The epitaph or the final chapter to a well lived life is a funeral. Planning funerals can prove to be extremely overwhelming especially during an emotional crisis. Often it can become really difficult to take care of all the small details when grieving for the loss of a loved one. It is at this time when the family and friends of the bereaved family take control of the situation and plan the funeral service. The various practical and ceremonial tasks are delegated and distributed among the close friends and family members. The usual task list includes the following activities:

•    Answering the telephone and providing information on the funeral to friends and mourners.
•    Writing letters or emails to the distant relatives and acquaintances of the deceased, informing them about the death. A funeral or memorial program can also be drafted and sent along with the letter.
•    Setting up and managing a phone chain in order to notify people of the death. A phone chain is extremely useful in getting the notice out without having to assign one particular person to make all the phone calls.
•    Keeping a track of the senders of donations and funeral flowers in order to send out ‘thank you’ notes later.
•    Making arrangements for funeral flowers and other decorations at the church, the funeral home, or any other funeral location.
•    Choosing the coffin.
•    Helping to arrange for a charity for the purpose of receiving donations in lieu of flowers if required.
•    Finding a venue for the memorial service and also handling all the arrangements.
•    Getting the funeral order of service printed for the distribution at the service.
•    Arranging for food and other necessities to be delivered to the mourning family during the week before the funeral service as well as the week after it.
•    Writing the obituary in the memory of the deceased.
•    Providing the pastor with favourite poems, scriptures, anecdotal stories, etc. for describing the deceased.
•    Setting up a memory display table or photographs.
•    Babysitting if required.
•    Handling the logistics of services such as podium and microphone, chairs, police chaperone, musicians, parking, transportation, accommodation arrangement for out station guests and relatives, and honoraria and fees to the musicians and officiant.

Special tasks

Apart from these regular tasks, there are certain special tasks as well. Pallbearers are required to carry the coffin from the funeral vehicle into the service. Ushers are needed to help seat guests and speakers are required for short readings, verses, and poems.

By distributing all the tasks among the family members and close friends, planning and executing the funeral arrangements isn’t such an ordeal. It is an obvious fact for the bereaved family to be emotionally drained out if they have to carry it alone. Family and friends therefore play the most important role in the planning of a funeral service.