- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Facing end of life
- Caring for someone nearing the end of life
- After the death
- Funeral and religious services
Funeral and religious services
Many people have no previous experience organising a funeral and little knowledge of what to do. Funeral and religious services can be an important part of the grieving process. They allow family and friends to share their grief, say goodbye and celebrate the person’s life. Funerals can be personalised to suit cultural or spiritual beliefs.
The executor of the will or a family member usually arranges the funeral. Most people use a funeral director, who can organise the service, coffin, newspaper notices and flowers, and help with many of the legal responsibilities such as registering the death. You can organise these details yourself if you prefer; you do not need to use a funeral director.
If the person has a prepaid funeral plan, it will usually include details of what they wanted and also which funeral director to use. Sometimes a person may not have prepaid their funeral plan, but may still have left written instructions or talked to you about their wishes.
If you don’t know the person’s wishes, you might need to decide. This can be difficult and stressful, especially as other family members may have different ideas about what should happen.
You can also choose not to have a funeral or to have a non-traditional event such as a celebration of life.
Listen to our podcast on Caring for Someone in Their Last Months
Dr Megan Ritchie, Staff Specialist Palliative Medicine, Palliative Care Service, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Gabrielle Asprey, Cancer Support Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Rosemary Cavanough, Consumer; Louise Durham, Nurse Practitioner, Metro South Palliative Care Service, QLD; Tracey Gardner, Senior Psychologist, Cancer Counselling Service, Cancer Council Queensland; Karen Hall, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC; Rowena Robinson, Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia, ACT; Helena Rodi, Program Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia, VIC.
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