When a death has occurred, it can be a time of confusion, feelings of loss and grief, and commemoration of the deceased. Everyone has probably been to a funeral at some point in his or her life. If the funeral was not preplanned, things can be hectic. To get through the funeral, usually, there are certain steps generally referred to as the funeral process.
1. First Call. Once the deceased is found, you must make what is known as the First Call. The First Call goes to the Funeral Director who will transport the deceased's body to a care facility or funeral home. Other people who may make the First Call could be the attending physician, a coroner, or the law enforcement.
2. Inform loved ones, trusted friends, your selected Funeral Director, law enforcement, employers and whomever else you feel is necessary to call.
3. Funeral Process. If the funeral process is not stipulated in the Will, or preplanned, you must make the funeral decisions. There are many choices to make:
a. Which Funeral Director to use?
b. Which funeral home to use?
c. Is cremation a good option, or should the deceased be buried?
d. If buried, should it be a casket or crypt?
e. How should the ceremony be?
Funeral ceremonies vary in so many ways, but the most traditional in America is in a Christian Church or at the burial site. Others are more personalized.
Some questions to ask about the funeral and service itself:
1. Where will the ceremony be located?
2. Will the deceased be embalmed? (Which is forbidden in the Jewish Tradition)
3. What would you choose to memorialize the deceased? What readings, poems, tributes?
4. Who will participate in the procession? Clergy? Rabbis? Pallbearers? Musicians?
5. Will there be a procession? In a hearse? In limousines?
6. Will it be a traditional military funeral?
7. Will it be an open or closed casket?
8. Will the deceased's body be donated to science?
9. If cremated, where will the deceased go (Scattered in the forest or ocean)?
While all of these questions can be overwhelming at the time, it is best either to preplan, to have a trusted friend or loved one help make decisions, to make informed choices by reading the literature online, or discussing all of the different options with a trusted Funeral Director.
The viewing is often an important service in a funeral. You may choose to have an open or closed casket. In an open viewing, viewers may look and touch the deceased. This behavior is forbidden in the Jewish Tradition, but in the Christian Tradition, it is seen as a way to grieve and mourn. The deceased is usually made presentable for the viewers. And if it is a closed casket, a photo or photo-display helps in the grieving process.
After you have determined what the funeral process will be, chosen the funeral director, casket, method of burial, etc., some of the last things you may do are make pamphlets, arrange flowers, ask for donations, write eulogies, and eventually write an obituary for the local newspaper.