Tuckers Funeral & Bereavement Service is here to support you throughout the grieving process. Bereavement Care is something we pride ourselves on. Whether you’re planning a funeral or trying to move on after the funeral of a loved one or friend, we’re here to help.

From support networks to advice about writing a eulogy and what to expect at a funeral service, our aim is to take the worry out of your hands. Please contact Tuckers Funeral & Bereavement Service for more information.

Bereavement Care Support Groups

People need support – Geelong funeral counselling and support groups.

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Counselling Support

  • Australian Centre For Grief & Bereavement
    ACGB Counselling and Support provide a statewide specialist bereavement service for individuals, children and families following the death of someone close to them.
    1300 664 786
    grief.org.au
  • Bethany Counselling Support
    Providing counselling, educational and advocacy services for local people and their families to improve the quality of their lives and the community in which they live.
    03 5278 8122
    bethany.org.au
  • Catholic Care
    Provides individual grief counselling and runs a range of loss and grief programs for both adults and children.
    03 5221 7055
    ccam.org.au
  • Grief Line
    Telephone counselling available 12 noon – 3am, seven days a week.
    03 9935 7400
    griefline.org.au
  • Hope Bereavement Service
    Walking alongside families after the sudden or unexpected death of a child. Offering support groups and counselling services.
    03 4215 3358
    bereavement.org.au
  • Kids Helpline
    24-hour counselling, 7 days a week.
    1800 55 1800 (free call)
    kidshelp.com.au
  • Lifeline
    This service is staffed by trained volunteer telephone counsellors who are ready to take calls 24 hours a day, any day of the week, from anywhere in Australia.
    13 11 14
    lifeline.org.au
  • One Care Geelong
    Offering professional counselling centred on emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wholeness, always respecting beliefs and values. Open Tuesday 2pm – 8.30pm and Friday 9.30am – 4pm.
    03 5229 2133
    onecaregeelong.org.au
  • Red Nose
    Providing support for those affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a child from 20 weeks gestation to six years of age, regardless of the cause of death. 24-hour telephone support.
    03 9822 9611 or 1800 240 400 (free call)
    rednose.com.au
  • Sanctuary Counselling Centre
    The Sanctuary is a place where people are helped to recover from the initial shock of a situation and work towards their own path to recovery.
    03 5222 6969
  • Wombat’s Wish
    Bereavement Support service for children from five to 16 years of age who have experienced the death of a parent/s.
    03 5229 5044
    wombatswish.org.au
  • Wesley Centre For Life Enrichment
    The Uniting Care Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment Counselling Service is available to all people in need regardless of their circumstances.
    03 5222 4101
    ucvt.org.au/wesleycentregeelong

Local Support Groups

A Time To Remember Post-Funeral Services
Facing your first Christmas after losing a loved one can be a difficult experience. Tuckers Funeral & Bereavement Service extends our Bereavement Care Program to the wider community with our special evening service ‘A Time to Remember’, held each year in November.

Bereaved Mens Group
Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of each month at a local hotel over a meal. These meetings are facilitated by Greg Roberts from the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement. For more details contact the Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment on 03 5221 4101 or visit them at 100 Yarra Street, Geelong.

The Compassionate Friends
Supporting bereaved parents and families who have experienced the loss of a child or sibling. Meeting on the last Tuesday of the month at Noble Street Uniting Church, 31 Noble St Newtown. Phone Rhonda 03 5282 3035 or Kim 03 5282 4210. Alternatively on the second Tuesday of the month at Café Brioche, 175 West Fyans St, Newtown. Phone Jan 03 5243 6906. The Compassionate Friends also offer 24-hour telephone support free call 1800 641 091. For more details phone 03 9888 4944.

Empty Arms – Parents Support
For families and friends who have suffered a loss from a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death – recently or some time ago. Meetings commence at 7.30pm on the first Thursday of each month at Gateways Support Services, 10-12 Albert Street, Geelong West. For more details contact Hope Bereavement on 03 5226 7269.

Life After Loss – Widows Support Group
Adjusting to life after your husband, wife or partner has died can be confusing, draining and isolating. It can be helpful to meet and spend time with women who have also lived this experience and share the journey. The group is a place to share, listen and learn amongst others who understand the challenges of living with your grief. This group was established with the combined input of four local support services. A support worker from one of these services is present at each meeting to help to facilitate discussion and offer links to ongoing individual support if it is required.

