When someone dies
Sooner or later, most of us will be confronted with the task of arranging the funeral of a loved one, which in the midst of grief can be a daunting ordeal. Here we have answered some common questions which may help to make the process easier.
Who makes the funeral arrangements?
The funeral arrangements can be made at the funeral director's office or at the family home. If a church is chosen as the place for the service, be assured that the funeral director is familiar with the rites and customs of all denominations. After ascertaining the family's wishes regarding the funeral, contact will be made with the minister about the service and the necessary arrangements for burial or cremation.
Should we hold a funeral service?
A funeral acknowledges that death has occurred and also that a life has been lived. For Christian people there is a hope of eternity, both for the bereaved and the deceased, which is expressed through the prayers, scripture and music. The giving of spiritual comfort can be of great help at a time of death. Non-religious ceremonies are becoming more common and present an opportunity to acknowledge the life of the deceased and to say goodbye together with family and friends, without the inclusion of reglious prayers, readings or hymns.
Should a funeral service be left as a private event?
It is not usual, but of course possible. However, while you remember your loved one it is likely others will remember as well. Death touches and affects relatives, friends and others in a variety of ways. The funeral can provide everyone with an opportunity to acknowledge and to respond to the change that death has brought about. Experience indicates this will not be accomplished by getting the funeral over as fast, or as quietly, as possible.
Can a funeral service help me?
The minister can give understanding support to those who mourn and help you in preparing the service. Talking together at this time may enable you to accept the reality of what has happened. This should make the service personal to you and your family. The fact of death will not be avoided but placed in the wider perspective of eternal life.
Can children attend a funeral service?
This is a question which is often asked. Children of any age can certainly attend funeral services but the child must be prepared so they know what to expect. Time must be given to answer their questions honestly both before and after the funeral. It is important that the child is asked whether they want to attend.
What type of clothing is usually worn to a funeral service?
Most funerals are dignified occasions with elements of formality. This may guide your choice of what to wear.
Who issues a Death Certificate?
The Registrar of Births and Deaths. Your funeral director, doctor, hospital authority or coroner's officer can tell you what to do and where to go if death occurs.
What is a Coroner?
A Coroner investigates sudden or unexplained death and every county has to appoint one or more Coroners who are experienced doctors or lawyers. A death occurring in these circumstances is usually reported to the Coroner by the police or by a doctor. Sometimes this is done by the Registrar. If the death is not due to natural causes the Coroner is obliged by law to hold an inquest.
What about embalming?
The body must be embalmed for transporting to most countries and for long distances within the U.K. If viewing is requested or a long period of time before burial or cremation is involved it may be advisable. Embalming is a simple procedure of injection, performed by qualified practitioners. Your funeral director can offer guidance on this subject.
What does an average funeral cost?
A quoted average can be misleading and does not give all the answers. You should ask the funeral director about burial and cremation charges and receive an explanation of their services. Members of the National Association of Funeral Directors are obliged by their Code of Practice to have price lists available and to give written estimates. Most importantly, a family may select the funeral that suits their wishes and circumstances.
Is there a difference in cost between burial and cremation?
The funeral director's charges for cremation are usually similar to those for burial, but the cost of purchasing a grave and a memorial tends to make the total cost of burial more expensive than cremation.
What are the funeral costs for stillborn or newly born baby?
The health authority may offer to arrange a burial or cremation, free of charge, for every stillborn baby, whether born in hospital or at home. You should discuss the funeral arrangements with the hospital staff. If you accept the offer, the baby will be cremated or buried at a simple ceremony. However, the parents can, if they wish, arrange the funeral personally with a local funeral director to meet their own beliefs. The charges will then depend on the services required. Fees and charges are often reduced and sometimes waived.
Can funeral arrangements be made in advance?
Yes. This facility has been offered by funeral directors for many years. Instructions, as given to the funeral director, are filed with the funeral director until required. Many families will also pre-pay the funds necessary to carry out the terms of the agreement. It is a good idea to make your wishes known to your family, but do not make unreasonable requests that will be difficult for them to meet.Can a funeral director arrange for a funeral at a distance?
Yes. All arrangements can be made through your local funeral director.
What procedures should be followed if death occurs whilst away from home?
Contact your home town funeral director immediately. Your home town funeral director will assume responsibility for the return of the deceased person and may engage the services of a funeral director in the place of death who will act as an agent. Usually arrangements made in this manner will be less costly to the family involved.
If a family has no church affiliation, who will officiate at the service?
The funeral director would normally use your local minister but if you require a non-religious service, a secular celebrant can be obtained. Some families choose to lead the service themselves, or perhaps ask the funeral director to act as master of ceremonies.
Can a Roman Catholic be cremated?
Yes. Catholics are encouraged to take part in Funeral Mass before the deceased is cremated.
What is done with cremated remains?
Cremated remains may be scattered or buried and occasionally they are retained in some way, for example within a columbarium or niche. The funeral director is able to advise on the various alternatives. This decision should never be rushed and it may be prudent to involve other members of the family in the deliberations.
Does anyone have to witness the cremation?
A witness is not necessary but can be arranged if requested.
How can I express sympathy?
What is a memorial service?
A service conducted by a minister or lay person in a church or chapel where the deceased person's body is not present. The family is usually present at this service which is customarily held sometime after the funeral.
Can I donate kidneys, etc?
As a result of the advance in medical transplant knowledge and technique it is now possible for more and more people to be restored to health. There is a continuing need for organ donors and as most organs must be removed within eight hours there should be no delay. It is imperative that your family is aware of your wishes in this matter.
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