Planning a Funeral Mass

Planning the Funeral of a Loved One

The death of a loved one can be one of life's most difficult moments. The depth of our grief is determined by the closeness of our relationship to the person who died and to the circumstances surrounding the death.

Grieving is a process that takes time. We do not get over a loved one's death; rather, we integrate his/her memory into our lives and become reconciled to life without that person.

Our trust in God teaches and informs us that life is not taken away, it is changed.

As Catholic Christians we have a set of rituals to help orient us and get us through the initial days of loss.  We can better manage our loss by placing it into the context of religious faith; this is a reverential way to complete the journey of the deceased.

A Christian Funeral

The funeral is often the first public experience of our loss; for some it is the beginning of the mourning process. The Catholic community has an order or path for walking the difficult days after a loved one’s death: the Vigil (wake), the Funeral Mass and Rite of Committal. Each prayerful stop on this path marks a significant moment of grieving, support, and hope.

The Vigil

The Vigil, formerly called the wake, is the principal rite celebrated by the Christian community following the death of a loved one before the funeral Mass. Most often in our area, the Vigil takes place in the funeral home. It is a time for friends, neighbors and members of the parish to show concern for the family of the deceased by gathering for prayer.

Pictures of the deceased loved one can be displayed, favorite songs can be played, and family and friends can offer words of remembrance. A priest, deacon, or lay person may lead these prayers.

The Funeral Mass

At the funeral Mass, family and friends of the deceased gather to give thanks, to commend the deceased to God’s tender mercy, and to console one another. The family is encouraged to participate in the funeral liturgy in a number of ways. This participation invites all to express their sorrow in these religious rituals and to continue the mourning process. To assist you with planning the Mass, we have provided a Planning Sheet.

The Funeral Mass begins when the priest greets the family and others who have accompanied the coffin at the door of the church. The priest sprinkles the coffin with holy water in remembrance of the deceased person's initiation and first acceptance into the community of faith.

The Funeral Pall

The coffin is completely covered with a white funeral pall. This white cloth reminds us that the deceased was given the promise of eternal life at baptism. Now at death, he/she prepares to enter into eternal life. Family or friends may place the pall on the casket.

If a sacred symbol (crucifix or bible) is to be placed on the coffin, it is carried in the procession and is placed of the coffin by a family member, friend, or the priest.

The Liturgy of the Word

The Word of God brings hope and consolation. There are two or three readings from the Bible at the Funeral Mass. The first reading is from the Old Testament and the second is from the New Testament. The Family is encouraged to choose the first two readings and the Psalm. Family or friends, if they are composed and able, are invited to do these readings.

The cantor generally sings the Psalm between these two readings. The priest or deacon proclaims the Gospel, the third reading, taken from the New Testament and preaches a homily based on the Scripture readings.

Offertory Gifts

Family members are invited to carry up the gifts of bread and wine. Some families invite children and grandchildren to participate in the offertory procession.


At the conclusion of the Mass, before leaving the church, a farewell prayer is said. It is permissible at this time for one family member or friend to say a few words in remembrance of the deceased loved one. Kindly speak to the priest before the funeral.

We offer several suggestions for the speaker:

  • Prepare and write out remarks in advance
  • Keep remarks to 3 to 5 minutes
  • Represent the entire family in the remarks (pronouns such as we and us are   better than I, me, etc.)
  • Include references to faith, God, prayer, etc. in the life of the deceased loved one

Music Selection

Music is an integral part of worship during funeral liturgies and can be most helpful in grieving. Secular music is not appropriate for the Funeral Mass, but may be suitable for the Vigil Service, Committal or Reception following the Funeral.

Funeral Program

If you would like help in planning and assembling a funeral program, please contact us.

The Rite of Committal

The funeral rites conclude with the Rite of Committal, which is the final act of the community of faith in caring for the body of its deceased member. The Rite of Committal is an expression of the connection that exists between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven: the deceased passes with the farewell prayers of the community of believers into the welcoming company of those who already see God face to face. Generally, the Rite of Committal takes place at the grave.

