3 Ways Funeral Homes Can Support Bereaved Spouses

It goes without saying that the basis of a funeral professional’s job is organizing the necessary logistics of a funeral arrangement for families and individuals experiencing the recent loss of a loved one. But there are many ways to provide additional care and compassionate support that go beyond the rudimentary details of the service.

Undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging experiences is losing a spouse. It isn’t a one-time loss - literally everything in your daily life changes when you lose your life partner. In addition to working through overwhelming grief and exhausting emotions, bereaved spouses can find themselves struggling to accomplish the many important decisions and tasks necessary following a death. Even everyday chores such as paying bills, mowing the lawn or remembering to feed the dog become a challenge.

Often, leaning on the support of family and friends after experiencing a loss is a tremendous help, but funeral homes can also play an important role. Let’s explore the various ways funeral homes can provide comfort and encouragement to bereaved spouses throughout their grief journeys.

1. Personalized Services

One of the first things that happens following the loss of a loved one is the initial arrangement meeting with a funeral professional. During this time, funeral staff not only provide options and gently guide families through the many important decisions that must take place, but it’s a time for families to share more details about their loved one, the things that made them special and their unique contributions to our world throughout their lifetime.

Providing grieving spouses and their families the opportunity to openly talk about their loved one can be a wonderful way to help with their grief process, but also provide ideas and inspiration for how you can plan meaningful services for their loved one. Generally, spouses know all the ins and outs of one another the most. It’s important to provide space for them to share freely. Listen intently and make use of the information they give you to create ways you can personalize their spouse’s service so it’s unique to them and reflects their life and personality appropriately.

These seemingly small details will take an experience with your firm from good to great and can make a world of difference in their grief journey. It will also help them feel special and valued, when they are grieving the one person who likely provided that to them before.

2. emotional support & community connections

Small gestures such as providing tissues, lots of hugs or a compassionate shoulder to lean on during the days between their loss and the service seem simple, but can make a significant impact. Bereaved spouses seek emotional support and companionship and need a safe space to express their grief without judgment. A great way to help spouses heal and navigate through their grief journey is to have references for professionals who specialize in spousal loss available to them. You can access simple and free resources to implement today through our Grief Care Library.

Funeral homes can create connections by hosting a widow support group in your community. This is a wonderful way for bereaved spouses to share freely with others who have experienced a similar loss. Because the death of a spouse is such a profound loss, it’s helpful to talk with others who can relate and understand exactly what they’re going through. In addition, organizing and hosting annual memorial events or a series of grief workshops are other value-added supports for grieving spouses and families. Feeling a sense of belonging and creating a community of support is invaluable for bereaved spouses as they move forward in life without their partner.

3. aftercare resources

Unfortunately, the grieving process doesn’t end after the funeral does – it’s truly just the beginning. Navigating life without your spouse is overwhelming, lonely and quite frankly one of the most difficult things to do in life. It’s an ongoing process of healing that takes place over many months and years. That’s why it’s important to have a solid aftercare program in place. It is a fantastic way to offer resources, retain relationships and uphold a positive reputation within the community to grow your business and earn future referrals.

It's often thought that talking about someone who has passed away with those grieving their loss is a painful reminder and as a result, people close to the person who has lost a spouse may avoid the subject altogether. In all reality though, if you’ve lost your spouse, there are very rarely times it ever slips your mind. So checking in on a regular basis to see how they are doing, offering grief resources or simply saying “hello” are great ways to stay connected.

If your firm keeps records of client birthdays and anniversaries, consider sending cards around these special dates. Sending notes of encouragement is another touching and welcomed gesture. Another easy and effective way to stay in touch is through text-based aftercare. It can even be done with no additional effort or time on your part. Texting is a great way to communicate without the pressure to engage or respond immediately.

Ultimately, grief is a process that everyone faces at one time or another. It is never easy, and no two people grieve alike. But you can provide much-needed support in ways that extend beyond the services you provide at the time of loss. Funeral homes are in a unique position to have the most profound impact on someone’s experience with grief. By offering compassionate support, personalized services and having a top-notch aftercare program in place, you’re ensuring a memorable, comforting experience during one of the most difficult times in life.

If you don’t already have an aftercare program in place, here are some easy steps to begin the process. For more information or to get started, contact your account executive.

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