Finding the Help You Need
When a loved one dies, the decisions and planning that need to happen can be overwhelming. We are here to help guide you through the process, and can help to answer many of your questions. In addition, we have provided some guidance below to some of the most common questions and tasks you must address:
How To Plan A Funeral
A funeral or memorial service give us an opportunity to say goodbye to our loved ones, to get a sense of closure, and to offer a tribute to their life. It allows us to grieve our loss, and to gain strength from others affected by the same loss.
Planning a funeral does not have to be difficult, but is often made so due to the grieving process. Talking with your loved one in advance of death can give you an idea of their desires and preferences, or family members and friends can help to guide your decisions. A funeral director is also more than capable of planning and executing a meaningful celebration of life, and can assist you with support and general advice, planning, and organization of the final ceremony.
Some of the tasks that will need to be completed are:
1) Decide on the Type of Service
You can choose from a variety of funeral service types. It can be a traditional religious funeral service held in a church, chapel, or other location of your choosing. The service can be customized to honor the religious beliefs and traditions of the deceased/family. Some prefer a celebration of life service that focuses more on the deceased’s life than on beliefs and rituals. Others may choose a memorial to honor the deceased, often following internment.
You may even decide to have a small private funeral service and interment following the death, and then schedule a memorial or celebration of life service for a later time. This would allow for a larger group of loved ones and friends to say their final goodbyes.
2) Determine a Budget and Who Will Pay
Since funeral costs are unavoidable, it’s important to create a budget before planning the funeral. If your loved one pre-arranged for their final expenses prior to their death, some or all of these expenses may be covered. If the deceased had a life insurance policy, check to see if it can be used to help cover the cost.
3) Choose a Date for the Service and Send Out Notifications
Choosing a date for the funeral will often depend on when your loved one dies, and sometimes on when family and friends will be able to be present, when outside clergy may be available, etc. If the deceased was a veteran, and you will be requesting military honors, the relevant forms will need to be processed.
Once a date is chosen, invitations can be extended. Where those closest to the deceased may be reached by phone, the news can also be circulated through local obituaries, and on social media. Our obituaries are published on our website, and also shared on our Facebook page. We encourage family and friends to watch for the obiturary to be shared on Facebook, so that they can share with others.
4) Decide Where the Funeral and Resting Place Will Be
Once the date is established, the next step is to decide where the service will be held. Beard’s Funeral Chapel has a spacious chapel which will seat 190, and a family room that will seat 50. Most of the family parking can be in the heated garage, out of inclement weather. You may prefer to have the funeral in a church, or even outdoors. The venue will often depend on the type of ceremony.
In addition to the funeral location, you will also need to decide on a last resting place, as well as a graveside service if desired. We will help you navigate these decisions, to make it as easy as possible.
5) Choose A Form of Disposition – Casket or Cremation
If your loved one pre-arranged their funeral, they will already have chosen whether they wished to be buried or cremated. Both options are available to you if not, and we will guide you through these decisions and the selections available.
OTHER TASKS TO COMPLETE BEFORE THE SERVICE:
- Select a Clergy Member (if desired) to Officiate
- Write an Obituary
- Decide on Who Will Speak at the Service
- Choose any Special Readings, Scriptures, etc.
- Choose Music You Would Like at the Service
- Arrange for Flowers
- Decide on Clothing, Jewelry, etc. for your Loved One
- Consider Personal Touches, such as a Large Photo of Your Loved One
A funeral service’s purpose is to honor and celebrate the life of the loved one who has passed, and to support their loved ones in their time of sorrow. Here is some basic information on what to expect:
1) Who Should Attend
Unless the family has stated that the service is private, most anyone should be able to attend the service. If the service is private, it will most likely be limited to family and invited guests only.
- You should consider not attending the service if you are sick, feel like you might be getting sick, or have been exposed to a contagion.
- If you believe your presence would be disruptive or difficult for the family for any reason, it is best if you do not attend. The family’s well-being and wishes are the most important of the day.
- Children are usually welcome at funeral services, unless expressly request otherwise. Young children may find it difficult to sit quietly for the duration of a service, which could prove disruptive. Asking older children if they wish to go is also important, and talking to them in advance about what to expect can be helpful.
2) What You Should Say
It can feel awkward knowing what to say or not say to someone who is grieving. But a few friendly and supportive words to express your sadness and support will be appreciated.
If you are asked to speak at a service, it may be difficult to know what to say. Try finding inspiration from scriptures, prayers, poems, and other literature. Personalize your eulogy by sharing any special memories or stories you have of the departed. And after putting these things together, don’t forget to write it down. Euologies are brief and can be emotional, so it’s best to have something to refer to if needed.
