Dealing with a death in the family is always difficult. Even more so if you are on your own without a spouse or children to help you to deal with your grief and make the funeral arrangements.
Often someone in this situation will turn to his or her friends for help. If you should find yourself being asked by a friend to help arrange a funeral this is how we suggest you approach what could be for you a delicate or daunting situation.
Do not take over completely
In this situation, you need to be careful not to inadvertently take over completely. Your friend needs to be the one to make the key decisions.
By all means make suggestions, but try to ensure that it is your friend who decides on the type of service and details like whether there will be flowers and what will happen after the funeral. Asking about the wishes of the person who has died can often provide answers to the type of funeral that needs to be arranged. It acts as a catalyst, which can motivate them and keep them on track.
Often all your friend needs is someone to assist them. They are really looking for someone who will make sure that nothing is forgotten. Often those who are grieving do not feel in complete control and are frightened that they will forget something important. Often having you there to monitor progress is what they need the most.
Make a list
As with any complex task, it is best to make a list of what needs to be done. If you make the list on a spreadsheet, you can put the date each task needs to be done by then sort your list by date. That way the most urgent tasks will be at the top of the list.
As you, complete each task tick it off. You can print the list off and cross things off as you do them or do that on the spreadsheet. Even relatively simple tasks like putting together a funeral order of service or ordering the flowers should be on the list to ensure nothing is forgotten.
If you are at all unsure about what needs to be done for a funeral ask someone who knows. The best sources of information are funeral directors and the person who will conduct the service.
Offer practical support
As well as helping to make the funeral arrangements offer other practical support if your friend needs it. For example, cook them a meal or walk their dog.
You could take phone calls when they are resting or just need a break from talking to other people. If your friend does not have appropriate clothes for the funeral take them shopping for them. Perhaps your friend has young children, in which case you could help with meals or playtime.
Do not take on too much
Our last piece of advice is to be careful not to take on more than you can handle. From the start, try to enlist the help of others, so you have the option to delegate tasks should you need to. Speak to your friend before doing this to make sure they are comfortable with your asking these individuals for help.