All are welcome to attend at the Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment 100 Yarra St, Geelong. For more details, please contact us or download the Life After Loss Support Group flyer. If you would like to attend the group, please make contact with our Bereavement Care team on 03 5221 4788 for more details.

Post Suicide Support Group
Suited for any person who has experienced the death of a loved one through suicide. Meeting on the third Tuesday of each month from 6.30pm till 8.30pm. For more details contact the Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment on 03 5222 4101 or Hope Bereavement on 03 5226 7269.

Eulogy Writing

How do you prepare for one of the most important speeches that you will ever have to give in your life? Article written by local author Rhonda Whitton.

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Writing and delivering a eulogy combines two of the worst fears people have – losing a loved one and public speaking. The thought of writing and delivering a eulogy sends most of us into a panic. What to say? Should you read from a script or ad lib? Will you be able to control your emotions on the day? However, take heart because there are ways to make the experience both memorable for the bereaved and less traumatic for you.

Before you begin

You were probably asked to deliver the eulogy because others believe that you will do a good job and knew the person well. That’s a good start and it’s certainly an honour to be asked. Your job is to present a fitting tribute to the bereaved by bringing the person to life for a short time during the funeral service. However, resist the temptation to sit down and write the eulogy without first doing some homework and planning what you will say. Remember, you are not alone. Speak with others and find out anecdotes and interesting facts to bring to life your eulogy and give the bereaved an insight into the ‘real’ person they are mourning. The audience will be saddened by their loss, so try to include some humour. However, keep the humour subtle, tasteful and befitting the deceased’s personality.

Writing

Always acknowledge the positive aspects of the deceased person and pay respect to them in an open, honest and caring manner. Avoid beginning your eulogy along these lines: “Jim was born at Newtown Base Hospital in 1921 and was one of five children to Betty and Bert. He went to Newtown Kindergarten, Newtown Primary School and Newtown High School, before enlisting in the RAAF in 1939.”

Presenting information in this staid, chronological style can be dull and of little interest the majority of those present only knew Jim in his adult life. It is more engaging for the bereaved if you focus on the highlights of the person’s life at the beginning of your eulogy, then sprinkle the other facts throughout your speech.

For example, you could begin with: “Most of us knew Jim as Newtown’s longest serving mayor. However, to those who knew him well, those 18 years of outstanding civic service fade into insignificance when we recall his devotion to his family and his untiring charity work for the needy in our community.” Include simple, personal thoughts from the heart, such as “I’ll miss his cheeky smile”, or “I always admired Jim’s compassion”.

Focus on a theme

Do not think that your eulogy has to summarise the person’s entire life. Instead, try adopting a theme to give purpose to the eulogy. This will also provide focus for the audience to remember the deceased.

If you are one of a number of people speaking at the funeral service, consider suggesting that each speaker adopt a theme, as this avoids the potential for repetition and factual inconsistencies. Examples of themes include: Jim the family man, Jim the community leader, Jim the all-round sportsman and Jim the businessman.

Organise your notes

First, sort the information and anecdotes you gather into logical groupings, then write the main points on cards or small sheets of paper to reflect those groups. Now, reorganise the cards to come up with the most engaging order for your audience. This approach also allows you to leave out information at a moment’s notice on the day should another speaker cover the same point or anecdote. It will help you in your presentation if you print your notes in large font and with double spacing.

Delivering the eulogy

Eulogies are among the most difficult speeches to make, so try to maintain eye contact and speak to the bereaved as though you were talking to a friend. Don’t worry or be embarrassed if you need to pause to compose yourself – people will understand. Take your time. Speak slowly and remember to breathe deeply if you begin to lose your composure.

Keep your eulogy short and to the point. Ascertain the appropriate length by speaking with the funeral director or clergy. Eulogies are usually lengths between five and ten minutes long. So it is very important to write and then rehearse your eulogy to ensure you don’t speak for too long.

Summary

  • Develop a theme.
  • Avoid chronological accounts of their life.
  • Research and plan what you will say.
  • Refer to key points, rather than reading a script.
  • Practice delivering the eulogy.
  • Speak slowly and carefully.
  • Don’t be afraid to show emotion.

