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Who's Your Best Advocate?


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When a person passes from this earth it is often thought that the family should step up and make the hard decisions such as place of burial, funeral or cremation; however many families don't have the support system needed to make such big decisions and that is when an advocate is such a big help.

So if this process seems too overwhelming families may ask for help from their clergy, friends, and even a family therapist can help. When shock of the death is all too consuming this would be a great time to call in for help, however you do have time. If you can manage to have the support of many family members involved in the planning of a memorial service or funeral it can provide an opportunity for the family to deal with the reality of the death and to comfort one another and those in the community.

People have a variety of emotions and experiences with death and each situation needs to be handled differently. There are so many physical and emotional responses in the grief process, and although the family has been told by medical team that their patient- your family member is going to die quickly and you need to prepare; it may still come as a big shock when the day does indeed arrive.

A memorial service is where the body is not present and usually involves just immediate family. Many memorial services are planned by the family and does not involve a funeral director.

When a person has been given notice that their health is failing and death is for certain and if he/she is up to it they may have some final words or things that he/she would like to see accomplished.

When working with your advocate, make sure you agree on a date for the services before contacting family from out of state. Your advocate will then verify the time and date with the location you chose to have services at. If you are doing a private service your advocate will still have to verify times and permission especially if it is on public property such as a golf course, public park...

When the advocate is working on the service they may have suggestions but the ultimate program is of your choice and part of that program may or may not provide a time for the body to shown at what is called a viewing. The viewing can be public or private, but either way some find by going to see the body it allows them a way for closer and to say goodbye.

What did your loved one love? Music, speakers, photos, videos, memories of that person can all be shared at a service of your choosing. If the service is for a teenager you may want to include school memorabilia and or invite teachers, peers from school to the service.

Unfortunately there are many families that either live too far apart or have family issues that can create problems during the planning of such events. Disagreements over decisions of whom should be in charge or what should be done can become unpleasant and very complicated. If the surviving spouse, if legally married at the time of death, he/she has the right to make relevant decisions. If disagreements still arise one can look in the yellow pages under mediators or family counseling and find a mediator, family therapist, or even clergy to be of assistance.

It is always too early to leave this earth however some are in pain and or great illness that makes the passing a bit of a relief those who know of their suffering. Others are taken in their sleep, by accident, or of not fault or demise of their own. However the circumstance it is always hard, the perpetrations you put into the final farewell can be your solace. It doesn't have to cost allot of money just take the time to plan, and work with other family members the best you can.
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