3) What You Should Wear
Depending on the type and location of the service, the dress code may vary. Traditionally, however, most funeral clothing is black, or similar dark colors. If the family wishes for less formal attire, they will usually publish that information.
If the service will be held in a funeral chapel, church, or graveside, most often the attire required would also be conservative – dresses, suits, slacks. Avoid casual clothing such as jeans, shorts, sneakers, etc.
4) What Should You Expect?
A traditional funeral service is similar to a regular church service. When you arrive, there may be an option to view the deceased in their casket prior to or following the service. This is optional, but many find that a chance to say your final goodbyes does bring closure. After that you can find a seat. The first few rows are usually reserved for immediate family (including spouses and significant others), with extended family behind them.
When the family is escorted in to their seats, it is customary to stand until they are seated.
The service itself will vary according to the venue, type of service, and family wishes, but often will include music, scripture, speakers, prayers, etc.
At the end of the service, everyone should stand to pay their respects, as the coffin is lowered or carried out. You should remain standing in place until after the family has left. At that time you can leave.
5) What Should You Bring?
You may decide you would like to send something to convey your sympathy to the family. A bouquet of flowers or a plant for the service is always appreciated. You can choose to have the flowers sent to the funeral home in advance of the service, or bring them with you. You may instead prefer to have them sent directly to the family’s home.
You can also choose to send something besides flowers to the grieveng family, such as a gift basket of some sort, or a handmade meal. If they are having a reception following the service, offer to bring something. And of course, a sympathy card is good too, especially after the services are all over, and the family takes time to process their grief.
6) What Should You Expect at a Graveside Service?
A graveside service is usually fairly brief, and can include speaking, singing, prayers, etc. You will normally find chairs set up around the grave site when you arrive. Sometimes these are reserved only for immediate family, so unless you know you are to sit with family, move behind the chairs to leave room for family.
Writing An Obituary
An obituary is a written notice about someone’s death, and gives the readers a personal account of the person’s life and accomplishments, as well vital information about services. Being tasked with writing a loved one’s obituary can be overwhelming, but an obituary gives you a chance to tell someone’s story, and to share how their lives impacted others and their community.
1) The Important Details
An obituary should include these important details about their life and death:
- Their full name, age, where they lived at the time of their death.
- When they died and from what cause, if you wish to disclose. You are not required to include that information if you don’t want to.
- Their birthdate and place.
- Any biographical information that is relevant; an overview of their life, any significant life events.
- Names of their survivors; spouses or significant others, children and grandchildren, siblings, and other relatives. Even pets are sometimes included.
- Information about upcoming services; include date, time, location, etc.
- Your wishes regarding any memorials, such as donations to organizations/causes, etc.
2) Personalize It
When writing an obituary, it is helpful to explore beyond the biographical and historical information. Some questions that may prove helpful are:
- What would the deceased consider one of their greatest achievements in life?
- Did they have any hobbies or pastimes that helped define them?
- How would you (and others) describe their personality?
- What did you love most about the deceased?
- Were there any unusual or outstanding personality characteristics that made them special?
- How do you think the deceased would like to be remembered?
- Often speaking to other family members and friends can help to jog memories about the deceased, and gives them the opportunity to share stories and recollections that can help you write a true description of the person’s life.
An obituary is not a legal document, so does not have to follow any strict rules of what information should be included or omitted. Instead focus on what information best describes the deceased’s life.
Once you have completed the obituary, go over it carefully to make sure it is written properly, that all spelling is correct, and that all relevant information is included. Print out the document and proofread again. And it is always best to have at least one other person read through it for any errors or omissions as well.
If you are struggling with the obituary, our staff are glad to assist you in any way needed.
Local and Grief Resources
Listed below are some local resources to aid in your grief process, and to plan logistically for services. Please Contact Us if you have any kind of question, and we will be happy to assist.
- Beard’s Cemetery Contacts
- Arkansas Cemetery Records
- Benton County Cemeteries
- Washington County Cemeteries
- Family Florist (1-800-944-5947)
- Ladybug Floral and Finds (479-643-4200)
- Northwest Arkansas Florist (1-800-221-0969)
- Rose of Sharon (479-973-0588)
- ZuZu Petals (1-800-443-9459)
- Circle of Life Hospice & Palliative Care
- Hospice at WRMC
- The National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization
- Hampton Inn
915 Krupa Drive, Fayetteville, AR
Bereavement rates available
- Red Roof Inns
1000 S. Futrall Drive, Fayetteville, AR
Bereavement rates available
- Super 8 Motel
1075 South Shiloh Drive, Fayetteville, AR