Losing a loved one can leave us overwhelmed and uncertain. It’s important to know what to expect in the coming time and to remember that help is available. Let us give you an overview of your next steps.

Whether you received a 2 a.m. phone call with news of an unexpected death or shared your loved one’s final moments of a long illness, your initial reaction to the death was likely shock. It doesn’t seem to matter how prepared we are – or aren’t – a loved one’s death often leaves us feeling numb and bewildered. If you’re responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, shock and grief can be immobilizing. Even simple decisions can be overwhelming.

Making the first phone calls

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 advise as to what steps need to be taken, such as contacting the funeral home and arranging the transfer of your loved one. You will likely need to notify family, friends, clergy and physicians. It may be easier on you to make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people, so the burden of spreading the news isn’t all on you. If you are alone, ask someone to keep you company while you make these calls and try to cope with the first hours after the death.

Call a funeral director

No matter what the circumstances of death, one of your first calls should be to one of our licensed funeral directors. We are here to help you - from transferring the deceased to obtaining the death certificate and arranging the funeral service, cremation or burial. In time, we will help you notify the government, the deceased’s employer, attorney, insurance company and banks while offering you grief support and direction to other resources.