Planning For Life’s End


Life’s End

Dealing with Issues associated with the End Of Life

As we go through the daily hustle and bustle of life, rarely do we give the idea of death any credence. I mean, we think of it but it often lacks zeal and is treated as something that is for later in life when we get old. Here at The Katy Funeral Home we know that just as life is a reality so is the inevitability of death.  Death is often something that we fear and simply ignore, but often times educating one’s self about it can be empowering and reduce our fear drastically.

Death may seem as though it is completely foreign, but just like many subjects a little bit of education can go a long way in regards to coping with the death of a loved one. Often we find that a byproduct of this education can be that of an urge to plan a meaningful funeral or memorial service. In this article we plan to explain the entire process of death and the aspects of planning the subsequent funeral services.

The Process of death

It is important to understand that every person and situation is different when it comes to life; the death process is no different. These differences cause people to have varying experiences such as:

·         A terminal disease or illness or other medical condition

·         The amount and quality of Healthcare that is received

·         Medications and other life extending treatments

·         Living environment whether it is home or hospice

·         Family demographics

·         Cause of the death

As stated above, everyone is different and so is their end of life process; however the symptoms of approaching death can be very similar from person to person. Recognizing these symptoms can give you that needed time with loved ones before they pass away.

There is no set timeline for death as some people die in weeks, years, days and even as soon as minutes, but all deaths are accompanied by recognizable symptoms.  Sometimes you will find that a person close to death will actually become sad and withdrawn from family and friends. On the other hand, there is the person that stays the same and gives no warning. We are individuals and our death experiences are unique to us, our personalities and situations. These symptoms afford loved ones and the person affected to do several things in advance.

This Advanced Planning task includes:

·         creating a legal will

·         Informing family of wishes in the medical area (whether to resuscitate of not)

·         They also allow one to alleviate stress from family through advanced funeral planning.

The Brain During Death

If you have ever had a near death experience or a close call, then you know that these events can cause one to reflect on their life. This reflection can be accompanied with regret and depression. When one is nearing death, they can possess a feeling that something is happening to them, and they can often speak of the time here as if it is soon to be over. Sometimes this can be hard to ear as a family member of friend and can often be shrugged off as a spell, but this should not be ignored. Research has found that once people start speaking of the end, death is close to follow. The nearing of death can be a very stressful time for loved ones; however, it can be seen as a gift because it gives loved ones a timeframe and allows them to say final goodbyes.

When one begins the process of death, abnormal things can happen due to the fact that the brain is starting to lose its lucidity; with this state many symptoms have been known to appear from hallucinations to the loss of senses. People can often seem as though they are losing their minds and have been known to exude some strange behavior. Along with the mental issues that death can cause, there are also many physical symptoms such as the loss of appetite. The person can become utterly uninterested in food and may say things like, “I just don’t feel hungry,” or that “food just doesn’t taste good anymore.” The loss of appetite can also be accompanied with large shocking weight lost.  The dying person has entered a state during which the body has produced chemicals that have caused a euphoric state. This euphoric state takes away all of the person’s desires, even the basic ones like eating and living. Along with not eating, the person may seem to be in their own world and may not respond to attention or questions.


Once a person’s body has entered the death process, some physical things will begin to happen. THESE SYMPTOMS WILL HAPPEN IN ORDER:

·         The body temperature will often drop by a couple of degrees

·         The blood pressure would slowly dissipate

·         The person heart will begin to work irregularly  

·         The person may begin sweating profusely

·         The person will lose color and take on a pale gray appearance

·         Respiration will become irregular either slow, shallow or even rapid

All of the above symptoms are reminiscent of the body beginning to shut down just as when the body is starved for oxygen, the extremities are the first to be affected. Often the hands and feet loose circulation and can become blotchy and pale for the lack of blood flow. This blotchy skin color will begin to spread slowly upward to the ear. When nearing death, a person can oftentimes become unresponsive and are thought to be in a dream like a suspended state; this is when people say that they began to remember all of the memories or even see the proverbial light. After that, the final sense to go is hearing. So even if a loved one seems unable to talk, they can often hear.  So this is when we encourage loved ones to talk to family and tell them how much they mean to you. Finally, the person’s breathing will slow and then eventually stop altogether causing the heart to stop and death to occur.

