In times of crisis most of us want to help the people we love and care about. Death has a way of making us want to get involved, but since it’s such a taboo subject, many of us don’t know what to do.
I have been in the situation where a friend or someone who is not the executor tries to take over and take control of the situation and funeral arrangements. People who are grieving are susceptible to trying to keep the peace and will sometimes allow someone else to step in and take over. It is both illegal and immoral for someone who is not in charge to try to take charge.
Often the executor is named because the deceased thought that was the correct person to fulfil their wishes. If there is no will or appointed executor the courts determine that the spouse, parent, or eldest child (if of the age of majority) is the correct person to handle the deceased affairs. 99%of the time I would agree. I don’t care how well or how much time you spent with the deceased, you probably don’t have the same bond with them as their family.
So what can you do, as someone who cares for the family and wants to help? This is a question I get asked often whether it is by a distant relative or close friend.
I have composed a list of how you can be involved and show the family of the deceased that you love and care for them. Firstly, compose a written list of ways you could be of assistance. This can include:
Help set up the display at the front of the ceremony for them
Collect photos for a slideshow
Start a go fund me
Take the families, or the deceased dog for a walk
Supply the flowers for the front of the where the casket or urn will sit
Organise a potluck lunch for the reception
Offer to find musicians who may be friends to play either during the service or wake
Offer to run errands leading up to and after the funeral (This is a hectic time)
Offer to babysit so the family can have some time to process their grief
Offer to come clean their house (if you know the family well)
Offer to wash their car before the service (if they are taking their own)
Offer ideas about what that person’s favorite things were (candy, drink as a toast) and supply them for the guests of the funeral.
Write a piece of poetry or story you can give to the family and don’t expect them to share it.
Make a piece of artwork and give it to the family in memory of your friend
Offer to make the casket spray (see my YouTube channel Kari Peters Passing for instructions)
These are just some ideas of how you can be involved and help someone in their deepest time of need. None of them should be forced on the bereaved, but offering to help in some non conventional ways can be a game changer in a very stressful time. When you offer a written list it allows the information to be processed easier for some people.
Helping others in our own time of need is natural and a healthy coping mechanism. It will also help you be involved and become close with their family in a way which is not imposing. I hope this list is useful to those of you who might want to be involved but don't know whats which are appropriate.