Top Five Steps For When A Loved One Dies

July 12, 2023

This is not a goodbye, my darling. This is a thank you.

Thank you for coming into my life and giving me joy.

Thank you for loving me and receiving my love in return.

Thank you for the memories I will cherish forever.


Our Top Five Steps for When a Loved One Dies


1. Report the Death.

If your loved one dies in a nursing home, hospital, or hospice care facility, ask the staff, and they will assist you. If your loved one dies at home and receives hospice care, you must call their hospice caregiver. If you cannot get a hold of them, in some cases, you will need to contact their home office location, and a representative there can report the death for you. If your loved one dies at home and is not under hospice care, you will need to call 911. While state laws vary, in Missouri, a paramedic can pronounce death. However, paramedics will still need to contact the county coroner and have them verify the body’s release. Depending on their determination, they might have to transport your loved one to their lab for further investigation, or they might have no reason for concerns and release their body. A similar scenario will also happen in other situations when they are at a nursing home, hospital, or hospice care facility or receiving hospice care, and upon a coroner’s release, all parties will need to be notified which funeral home they desire to use and assist with the transportation. They will likely instruct you to contact the funeral home and inform them that you require their assistance transporting your loved one to a funeral home. If they die while out of state, we can also help bring them back to you compassionately and professionally.


2. Give Us a Ring.

Regardless of the day of the week or time, Greenlawn team members are monitoring the phone lines and are ready to assist upon receiving a death call. In addition, if you have any suspicions or get informed that your loved one might not have long to live, you can also call us in advance to get a head start on the planning process. We are familiar with either option and can meet with you to discuss their desires and final arrangements, such as helping with the documentation needed for the death certificate application, arranging the transportation of your loved one, and talking about the visitation, funeral, reception, and graveside service details. Many also notice that following their death, they have an increase in unanswered questions, several decisions that need to be made, and people that need to be contacted. Our caring and experienced staff is available 24/7 to walk you through your options, determine the next steps, and provide support as needed because you’re not alone.


3. Notify Others.

After transporting your loved one and conversing with a Funeral Director, we recommend that you begin writing a list of people who might want to be informed. This is also a great time to think about close family and friends who can provide additional support leading up to the final arrangements, even if their help is temporary. The person you ask for help and call half the people on the list or help you organize photos to begin working on a slide show or bring groceries to your house. The weight can feel heavy, and it might feel best to be alone, but having someone there to listen can be a huge relief in times of uncertainty. In addition, to you telling people, the funeral home can also create an obituary profile page for your loved one and work with local newspapers to formally announce their death. But it can be wise to refrain from sharing any news on social media until you are sure all family and close friends have been notified. If applicable, you might also have to call your loved one’s employer and make quick arrangements for traveling family members, the children involved, and the care of pets.


4. Plan the Funeral.

Again, there are several considerations for you to make when planning a funeral. Unless your loved one chooses to preplan, you will need to decide between embalming or cremation, as well as their final disposition and all the other details related to the personalization of their service. At Greenlawn Funeral Home, some of the final dispositions options we offer in our Memorial Gardens are traditional burial, mausoleum niches, private cremation estates, monument cremation houses, or some more personalized options are keepsakes, jewelry, diamonds, Biotrees, and fireworks to name a few. We will work closely with you to design a service that will capture your loved ones’ personalities and allow everyone to gather and share memories left behind in their hearts eternally. Think about the ways or things you add to a service or visitation that remind you of your loved one and something that made them who they were as a person to you. Depending on your needs and budget, a reception might also be a good option to extend the time for chatting with loved ones and help everyone remember the importance of self-care while grieving.


5. Be Mindful of Grief.

There’s a saying in the funeral industry that final arrangements are not for the person who died but for the people left behind who they are through. We are experienced and can confirm the truth of this statement because it is a healing ritual to serve as a final goodbye and give the time and space to offer condolences and openly express our emotions during a grief-heavy time. Grief is a long journey, and while some hope for a quick resolution, grief will likely always be a part of who we are because we loved, lost, and long for them even after their death. We encourage you not to neglect to take the time you need to practice self-care. For some, this might be prioritizing getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night, drinking plenty of water, going on a short vacation to memorize them, or finding ways to exercise each day. At the least, try to spend time with people who lovingly support you, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.


Above all, know that you are never alone when you plan with Greenlawn.

We are always here to connect you with resources to help you in your grief.

And our commitment to helping you and your family continues long after the funeral service.

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