Things To Know Before The Funeral Service

Once you have entrusted your loved one to us, we will take care of them with respect and professionalism. They will be taken from their place of death to our specialist mortuary care facility until further instructions are provided by the family during the funeral arrangement meeting.

Mortuary care

We bathe and dress everyone in our care and most families like to provide us with items of their loved ones clothing for them to be dressed in. Our funeral directors will carry out your wishes carefully and respectfully but, if you would like to help us look after and dress your loved one, please let us know. We are able to provide an embalming service if necessary. Embalming delays the natural processes that take place after death and may be something to consider with advice from one of our funeral arrangers.

Spending time with the deceased

Some people find it helps to spend time with the person who has died and like to bring a small gift or photograph to put in the coffin. Others find it upsetting to see someone they loved who has died. It’s a personal choice and we can talk about this and guide you through the steps.

Telling others about the death

You may want to put an announcement online or in a local or national newspaper to advise people about the death and provide details of the funeral. We can assist you with drafting a death or funeral notice and will liaise with the newspaper company on your behalf.  This can include a service recording for those who are not able to attend, photo displays and a comprehensive set of funeral service details including location maps and times.

Writing a eulogy

Funerals serve to gather family and friends to celebrate a person’s life and while a eulogy is often seen as one of, if not the most important part of that celebration, they can be intimidating to write. The most important thing to remember when writing a eulogy is that you should always be honest and authentic about the person. You can approach the eulogy in a purely chronological way, that is a recounting of the life of the person from birth to death, however many people prefer to deliver a characterisation of the person, or an overall picture using anecdotes or stories about fond moments. Eulogies are different for everyone, but here are some points to keep in mind when writing one:

  • How did you first meet and become close?
  • Think of their achievements and their community involvements.
  • What did you love and admire about the person?
  • What did they do that made you smile – did they have a good sense of humour?
  • Did they travel or love being in nature? Or maybe they hated both.
  • Think of their family, work colleagues and friends. What did they like or dislike?
  • What was their favourite time of day or TV show?
  • How will this person be remembered?
  • What will you miss most?

For some people it can be even more intimidating to deliver the eulogy than to write it. Public speaking, especially under such emotional circumstances, is a common fear and feeling nervous before giving your eulogy is natural. Being chosen to eulogize the recently departed is a wonderful honour for which you should be proud. Your family and friends completely trust you to send your loved one off with the love and respect that they deserve, so have the same amount of trust in yourself that they have in you.

That being said, there are a few tips to follow that will help you get through the delivery of your eulogy:

  • Memorise and practice as much as you can in the days prior to the service
  • Choose a few family members or friends in the audience and if necessary make direct eye contact with them during the eulogy – this can help make them feel included, but also can help you to gather yourself
  • Take deep breaths and speak slowly to avoid rushing
  • Have access to both tissues and water
  • It is okay to show emotion. If the emotion gets to be too much, stop. Take a breath or two. Take another. Now try to regain your composure. If you are unable, defer to your back-up person.

When you feel that you have completed a good first draft, ask a friend or family member to read it over and suggest any changes – when you are happy with your speech, type or write it out in large print with space between the lines so it is easy to read on the day.