What Should You Do When Someone Dies?

When someone dies, the aftermath can be overwhelming for the person left in charge, and handling a death can seem very confusing and emotional. Regardless of whether a death is expected or unexpected, emotional struggles and feelings of disbelief can cloud thinking, making the task of planning a funeral difficult.

If you have just experienced the death of a loved one, know that Dignity Memorial® providers are ready to assist you in any way we can. A caring Dignity Memorial professional with helpful advice and answers to your questions is just a phone call away. Our large network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers ensures that there is a friendly, knowledgeable team member near you.

If you’re unclear about how to handle a death in the family, the list below details what you should do immediately and in the days and months following a death.

And remember, you probably don’t have to do this alone. Friends and family will most likely want to help. Delegating responsibilities to family members and others you trust not only eases your burden but also allows them to show you how much they care about you—and it may even help them begin to heal their own feelings of loss as well.

Consider printing and/or emailing this checklist to yourself and close relatives so that you will have easy access to it in the days and weeks to come.

Aftercare resources and grief support

Depending on your relationship with your loved one and the traditional mourning customs of your faith, the weeks and months after a death in the family may be extremely difficult. Be sure to take steps to ensure that you are handling the death in an emotionally healthy way, and know that caring for yourself and allowing others to care for you are part of the healing process.

Grief is natural, personal and has no timetable. It may last for a shorter or longer time than you expect, and it may be coupled with feelings of anger, guilt, emptiness or hopelessness. Whatever your experience, know that there are family and friends all around you who are willing to support you at this time.

It’s hard to know how to handle a death, especially when that person is a close friend or family member. There are things that need to be done—and more than likely you will not have to do them alone. Enlist a support system to lean on. It’s so helpful to have someone to assist with planning a funeral and putting someone’s things in order. It also feels good to have a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.