You don’t have to know every answer right now.

“I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what to do.”

No one is an expert on the death of their loved one, not even the people who are experienced with death.

In those moments, there are answers that we deeply want. “Why did this happen?”

I’m not comfortable answering those questions, at least not in the first days and decades after a death. Understanding the meaning of a death and of a life takes time.

However, there are other answers that we deeply want. “How do I plan a funeral?” “What happens to my mom now that dad’s not here?” “What do we do with all this stuff?”

My best advice is to suggest that you find the people who have done this before. For example, funeral homes have helped people plan funerals. There are some that are mean or incompetent. Most of the ones I know are helpful and compassionate. Ask the people that you trust who they trust. (And get prices at

For dealing with stuff, for dealing with grief, for dealing with relationships, there are cleaners and counselors and pastors and other people with experience in being helpful.

And then there is this: You can call a time-out. Like in a basketball game or a football game, you can say, “I can’t answer that this minute, I need to catch my breath.”




This Is Hard Copyright © 2021 by Jon C Swanson. All Rights Reserved.

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