Rhonda Whitton is a journalist, teacher and corporate trainer. Note: This article was published in the summer 2005 edition of For Peace of Mind magazine and has been reproduced with the author’s permission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are funerals so important?

A funeral service is an important step – and often provides family members with the first step back into the community and demands of everyday life. Funerals help family and friends of the deceased acknowledge their loss and find comfort in creating a sense of order.

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Is a funeral always held at a funeral home or church?

Although most services are held at one of our Geelong funeral homes or in a church, it is possible to have a service elsewhere. Today many families are choosing to hold their funeral services in places that have special meaning to them and their loved ones. Options may include at the graveside, in one’s home, in a park, or some other public or private location. Bringing loved ones together to remember someone in a place that was especially meaningful provides more than a setting for a service—it provides loved ones with an emotional backdrop to celebrate the things that made that life unique.

Who is responsible for arranging funerals?

The next of kin – spouse, legal partner, parent, child or sibling – is responsible for arranging a funeral in most cases. Where there is some dispute and a Will exists, the nominated Executor is deemed the arbiter of funeral arrangements. At his or her discretion, the Executor can appoint another person to make arrangements with funeral directors. In some cases where a person may not have any known relative, authorities might need to make funeral arrangements. This responsibility is often assumed by social workers or other authorised authorities.

Who can take part in a funeral ceremony?

A funeral ceremony may include anyone the family of the deceased would like to involve. For example, a friend or member of the family may wish to contribute to the funeral service by making a personal tribute. Funeral ceremonies are generally led by a member of the clergy or a civil celebrant. Funeral services led by a person of religion focus on the beliefs and faith of that religion, including readings from the Bible or other religious books, prayers and funeral rites, plus a reflection on the deceased person’s life. Civil celebrants individually prepare a eulogy on the life of the person who has died, incorporating appropriate poetry or other readings. In some cases, other relevant organisations may be included in the funeral ceremony, such as the RSL or Masonic Lodge.

What is a pre-paid funeral?

A pre-paid funeral is planned in advance and paid for at current prices. Your funeral arrangements are protected and you will not have to pay extra, even if prices rise in the future. You can be assured your investment is safe and managed by a third party in accordance with strict legislation. You can find out more about prepaid funerals and funeral planning by contacting our Geelong funeral home.

Who should I notify after someone dies?

When someone dies it can be difficult to remember all the people who may need to be notified. The list below offers a guide to some of these organisations. On your behalf, our funeral directors will notify the Victorian Registry of Births, Death and Marriages and Centrelink.

Your list could also include:

  • Accountant.
  • Australian Taxation Office.
  • Banks or Building Societies – personal accounts, investments or loans.
  • Care Agencies – Hospice, Meals on Wheels, etc.
  • Clubs / Service Organisations – i.e. RSL, Probus, Rotary, etc.
  • Dentist.
  • Department of Health, Housing.
  • Electoral Office.
  • Insurance Companies – Life, Health, Motor, House, etc.
  • Local Council – land rates, pet registration, services, etc.
  • Medicare and/or Private Health Fund, Ambulance Services.
  • Online and Social Media – Facebook, LinkedIn, email accounts.
  • Post Office.
  • Solicitor or Trustee.
  • Subscriptions – newspapers, magazines, Pay TV, etc.
  • Superannuation Fund/s.
  • Trade Union.
  • Utility Providers – Electricity, Gas, Water, Phone, Internet, etc.
  • Veteran’s Affairs.
  • Vic Roads – Vehicle registrations and licence.

When is the Death Certificate issued?

The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages may take up to three weeks to process the information and send the Death Certificate. Some cases, such as coronial inquiries, can take longer. The Death Certificate is posted to the person who signed the application form at the time of the funeral arrangements.

What is Probate?

Probate is a certificate necessary for the release of the deceased’s assets to beneficiaries. If the assets are jointly owned, probate is usually not needed. The Executor of the Will usually applies for probate to the Probate Office. You or your solicitor can apply for probate.

Is money frozen by banks when someone dies?

The death of one owner should not affect bank accounts held in joint names. Where an account is held solely in the name of the deceased, presentation of a funeral account is often all that is required to access the account, releasing funds from the deceased person’s estate to pay for the funeral.

Who can I contact to help me through this?

