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Who is In? Inclusion in Final Arrangements

The loss of someone dear can be so devastating - there are often many unanswered questions, raw emotions and heightened occasions. This whole painful situation can be made much worse when friends and family are not kept in the loop as to funeral, burial, memorial, tribute and testament arrangements.

I know your heart is hurting. I know your world may be shattered. And it is totally okay to designate others to assist in this process of calling and emailing.

But being a part of these final plans and activities can do so much to help the grieving process - and being left out of them can create rifts that leave a sour taste - sometimes permanently.

So do consider how to keep loved ones included in the following:

Funeral, Burial, Wake or Shiva. There are many who will want to come and support, pay tribute, accompany and step forward. People may want to attend, make donations, speak in public or private, bring food or offer to drive. And having a role at this time really gives people something to DO - in a helpless situation of loss and heartbreak, taking action gives people a shred of control over an uncontrollable event.

Tributes and Testaments. If there are preferred donations, memorials that are going to be created or other ways that the deceased is going to be remembered, do let as many people know about that as possible. Especially for people who perhaps could not attend a funeral or burial, it also gives people a voice in what happens next.

Even if your way of grieving may be different from others' - people demonstrate their pain in so many ways, they are uncountable. You may find someone's emotional reaction embarrassing. You may find someone else's reaction too stoic and contained. Neither of these is right or wrong - they are just different. And allowing space for all of it allows everyone to grieve in their own way.

A loss can make people feel so helpless - do consider putting aside family grievances and coming together, including everyone, in this time of sorrow. At your discretion, of course. I would never suggest you invite someone who is going to be disruptive or who has been deeply toxic. But I have also seen many rifts be healed under extraordinary circumstances....

Being left out can be so painful - why add to the suffering taking place? Take the kinder route - and your heart will be better for it.

If you would like to speak to me about this or any grief related topic, do email me at

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