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Beyond Flowers: How Friends Can Help You After Your Loved One's Death

When a loved one passes away, many family members and friends often ask how they can help. These individuals usually are not sure what they can do for you besides giving flowers and cards, and you may not be able to tell them how to properly help you either.

To help you find the words, here are ten ideas for how friends can truly help you after you’ve lost a loved one.

1. Bring Food

When you're dealing with funeral arrangements, you don't have time to cook. Ask one caring friend to organize a meal train. Your friends can sign up to bring meals for your family on different days.

2. Bring Postage Supplies

You'll need to write many thank you notes after the funeral. Ask a friend to pick up some postage supplies, such as envelopes, stamps, and thank you cards.

3. Purchase Household Supplies

As the funeral approaches, you'll likely have many family members staying with you. Thus, you'll need more household supplies like toilet paper, paper towels, and garbage bags. You'll also benefit from paper plates and plastic utensils.

4. Offer Childcare

When you're busy planning the funeral, your children's needs still need to be met. Ask trustworthy friends if they can pick up your children from school or watch them for a few hours.

5. Come Over and Talk

Maybe what you need most right now is a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. When a close friend asks you what they can do, there's no shame in asking them to come over and talk with you. Your friends probably already want to, but feel awkward about stopping by when they're not sure whether you're ready to talk.

6. Help Clean

Perhaps you have friends and family coming in town for the funeral, and your house is in complete disarray. A few friends can come over and whip your home into shape.

7. Donate to Charity

If you don't want any more flowers or cards but your friends still want to give you a gift, select your departed loved one's favorite charity and ask well-wishers to donate to the charity in your loved-one’s name.

8. Support Out-of-Town Guests

You're likely too busy to help all your family members who are visiting for the funeral, so ask a friend if they can give rides to and from the airport or book a hotel. Some friends may even offer their home for guests to stay in.

9. Help Planning the Funeral

You can greatly decrease your stress by utilizing your friends' specific talents to help you with the funeral planning. If you have a friend who is a chef, for instance, ask him or her to take charge of planning refreshments or a family meal. If you have a musical friend, he or she could choose the musical selections at the funeral. An artistic or word-loving friend could create a written program.

You might also appreciate support as you meet with the funeral home director or select a casket or headstone. Have a friend come with you to appointments and take notes.

10. Raise Money for the Funeral

Burying your loved one can cost thousands of dollars. If a friend offers to donate money for funeral costs, ask him or her to also start an online fundraiser that other friends can donate to.

Consider placing all of the tasks above on an online spreadsheet and sharing it with your friends through email. Your friends can then see what's already been done and sign up for tasks that are still needed.

Once your friends know how they can help, you can truly focus on planning a beautiful funeral and burial for your loved one. For quality, affordable products and services like caskets, headstones, and burial vaults, call Elmwood Casket Company.