When someone close dies, even if it is expected, people react in many different ways. Acute stress and anxiety are often the response to a painful loss. Bereavement Care was pioneered by Tuckers Funeral & Bereavement Service in 1980 and is one of our very important services offered to the community. Our funeral home staff are trained to recognise and support people in need, helping them handle death and understand the process of grief. Our Bereavement Care team is available free of charge to family and friends of people who choose our funeral services and can also talk to schools and care facilities, seniors groups and other community groups.

Should children attend funerals?

Children should be given the opportunity to attend a funeral, especially that of a close relative. However, they should never be forced to go. It is always helpful to explain what to expect at the funeral before the child is asked to decide if he or she wants to share in the experience. As parents are the best judge of the character of their children, they are usually aware if a child is likely to be ‘too sensitive’ to attend or is likely to become hysterical. If this is the case it may be best for the child to attend only a part of the funeral services. On the day of the funeral it is important to have someone with the child to give support and answer questions the child may ask. Attending funerals provides an opportunity for parents and children to share their grief. While seeing each other upset can be difficult, sharing their grief helps them learn about each other’s feelings and can enable them to comfort each other.

What is the difference between a coffin and a casket?

The main difference between coffins and caskets is the design. Originating from Europe, rectangular caskets usually feature a hinged lid. By contrast, coffins taper out to a point at the shoulder, with a lid that generally lifts off completely. Today, coffins and caskets are made of either particle board (chipboard), timber (including pine, oak, cedar and mahogany) or metal (these are imported from the USA). The lining is made from materials ranging from understated calico to hand-ruched satin.

Does organ donation affect my funeral arrangements?

Your funeral arrangements are not affected by organ donation. However, organ donation is only performed in major hospitals are requires informed consent from the next of kin. Some people may hold a donor card which indicates their wishes upon death. Organ retrieval timing is important. Some organs, such as heart valves or bones must be retrieved within 24 hours, while a cornea must be retrieved within approximately eight hours.

What is a reportable death?

The State Coroner’s Office must be alerted to every reportable death in Victoria, including deaths:

  • where a person’s identity is unknown
  • due to unnatural (violent or unexpected) causes
  • resulting from an accident or injury
  • during or as a result of an anaesthetic
  • where a doctor cannot issue the death certificate
  • where a person was held in care prior to death.

Where a reportable death occurs outside the metropolitan Melbourne area, the local Coroner will investigate.

What happens at the Coroner’s?

All reportable deaths need to be investigated by the State Coroner or by a local Coroner. The first step is usually for the Coroner to ask a family member or close friend to identify the deceased. Identification can take place at the place of death, with police present or at the Coroner’s office. The Coroner studies the deceased and usually conducts an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The presence of narcotics or poison in the body, as well as the location of bruising and wounds helps identify whether the death was intended or accidental. In some cases, the Coroner will take fingerprints and perform a blood test.

General Information

A guide to funeral etiquette from our funeral services team

The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn, providing an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect, grief and appreciation for a life that has been lived.

It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis the death presents. Through the funeral the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss. This information has been prepared as a convenient reference for modern funeral practices and customs.

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The Funeral Service

The type of funeral service conducted for the deceased is specified by the family. Our Geelong funeral directors are trained to assist families in arranging whatever type of service they desire. The service held either at a place of worship or at the funeral chapel with the deceased present, varies in ritual according to denomination.

Friends and relatives may be requested to sign the register book. A person’s full name should be listed e.g. “Mr John Doe”. If the person is a business associate, it is proper to list their affiliation as the family may not be familiar with their relationship to the deceased. When the funeral service is over, the survivors often feel very alone in dealing with their feelings. It is important that they know you are still there. Keep in touch.

Private Service

This service is by invitation only and may be held at a place of worship, a funeral chapel or a family home. Usually, selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. Often a private viewing is held, condolences are sent, and the body is viewed.

Memorial Service

A memorial service is a service without the deceased present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Some families prefer public viewings followed by a private or graveside service with a memorial service later at the church or funeral chapel.

Pallbearers

Friends, relatives, church members or business associates may be asked to serve as pallbearers. The funeral director will secure pallbearers if requested to do so by the family.

Honorary Pallbearers

When the deceased has been active in political, business, church or civic circles, it may be appropriate for the family to request close associates of the deceased to serve as honorary pallbearers. They do not actively carry the casket.

