The Role of a Friend: Help with Funeral

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Our family and friends help us get through the hardest times in our lives. This is never more true than when we are faced with the death of someone we love.

Letitia Baldrige, author, New Manners for New Times: A Complete Guide to Etiquette, suggests there are no limits when it comes to offering your help to a family who is experiencing loss. "We never stop being the recipients of love and help from friends. If you are a loving person, you offer help whenever there is a need."

Ms. Baldrige suggests being prepared to move into action and offer specific ways in which you can be of service.

Some suggestions on how to help could be:

Administrative matters

  • Notify the family attorney, clergy, social and business associates
  • Be responsible for handling phone calls and taking messages
  • Keep track of gifts, food offerings, letters of condolence, flowers, etc so the family can send thank-you notes
  • Create a Heart2Soul Community, to make sure everyone can communicate and stay up to date on arrangement information

Family matters

  • Be there to listen to your friend and help them with their grief
  • Organize the meals and make sure there is food on the table
  • Find child care for small children
  • Make travel arrangements for out-of-town guests and arrange to meet them at airports, trains or bus stations

Funeral plans

  • Research and locate funeral providers
  • Attend meetings regarding funeral plans and take notes
  • Help with decisions regarding clothing for burial and deliver to the funeral provider
  • Help plan a reception after the funeral by offering suggestions on location, or preparing and organizing food
  • Coordinate plans with the cemetery or crematorium
  • Create a service program to be handed out at the ceremony

Regardless of how well you know the family experiencing loss - whether they are neighbors, community members, co-workers or a very close friend - it's always appropriate to reach out and offer your help.

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