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Slow Down When Planning a Funeral

September 15, 2018

The death of a close friend or family member can be a very stressful time, and there are many decisions to face, especially when making funeral arrangements for a loved one. In today’s society, we have been programmed to do everything faster and faster as the years progress. But taking your time when faced with the task of making funeral arrangements for someone you care about creates a memorial that will honor your loved one and be a healing experience for all those who attend.

“Our experience shows that a family should slow things down rather than rush the planning of a funeral.” said Co-President John Keohane. “You only have one opportunity to do things properly.”

Whether or not you’ve experienced a loss before, nothing truly prepares you for how you will feel at the time of death. It is always best to slow things down and truly make the time significant. “Our later grief recovery progresses much smoother if we begin with a strong foundation surrounded by family and friends centered around a shared ceremony,” said John.

Unless you are observing religious traditions for a quick burial, such as in Judaism or Islam, you don’t need to make every decision right away. Many funerals can be held several days to several weeks from the time of death. In the case of cremation, a memorial service can be held at any point in the future that suits your family’s needs, especially if family members are traveling from long distances.

While today’s technology can often bring us together in ways we’ve been unable to do in the past, it can also get in the way of processing our grief and connecting with others in a meaningful way, while pressuring us to make decisions that would be better served to take time to consider.

“Try returning to traditions of the past. Sit and talk with one another, share stories, be present with one another. Try limiting the use of cell phones, social media and the internet.  These modern devices tend to get in the way of our human need to say good-bye in a meaningful way,” said John.

Some of the decisions you will need to make include whether your family prefers burial or cremation; where and when to hold funeral services; who will officiate; whether there will be a viewing and if the viewing will include an open casket or a closed casket; writing the obituary; determining the final resting place; and how to personalize the services to befit your loved one. Your funeral director will guide you through the process, bringing to bear his or her wealth of experience and expertise.

“Slowing down can be a matter of a few days, but it could be longer if planning a memorial service after cremation has taken place. It’s more the process of disconnecting from technology and our crazy pace of life to really savor the relationships with people while planning a meaningful celebration of life,” said John.

Slowing down is not about the amount of time, but rather a process to allow thoughtful decisions to be made and the time to discuss the multitude of options available.

For more information on planning a funeral, please contact one of our knowledgeable funeral directors at any of our locations or call our main office at 1-800-Keohane (800-536-4263).

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