Eulogy

A eulogy may be given by a member of the family, clergy, a close personal friend or a business associate of the deceased. The eulogy is not to be lengthy, but should offer praise and commendations and reflect the life of the person who has died.

What to wear to funerals

People attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste, to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion. People may also decide to wear colourful clothing – this is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends.

Funeral Procession / Cortege

When the funeral service and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives may accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral chapel or place of worship. The funeral director can advise you of the traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession.

Condolences

The time of death is a very confusing time for family members. No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family.

Flowers

Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence.

If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person’s continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.

Mass Cards

Mass cards can be sent either by Catholic or non-Catholic friends. The offering of prayers is a valued expression of sympathy to a Catholic family. A card indicating that a Mass for the deceased has been arranged may be obtained from any Catholic parish.

In some areas it is possible to obtain Mass cards at the funeral chapel. The Mass offering card or envelope is given to the family as an indication of understanding, faith and compassion. Make sure that your name and address is legible and that you list your postal code. This will make it easier for the family to acknowledge your gift.

Memorial Donations

A memorial contribution to a specific cause or charity may be appreciated instead of flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available; however the family may have expressed a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects. If recognised as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes.

Sympathy Cards

Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.

Personal Note

A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as “I’m sorry to learn of your personal loss” is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.

Telephone Call

Speaking to a family member gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them feel you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don’t hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased. Be a good listener. Sending an email or card expressing your sympathy is also appropriate.

Viewing

Your presence at the viewing demonstrates that although someone has died, friends still remain. Your presence is an eloquent statement that you care. Viewing provides a time and place for friends to offer their expression of sorrow and sympathy, rather than awkwardly approaching the subject at the office, supermarket or social activities.

The obituary or death notice will designate the hours of viewing when the family will be present and will also designate the times when special services such as lodge services or prayer services may be held. Friends should use their own judgement on how long they should remain at the funeral chapel or place of viewing. If they feel their presence is needed, they should offer to stay.

Sympathy Expressions

When a person calls at the funeral home, sympathy can be expressed by clasping hands, an embrace, or a simple statement of condolence, such as:

  • I’m sorry.
  • My sympathy to you.
  • It was good to know John.
  • John was a fine person and a friend of mine. He will be missed.
  • My sympathy to your mother.

The family member in return may say:

  • Thanks for coming.
  • John talked about you often.
  • I didn’t realize so many people cared.
  • Come see me when you can.

Encourage the bereaved to express their feelings and thoughts, but don’t overwhelm them.

Acknowledgements

The family should acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers. The funeral directors may have available printed acknowledgement cards which can be used by the family. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgement card expressing appreciation for a contribution or personal service received. The note can be short, such as:

  • Thank you for the beautiful roses. The arrangement was lovely.
  • The food you sent was so enjoyed by our family. Your kindness is deeply appreciated.

In some communities it is a practice to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with this.

Children at funerals

At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend the viewing and funeral services. Our funeral directors can advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and can provide you with additional information and literature.

Grief Recovery

It is healthy to recognise death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. Grief is a large emotion, and needs to be shared. People in sorrow will welcome your expression of sympathy, and your offers of help after the funeral. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Visit My Grief Assist for more information.

Our funeral directors and funeral parlour staff are trained to support grieving loved ones. Our Bereavement Care program is provided free of charge for family and friends of those who choose our funeral services.


Religious customs for funerals

Funeral services, often seen as an opportunity to celebrate someone’s life, may include many different rituals, beliefs or customs. These are important for family and friends of the deceased to express their grief and acknowledge their passing. Below is a brief summary of funeral customs from several major religious groups, including what may be expected at the service.

Bahá’í

Bahá’í funerals take place at a Baha’i chapel or at the grave side and are usually conducted by family or other Bahá’í members. It is an extremely simple service with only one prayer reading before burial. Bahá’í followers must be buried within a one-hour drive from the place of death. Embalming is not allowed and cremation is forbidden. Baha’is may wear anything from casual attire to formal wear to funerals and attendees should dress respectfully. No head covering is required and mourners usually wear dark colours and no make-up.

Women and men are permitted to sit together. Sending flowers or cards in memory of the deceased is appropriate, however non-Baha’is cannot contribute to a Baha’i fund.

