It’s never easy to think about losing a loved one; it’s a time that all of us dread, and that we can never imagine happening

29 July

It’s never easy to think about losing a loved one; it’s a time that all of us dread, and that we can never imagine happening.

Aside from feelings of loss and grief when that time does come around, one of the worst things is being unprepared when it comes to making the right arrangements. After all, none of us plan for loss, so it can be an extremely stressful and worrying time for many as a result.

In this respect, here are a few considerations that may help to make things a little less stressful at a time when your heart and mind is naturally pulling in another direction:

Talking About Death

This is a difficult subject to approach, and is definitely easier said than done – after all, casting your mind forward to losing a loved one is an extremely difficult matter as it is, so actually having to talk about it takes the word ‘difficult’ to a whole new level.

Once you bring the subject of death up with your loved one, you may be surprised by their reaction, it may be as difficult for them to raise it with you, as it is you with them; they might be thankful that you have opened up the discussion. By discussing the final details, it will be easier to make the right arrangements ahead of when the time does finally come around. It’s important to discuss the eventuality with your loved one as early as possible so that you are aware of any final wishes and particular arrangements they would like.

They may have already thought through their own funeral arrangements; what they would like included in their ceremony, what types of flowers if any, what charity they might want donations made towards, which hymns, the food and the people. So, when the time comes to plan the funeral, you can feel confident that you have included everything that they would have wanted.

Arrangements aside, it’s just as important that you approach the subject of death with your loved one so that you can be there for them to support in every way possible. Although it’s a natural instinct to try and shut the subject out of mind or avoid it completely, it’s likely that they too will be feeling scared about what lies ahead, so they’ll need their family and friends more than ever. Be a good and open listener, providing any reassurance that you can.

There are no ways to make this subject easy, but there is plenty of help out there that can help preserve a sense of calm and dignity, in ways that will allow your mind to stay on the things that are important during a difficult time.

Make a Checklist of Everybody That Needs to Know

If at all possible beforehand, making a list of all the people who need to know is most invaluable. There’s nothingworse than forgetting someone when your mind is elsewhere and then having to tell them afterwards.

Divide your list into three main groups; family, friends, and outside organisations like clubs or societies. Although the categories of family and friends may be quite explanatory, you’ll most likely be surprised about all the close friends your loved one has that you weren’t aware of. It’s a good idea to chat through the life of your loved one to find out who is important to them in their day-to-day life, there may also be some older acquaintances who they write to as they live farther away. Similarly, clubs, groups or organisations may also need to know – this could be a bowls club, bingo club, coffee morning, day center, or even a lottery syndicate that your loved one was involved with. It’s important to remember that people are always keen to share grief and express their condolences.

Last of all, it’s important to try and itemise the various official organisations that need to be informed legally, or out of financial requirements. Make a list of pension groups, funds, shareholdings, savings, rates, mortgages, ex-service pensions and utilities, that may need to know.

Gather The Right People Around You

It’s important that you receive the right kind of help and support when sorting details such as these out. Work with your nearest and dearest to work through your loss together – to make things easier, you may wish to divide any duties between you so that everybody in the family has an important input into some of the final details.

It’s also good to acquire the assistance of some legal help for legal matters, such as the will. You may need to talk to a solicitor to help you become an executor of your loved one’s estate and funeral arrangements. The last thing you need is any confusion regarding the estate, a skilled legal executor will be able to guide you through – try to arrange this as early as possible. As well as family and emotional support, legal support will help to clarify any complicated financial and legal matters you may not understand.

Sometimes, it may better to work with a friend, rather than a relative when making some of these arrangements, a friend may to be able to shed a different light on things, and advise on matters in a more practical way.

Afterwards, Taking Care Of You

It is often the case that taking care of all of the arrangements can delay your own ability to grieve. You may have needed to hold yourself together for others, and to ensure that everything gets done. After the funeral, there might come a time when your grief hits you, if it hasn’t already and this is the time when you may need to seek some support. You may find this with family and friends, or you can seek out a local bereavement care service.

Author(s): Experienced freelance writer, Ella Mason, wrote this article. Ella specialises in providing home care advice for families and their loved ones. Edited by Carewatch.