For many in their late forties and early fifties, the loss of a parent becomes a stark reality. Data tells us roughly half will lose their father, and a third their mother, during this stage of life.
This loss can be particularly profound, often coinciding with the peak of a demanding career and vast business experience. It can also thrust individuals, suddenly and unprepared, into the unfamiliar territory of funeral arrangements and the administrative processes, further complicating an already emotional time.

There’s no right or wrong way to approach funeral arrangements, and the most important thing is to do what feels right for you and your family during this difficult time. The order in which grief and remembrance or practicalities come first is a personal journey.

It’s difficult to say definitively whether grief and remembrance or practicalities come first when arranging a loved one’s funeral, as it’s a deeply personal experience with no single answer. Both aspects are likely intertwined and present themselves in varying degrees throughout the process.

Grief and Remembrance First

Grief is the immediate and overwhelming reaction to loss, and it can be the first and most powerful motivator for action. The desire to honour the deceased and create a meaningful farewell ceremony can drive decisions about the funeral, even before the practicalities are fully considered.

Some studies suggest that delaying grief can be detrimental to the healing process. Prioritising grief and remembrance activities; writing memories or planning a personalised service can help individuals begin to process their emotions and cope with the loss.

Many cultures prioritise rituals and ceremonies related to death and remembrance. These traditions can provide a framework for navigating the immediate aftermath of a loss and offer comfort and support to mourners.

Practicalities First:

Certain practical matters need immediate attention, such as notifying family and authorities, making funeral arrangements, and dealing with legal documents. Delaying these tasks can add to the stress and burden of grief.

Grief can be overwhelming and impair cognitive function. Focusing on practical tasks can provide a sense of control and structure in the face of chaos.
Some individuals are naturally more pragmatic and organised, while others are more emotionally expressive. This can influence the order in which you approach funeral arrangements.

Studies on this topic are limited, but some offer insights:

A 2019 study in the journal “Palliative and Supportive Care” found that bereaved individuals who engaged in meaningful remembrance activities shortly after a death reported less grief and anxiety than those who did not.

A 2018 study in the journal “Omega: Journal of Death and Dying” found that attending a funeral or memorial service can benefit the grieving process, but the impact depends on individual factors and the quality of the experience.

If grief and practicalities clash after your loss, creating personalised confusion, walk your own path, prioritising what feels right – remembering, sharing, or logistics. No right or wrong way exists, only reality and support.
The Funeral Directions Platform explores varied paths, struggles with grief, and practical tools to find the way through this challenging journey.