What if I’m not ready to hold a funeral?

Reasons you might want to delay a funeral service

There are many options available to you if you aren’t ready to hold a funeral or if you need to delay it for any reason.

Apart from the practical considerations, one of the reasons we hold a funeral reasonably soon after someone’s death is because it provides a touchstone for our mourning. And while it doesn’t offer ‘closure’, a funeral is a kind of milestone. It helps us to make sense of the shift in our relationship with that person. For many people, a funeral therefore plays an important role in the early grieving process.

However, there are many reasons you might want to delay a funeral.  There is no hierarchy of grief, but some deaths are more difficult than others. For example, if the death was sudden and unexpected, you might want time to plan. Or you might want to wait to get in contact with friends or family who are travelling or difficult to contact.

“The most common piece of advice I give to people is this: take your time, there’s no need to rush.”

You might want to take your time because you feel that a traditional service is not right and you want to explore some of the options for alternative funerals.

While most people will not want to wait too long before holding the funeral, the most common piece of advice I give to people when they first contact me is this: take your time, there’s no need to rush. This doesn’t mean that you will be waiting for months to hold the funeral … sometimes all you need is an extra couple of days or a week just to think things through.

So, what do you need to do if you want to wait until you hold the funeral? You don’t need to do anything in particular, but of course there are some practical considerations. Your funeral director will be able to advise you about your options.

One common choice is to have the burial or cremation in the short term with the service or another ritual to be held later. Direct cremation is becoming increasingly common. This gives you time to collect your thoughts and to hold a memorial service at a later time when you are feeling stronger or more prepared.