What to Do When a Loved One Dies: Everything to Know

woman at grave of loved one

Losing a loved one isn’t the kind of thing you can prepare for. If you’re wondering what to do when a loved one dies, we’re here to provide a little of what you can expect in the days and weeks to come.

With an understanding of what to expect and a strong support system, you’ll be ready to begin the journey toward the next chapter of your lives.

Ask For Help: Lean on Your Support System

The days surrounding your loss are often filled with a lot of emotions. This is often made worse when coupled with all the responsibilities involved with the loss of a loved one.

Rather it’s planning a funeral or dealing with expenses, it’s always important to remember to ask for help.

Don’t know how to obtain a death certificate? Ask a friend to help you find the resources you need online. Need help moving the belongings of a loved one that has passed? Ask friends of the deceased or community groups that you rely on.

Dealing with a great loss isn’t something that you have to do alone. Grief support groups also exist to support you in this trying time. Fight the urge to isolate, there’s healing in sharing your experience.

Dealing with Death: Where to Start

If the person you loved had a terminal illness, it’s possible that they may have already put arrangements in place. If the person you lost passed suddenly, you may not have the luxury of knowing their wishes. In this case, their affairs may not be in order.

Making arrangements for the deceased is never easy. It comes at a time when grief is fresh, so be ready to ask for help from those outside your circle if you feel overwhelmed or challenged by the tasks you’ll be presented with.

Bearing this in mind, here are a few of the first steps you’ll need to take after the death of a loved one.

Get a Legal Pronouncement of Death and Arrange Transportation

You’ll need to start by getting a legal pronouncement of death. If the person you love was in the hospital at the time of their passing, this will likely be provided to you by the doctor charged with their care.

If the person you loved didn’t pass while in hospital, you’ll need to make arrangements for their transportation. Depending on their wishes, you can call a crematorium or funeral parlor for this.

Funeral parlors are required to provide you with pricing information over the phone before picking up the deceased. If the deceased made arrangements prior to their death, you may want to consult with family members to learn more about their wishes.

If money has been set aside for funeral expenses, this would be an ideal time to confer with whoever has been appointed as the custodian of their estate. This could be a surviving spouse or an adult child who has been granted power of attorney.

Notify Friends and Relatives

When a loved one has recently passed, one of the most difficult tasks is notifying the friends and loved ones of the deceased. If the person who has recently passed is a family member, you can solicit the help of other family members.

Make a list of the people you’ll need to contact and share the list within your group. If some members of your group have stronger relationships with some of the names listed, let them make the call.

These calls aren’t likely to be quick, so save this task for a moment when you don’t feel rushed.

Cleaning Out the Home

Cleaning out the home of your loved one can be especially difficult. While it’s likely that you’ll have a chance to experience a lot of good memories, it can be a grief-filled experience as well.

Add to this that cleaning out the home of a loved one can be made even more difficult if the person you loved wasn’t exactly Marie Kondo.

Before start tossing anything, you’ll want to ensure that you aren’t throwing out anything that someone else in the immediate family may want. There may also be items that have been willed to other people, so ensure that you wait to divvy up any potential valuables.

What to Do When a Loved One Dies…and the Grief Won’t End

If the grief you feel after the loss of a loved one feels like too much to handle alone, you may want to consider speaking to a licensed therapist. Therapists and counselors are skilled in helping you to unpack the grief that you may be experiencing so that you can focus on the good memories and the legacy of your loved one.

Talk to your insurance provider for a list of therapists within your network. If you are uninsured or otherwise unable to afford regular therapy visits, you should be aware that there may be low-cost therapy initiatives in your area.

Group meetings can also be a great place to find a sense of peace. Grief recovery groups can help you begin to readjust and find a sense of community among others recently suffering the loss of a loved one.

Focus on the Memories

Losing a loved one isn’t easy, but we hope that this article has helped to shed some light on what to do when a loved one dies. Remember that you aren’t alone.

While the days and tasks ahead of you may not be easy, so give yourself a break and remember to ask for help if things get too overwhelming. We’re here to help. For more great articles be sure to check out our blog for more.