Dealing with the loss of a loved one is confusing and disorienting. Use these five simple steps as a guide for moving forward.

1. Talk with a Pastor

If you’re connected to a local church, reach out to a pastor or ministry leader for help. They can pray with you and answer some of your questions about death and grieving. And they can use the resources on this page to give you guidance in the days ahead.

2. Designate a “Planner”

Planning for a funeral is time-consuming and emotional. We recommend designating a “planner” from among your friends or family – someone who is willing to take the lead and make some phone calls. Your planner can follow up on the information below.

3. Shop around for a funeral home

Even though it’s emotionally difficult, don’t be afraid to shop around for a funeral home. Mortuaries are required to provide itemized price lists for their products and services, which includes the “basic services fee” that covers the professional services of the funeral director.

4. Consider cremation

If you haven’t thought about it yet, consider cremation as an alternative to a more expensive “traditional” funeral. Cremations usually costs less than half the average cost of a gravesite funeral, and there is no biblical mandate to choose one over the other. While some families prefer a gravesite for memorial purposes, spreading ashes in a meaningful way can be just as effective when it comes to honoring the memory of a loved one.

5. Plan a memorial service

Funerals are sad and somber. If possible, plan a memorial service instead – a service that celebrates and remembers living moments rather than simply grieving a loss. If possible, hold your memorial service at a church or in a park rather than a funeral parlor.