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Help & Counseling.
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When Someone Dies: What To Do Next?

If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, there may be many things you need to think about. To help you navigate this difficult time, we've put together a guide on what to do in the first few days and months after your death.

What are the first steps when someone dies?

  • Obtain a medical certificate - if your loved one died in the hospital, the hospital will normally issue the certificate for you, otherwise you should speak to your GP about obtaining this important document.

  • Register the death - this must be done within 5 days of the death, and will provide you with the necessary paperwork to organize a funeral. For more information on how to register a death.

  • Arrange the funeral - once you have selected your funeral director to help you plan the funeral, you can contact us via phone, email or visit the funeral home where one of Estevez e silva's expert planners will discuss your needs with you . It's worth noting that you can start funeral arrangements while waiting for any legal paperwork.

  • Notify people - If you are the spouse or civil partner of the person who died, you will need to let your friends and family know about the death. This part is never easy, but it can help to have support when grieving.

  • Notify relevant organizations - there are several organizations that will need to know about the loss. These include the Department for Work and Pensions  and other relevant government departments. For more information on who to tell about a death, please read our guide: Telling people.

  • Dealing with online accounts - this includes online banking and any social media accounts your loved one may have. Each platform will have unique Terms of Service, so you may need different legal documentation to access it.  

  • Arranging the estate - this is usually left to the person named as the executor of the will, and their job is to arrange the deceased's money and property.

What happens when someone dies in the hospital?

O que fazer quando alguém morre em casa?

If your loved one has died in the hospital, the hospital staff will be there to support you in the early stages. They will issue a medical certificate and store the body in the hospital mortuary until the funeral director or family members arrange for the body to be moved.

If your loved one died at home, the first thing to do is call your GP. They will then visit the home and, if death was expected, issue a medical certificate stating the cause of death. You must then register the death at the Registry Office where a death certificate will be provided.

If the death is unexpected, a coroner will need to be contacted and a post-mortem examination may need to be performed - which could delay funeral plans.

What to say when someone dies?

What happens when someone dies abroad?

While there is no definitive "right" or "wrong" thing to say when someone dies, people deal with grief differently. The grieving period can feel isolating or lonely, so it's important to reach out to those grieving - a phone call or card will go too far.

If someone dies abroad, the death will have to be registered in agreement with the local authorities. The consul (in country) will also need to be notified so that he can authorize a death certificate from the consulate.

How long until a funeral when someone dies in Madeira?

Who is the next of kin when someone dies?

A funeral is normally held within 48 hours of the death, but this can vary depending on the bereaved family and their religious beliefs. For example, some religions require that a loved one be buried within 24 hours of death, while others must adhere to a strict set of rites and rituals prior to burial.

The term next of kin refers to "a person's next of kin or relatives". The order of priority is usually seen as:

  • Spouse or civil partner 

  • Children 

  • Country

  • The brothers

  • Give yourself permission to enjoy Christmas.


Don't feel guilty about looking forward to Christmas. You are allowed to enjoy the festive period and you shouldn't feel bad about doing so. Grief is difficult to manage at the best of times, but at Christmas it is much heavier. So if you can smile and have fun, then you absolutely must!

  • Don't feel pressure to have your usual Christmas.


At the same time, you might be dreading the Christmas season and that's okay. Christmas can be a constant reminder of your loved one and now they are gone, welcoming your usual Christmas may be the last thing you want to do. This is normal and perfectly fine. Instead, give yourself permission to do things differently this year. Because putting pressure on yourself to do things will usually only make you feel worse.

  • Talk to a family member.


Grief can be overwhelming, but especially so at Christmas when love and family time are celebrated. It's natural for your emotions to run high, but instead of bottling them up, spend time with family and friends and talk about how you're feeling. You will feel better after venting and you may find comfort in talking about your loved one and reminiscing about the memories you shared together.

  • Find some connection with your loved one.


You may find that looking back at old photographs or playing a favorite song is a good way to find some connection with your loved one and a helpful way to deal with grief at Christmas. You may want to light a candle in his honor or place a special decoration on the Christmas tree in his memory. This could be a new tradition that you decide to introduce as a family, to remember the person you lost and bring them closer in a time of struggle.

Dealing with grief at Christmas.

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Christmas is well and truly with us and while this time of year should feel like a festive celebration with those we love, it can be a particularly difficult time after the loss of a loved one.


We've put together a guide on how to deal with grief over the Christmas period to help make this time of year a little more manageable for you and your loved ones.

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What message to put on the funeral flowers?

Your funeral floral messages don't have to be long or specific. What matters is that they are sincere and offer comfort to the family that takes care of the funeral arrangements.


Some examples to start:

  • Our thoughts are with you right now

  • I thought their world

  • May he rest in peace 

  • Our sincere sympathies to the family

  • We are very sorry for your loss

  • We pray for peace during this difficult time.