Donations in Memory of

Often family or friends wish to remember the person who has died by making a memorial contribution to a Church. Please speak to a parish staff person and let the funeral director know if you would like to have this information included in the newspaper announcement. All donors will receive acknowledgments.

Form Downloads

These forms are all in PDF format which allows you to fill in the information online and then print at your local printer. You would then bring these forms with you during the arrangement conference.

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat reader on your computer system, CLICK HERE to easily download and install the software for FREE.

Authorization to Transport Form

St. Michael Cemetery Cremation Authorization Form

Newton Cemetery Cremation Authorization Form


It is our recommendation to use local brick-and-mortar florists rather than internet based or ftd, Tela Flora florists.

Please avoid ordering "Sprays" and hanging floral arrangements."

Needham Florist - 1091 Great Plain Ave., Needham, MA - 781-449-8484

The Centerpiece Flower Shop - 2051 Centre St. West Roxbury - 617-323-6262

Exotic Flowers - 609 American Legion Hwy., Boston, MA - 617-942-4803

Courtyard Florist - 11 Eastern Ave., Dedham, MA - 781-461-0032

Jack Davis Florist - 2097 Centre St., West Roxbury, MA - 617-323-4237

Paul's Flowers - 54 Plain Street Millis, MA - 508-376-4161


Military Funeral Honors Frequently Asked Questions

Information on Military Honors, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, and answers to frequently asked questions are at the Military Funeral Honors web site. The web site contains up-to-date information and direct links to other related web sites.

1. What is Military Funeral Honors?

The basic Military Funeral Honors ceremony consists of the folding and presentation of the United States flag to the veteran's family and the playing of Taps. The ceremony is performed by a funeral honors detail consisting of at least two members of the Armed Forces. At least one of the funeral honors detail will be from the Armed Force in which the deceased veteran served. Taps may be played by a bugler or, if a bugler is not available, by using a quality recorded version. This basic ceremony will be provided to every eligible veteran, when requested. Depending upon the culture and traditions of the Military Service, additional personnel or other elements of funeral honors may be added.

In addition, local Veterans Service Organizations (VSO), who have historically performed Military Funeral Honors, and other authorized organization may complement the Military Funeral Honors detail. For example, the VSOs might augment the ceremony by providing a firing party. This voluntary assistance would be in addition to the services provided by the Military Funeral Honors detail. If there is a VSO or authorized organization in the area that might have an interest in assisting in the Military Funeral Honors ceremony, and if desired by the family, the funeral director should notify the Military Service point of contact.

2. How do I establish veteran eligibility?

The preferred method is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. If the DD Form 214 is not available, any discharge document showing other than dishonorable service can be used. The DD 214 may be obtained by filling out a Standard Form 180 and sending it to:

National Personnel Records Center (NPRC)
9700 Page Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63132

The standard Form 180 may be obtained from the National Records Center or via the Internet at:

3. Who is eligible for a burial flag

The VA establishes eligibility. Your funeral director will assist you in obtaining a flag. More information is available at:

4. What is a Presidential Memorial Certificate? Who is eligible to receive this certificate? How does the family obtain this certificate?

This is a parchment certificate with a calligraphic inscription expressing the nation s grateful recognition of an honorably discharged, deceased veteran's service in the Armed Forces. The veteran's name is inscribed and the certificate bears the signature of the President.

All veterans are eligible to receive this certificate. The family may request a Presidential Memorial Certificate either in person at any VA regional office or by U.S. mail. Requests cannot be sent via email. There is no form to fill out when requesting this certificate. If requesting by mail, a return address and a copy of the veterans's discharge documents must be enclosed. Send requests to:

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
National Cemetery Administration (403A)
810 Vermont Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20420
More information is available at:
5. How do I request a grave marker?