Buddhism

Buddhist funerals generally take place within a week from death, in a funeral chapel rather than a temple. Viewing of the body is usually held the evening before the funeral. At the funeral service, the family sits at the front of the room. Candles and incense burn until the body is moved to the cemetery. Visitors are expected to greet the family and offer their condolences, before bowing at the coffin.

Visitors are not expected to participate while a monk conducts prayers and chanting. The family of the deceased wears white, while friends often wear black. No headgear is required and men and women can sit together. Sending flowers is appropriate and visitors also often send a financial donation to the family.

Christianity: Catholic

Personal heritage and tradition determines a large part of the Catholic ceremony. Irish, Croatian and Italian are just a few of the cultures that influence the funeral service. However, there are some constants, such as viewing the body in a funeral chapel, before the body is transported to a church for a funeral mass.

A priest will lead the rosary and prayers, which takes about 15 minutes. Visitors can join in or simply observe, however it is considered disrespectful to talk or leave during the rosary. Members of the Catholic faith bow when entering the church and take communion. Non-believers should not imitate these gestures, but should rise and kneel as instructed throughout the funeral service.

Visitors often send flowers and sympathy cards, or make a donation. Catholics can purchase mass cards to be displayed in the funeral chapel.

Christianity: Protestant

Generally, Christians believe in resurrection and the continuation of the soul. All Protestant denominations revolve around the Christian theme that life exists after death. Funeral services usually take place within three days of death and most commonly take place at a funeral home or church. Visiting hours are usually arranged the day prior to the funeral service.

Funerals are generally led by a minister, while family and friends can participate in the service. Some services include time for visitors to give testimonials about the deceased.

Nowadays it is unusual for people to wear black or cover their head. Instead, people display their sympathy to the family by sending flowers, cards or making charitable donations in the name of the deceased.

Hinduism

Hindus try to hold a funeral service before the sun goes down on the day of the death. The funeral service serves Hindus as a purification process to cleanse the soul for a possible union with Brahma. After a Hindu has passed away, the family prepares the body for the funeral and wraps their loved one in a shroud.

Traditionally, funeral services are held at a funeral chapel and conducted by the eldest son. Mourners wear white, while visitors simply wear subdued colours. Sometimes the men will shave their heads as a sign of respect for the deceased. At the funeral service the family may lay flowers on the deceased. While not traditional, visitors may send flowers to the family of the deceased.

After the funeral a short service also takes place at the crematorium. All Hindus are cremated, as the burning of the body symbolises the release of their spirit. The family of the deceased will then enter a formal grieving period for at least 13 days. The duration of the formal grieving depends on the caste of the family.

Islam

Muslims try to bury their dead as soon as possible and usually within a day of death. Muslim funeral services always take place in a mosque. Everyone is required to leave their shoes at the door before sitting on the floor. Women and men are seated separately and women must wear a veil or scarf and loose clothing. Mourners close to the family wear black, while visitors can send cards and flowers to express their sympathy.

The short service includes ritual chanting and recitation from the Koran. Visitors and mourners are invited to pay their last respects, before the body is take to a cemetery for burial. Following a short ceremony at the burial grounds, further prayers are held at the mosque and visitors can offer consolation to the family of the deceased. Later, a meal is eaten at the mosque.

Judaism

Jewish funerals take place as soon after the death as possible, either the same day or the next day. People pay their respects in three ways:

  1. by attending the funeral service;
  2. by attending the burial service at the cemetery; and
  3. by supporting the family during the week of Shiva (a time when activities are restricted in order to grieve) following the service.

While there are three different types of Judaism – Orthodox, Conservative and Reform – funeral services for each are similar. Head covering is required for both sexes at Orthodox Jewish funerals, for men only at a Conservative, and is optional at Reform. Head coverings are provided for anyone arriving without one.

Until the body is buried, the focus is centred entirely on the deceased person. As a result, it is not appropriate to approach the family until the body is buried. Sending flowers is not part of the Jewish tradition. Instead, people honour the deceased by making a donation to the family’s favourite charity or cause.

Mormonism

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more commonly referred to as “Mormons”, approach funerals with a projected spirit of hope, based on the anticipated reunion with the deceased after this life. Funeral services are directed by local church leaders and generally held in an LDS chapel or mortuary. However, some cases may dictate a memorial or graveside service only.