  • Time may pass and fade, but the memories will always stay

  • Our hearts are full of sadness

  • Until we meet again


Try one of these if you have a little more space:

 

  • We were blessed to know him, and know that he is now resting in peace after a long and happy life.

  • When a person becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.

  • In this time of loss, may peace surround you like the warmth of a soft blanket. May pleasant memories bring you comfort, knowing that all life is eternal. You are not alone in your suffering; I/we share it with you.

  • You went too soon. You will always be loved, missed, and remembered as an incredible person who made a difference to those around you. May all your memories bring peace to your family during this difficult time.

  • Many friends come into our lives, but only a few leave footprints in our hearts. Time may pass, but you will not be forgotten.

  • You brought joy, happiness and laughter to everyone who knew you. You will be deeply missed by all who knew you. 

  • Thank you for sharing your beauty with the world. We will carry you in our loving arms forever.

  • May the memories bring him comfort and may he find peace in knowing he/she is at peace now. As difficult as it is for us, remember that your loved one is no longer suffering or struggling. Never fear or feel alone; they are around watching over us. 

  • I join my family in sending you all our deepest sympathy for the loss of your loved one. I pray that God will give you strength during this time of sadness.


Remember, there's nothing wrong with borrowing others' words in the right context. Try lines of poetry, a religious message, or even song lyrics if you think someone has said it perfectly.

 

How to write messages for funeral flowers - tips to guide you...


If you've never written messages before or aren't sure how to get started, the following tips can help you with your funeral card:

Remember that flowers represent life and new beginnings. Be positive, but try not to sound too clichéd.

 

  • Keep it simple. A funeral service is not the time to ramble on about deep philosophical questions. Keep your message short and simple; something you would say if they were by your side in person. This will make your family feel more comfortable rather than overwhelmed.

  • If you knew the deceased but weren't close to them, you can still mention a few things about them that made a good impression on you. If there's a story of theirs that stands out in your mind or they said or did something impressive, you can add it here.

  • If the service is for a young person, particularly someone who died tragically or unexpectedly, try to resist writing anything specific unless approved by close family members. The family may not want these details written on a card that will be read by many people.

  • If the message is for a baby or a child, you can say 'baby' instead of its name. If possible, write it from the perspective of the parents or whoever reads it to them.

  • Avoid writing about yourself. It's okay to mention your relationship with the person you're writing to, but make sure you're describing their lives and touching on how they affected yours.

  • If you don't know details about how or why someone died, but feel compelled to write on a funeral card, something non-specific and uplifting is a good choice.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. Writing anything while dealing with grief, or considering those who are, can be a daunting task. If you really need help but feel you shouldn't ask for it, consider asking a close family member to review what you've written and give their thoughts on the matter before sending it.

  • Any kind of message is better than no message at all. Some people don't know what to say, or are just uncomfortable writing a card message, but the kind gesture of sending flowers with a small note speaks for itself. Remembering a loved one through flowers can be a wonderful way to bring comfort and strength to friends and family in their time of need.

Tips for writing a Eulogy.

An eulogy is a funeral reading that tells the life story of the person who has died. Writing and performing an eulogy can be done by a friend or family member, a celebrant, or a minister. To be invited to write an eulogy is an honor. It is an opportunity to reflect on the life and achievements of a loved one, paying tribute to their memory, and sharing their best qualities.



If you have been asked to write an eulogy, you may be wondering where to begin. Take the pressure off and read our tips for writing a good eulogy, including how to go about gathering information, and what to watch out for as you put pen to paper.  


First, facts.



An eulogy usually talks about a person's life story, highlighting important moments, accomplishments, and commitments. Think from your youth to your death. If you are unsure of any specific details, check the facts with close friends and family members. It is also a good idea to seek input from loved ones, as they may have different perceptions about memories or events of which you are not aware.



Make it positive.



First and foremost, funeral eulogies should reflect the person's life. If you were close to the person, you may wish to share stories and include heartfelt memories. Think about how they would like to be remembered, and the stories that reveal who they were.

Remember, people attending funeral services want to hear the positive things about the person who passed away, but you must be honest. Be selective about the information and stories you share and capture the positive essence of the person. Share what makes them special.



Think about the delivery.



Public speaking can be intimidating, especially in sensitive situations like a funeral. Here are some things to remember to make delivering a eulogy as smooth as possible.

Speak slowly. Nerves can make you rush through a speech, but a quick delivery can disorient the audience. Take a deep breath beforehand and speak slowly.



Take pauses. With an emotional speech like this, moments of silence allow the audience to absorb what was said, and even laugh during humorous moments.



Give eye contact. This will keep the audience engaged and make them feel part of the eulogy.



Keep it short. People may have a hard time listening to a long speech at a funeral, so keep it quick and to the point. A eulogy should last no longer than a few minutes-no more than a few minutes and you'll lose people's attention.

Leave out the clichés. Everyone knows why they are there, so there should be no need for introductions like "we are gathered here today...".