Our Funeral Directors will assist you or if you have questions about grave markers, family members can write to the VA at:

Memorial Programs Service (403)
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20420
More information is available at: and here
6. To whom can I write to express comments or concerns about the Military Funeral Honors program?

You may write to:

Military Funeral Honors
9504 IH 35 North, Suite 320
San Antonio, TX 78233-663


Social Security

A Message from Social Security

Your funeral director is helping the Social Security office by giving you this information about Social Security benefits. If the deceased was receiving benefits, you need to contact us to report the death. If you think you may be eligible for survivors benefits, you should contact us to apply.

How Social Security helps families

Social Security survivors benefits help ease the financial burden that follows a worker's death. Almost all children under age 18 will get monthly benefits if a working parent dies. Other family members may be eligible for benefits, too. Anyone who has worked and paid Social Security (FICA) taxes has been earning Social Security benefits for his or her family. The amount of work needed to pay survivors benefits depends on the worker's age at the time of death. It may be as little as 1-1/2 years for a young worker. No one needs more than 10 years.

Who can get survivors benefits?

Here is a list of family members who usually can get benefits:

  • Widows and widowers age 60 or older.
  • Widows and widowers at any age if caring for the deceased s children who are under age 16 or disabled.
  • Divorced wives and husbands age 60 or older, if married to the deceased 10 years or more.
  • Widows, Widowers, Divorced wives and divorced husbands age 50 or older, if they are disabled.
  • Children up to age 18.
  • Children age 18-19, if the attend elementary or high school full time.
  • Children over age 18, if they become disabled before age 22.
  • The deceased worker s parents age 62 or older,if they were being supported by the worker.
A special one-time payment

In addition to the monthly benefits for family members, a one-time payment of $255 can be paid to a spouse who was living with the worker at the time of death. If there is none, it can be paid to:

  • A spouse who is eligible for benefits.
  • A child or children eligible for benefits.
  • This payment cannot be made if there is no eligible spouse or child.
How to apply for benefits

You can apply for benefits by telephone or by going to any Social Security office.

You may need some of the documents shown on the list below. But don t delay your application because you don t have all the information. If you don t have a document you need, Social Security can help you get it.

Information Needed
  • Your Social Security number and the deceased worker s Social Security number.
  • A death certificate. (Generally, the funeral director provides a statement that can be used for this purpose.
  • Proof of the deceased worker s earnings for last year (W-2 forms or self-employment tax return).
  • Your birth certificate.
  • A marriage certificate, if you are applying for benefits as a widow, widower, divorced wife, or divorced husband.
  • A divorce decree, if you are applying for benefits as a divorced wife or husband.
  • Childrens birth certificates and Social Security numbers, if applying for children s benefits.
  • Your checking or savings account information, if you want direct deposit of your benefits.
  • You will need to submit original documents or copies certified by the issuing office.

You can mail or bring them to the office. Social Security will make photocopies and return your documents.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you are 65 or older, disabled, or blind, ask the Social Security representative about supplemental security Income (SSI) checks for people with limited income and resources. If you receive SSI, you may also qualify for Medicaid, food stamps, and other social services.

For More Information
Social Security Online
Visit the Social Security Site

For more information, write or visit any Social Security office, or phone the toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. You can speak to a representative weekdays 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A reminder

If the deceased was receiving Social Security benefits, any checks which arrive after death will need to be returned to the Social Security office. If Social Security checks were being directly deposited into a bank account, the bank needs to be notified of the death, too.


Funeral Etiquette

If you are someone who has to plan a funeral due to the loss of a loved one, or perhaps you are attending a service for a family member or friend, here are some explanations of terms and situations you may find yourself having to address.

The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect, grief and appreciation for a life that has been lived. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis the death presents. Through the funeral the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss. This information has been prepared as a convenient reference for modern funeral practices and customs.

The Funeral Service

The type of service conducted for the deceased is specified by the family. Funeral directors are trained to assist families in arranging whatever type of service they desire. The service, held either at a place of worship or at the funeral home with the deceased present, varies in ritual according to denomination. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgement of friendship and support. It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held.

