The overwhelming feelings of despair, disbelief, shock, and numbness caused by the passing of a loved one cannot be conveyed by mere words. Even when the death is expected, the pain that loss brings can still be devastating. In truth, no one is completely prepared for the death of someone close to their heart.
During this difficult time, there are decisions to be made immediately, arrangements to be coordinated, and a lot of things to be considered for your loved one’s final farewell. We understand how this may feel overwhelming, especially with the grief you’re feeling over the loss. Please know that we are here to help and support you.
On this page, we’ve put together helpful information to guide you through this process.
NOTIFY PROPER AUTHORITIES
If your loved one passes away while in a health care facility — such as a nursing home or a hospital — staff at the facility will contact you and notify appropriate persons.
When a hospice program is caring for your loved one at a residence or elsewhere, call the hospice first when death occurs. Most hospice personnel are available 24/7 and often respond to the residence or facility to guide you and to make the proper notifications.
If there is no hospice program engaged and the death did not occur inside of a health care facility call the local law enforcement agency (police or sheriff). They will investigate the circumstances of the death and notify appropriate personnel.
Funeral home staff are also available 24/7 to respond to the place of death after hospice, facility staff or law enforcement have completed their work.
CALL THE FUNERAL HOME
Our caring funeral directors can assist you with your funeral arrangements. We will collect information from you in order to facilitate the transfer of your loved one’s remains to our facility. You would also be asked if the deceased has made pre-arrangements and whether or not you’d like for him/her to be embalmed. While of course you can ask any questions you have in your mind during this call, note that once you visit the funeral home, we can discuss the arrangements in greater detail.
During this call, you’ll also be informed about the things that you need to bring with you like the clothes your deceased loved one will use for the burial. Feel free to call us whenever you feel the need to. Remember that we are here to listen to you, help you, and guide you during this difficult and trying time.
MEET THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR/STAFF
On your first meeting with us, we will discuss the arrangements for your loved one’s burial. You will be shown a list of our packages/services so you can decide what suits your family’s preferences and budget. You will be asked whether you’d prefer burial or cremation arrangements and optionally you would select a casket, schedule a time and date for the services, decide on the location of the burial, draft an obituary notice, arrange for vehicle services, and select pallbearers.
We would also use this opportunity to inquire about your loved one for us to have a better understanding of the person the services will honor. It will be extremely helpful if you can bring some memorabilia — photos, videos, treasured items, letters — that would give us a clearer picture on how you envision paying tribute to your loved one.
THE DEATH CERTIFICATE
A death certificate is a legal document indicating the cause of death, including other vital statistics pertaining to the deceased, certified by the attending physician or medical examiner. The funeral director will file the death certificate as required by law and obtain certified copies for the person making arrangements. In the future additional certified copies can be obtained by qualified family members from most health department offices in Virginia.
These certified copies are important when gaining access to bank accounts and safety deposit boxes, claiming for benefits due to the family (like the Veteran’s benefits or insurance claims), and transferring or selling ownership of properties.