I never thought about planning a funeral…until I had to. Really, who wants to think about that? I always thought that you just call up the funeral home and they take care of the rest. Right? Wrong. I hope you take a few moments to read this post. It might be helpful to you in the future…
Your loved one passed away…now what?
I expected someone to tell me what I needed to do. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. There is one thing that you need to do immediately after someone dies-chose the funeral home. In addition to other things, the funeral home will be in charge of the body. Once that is done, you can take a little more time for the rest.
Planning a funeral is not easy. You’re still coping with the death of your loved one. You don’t want to deal with the logistics of planning a funeral, but you have to. So, here are the things you need to consider:
- Pastor or Funeral Officiant: You will need someone to conduct the funeral service. Typically, there is some type of music as well. For my mom’s funeral, we had the service at a church and had an organist. Check with your funeral director or pastor to determine what is typical payment/donation for these services.
- Cemetery: Ground burial plot or burial vault, there are all kinds of costs associated with each of these. Headstones, casket, urn, flower holder (not included in the purchase of burial vault-in our case this was an extra $200), etc. This is the one part that I would highly suggest taking care of in advance. No one wants to think about this stuff, but you will remove a huge burden for your loved ones when the time comes.
- Obituary & Prayer Cards: The funeral home will help you with this. The obituary we wrote was short, approximately one paragraph long, and cost close to $400. This is dependent on the newspaper, so it could be a lot more or less depending on the paper and how much you want to put in the obituary.
- Guest Book: The funeral home offers these for purchase for around $40. We found one at the Hallmark store for $5.
- Flowers: We had the funeral within a few days after my mom passed away. The flowers were ordered on a Saturday for the funeral on Monday. So, we had to settle for what the florist had on hand. Again, these are not cheap.
- Luncheon: The family typically plans and pays for a meal after the funeral. Many family restaurants will have a menu specifically for funeral luncheons. Ask your pastor or funeral director for recommendations.
There are many items that I may be missing or might be different where you live, but this should give you some idea of what to plan for or use as a rough guideline for things to think about.
Two random items that I wanted to mention:
- Call the police department regarding funeral and let them know the home will be empty that day.
- Most hotels will give you a bereavement rate-ask for this rate when you check in (or out)
Please, take some time to discuss your funeral arrangements with your family or at least write them down. Bonus points if you actually meet with a funeral home & cemetary and make/pay for these arrangements. It will be a huge help during a very difficult time.