a final act of love, as those who plan their own funerals relieve their loved ones of a tremendous burden at the time of death.
How to decide between burial or cremation
Since ancient times, religion, tradition and local custom have determined whether people of various cultures cremate or bury the dead. If you're planning your own funeral or a funeral service for a loved one who left no final wishes, here are some issues to consider when choosing between burial and cremation.
Memorials: a tribute to your loved one
Memorials come in many styles and are known by many names: headstone, gravestone, tombstone, grave marker, or monument. Although each term has a slightly different meaning, they all describe the objects we create to honor the memory and pay tribute to the life of a deceased loved one.
Choosing a cemetery
Many people view the selection of a final resting place as an important personal decision, and so may decide to choose a cemetery themselves well in advance. Whether you're purchasing your own burial plot or one for someone who is dying or has already passed on, this information will make it easier for you.
10 strategies for coping with grief
Grief is a personal experience, unique to each mourner and unique to each loss. Grief comes in waves, as times of peace and calm are suddenly shattered by overpowering emotion. The following strategies provide a few suggestions to help you ride out the waves.
Further sources of information
You may find our other articles in the Grief Library section helpful too.
For biodegradable and more traditional cremation urns, we recommend Richard Lamb New Traditions Funerals.
Visit our Amazon store to find books to help you through bereavement.