Think about the audience. Starting an eulogy by broadly addressing the people present, especially those who have traveled to be there, helps establish a connection with the guests.



Checklist for writing the eulogy.



Follow our tips below when planning and writing the eulogy and your reading will be reflective, gentle, and respectful.

Consult with your family and friends.  Even if you have all the information you need, another friend or family member may suggest more details and fact-check for you. Getting facts wrong can be distracting to the audience, so it is vitally important to make sure that all information is verified.


Think about the person. Beyond the defining moments of her life, think about the smaller things that made her who she was - her habits, hobbies, likes and dislikes. These small but significant details can truly capture the essence of a person, and bring them to life in the audience's imagination.   


Establish a structure. Decide how you would like to tell the person's story. Will it be chronological, starting with their childhood and moving through the highlights of their life? Or will it be chronological in reverse, moving backwards from the present? Another option is to choose a theme and give stories and examples to support it.


Decide on the tone.



The most moving eulogies will be written in a way that reflects the deceased. There is no need to be overly formal, and you can include humor where it feels right.


Start writing. Once you have decided the above, it is time to start writing. This may seem like the most difficult step, but it will be easier once you have your key points and basic structure defined.


Don't be afraid to ask for help. Writing and eulogy can feel like a huge responsibility, but you don't have to do it alone. Ask friends, family, or your funeral director for help and chances are they will be happy to step in and offer advice.
Practice makes perfect.

There is no pressure to memorize an eulogy word for word, but the more you practice ahead of time, the more likely it is that the delivery will go smoothly at the funeral service.

Translated with DeepL

Should a child go to a funeral?

There are many considerations when thinking about whether children should attend funerals. Some people worry that their children may have difficulty understanding what is going on, or that they will be disruptive during the ceremony. While these are completely valid concerns, teaching your child about death and funerals can help prepare him for later in life.

If you decide to take your child to a funeral, please read this guide - If a Child Goes to a Funeral - to help with your decision.

Are children allowed to attend a funeral?


First of all, there is no "rule" when it comes to children attending a funeral. Every family is different, and so is every funeral. Most of the time, children are allowed to attend, although some family members may have concerns. If you have been invited to a funeral and are unsure if children are welcome, check with the bereaved family, funeral director, or person arranging the service.



What is the age of children attending funerals?


Again, the "right" age will depend on the child. According to child psychologists, most children understand the concept of death when they are about 10 years old. Younger children will be aware of death, even if they don't fully understand it.

Under 2 years - although children notice the absence of a significant person in their life, i.e. a parent or primary caregiver, they do not understand the concept of death.


2 - 5 years - they are aware that things are "dead" and "alive", but do not understand that death is permanent.

Elementary school - children begin to understand that the person who has died will not return.
Adolescents - adolescents have an adult understanding of the concept of death. They may also have their own beliefs on the subject.


What should I consider before taking my children to a funeral?


Many people worry that their children are too young to go to a funeral and will not understand what is happening. This may be the case, but every child is different, so you need to decide if you think your child will feel comfortable.



Ask yourself:



Is it going to be an open or closed casket?

If it is an open casket, will my child be able to handle it?

Will the funeral be too distressing?

How long will the ceremony last?

Will they understand what is going on?

Will my child be anxious, or easily distracted?

Will they want to go?


The last point is arguably the most important part of the decision. Making children part of the process allows them to feel involved. To help them decide, explain what they should expect at the funeral, including good funeral etiquette and how they should behave, using language they understand.



Be prepared to answer their questions.



Should children attend a grandparent's funeral?


If your child was close to their grandparents, then attending the funeral can be an opportunity to say goodbye and gain a sense of closure. This is especially true if the child understands the concept of death, and even more so if they watched their grandparents struggle with health problems for a long time.



How to prepare your child for a funeral.


To help your child decide whether they would like to attend a funeral, start by explaining what they can expect.

Too much new information can seem overwhelming to children, so keep the explanations simple.



To help prepare your child for a funeral, follow these suggestions:



To help reassure them, explain what they can expect - describe what will happen before, during and after the funeral in an age-appropriate way.


Where possible, involve them - children often want to contribute something to the funeral of someone close to them. They can write a poem, draw a picture, recite a prayer, or help choose the music.


Ask a close friend to help - if the funeral is for a close relative, they are likely to be grieving or heavily involved in the ceremony. Ask someone who knows the child well - perhaps a family friend - to support them if they feel overwhelmed.
Bring a book, a quiet game, or a trusty toy - if they are getting restless, it might be good to bring something to keep them occupied or distract them.


Shouldn't I protect my children from death and funerals?


Learning to deal with death is an important part of life. This does not necessarily mean that in all cases children should attend funerals, but funerals are a significant ritual. A child's involvement, even from a young age, can help them understand death. As a parent, this may seem intimidating. But it can instill compassion in children, an essential life skill.


Translated with DeepL

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© 2022 Estevez & Silva, Lda.  Criado por Antonio Estevez.

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