Facing the Practical Tasks After the Death of a Loved One

The passing of a loved one is hard and especially taxing if you’re the one tasked with handling many of the practical aspects, including notifying others, planning the memorial, and gathering their personal belongings. If you don’t take care of yourself while managing these duties, you could find yourself in a more depressing space, and it could affect other facets of your life.

While the practical tasks are tough, you can handle them by taking things one step at a time and leaning on the support of others. Here are some tips for handling this challenging time.

Self-Care While Managing Hard Tasks

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re unable to jump into action immediately after the passing of your beloved family or friend. Take the time to grieve and find some peace, and then reach out to inform others. You can do that by going through whatever routine helps you to find inner strength, such as long walks in the park or looking at photos of better times. Once you find a sense of calm, call family and friends and notify them of the news.

There are many tasks that you will want to take care of soon after the passing, and some may be time-sensitive, like planning the memorial. Once you get into the planning, you’ll likely find more to the process than you may have initially thought. Don’t take it all on your shoulders. Call family and friends you can depend on and ask for help. The process can be much easier if everyone takes a task or two.

While you’ll want to plan the memorial and service sooner than later, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep at night and maintain a healthy diet. Don’t skip meals. It’s OK to take breaks during the funeral planning process, and you can use that time to take that nature walk or get a bite to eat.

Writing the obituary will be challenging, but you can get through it, and remembering good memories about the person you lost may also help with your grief. Include the accomplishments they had during their life and mention those they left behind. An important aspect to include is the impact they had on others. Take your time writing this and involve a family member if that will help you feel more comfortable.

Be Smart About Packing And Gathering Their Belongings

One of the hardest parts of taking care of your loved one’s affairs will be going through their home after they pass and packing up the items that they cherished the most. If you find being in their home too hard to bear, ask someone to accompany you. As you pack up their belongings, talk about the memories associated with them, and that can help you get through the arduous task. You don’t have to do this all at once. Taking breaks and returning when you’re emotionally ready to continue is important.

When you’re packing their belongings, you’ll feel better if you do it right. Follow the art of crating and shipping by choosing the correct size boxes for what you have so the items fit securely and aren’t rattling around and breaking. Add packing materials for the fragile items. Bubble wrap or packing peanuts work great and you can purchase them at shipping stores. If you decide to keep the items in a storage locker, confirm that the space has climate control since too much humidity can warp and break many objects.

In addition to packing up their stuff, you’ll want to secure their home by locking the house and car when you leave. Also, keep the plants watered and the house well maintained. Taking care of the property can help you to feel better. Since you’ll likely print the funeral date online or in the newspaper, have a neighbor watch the house while it takes place so burglars don’t get ideas.

Manage Your Financial Stress

One of the toughest parts of losing a loved one is dealing with finances, both theirs and your own. While you’re in the house, look through the mail and gather the bills and financial documents so you can ensure that they are paid and that other financial issues are taken care of temporarily until you can officially sort through the assets, trusts, wills, and insurance documents.

It can be especially tough when sorting through finances after the death of a spouse. The trick to staying calm is to be organized. Put everything in its place, create a file system, and make a phone list of essential contacts, from your insurance agent to the financial advisor.

Remember also to take care of your own financial responsibilities, especially if you’re not going to work during a bereavement period. It’s important not to let things get out of hand because if you do, your financial problems can impact your mental health.

When you believe you're struggling financially, the ordeal can fill your head with all sorts of stressful ideas. You may worry that you’ll have to cut back on necessities like food and heating. You may also become overly concerned about what may happen if you don’t get your finances under control, like falling into a mountain of debt or facing poverty.

If you worry too much, you could start to experience cognitive issues, such as memory loss or impulsivity, and it can be a never-ending cycle. That’s why you must take things one step at a time and get help from a financial advisor. Talking to a grief counselor can also help you to get back on the right path.


Reading about self-care while taking care of tasks after the passing of a loved one is easier than actually going through the ordeal. However, by taking things one step at a time and giving yourself a break, you can do what’s right for your family and properly handle your grief.

Meet the Author

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “City of Trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. When not writing she is a part time wedding planner and spending time with her nephews. And yes, she does love all kinds of potatoes!

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