Private Service

This service is by invitation only and may be held at a place of worship, a funeral home or a family home. Usually, selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. Often public visitation is held, condolences are sent, and the body is viewed.

Memorial Service

A memorial service is a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Some families prefer public visitations followed by a private or graveside service with a memorial service later at the church or funeral home.


Friends, relatives, church members or business associates may be asked to serve as pallbearers. The funeral director will secure pallbearers if requested to do so by the family.

Honorary Pallbearers

When the deceased has been active in political, business, church or civic circles, it may be appropriate for the family to request close associates of the deceased to serve as honorary pallbearers. They do not actively carry the casket.


A eulogy may be given by a member of the family, clergy, a close personal friend or a business associate of the deceased. The eulogy is not to be lengthy, but should offer praise and commendation and reflect the life of the person who has died.


Wearing colorful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends. Persons attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste so as to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion.

Funeral Procession / Cortege

When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives may accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of worship. The funeral director can advise you of the traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession.


The time of death is a very confusing time for family members. No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family.


Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person's continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.

Mass Cards

Mass cards can be sent either by Catholic or non-Catholic friends. The offering of prayers is a valued expression of sympathy to a Catholic family. A card indicating that a Mass for the deceased has been arranged may be obtained from any Catholic parish. In some areas it is possible to obtain Mass cards at the funeral home. The Mass offering card or envelope is given to the family as an indication of understanding, faith and compassion. Make sure that your name and address is legible and that you list your postal code. This will make it easier for the family to acknowledge your gift.

Memorial Donations

A memorial contribution, to a specific cause or charity, can be appreciated as flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available, however the family may have expressed a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects. If recognized as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes. Your funeral director is familiar with them and can explain each option, as well as furnish the donor with "In Memoriam" cards, which are given to the family.

Sympathy Cards

Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.

Personal Note

A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as "I'm sorry to learn of your personal loss" is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.

Telephone Calls

Speaking to a family member gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them feel you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don't hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased. Be a good listener. Sending a telegram expressing your sympathy is also appropriate.


Your presence at the visitation demonstrates that although someone has died, friends still remain. Your presence is an eloquent statement that you care.

Visitation provides a time and place for friends to offer their expression of sorrow and sympathy, rather than awkwardly approaching the subject at the office, supermarket or social activities. The obituary/death notice will designate the hours of visitation when the family will be present and will also designate the times when special services such as lodge services or prayer services may be held. Persons may call at the funeral home at any time during suggested hours of the day or evening to pay respects, even though the family is not present. Friends and relatives are requested to sign the register book. A person's full name should be listed e.g. "Mrs. John Doe". If the person is a business associate, it is proper to list their affiliation as the family may not be familiar with their relationship to the deceased.

Friends should use their own judgement on how long they should remain at the funeral home or place of visitation. If they feel their presence is needed, they should offer to stay.

When the funeral service is over, the survivors often feel very alone in dealing with their feelings. It is important that they know you are still there. Keep in touch.

Sympathy Expressions

When a person calls at the funeral home, sympathy can be expressed by clasping hands, an embrace, or a simple statement of condolence, such as:

"I'm sorry."
"My sympathy to you."
"It was good to know John."
"John was a fine person and a friend of mine. He will be missed."
"My sympathy to your mother."
The family member in return may say:"Thanks for coming."
"John talked about you often."
"I didn't realize so many people cared."
"Come see me when you can."

Encourage the bereaved to express their feelings and thoughts, but don't overwhelm them.


The family should acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts also should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers. The funeral director may have available printed acknowledgement cards which can be used by the family. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgment card expressing appreciation for a contribution or personal service received. The note can be short, such as:

"Thank you for the beautiful roses. The arrangement was lovely."
"The food you sent was so enjoyed by our family. Your kindness is deeply appreciated."

In some communities it is a practice to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with this.

