Support networks and resources
to help you through this time.
Grief is expressed in many ways and it can affect every part of your life; your emotions, thoughts and behaviour, beliefs, physical health, your sense of self and identity, and your relationships with others. Grief can leave you feeling sad, angry, anxious, shocked, regretful, relieved, overwhelmed, isolated, irritable or numb.
Grief has no set pattern. Everyone experiences grief differently. Some people may grieve for weeks and months, while others may describe their grief lasting for years. Through the process of grief, however, you begin to create new experiences and habits that work around your loss.
The first steps
The following is a helpful checklist of the necessary processes when someone close to you passes away. We’re here for you during this difficult time and can step you through the entire arrangement process. Please contact us for assistance.
Many people die in a hospital or nursing home – and if this is this case the staff will handle most of the formalities. Also any next of kin will be advised what steps need to be taken.
Most public and some private hospitals will have their own mortuary and the deceased can be kept there until the body is transferred by a funeral director if you choose to appoint one.
If someone you know dies at home it’s important to try to stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions in the stress of the moment.
If the person’s death was expected it’s likely that their doctor may have been in touch with you or other close friends or family to discuss what will happen, and you can call the doctor’s surgery to ask them visit as soon as possible. If the deceased doesn’t have a regular GP the police should be called instead.
A doctor is needed to examine the body to attempt to ascertain the cause of death and write a medical certificate. A funeral cannot be arranged until this certificate has been completed.
It’s important to note that a doctor’s certificate of cause of death shouldn’t be confused with an official death certificate which will need to be issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state.
If you know the deceased had wished to donate their organs it’s important to move quickly as the process of donation needs to happen soon after death.
If the person dies in a hospital the staff can check that the person is a registered donor via the Australian Organ Donor Register (The Donor Register lets authorised medical staff who have permission from the Australian Government check your donation information anywhere in Australia, 24 hours a day, seven days a week).
Consent is always needed before donation can go ahead, so it’s important if you are considering organ donation to discuss the decision with your next of kin and those close to you so the decision to donate is upheld.
If a family member or friend dies and you’re arranging their funeral, there are many things to consider and several steps to take. The first thing to check is the will, if there is one, as it may have directions for funeral arrangements.
And if you know that the deceased has already chosen a funeral director be sure to check that they haven’t entered into a pre-paid funeral agreement before making any new arrangements.
However, the will by itself isn’t sufficient to ensure funeral directions are followed (it may also not be read until after the funeral). It’s the duty of the deceased’s executor to arrange the funeral and in cases where there is no will the senior next-of-kin will be called on to provide personal details of the deceased within one month of the death, so that the death certificate can be registered.
According to the law the executor will take possession and custody of the body from the moment of death until it is buried or cremated. If there is no person willing to take responsibility, the funeral may be arranged through the government contractor.
Depending on your relationship with the deceased you may be eligible for government assistance.
The Department of Human Services has a detailed list of ways to get financial support.
All deaths in Australia must be registered with the state or territory’s registry of births, deaths and marriages where the death occurred, and this is usually done by the funeral director.
Once this is done a death certificate will be issued, which is needed in order to deal with the deceased person’s estate as well as to claim any insurance, superannuation as funeral benefits (if there are any) and to remove money from the person’s bank account if you didn’t have a joint bank account.
Who to notify
Once you have the death certificate you can set about notifying all the institutions and places the deceased has had dealings with. This can include government departments, banks, telecommunications and utilities providers, local councils and any memberships the deceased had.
The following checklist is by The Department of Human Services
Things to consider
In relation to the funeral service here are some things to consider before making arrangements. Our caring and dedicated team can hold your hand through the process in order to create a beautiful, unique service to celebrate the life of your loved one.
How to write a Euology
Writing and giving a eulogy is a way of saying farewell to someone who has died that, in a sense, brings the person to life in the minds of the audience. You don’t have to be a great writer or orator to deliver a heartfelt and meaningful eulogy that captures the essence of the deceased.
Start by thinking of the people you are addressing, as well as the person you are describing: the eulogy is about the person, but for the audience.
Who are they – family and close friends only or others too? There may be specific things to say or avoid.
How will they feel? Listening to you will obviously be highly emotional for those closest to the person, and some people will be in tears. But this doesn’t mean the eulogy should be mournful and depressing. People will be grateful if what you say is uplifting and inspiring.
What do they want to hear? Most people want to hear good things about a person who has died, and forget the bad things. But people don’t become saints just because they die. Your audience will want to feel you have captured the essence of the person – what makes them special. So be honest, but selective.
How long should it be? Even in the circumstances of a funeral, many people find it difficult to listen to one person talking for a long time, so a eulogy should really be over in a matter of minutes – just how many is a matter of individual choice.
