Ten Things to Help You Organize a
By Bruce Hultgren
For such an important event to mark the end of someone's
life, the funeral is part of the process of mourning.
And because the funeral needs to be full of meaning to
you and your family and needs to be organized at short
notice, there are many considerations for you. Here are
ten that will get you started.
1. The Will - What Does It Say?
By checking the will you will find out about some
specific instructions. What music do they want? Do they
want to be buried or cremated? Then what? Do they want
something special to happen at their funeral? Be
informed - check the will.
2. Who can help?
Realize that you aren't alone on this journey and you
can share the burden of the arrangements and grief
together. You can quietly go about thinking of who can
help with music, readings and everything else. Don't
make it complicated by involving too many people - a
small team will do it.
3. The Death Certificate - Got it?
In most countries it is a requirement to have the legal
death certificate before the funeral can be held.
4. Professionals - Ask For Their Help
Because there are so many practical considerations to
think about - use a professional in the form of a
Funeral Director or undertaker to advise you. They're
also familiar in dealing with grief and will help you
through this process. Last but not least - there are
specific legal requirements for funerals the funeral
directors can guide you on.
5. Money, Money, Money
Price check the funeral services like you would any
other major purchase. Funerals aren't free and you need
to take into account any financial implications that are
involved. Do your homework.
6. Refreshments, The "After The Funeral" event.
The funerals that I've been involved in have usually had
refreshments and a chance to gather at the place of the
funeral. I've found this to have a double benefit - no
one is being asked to drive while they are distraught
and many will stay if they simply have to go to another
room. This is also a chance for people to catch up, the
funeral may have bought people together from a long time
ago. Ask the funeral home if they can cater it (for what
cost - ask!) or if you can cater it. Do your homework.
7. Your Time - Time For Just You
Don't spend all your energy organizing the funeral
without taking time out for just you - to mourn, to
grieve. Keeping yourself busy may be helping, but
waiting until after the service isn't the answer either.
8. Get The Family Involved
Even the most harmonious of families can have tension
and arguments under this level of stress. Ask your
family for feedback and advice as your go through the
processes - but in the event of a confrontation or
disagreement - introduce a third party such as a funeral
director if you have to for advice. Yes - this piece of
advice is gold - remember it!
9. The Eulogy - Just Who Should Give It?
I'm going to speak from personal experience again on
this one. We had a celebrant lead our funerals for us
(she was so good for my Sister's service - we had her do
my Father's as well) and she found out a lot about our
Loved one's and put together the most perfect collection
of messages, both with funny stories, humbling stories
and with highlights from their time with us. We wanted
to make each funeral a celebration of their lives, about
the mark that they left on us. We chose several close
friends and us as siblings and children spoke at
respective funerals. At the end of my speech for my
sister (which I was crying uncontrollably the whole way
through) I got everyone to stand up. You see - my sister
LOVED the Theatre - and at the end of a brilliant
performance - people stand and applaud. Well - my sister
was a career teacher and with over 400 people at her
service - she had completed a brilliant performance - so
we stood and gave her a standing ovation. I think it was
a fitting end to the service. Don't you? Think about how
you can make your service as unique as the person you're
10. Readings, Music, The Mood
Last but not least - you need to try and create the
right mood at the service - to represent the Loved One.
It's OK to wear bright colors if that's what your Loved
One was known for. What about the readings, where do you
source them from? What do you think would be perfect?
Are they words from a song? A quotable passage from a
movie? A Scripture or Poem? Don't forget to ask your
Funeral Director or advisor for support on this -
they've done this before.
Music - I'm all about the Music - from the time when
people arrive, get seated, until the time the service
starts, the music needs to be just right. Is it a
collection of favorite songs? A reflection on the person
you're celebrating? Are you showing a collection of
photo's at the same time while waiting? What about
during the service and you put together a slide show -
what music will be perfect for this? If you're not sure
- ask your advisor. They'll ask the right questions to
allow you to get just the right answers and make it
The effort you make on these points will have people
come to you and congratulate you on a wonderful and
inspiring celebration. It is both a humbling and
gratifying experience - that your Loved one has been
Bruce Hultgren was suddenly affected by the tragic loss
of his Sister in a plane crash in 1999. Since that date,
Bruce has dedicated his time to helping the millions of
people around the world who meet these emotions on their
journey. Dealing with Death, Funerals, Grief and Dying.
Now an accomplished writer on the subject, Bruce has
included Funeral Memorial Angels and A collection of
articles his http://www.PocketAngels.com website to help
families celebrate, remember and go through this most
trying of times together.
He has also discovered a gift to write heartfelt verses
that can be found in his PocketAngels range.