Children at Funerals

At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. The funeral director can advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and can provide you with additional information and literature.

Grief Recovery

It is healthy to recognize death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Your local funeral director can help family and friends locate available resources and grief recovery programs in your area.

Help a Grieving Friend

Be a listener

Grieving people often find they need to talk about what's happened and how they feel about it. You don't have to fix their grief or cheer them up, but you can share the load just by being there to listen.

It's all right to cry

There's no need to say "be brave" or "be strong." Crying helps emotions to be released so they won't get bottled up. To give permission for tears, anger or any other emotions will let your friend know you aren't uncomfortable with their grief.

Stay in touch

Remember that grief doesn't go away in a few short weeks. Even one year may not be long enough to adjust to changes in your life. So, a friend who calls in 3, 6, or 12 months time may be one of the few who still asks how things are going. Special days like birthdays or Christmas may be just the time to pick up the phone and say, "I was thinking of you today."

Charitable Organizations

ALS Assoc. 7 Lincoln St. Wakefield 01880

Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverley Oaks Road, Waltham, MA 02452

American Cancer Society, 30 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701

American Civil Liberties Union of Mass 99 Chauncey St. Suite 310, Boston 02111

American Diabetes Assoc., PO Box 31160, Hartford, CT. 06150

American Kidney Fund 6110 Execuative Blvd. Rockville Md. 20852

American Liver Foundation 246 Walnut St. Newton 02160

American Lung Association, 460 Totten Pond Road, Suite 400, Waltham, MA 02451

American Diabetes Association, 1 Bromfield St., Boston, MA 02108

American Heart Assoc., PO Box 417005, Boston, MA 02241-7005

American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund, American Red Cross 285 Columbus Avenue Boston, MA 02116

Arthritis Foundation 29 Crafts St. Newton 02458

Boston Shriners Hospital 51 Blossom St. Boston, MA 02114, 617-722-3000 Fax 617-523-1684

Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts 30 Lyman Street, Suite 10, Westborough, MA 01581 508-475-0032

Brain Tumor Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, 100 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114

Cancer Center of Boston, 125 Parker Hill Ave., Boston, 02120

Cancer Research, c/o American Cancer Society, 1115 West Chestnut St., Brockton MA 02130

Carroll Center for the Blind 770 Centre St. Newton 02158

Children's Hospital, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston MA 02115

Chrones & Colitis Foundation NE Chapter 280 Hillside Ave Needham 02494

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 220 N. Main St. Natick 01760

Dana/Farber's Jimmy Fund Tribute Program, 1 Harvard St., Brookline MA 02146-9795

Dana-Farber Cancer Research Institute, 44 Binney St., Boston, MA 02215

Epilepsy Foundation, 4351 Garden City Drive, Landover MD 20785

Fisher House Boston, PO Box 230, South Walpole MA 02071

Home for Little Wanderers, 161 South Huntington Ave., Boston 02130

Joslin Diabetes Center, One Joslin Place Boston, MA 02215

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 9 Erie Drive Suite 101, Natick, MA 01760

Lupus Foundation of America Inc, P. O. Box 631047, Baltimore, MD 21263-1047

MA Lions Eye Research Fund Inc., P.O. Box 6050, New Bedford, MA 02742-6050

MA SIDS Center , Boston Medical Center , 1 BMC Place, Boston 02118

Make a Wish Foundation, One Bulfinch Place 2nd FL Boston, MA 02114

March of Dimes, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue White Plains, NY 10605

Mass General Hospital Development Office, 100 Charles River Plaza, Suite 600 Boston 02114

Multiple Sclerosis Society, Central New England First Chapter, 101A First Avenue, Suite 6, Waltham, MA 02451

N.E. Home for Little Wanderers, 271 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02115

National Breast Cancer Foundation, One Hanover Park 16633 N. Dallas Pkwy, Suite 600 Addison TX 75001

New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans 17 Court St. Boston, MA 02108

