FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM FEBRUARY 20, 2020 • COPING WITH DEATH • THE QUEENS COURIER 49
coping with death
What to do when a death occurs
Th e death of a loved one can be an
In many cases, survivors are trying to
cope with their grief as well as arrange a
funeral service. It is enormously helpful
at this diffi cult time to rely on the advice
of a specially trained, licensed funeral
Most families will call on the same
funeral director they’ve turned to in the
past to help them arrange the funeral.
If there is no family funeral director,
it is a good idea to secure recommendations
Prescription for grief relief
“Oh to be a stone! To feel no grief!”
Th e Greek dramatist Euripides wrote
these words 400 years before the birth of
Christ. Grief is the price of love. When
we love someone and they die, we feel the
pain of grief. However, there are steps we
can take that may ease the stress and hasten
Here are some tips that can help the
bereaved on their journey through grief:
• Go back to work. If you had a job, return
as soon as possible. Work is a healthy
distraction from the pain of loss. If you
were not in the workplace, fi nd a job.
• Stay fi t. Exercise can help you both
physically and emotionally because
activity provides an outlet for stress.
• Enroll in a class. Not only does taking a
class provide you with a healthy diversion
from grief but it also can supply
practical knowledge for improving the
quality of your life.
• Be good to yourself. Do not hesitate to
treat yourself to something you truly
• Take some time to write down a list of
things that bring you pleasure such as
displaying a vase of fresh fl owers, gardening,
leisurely reading a newspaper,
etc. Th en, try to engage in at least one of
these activities daily.
• Volunteer your time. Another eff ective
way to get out of the house and provide
some grief relief is through volunteering.
Local community groups or museums
and historic sites always welcome
people who can spare some time to support
• Talk about your grief with a friend.
Expressing and exploring your feelings
with a trusted friend is one of the best
things you can do for yourself. Talking
helps relieve the pressure, brings you
perspective, and keeps you in touch
with others. Cry when you feel like it.
• Read practical articles and books about
grief. Reading about bereavement is an
excellent way to fi nd your way through
this diffi cult, uncharted experience.
• Guide your thinking. According to
Laurence G. Boldt, author of Zen Soup:
“’Th oughts,’ as Emerson put it, ‘rule
the world’ for the simple reason that
thoughts determine feelings and actions.
We can think ourselves into happiness
or a deep depression. We can think ourselves
into health or illness. If we only
take care of our thoughts, our feelings
and actions will take care of themselves.”
• Cultivate hope on a daily basis. When
the days seem too long, the nights endless
and hope a distant memory, rinse
your mind and fortify your spirit by
refl ecting on words of hope. Th ough
your journey through grief may seem
dark, the light of recovery will break
Most survivors will fi nd solace in these
suggestions. But if you feel that your grief
is overwhelming your life, ask your family
funeral director for the name of a local
bereavement counselor who can guide
you through resolving your feelings of
sadness and loss.
Material in this column was excerpted
(with permission) from an article authored
by Victor M. Parachin, a National Funeral
Directors Association grief educator and
Courtesy of NYS Funeral Directors
from friends or neighbors, or use
the NYSFDA Find A Funeral Home feature
to search a decedent’s neighborhood.
Th e fi rst step is to call the funeral home
for a conference to begin the process.
If a death occurs in another city, state
or country away from home, it is best to
call your hometown funeral director to
make the necessary arrangements.
Before making any arrangements,
determine if the deceased left instructions
about his or her funeral, or purchased
or prepaid funeral or cemetery
Funeral arrangements made prior to
death should be honored.
Preplanning one’s funeral is a growing
trend that ensures peace of mind
and relieves the individual’s loved ones
of a decision-making process at a stressful
Be sure to check if the deceased is entitled
to death benefi ts that would help
cover funeral costs.
Be aware that signing a contract for
funeral services will make you liable for
the cost of the funeral. Th e decedent’s
estate or available death benefi ts may
cover fi nal costs. It is important to check
with your family attorney.
By law, funeral directors must off er
accurate price information to people
making inquiries over the telephone
regarding funeral costs.
If you visit the funeral home, the funeral
director will give you a written, itemized
price list with all the specifi c goods
and services the funeral home off ers.
It is good to remember that it is entirely
up to the family to make the selections
for a personalized ritual to meet their
emotional needs and economic situation.
Aft er the arrangements have been
agreed upon, the funeral director will
provide a written statement showing the
total cost of each item selected.
In addition to removing the deceased
from the place of death and caring for the
body, the funeral director will arrange all
details of the funeral service which may
include the following:
• Contacting clergy and arranging an
appropriate time and place for the services
• Writing and distributing obituaries
• Contacting the cemetery/crematory
staff , fl orists, fraternal organizations
and memorial gift organizations
• Working cooperatively with organ
• Preparing all legal documents (death
certifi cates, burial transit/cremation
permits, medical examiner certifi cates,
reports of death, social security and
all Veterans Administration benefi ts,
and in some instances fi ling insurance
• Providing an emotionally and spiritually
comforting environment for visitation
and life celebration services
• Transporting family and friends in a
funeral procession to the place of fi nal
Th e funeral director provides quiet
support to the family during a time of
great emotional stress, and attends to all
aspects of the funeral service in a professional
and caring way.
Always remember that any questions
you may have may be directed to your
local funeral director.
Courtesy of NYS Funeral Directors