A good eulogy doesn’t just tell the audience about the person – in a sense it brings the person to life in their imagination and gives them something by which to remember them. You can do this by telling stories about the person: the happy things, the funny things, the sad things, the unusual things that happened, which sum up their life. Talking about these and the enduring qualities which describe what they were really like as a person, will help you build a picture for the audience with your words.
You may have all the information you need, or you may want to speak to other people close to the person to get precise details and check your facts. You may have arranged the funeral as a friend of the deceased, not knowing too much about them and having no relatives to turn to for information, in which case you can base your eulogy on your impressions of them as a person. Once you have the material and have thought about it in relation to the people you are talking to, you are ready to start putting it together.
How serious or light-hearted do you want the eulogy to be? A good eulogy need not be uniformly sombre, just appropriate. Some eulogy-writers take a serious approach, others are bold enough to add humour. Used cautiously, humour can help convey the personality of the deceased and illustrate some of his or her endearing qualities.
The tone can also be partially determined by the way the deceased passed away. If you’re giving a eulogy about a teenager who met an untimely death, then your tone would be more serious than it would if you were giving a eulogy about a grandparent who happily lived to see his ninetieth birthday.
Even if most people in the audience know you, just state your name and give a few words that describe your relationship to the deceased. If it’s a really small crowd, you can start with, “For anybody who doesn’t know me…” If you’re related to the deceased, describe how; if not, say a few words about how and when you met.
Avoid clichés like “We are gathered here today…” and begin as you mean to go on, with something special to that person. After introducing yourself, it may be best to get straight to your point as everyone knows why there are there. For example: “There are many things for which she will be remembered, but what we will never forget is her sense of humour…
Though your eulogy doesn’t have to read like an obituary or give all of the basic information about the life of the deceased, you should touch on a few key points, such as what his family life was like, what his career achievements were, and what hobbies and interests mattered the most to him. You can find a way of mentioning this information while praising or remembering the deceased.
Write down the names of the family members especially closed to the deceased. You may forget their names on the big day because you’re overwhelmed by sadness, so it’s advisable to have them on hand.
Make sure you say something specific about the family life of the deceased — this would be very important to his family.
Give the eulogy a beginning, middle, and end. Avoid rambling or, conversely, speaking down to people. You may have a sterling vocabulary, but dumb it down for the masses just this once. The average eulogy is about 3-5 minutes long. That should be enough for you to give a meaningful speech about the deceased. Remember that less is more; you don’t want to try the patience of the audience during such a sad occasion.
Decide the best order for what you’re going to say:
- Chronological? This would suit the life-story approach, beginning with their childhood and working through the highlights of their life.
- Reverse chronological? Beginning with the present or recent past, then working backwards.
- Three-point plan? Decide three key things to say and the order for saying them.
- Theme? Choose one big thing and give examples, anecdotes, stories to explain and illustrate it.
Once you’re written the eulogy and feel fairly confident in what you’ve written, have some close friends or family members who know the deceased well read it to make sure that it’s not only accurate, but that it does well with capturing the essence of the deceased. They’ll also be able to see if you’ve said anything inappropriate, forgotten something important, stated incorrect facts or wrote anything that was confusing or difficult to understand.
If you intend to play a piece of music or give a reading after your eulogy, you can end by explaining why you’ve chosen it. If not, then a good way could be to end with a short sentence of farewell, maybe the very last thing you said to them – or wanted to say to them – before they died.
A Funeral notice is a very personal thing. You may wish to include one of the following verses or write your own.
Always so good, unselfish and kind
Few on this earth her equal we find.
Honorable and upright in all her ways,
Loyal and true to the end of her days.
You are not forgotten, dear mother.
As we loved you, so we miss you;
In our memory you are near.
Loved, remembered, longed for always,
Bringing many a silent tear.
Sunshine passes, shadows fall,
Love’s remembrance outlasts all;
And though the years be many or few,
They are filled with remembrance of you.
The depths of sorrow we cannot tell
Of the loss of one we loved so well;
And while she sleeps a peaceful sleep
Her memory we shall always keep.
Her smiling way and pleasant face
Are a pleasure to recall,
She had a kindly word for each
And she died beloved by all.
Some day we hope to meet her
Some day we know not when,
To clasp her hand in the better land
Never to part again.
Peacefully sleeping, resting at last,
The world’s weary trouble and trials are past.
In silence she suffered, in patience she bore,
Till God called her home to suffer no more.
Gone is the face we loved so dear,
Silent is the voice we loved to hear;
Too far away for sight or speech,
But not too far for thought to reach.
Sweet to remember him who was here,
Who, gone away, is just as dear.
The rolling stream of life rolls on,
But still the vacant chair,
Recalls the love, the voice, the smile
Of the one who once sat there.
Just when your life was brightest,
Just when your years were best,
You were called from this world of sorrow
To a home of eternal rest.