The death of a loved one is traumatizing and having to plan a funeral amid a flood of emotions can increase the stress. Add a sudden and unexpected death to the mix and this can feel almost impossible. While you’re going through the initial stages of shock and grief, making arrangements for what’s next is likely the last thing on your mind. Planning a funeral can be overwhelming which is why we have laid out some tips below to help you navigate the process.
Notify family and friends
One of the first things you’ll want to do after a sudden death is to inform the people who need to know. Rather than taking on the burden of making a dozen phone calls alone, often people will split the responsibility amongst close family and friends to spread the word. Once everyone knows about the death, they will be on the lookout for funeral arrangements.
Arrange transportation of the body
Bodies decompose at a rapid pace with internal organs typically decaying within the first 24-72 hours. According to Business Insider, dead bodies begin to produce toxic gases like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide between days two and four. This means that regardless of if you need to move the deceased to another city for burial or cremation or to a local funeral home, it’s incredibly important that you do so quickly after death.
If the death occurs at a crime scene and the body is still there after law enforcement is finished, it’s important to wait until you’ve been given permission to arrange transportation of the body. More often than not, the body will be transported by officials and in these cases, you’ll need to work directly with law enforcement on next steps.
Meet with a funeral director
While planning a funeral may be foreign to you, it’s common for those who work in a funeral home. After you’ve notified family and friends and arranged transportation of the body, it’s time to begin making arrangements. During your meeting with the funeral director, you will make critical decisions like how you’d like the deceased to be cared for. You’ll also determine whether the funeral will have a burial, be open casket, or if the deceased will be cremated. Finally, the funeral director will walk you through the ceremony and all costs associated with the ceremony and handling of the body.
Make arrangements with a cemetery
If the deceased is to be buried in a cemetery, it’s common practice to hold the burial directly (or soon) after the funeral. As you’re planning, you’ll need to determine whether a cemetery plot has already been purchased or if you need to buy one at that point. Many funeral directors are well versed in this step of the process as well and can help guide you.
Plan for the service
After arrangements have been made and everyone has been notified, you’ll need to focus on finalizing details for the ceremony. This includes determining the schedule of the ceremony, writing a funeral program, and selecting songs and mementos to be displayed. Another important step is to publish an obituary, which in addition to word of mouth, emails, and any social media announcements, is a good place to include funeral announcements.
Clean the space where the death occurred
If the sudden death happens in your home, office, or place you spend time often, it’s important that you have the space professionally decontaminated. While you’re busy planning for a funeral professional biohazard cleaners like Xtreme Cleaners are experts in handling the cleanup of crime scenes and sudden deaths. Biohazard remediation companies have the knowledge, skills, proper equipment, and sensitivity to handle any job effectively and efficiently. If you or someone you know needs help cleaning after a sudden death in Louisiana, give us a call at (800) 524-9591.