Oncology Dept. at Lahey Clinic, 41 Mall Rd. Burlington, MA 01803

Ronald MacDonald House, 229 Kent St. Brookline MA 02446

Rosies Place, 889 Harrison Ave Boston 02118

Salvation Army 6 Baxter St. Quincy, MA 02169-6900

Shriners Hospital for Children, 51 Blossom St., Boston, MA 02114

Special Olympics, 450 Maple St., Danvers, MA 01923

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN 38105-1905

St. Vincent DePaul Society, 18 Canton St. Stoughton MA 02072













Grief is a normal response to any loss and affects the grieving person physically, emotionally, and spiritually often causing the person to think and act in ways different from their previous "normal" behavior.

You may have heard something to the effect of "just give it time and you will eventually feel better. Time is necessary to the healing process, but it is only one aspect of effective grieving.

In addition to taking time, grief requires intentional "work" by the bereaved in order to achieve a healthy outcome from the process. Similar to someone taking action to seek medical help to set a broken leg so that it might heal properly, the bereaved must take action to move through grief.

The intentional "work" of grief can be summarized in five basic tasks, which involve specific behaviors (things to do to help yourself work through grief). These five basic tasks facing a bereaved person are:

  • Recognize and accept that your loved one has died and is unable to return.
  • Although this task may sound obvious, many bereaved have a difficult time accepting the reality of a loved one’s death and facing the harsh fact that the person is not coming back.
  • Experience all the emotions associated with the death of your loved one. Rather than attempting to suppress emotions only to have them come to expression later in more detrimental ways, a bereaved person achieves a healthier state more quickly by giving full expression to all the emotions they are experiencing (as long as they do not express themselves in destructive ways).
  • Identify, summarize, and find a place to store memories of the deceased person which will honor the memories of that person and make room for the bereaved to eventually move on to a new volume in their life. Resolution of grief never means forgetting the loved one. Memories are precious possessions, but appropriate memories do not control our emotions on a daily basis. We are free to live life fully again in the present and remember the deceased when we chose to.
  • Identify who you are now, independent of your prior connection with the deceased person. Basically we are all individuals – that is how we were born and that is how we die. In order to truly live a full and complete life, especially following the death of a loved one, we must once again (re)discover who we are individually and independent of the relationship we had with the deceased.
  • Reinvest in life as an individual without the deceased person. We must learn to accept that all of life is marked by change. Each day calls for a new form of investment. A bereaved person has experienced a deep trauma, but eventually this can be seen as an opportunity to "begin again" in a new and fresh way.

The grieving process usually takes at least one year in order to experience all the "firsts". The grief process may take as long as two or three years, but the intensity of the emotional pain should decrease during that period of time. It is important not to make important decisions too quickly because you will feel differently about things as you move through the grief process.

A sudden or unexpected death may cause significant initial shock or numbness and may also lengthen the grieving process.

Knowing in some way that a person is going to die (anticipating the death) does not reduce the intensity of the grief or pain. Anticipating the death may help motivate you to engage in some planning (e.g., concerning financial, funeral, and relationships matters) which might make the grief process less cumbersome.

The grieving process is also affected by many other factors, including the personalities of the people involved, the type of relationship someone had with the deceased, and the present circumstances of one s life (e.g., age, family structures, finances, health, employment, children, etc.).

A person can "resolve" their grief and move again into a happy, healthy and satisfying life. "Resolution" means that the emotional pain of the death no longer controls your day to day activities and that you are once again able to develop a perspective on your life which is positive and future-oriented. Moments may arise which trigger a temporary emotional response to the death in the same way that emotions are associated with other past events in our lives, but resolved grief means that you have been able to (re)construct a new "normal" lifestyle which is fulfilling and purposeful without holding on to the deceased person.

©Susan J. Zonnebelt-Smeenge and Robert C. DeVries, 2000. Authors of Getting to the Other Side of Grief: Overcoming the Loss of a Spouse (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company, 1998) ISBN: 0-8010-5821-X


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