Planning a Memorial Service

Suggestions For Advising Family Members About The Death Of A Loved One

by Wade Watkins

If you have an immediate family member who passes away, you'll soon be busy overseeing the funeral arrangements. It's handy to have family members help with various elements of the arrangements, whether it's drafting up the obituary, putting together photos for the funeral service, and more. Before the members of your extended family can help, however, you'll need to let them know about your loved one's passing — and there's a right way and a wrong way to do so. Here are some suggestions for making this difficult conversation go as smoothly as possible.

Ask If It's A Good Time

When you call the members of your extended family, it's courteous to ask if this is a good time to talk for a few minutes. Your news is important, but you have to remember that the person may be in a difficult setting for what is often an emotional conversation. For example, if the family member is just about to walk into a business meeting, hearing upsetting news on the phone can be trouble. In addition to asking if it's a good time, you may want to ask if the person can get somewhere quiet — this is especially courteous for those who will likely have an emotional reaction to the news.

Be Gentle, But Direct

It's not the best idea to ask the person who he or she is doing and let him or her get into a diatribe about the news of the day. You have plenty of people to call in advance of the funeral, and the clock is ticking. It's effective to be gentle and direct. For example, say that you're afraid that you have some bad news to share. You might even ask the person to sit down if you're afraid that he or she may become weak. Explain that your loved one has passed away and give the person time to process this idea. Answer any questions the person has, but try to keep the call brief.

Share Some Next Steps

Before you end the call, share the expected date of the funeral service and outline how you'd like the person to help. Ideally, if the person can gather himself or herself, you can share a couple funeral-related tasks. For example, you might say that you'd like the person to deliver the eulogy at the service, which means that he or she has a few days to put some thoughts together.

As you start to plan your loved ones funeral, be sure to reach out to a place like Maham Funeral Home