In recent weeks I have had the opportunity to meet with many funeral homes and the hot topic is just how diverse each funeral can be and the difficulties families can face in the decision making process.

There’s a lot of choices to be made in a very short period of time when you are likely to be highly emotional. If your loved one hasn’t made any pre-arrangements, the task can be overwhelming.

Your funeral home is there to meet the needs of the family at this time but their job can become extremely difficult if there are several family groups wanting conflicting arrangements. Therefore it’s important to identify one person in your group to liaise with the funeral home.

The funeral directors will discuss the funeral options with families, often leaving brochures and pamphlets for you to mull over in the days that follow.

Don’t feel rushed into making a decision about the funeral arrangements, give yourself time to think and, if needed, contact other family members or friends who can support you through this process.

It’s  likely that the first thing you will want to do is notify family and friends. Get others to help you do this.

After phoning or emailing people in your immediate circle, a Death Notice can be submitted to your local or national newspaper. This can also be submitted by your funeral home to a website such as www.amemorytree.co.nz for friends and family further afield to read and leave messages for you.

The Death Notice usually holds a lot of information about the deceased person and advises the reader where and when the funeral is to be held.

At this time you will also need to make some decisions about the funeral arrangements and the first of these are usually:

–          Public Service or Private Service

–          Burial or Cremation

–          Place of internment

Don’t forget – there is often the option for you to have your loved one in your home before the funeral. This is a personal decision but has been known to help with the grieving especially if there was no time to say goodbye.

Funerals are commonly sad times where happy memories are recalled and close friends and work colleagues may ask to speak, or you may invite others to do readings or say something on your behalf. Favourite songs and hymns can be played. Flowers and plants can have special significance at the ceremony. Your funeral home will take the lead role in making your requests a reality.

Guest books are a good record of who attended the funeral  and online remembrance pages are the perfect way for others to leave special words of support and fond memories on before and after the service. There are many options available, but choose a provider that is able to store these pages for you.

For information on differing cultural protocols surrounding death visit http://amemorytree.co.nz/customs.php

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