Services usually start and finish with sacred music and prayer, as well as congregational singing or a choir. Mormon funeral services include reminiscences and eulogies, with some families asking family members or friends to sing or talk about the life of the deceased. Following the funeral service, family and close friends traditionally attend a simple graveside service. Often there is a reception held afterwards, where friends can offer their condolences to the family and give flowers or cards.

Sikhism

Sikh funerals are held at a funeral chapel rather than a temple, usually within 48 hours of death. While men and women are permitted to sit together at a chapel, both sexes require head covering. A simple silk scarf is considered appropriate for both men and women. Passages from the Sikh holy book are read and prayers are offered at the funeral service. Friends and relatives should not cry, but instead are asked to recite scriptural hymns. Sending flowers or cards is appropriate.

Following the funeral service, Sikhs enter a mourning period for between two and five weeks.

Resources

Love and loss verses for funeral services

Following are 62 verses for love and loss to help you prepare funeral notices. See our suggestions below or download the verses for love and loss brochure.

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  • Constantly loved, ever remembered
  • Ever in our thoughts
  • Resting where no shadows fall
  • Safe in the arms of Jesus
  • Rest in peace
  • Requiescat in pace
  • Life and love know no end
  • Always remembered
  • Remembered with love
  • In God’s care
  • Treasured memories of a dear ………
  • A patient sufferer at rest
  • Forever in our hearts
  • Peace at last
  • To know him/her was to love him/her
  • May his/her dear soul rest in peace
  • Till we meet again
  • Love does not end
  • Cherished memories
  • We will never forget you
  • Will be sadly missed
  • Goodbye my darling
  • Thanks for the memories
  • One of nature’s true gentlemen
  • So dearly loved, so sadly missed
  • Peace, perfect peace
  • We have so many happy memories, you will be forever in our hearts.
  • Your memory is my greatest treasure, to have and to hold in my heart forever.
  • To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die
  • In God’s care he/she rests above, in our hearts he/she rests with love.
  • God has you in His keeping, we have you in our hearts
  •  Weep not that he/she has gone, but smile that he/she has been.
  • To the world you were but one, to us you were our world.
  • A tender thought that brings a tear, a silent wish that you were here.
  • No longer in our lives to share, but in our hearts you’ll always be there.
  • God broke our hearts to prove, He only takes the best.
  • Silent thoughts of time together, hold memories that will last forever.
  • Sweet is the sleep that ended the pain, we would not wake you to suffer again.
  • In our hearts you will always stay, loved and remembered every day.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • Deep in our hearts, memories are kept, of a …….. we will never forget.
  • My heart aches with sadness, my secret tears flow, for what it means to lose you, no one will ever know.
  • Our thoughts are always with you, your place no one will fill. In life we loved you dearly, in death we love you still.
  • To hear your voice, to see you smile, to sit and talk to you a while, to be together in the same old way, would be our greatest wish today.
  • …….., you never failed to do your best, your heart was true and tender, you simply lived for those you loved, and those you loved remember.
  • It’s not what we write, it’s not what we say, it’s how we remember you in our own special way.
  • We didn’t see you close your eyes, we didn’t say goodbye, we were only told that you were gone, without a last goodbye.
  • Death will not part us or distance divide, forever and always you will be by my side.
  • A golden heart stopped beating, two hands were laid to rest. God broke our hearts to prove, He only takes the best.
  • Suddenly you were taken, we could not say goodbye, now we only have memories, that will never die.
  • You had a smile for everyone, you had a heart of gold, you left behind the memories, that we will always hold.
  • Tired and weary you made no fuss, you tried so hard to stay with us. You suffered so much and told so few, you never deserved what you went through.
  • May the winds of love blow softly, and whisper for you to hear, that we will love and remember you, and forever keep you near.
  • The things we feel so deeply, are the hardest things to say, you will always be remembered, in a very special way.
  • Thank you for the years we shared, the love you gave, the way you cared. In our hearts you’ll always stay, loved and remembered every day.
  • God saw that you were weary, He did what he thought best, and gently held you in His arms, and said ‘come with me and rest’.
  • Though his/her smile has gone forever, and his/her hands we cannot touch, we shall never lose the memory, of the …….. we loved so much.
  • A …….. is a special gift, and one you think will stay, you never dream the day will come, when he/she will go away. For those who have a …….., cherish him/her while you may,  because I would give the world to have, my …….. here today.
  • With tears we saw you suffer …….., we watched you fade away, our hearts were slowly breaking, as you fought so hard to stay. You did not want to leave us, but you did not go alone, for part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
  • Dear Father in heaven please hear my prayer, tend my …….. with loving care. There are many …….. in the world I know, but he/she was mine and I loved him/her so. So treasure him/her Lord in your garden of rest, for here on earth he/she was one of the best.
  • We knew the time was coming, when we would have to say goodbye. Our hearts are filled with sadness, but memories will never die. Rest peacefully …….. in some place green, some place nice, some place that’s called paradise.
  • …….., you shared my life and troubles, the laughter and the tears, you gave me loving friendship, through all the loving years. Out of all the many blessings received along life’s way, there was no gift more treasured than you and our yesterdays.

