Death and funerals are very sensitive matters—and no one wants to talk about them openly even when we all know that we are all bound to fade and perish in the end. “Many people have done everything they can to protect their family’s future: invested wisely, opened savings accounts and acquired insurance on their life and home. But they haven’t taken care of their own funeral arrangements – leaving one of the most difficult tasks for their surviving family members to figure out during a time of sadness and loss,” wrote Molly M. Gligor in 10 Things to Know About Planning a Funeral or Cremation Service for agingcare.com.
And this is pretty normal for who would want to live a life thinking he or she is immortal. But reality sets in, at one point or another, one of your family member, beloved friend, or a relative might need your assistance—and you need to gather yourself, be strong, and set aside your grieving self for a moment to make sure a proper funeral is given to this dearly departed. Martha Cooey, who has handled a lot of funeral services in Singapore for the past 5 years as she worked for her father’s funeral parlor as a managing director, shared some heart-warming stories about people they served, “There was one time that a 55-year-old man was brought to us by his second family. Apparently, the man has 3 families, and lots of children from different mothers. While this was the first time that all families meet each other, I’ve seen how they all hugged and became cordial with each other despite their families’ situation. They kept saying that the father was a good man and he deserves an honourable funeral.
Everyone shared the responsibility of arranging everything, from the preparation of readying the body to the memorial service after he was laid to rest. That was the most dignified funeral I have ever seen and handled.” Cooey added that she handled quite some other interesting funeral in Singapore for people of different religions, “I must say our job is very culturally and religiously influenced. And we strictly follow our customer’s wishes according to their beliefs. Most of the Singapore funeral I handled proved to be all dignified. It shows how Singaporeans have a close-knit family culture.”
Here are some guides to follow in case you are tasked to arrange a funeral for someone dear:
• The First Call
The first step to do is call for a transportation that shall carry the deceased body to a funeral home facility. If you the place of death is in the hospital, you can ask help from the staff and the hospital can even provide a vehicle like an ambulance for you. If this happened outside, you need to call someone to assist you. Anyhow, you should always have emergency numbers with you so you won’t be rattled in cases like this.
• Does the deceased person have last wishes?
If the dearly departed had specified in his last will and testaments that he had preferences on how his funeral should be, strive to follow these last wishes. Did he want to be cremated or not? Did he mention if he wants a dear friend to do a eulogy on his funeral? Did he want a specific picture of him to be displayed on the funeral? These little things may seem small and irrelevant, but it is always nice to respect the person’s wishes. On the other hand, if the dead person was gone all too sudden that no one thought he will die so soon, it is likely that he never planned anything about his funeral. In cases like this, funeral arrangements must be carefully discussed among family members.
• Some more Specific Details on the Funeral Services
A lot of things must be decided upon, and this can be pretty difficult for someone who is handling such situation for the first time. Things like what kind of casket should be bought; will it be an open or closed casket ceremony; what more funeral products are needed; what should be the final disposition of the body?—again, you cannot be single-handedly doing all the decision making. Ask someone with experience to help out if no one in the family can get their acts together because it is likely that everyone is still trying to recover from this saddening event. But as much as possible, again, discuss these concerns with people close to the dead person. They surely know better. Your job is put everything together and oversee all logistics, documents, transportation, and other programs that need to be followed and done. Remember, everyone close to the dead might be feeling weak, confused, and depressed at this time so it is very much important that you stay strong and rational.
• How About the cemetery arrangements
According to funeralwise.com’s article A How-to Guide for Making Funeral Arrangements, “If cemetery property has not already been purchased, it will be necessary to meet with a cemetery representative to purchase a burial or entombment space. In some cases, the funeral director can make these arrangements on behalf of a family.”