Let us take a moment to say we are so sorry for your loss. We hope that you will find this section of our website helpful in this difficult time. If you are looking for information on what to do now that a death has occurred, you have come to the right place. As always, if you would prefer to speak to someone directly, please contact us.
A Death has Occurred
If you were present during the final moments in a loved one’s life, then you’ve been fortunate. We believe that while nothing prepares you for being present at the death of a loved one, bearing witness to their passing can bring new insights into your own capacity for selfless love and caring, renewed or intensified bonds with other family members, a new respect for siblings, or a healing of old emotional wounds. It is a priceless gift – but it’s one you may not truly value until much later.
So, Who Do You Call First?
Whether you were sitting right next to the bed, or was unfortunate to get a call at 2 a.m. with news of a death of someone you loved, chances are your first feelings were of “being numb” and confused. But, if you're responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, you really can’t give into the shock or grief - you’ve got to move forward, and take care of things.
What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When someone dies in a hospital or similar care facility, the staff will usually take care of some arrangements, such as contacting the funeral home you choose, and if necessary, arranging an autopsy.
However, you – or a designated family member or friend – will need to notify others. We’ve found it will make it easier on you if just a few phone calls are made to other relatives or friends, where you ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people. In that way, the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you.
And if you are facing this situation alone, then ask a friend or neighbor to keep you company while you make these calls. In that way, you’ll be better able to cope with the first hours after the death.
One of the first calls which should be made is to a licensed Funeral Director. Naturally, we'd like you to call us. But whether you choose to trust one of our funeral professionals to care for your loved one, or select a different funeral home, you should know that the Funeral Director will help you:
- Transport the body
- Obtain a death certificate
- Select a casket, urn and/or grave marker
- Arrange the funeral, memorial and/or burial service
- Prepare and publish the obituary
- Help notify the deceased's employer, attorney, insurance company and banks
- Offer grief support
- Direct you to other resources