If you’re dealing with a death NOW, take your time and take care of yourself… eat well, drink plenty water, get plenty sleep. You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help anyone else to theirs.
Now see our 10 Step Guide.
Care of the body
You have the choice of looking after the body yourself, involving a funeral director or end of life companion to help or a bit of both.
If you have been providing intimate care during the end of life stage you might be comfortable being involved in care of the body. If not, it might seem a step too far.
You can leave the body just as it is, in its natural state and simply wrap it in a sheet for burial or cremation. People talk about ‘laying out the body’. This is like giving a bed bath… just washing the body and hair and drying it with a clean cloth. It’s best to wear rubber gloves, use anti-bacterial handwash and use towels to mop up. You can put on oil, perfume or holy water if that’s part of your belief system. You can do the person’s hair and you might want to think about make-up or a shave: make them look the way they’d want to look. You can dress them in a favourite outfit. When you move the body, beware it may purge fluid from the stomach and air from the lungs that will sound like a groan.
Planning the funeral
You may want to plan the funeral with friends and family.
Dealing with death:
- caring for someone who’s dying
- how to talk about death
- support from end of life companions
- aiming for a good death
At the time of death:
- when someone dies: 10 step checklist
- find a funeral director or Humanist/celebrant
- the death of someone at work
- care of a body
Coping with loss:
- see more on loss and grief and see books and films that might be of interest
- see commons questions and answers about grief
- 7 ways to help with loss
- how to write a letter of condolence
Children and young people:
Contact us if you can’t find what you need.