Opening Lines

  • Our dear friend…
  • At rest after a long illness…
  • Tragically taken…
  • In loving memory of…
  • Loving mother of…

Closing Lines

  • Peacefully sleeping.
  • Sadly missed.
  • Loved by all.
  • In loving memory.
  • Forever in our hearts.

Wife, Husband, or Love

  • To have to love and then to part, is the saddest story of the human heart.
    – Anon
  • Our thoughts are always with you, your place no one will fill, in life we loved your dearly, in death we love you still.
    – Anon
  • Words are few, our feelings are deep, our memories of you we will always keep.
    – Anon
  • For you were beautiful, and we have loved you more than words can ever say.
    – Anon
  • May the winds of love blow softly, to that quiet, lovely place, wherever my true love is sleeping, who can never be replaced.
    – Anon

Mother or Father

  • Only your special love stays with us always, the kind of love that only a mother can give. Your love is our constant reassurance that you are with us forever.
    – Joan Barkley
  • Thanks for a lifetime of memories, for your love and kindness, help and encouragement.
    – Joan Barkley
  • Mother, you mean so much, you have done so much more, than anyone could ever do, and you mean much more to me, than words can express. No one could ever take your place.
    – Joan Barkley
  • I have a memory in my heart, that time can never touch, your loving care throughout the years, when I was growing up. You touched my life, shared my days, (Grandmother or Grandfather) we were so close in many ways. On this day the tears ran, as I sat and thought of my beloved ‘Gran’.
    – Anon

Messages of Comfort

  • There is a sunshine for each sunset, and for each night of sorrow. There is an ending as the new day dawns, on the horizon called tomorrow. Don’t cry because she has gone, but smile because she was here.
    – Anon
  • To everything there is a reason, and a time for every purpose. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to give away.
    – Ecclesiastes 3 & 4

Religious Verses & Prayer

  • Death hides, but it does not divide – thou art but on Christ’s other side. Thou art with Christ and Christ with me, in him I still am close to thee…
    – Anon
  • Extolled and harrowed by the name of God, throughout the world, which he created, according to his will. And may he speedily establish His Kingdom of righteousness on earth.
    Amen

Bereavement Notices

  • In lieu of flowers, a donation to …….. would be greatly appreciated.
  • The …….. family wish to acknowledge and thank our many friends and relatives for their love and support on the loss of our dearly loved husband, father and grandfather.
  • Special thanks to the nursing staff/doctor …….. at …….. hospital/nursing home for their care and support.
  • …….. and family wish to sincerely thank relatives, friends and neighbours for all their help, love and support in the recent death of their beloved …….. . Your love, caring, floral tributes, telephone calls and cards will never be forgotten. Please accept this as our personal expression of thanks.
  • Please accept our deep appreciation for your help in our recent bereavement – the loss of our beloved …….. . Only the sympathy, love, prayers and support offered by you, and many others, have enabled us to endure and gain victory in our desolating experience.
  • Through prayers, telegrams, letters, cards, phone messages, floral tributes, visits, personal words and practical expressions, God drew near to us. Through them he revealed his love that would not let us go, made us to know and feel that round about us were his everlasting arms, and made more real assurance and hope of the Gospel.
Useful Links
  • My Grief Assist
    Learn About Grief / Helping Grieving People / Inspiration & Resources
    mygriefassist.com
  • State Trustees
    Deceased Estate Administration / Needing help after someone has died? / What happens if you die without a Will?
    statetrustees.com.au