With the onset of death, the body begins a set of physical changes that simplify the state of death. The brain no longer sends impulses to the body. This causes the structures in the body to no longer respond to stimulus and things occur such as the pupils dilate, the muscles relax and the body becomes flaccid. Now that the heart is no longer pushing blood through the body, the skin begins to lose its normal color and can turn pale or dark depending on the person’s completion. The blood will flow the laws of gravity and pool in the areas that are at the lowest point. This is called lividity. The body then has a chemical reaction causing rigor mortis, causing the body muscle to stiffen making the body rigid.


Planning Funeral, memorial service, Burial, or cremation

After all of the stages of death are complete and a loved one dies, this is the beginning of a vast number of things to take care of that you may have never had to deal with. These arrangements can often be the cause of tremendous stress due to the fact that you are encountering them on the heels of a tragic lost. When a death has occurred the following items must be handled.

·         If the person died at home, you should call 911 to contact the police.

·         If death occurs in hospice you should inform the hospice officials.

·         After the authorities have pronounced death officially, the family are then free to plan the funeral services.

·         The first of the funeral planning task is to call your chosen funeral home, have your loved one picked up from the location of death, and transported to the funeral home facilities.

·         If the deceased has advanced planning wishes, then these plans simply are to be followed. In the case of burial insurance, you will need to contact the policy provider and inform them of the death.

·         On the premises that there is no advanced plan in place, then you and family must plan the entire service on your own with the assistance of the funeral home staff.

When you begin the journey of planning a funeral, the first decision you must make is what to do with the deceased body. You must choose between traditional burial, at sea burial, or cremation.  As of late there are also a few other options that exist such as a green burials and flameless cremation.  What to do with the body is often a decision of tradition and family.

During the planning phase, you will be working closely with a professional at a funeral home. The job of this professional is to provide you with a step by step process to complete the planning and funeral. This working relationship will start with a conference.  The purpose of the service is to give the family some closure, to celebrate the life of their loved one and who they were and the impact they made on people. One of the big decisions will be if you want the funeral professionals to write an obituary of you choose to write one yourself. If you choose to have the professionals write, you will need to provide information about the deceased during the conference.


Funeral Home Tips and Safe Guards

One thing to keep in mind is that funerals and deaths are a big business, and that means that there is money to be made. Before planning a funeral we suggest that you research your rights when planning a funeral by going to the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule.

Dealing with Loss and Grief

When planning a funeral, the business, hustle and bustle can often keep the loved ones so busy they don’t have time to grieve. This can cause a torrent of grief and sorrow to wash over the loved one once all the work of funeral planning is completed. This grief is a natural part of losing someone that you love. The first thing to know is that you should not try and mask it by internalizing it. Grief should be seen as a state that you have to go through to get better. This grief can take on many different forms including crying or sobbing uncontrollably.  Grief can also cause a person to become depressed and suffer from things such as insomnia or too much sleep. Coupled with depression, the body can become lethargic due to the lack of energy.

Grief and mourning are unique to the person and follow no set sequence of stages, but instead can be random and unpredictable. This sadness of loss can begin to affect us physically over time and can present symptoms such as weight loss, discomfort and even pain. People in mourning report feelings of doom, a lack of motivation and some even lose their jobs due to the fact that the don’t feel like working. This sadness is very real and should not be disregarded as simply feelings that will go away.  At The Katy Funeral Home, we advise our families to acknowledge grief and go through it so that they can begin the healing process. There is no right way to handle grief since everyone is different, but people often report feeling better after they’ve allowed themselves to truly grieve; after the sadness, the great memories are all that is left.