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Available Support Networks and Resources for Grief and Funeral Planning

Speaking on death, grief, and loss is a topic no one truly wants to face. Yet, suppose we do not communicate to our loved ones what we wish to happen when we pass on or what to do when a loved one unexpectedly passes. In that case, we leave the ones we love behind with the tasks of finding support and searching for resources available to help with funeral planning.

For some, this may feel like death-obsessed prepping—which would explain why, according to the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association) found that just 36% of Americans have talked with or written plans for loved ones about their funeral in 2021. 

This is a time that is already fraught with so much sorrow, confusion, and emotional turbulence that the last thing we believe anyone needs is to get lost attempting to lay a loved one to final rest. 

Today, whether you are going through this unimaginable grief yourself or are seeking ways to help your family when you no longer can, we’ll share networks and resources to help you. 

  1. Discuss Arrangements with close friends and family. 
    In most cases, an executor of the deceased person’s estate is responsible for making funeral plans, and the estate covers the costs. But if you are an executor, you may still wish to include close friends or family in your planning process. If you have not yet named an executor or have yet to discuss end-of-life plans with anyone, this is a good sign that now is a great time. 

    Whether executor or not, talk about the essential details: 
    •    Burial, cremation, or something else?
    •    Budge and the best way to prioritize spending
    •    The type of funeral arrangements: will there be a viewing, a religious ceremony, a memorial get-together, a celebration of life, and so on? 
    •    What type of casket or cremation vessel?
    •    Venue: Held at a House of Worship, funeral home, graveyard, within a home, or elsewhere.

    Of course, if you or a loved one have made any pre-arrangements or preferences known, remember to take those into account as well.

  2. Know Your Funeral Rights
    Every year, thousands of Americans struggle with end-of-life decisions and need help with funeral costs. A significant first step is understanding your rights when it comes to funeral expenses and burial costs.

    The laws regarding funerals and burials vary from state to state, and understanding them can be daunting. Knowing and understanding your options will help reduce the strain of funeral planning and protect your rights when interacting with funeral homes. Below, we’ve gathered a quick list that may help you:

    •    Purchase only the goods and services you want and need. Some funeral homes provide package deals. Sometimes, those package deals appear great at first, but they often come with several extras or services you don’t want or need. You are never obligated to purchase a funeral package that contains items you do not want.
    •    By law, funeral homes must provide pricing information for their products and services whenever requested. You should be able to quickly get pricing quotes directly over the phone without sharing any personal information to obtain funeral home costs.
    •    A Funeral provider must give what is called a GPL, or General Price List, that is yours to take and keep. It lists the individual costs of all the items and services they offer.
    •    Funeral homes must also show a dated, printed list of casket prices, including any containers not displayed within the funeral showrooms. Often, only the best and most expensive options they offer will be displayed; the printed list is intended to show you selections that may not be on display.
    •    No state laws require burial containers, but many cemeteries still require them to prevent graves from caving in. Ask for a dated, written, or printed price list for outer burial containers. If it is not listed on their GPL, but they require it, ask them to make a written, dated page.
    •    No law requires you to use a casket for cremation. If a funeral home offers cremation services, they are required by law to inform you that alternative containers are available.
    •    Do you already have a casket or an urn? By law, a funeral provider cannot refuse a casket or urn bought from an outside source, and they cannot charge you for a handling fee. You are not required to be present when the casket or urn is delivered to the funeral home.
    •    Receive a written or printed, dated, and signed statement of all services you wish to have before paying. The statement should provide a detailed overview of what is being purchased and the exact cost of each service, itemize each cost, and give a total. It must also legally inform you of any cemetery or crematory requirements that may cost additional money. 

Organizations that May Help Pay For Funeral Services

  • Religious organizations and Houses of Worship
  • Consumer Advocate Organizations
  • Federal Government
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Medicare & Medicaid
  • Social Security
  • Military and Veteran Assistance
  • State and Municipal Assistance Programs
  • Children’s Burial Assitance, Inc. 

Grief Care and Support 

One of the most challenging things to do is attempt to continue living your life when a loved one has passed, and you are navigating this new world without them. 

Bereavement Support

There are many ways to get support for your grief, but it is not always easy to find something that works for you, your situation, and your budget. Here are a few organizations that specialize in services that may help you cope: 

  • The Compassionate Friends. TCF is a self-help organization that offers friendship, understanding, and hope to bereaved families that have experienced the loss of a child. 
  • The Associate for Death Education and Counselling (ADEC). The ADEC is a membership organization whose members are professionals with specialized education and certification in handling dying, death, and bereavement. 
  • The National Bereavement Resource Guide. The New York Life and Eluna partnered to provide the National Bereavement Resource Guide. The guide is a compilation of state and local resources, which include camps and grief organizations by state with grief resources. 
    Are you dealing with grief and loss at this moment? While we highly recommend therapy, not everyone can afford or go to treatment. The following tips may help you. 
  • Allow yourself the time to feel the pain, sadness, and other emotions. Let yourself cry or express your feelings. 
  • Find ways to express these emotions, whether speaking about your feelings to people you trust. When you cannot reach out, keeping a paper or digital journal can help you express emotions and work through them, or turn toward creating something, whether art, poetry, yarn, felt, or painting, for example, to help express your feelings. 
  • Be patient with yourself. There is no set time limit to ‘get over’ or heal from losing someone, and some days will be better than others. Let yourself heal in your way and time. Know that it can take months or years to begin to heal and cope with a significant loss. 
  • Most people will take solace in keeping the rest of their life as normal as they can—as in, try not to make any significant life changes, such as moving, changing careers, or changing essential relationships, during the first year after you lose someone. 
  • Find ways to distract yourself when you can, like going for a walk, watching a movie, taking hot baths, naps, or reading a good book. 
  • Understand that holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries often have strong feelings and memories that come back. Decide if you want to continue any traditions or create new ones.

No two people or families react the same way to grieving, and facing grief and loss means many challenges ahead, yet thousands of Americans and people all over the world are facing some of the same challenges right now, too. You are never alone. Reaching out for support can help you with some of the most complex everyday struggles, providing valuable tips, encouragement, and direction. 

We hope you have found some comfort with us today.

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