It’s easier said than done on the day of a funeral, but like many things we face in life, if we’re well prepared, there’s not much that can go wrong.
I’ve concluded that one of the major causes of stress, is the unfamiliarity with the situation, the surroundings and the protocols, so let me put your mind at rest. A funeral is anything and everything you want it to be, there are no rules so there is nothing to ‘get wrong’.
It’s also the case that everyone attending will be feeling the same and there’s a general understanding that grief is one of the most difficult emotions to cope with, so people will make allowances.
And don’t suffer in silence either; if you’re unsure about anything, then ask; in fact ask lots and lots of questions of everyone who is involved in helping you with the funeral arrangements, that way you’ll stay in control. The answer to lots of at the common questions are in my sister article to this one ‘your visit to the Crem’, which outlines what you can expect.
As far as other de-stressing advice is concerned, I don’t offer it as a medical professional, but as someone who has seen thousands of people turn up to hundreds of funerals, where some running themes emerge.
So, try to cover all the bases well before the day; lean heavily on your Funeral Director to make sure they support you in every aspect; make them earn their money. Same goes for whoever is conducting the service (and after you’ve read this, I hope it’s me you choose).
Keep good friends and family members close if you can; you’re there to not only undergo the funeral experience yourself, but to help each other through it, don’t be afraid to lean on them if you’re struggling.
Check and double check the arrangements. What time is the car picking you up, or what other way will you ensure getting there in plenty of time? The crematorium is an unfamiliar and often unwelcoming place, don’t be intimidated by this. Remember it is a functional building; what happens when you get inside and the doors close is up to you; never forget that it’s you who is footing the bill for being there, in essence you are the ‘customer’ and should be treated that way.
All too often, I see people trying to please everyone with the service they produce. If you’re the one who is organising the funeral, it’s a pretty good guess that you were closest to whoever has died. With that in mind, you will be better placed than anyone to fulfil their wishes and to produce a service that’s right for you. You’re not there to gain everyone’s approval, so follow your instincts and give the person you love, the send off they really deserve, it’s your one chance to get it right and it’s the last thing you’ll ever do for them. Be brave.