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When Death Occurs


The overwhelming feelings of despair, disbelief, shock, and numbness caused by the passing of a loved one cannot be conveyed by mere words. Even when the death is expected, the pain that loss brings can still be devastating. In truth, no one is completely prepared for the death of someone close to their heart.

During this difficult time, there are decisions to be made immediately, arrangements to be coordinated, and a lot of things to be considered for your loved one's final farewell. We understand how this may feel overwhelming, especially with the grief you're feeling over the loss. Please know that we are here to help and support you.

On this page, we've put together helpful information to guide you through this process. If you have any further questions regarding what to do in the time immediately after a loss, do not hesitate to reach out to us by calling (269) 621-4101. Our dedicated staff is always standing by to guide you through those dreaded first steps.

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After death has occurred, it is the duty of a hospital representative, hospice nurse, paramedic, or, in certain cases, a medical examiner investigator to contact the Calvin Funeral Home at (269) 621-4101 and make the first contact. The following information will be required when the first call is made:

  • Full name of the deceased.
  • Location of the deceased, whether it is in a hospital, nursing home, the decedent's residence, etc.
  • Next of Kin's contact information, including their name, telephone number and relationship.
  • Information on the physician signing the death certificate.
After the initial contact has been made, one of our funeral representatives will contact the next of kin to express our condolences and make a time for them to come into our funeral home to begin the arrangement process. Any additional members of the immediate family may also attend the arrangement conference. Here are some things to consider having with you or be thinking about when you come in and meet with the funeral director:

  • Decedent's social security number and their basic information.
  • The deceased's date of birth, along with the city and state they were born in.
  • The deceased's relative information, including parents, children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, etc.
  • The deceased's educational background, including how far they went in school.
  • The deceased's marital status; whether they are single, married, widowed, never married, etc.
  • If deceased has insurance or is a veteran of our armed forces, please bring in those papers.
After the next of kin and their family members make the initial arrangements, here are some more things that, you, as a family, should be thinking about in the lead-up to the burial, cremation or memorial service:

Gather or research all information to compile an obituary for your loved one. Obituaries include, but are not limited to, the following information: place of birth, place of death, parents, background information (such as graduation year from school, clubs, activities, employment, church attended, etc.) and family members from the immediate and close family. You may also include a picture to go along with the obituary. In most cases, families will choose to work with the funeral home in writing the obituary, but the family is encouraged to write their own, if they so wish.

Contact a minister. This could be the minister or clergyman of the church that your loved one attended or a member of your family attends. In certain cases, members of the family may not have attended a place of worship. If that is the case, the funeral director will get in contact with one of the local ministers in the area, or the family can choose to preside over the services themselves.

If you choose to have friends make donations in lieu of flowers, think of a charity or an organization that you would like to see that money go towards. The funeral home has envelopes available for donations to many charities.

If you choose a regular funeral with a casket, you may want to select pall bearers to carry the casket to the hearse following the services and at the cemetery. These pall bearers can be family or friends of your loved one. If you feel you cannot supply enough pall bearers, please contact us and we can make arrangements to help.

If you plan to bury your loved one, whether by traditional burial or after cremation takes place, make sure that they have a cemetery lot or space. If they do not, we will help you contact cemetery officials to get it taken care of.

Determine how many death certificates you may need. You will likely require certified copies of the death certificate if you have anything "legal" you need to take care of. We recommend getting at least four death certificates, as you can get three additional copies for the cost of one. Each time you go back for additional copies, you must pay the higher cost for the first copy.

The funeral director will contact the Social Security Administration to inform them of your loved one's death. In Michigan, funeral homes certify the death in the SSA system when the death certificate is filed. The only reason that someone may need to contact them for is if they have received a check they should not have after death.

Check on possible sources of income that could be received and used to pay for funeral services after a loved one's death. These sources of income may include, but are not limited to social security, military funds or insurance money. If your loved one has insurance, the funeral director would be happy to help with contacting the insurance company, getting the proper insurance claim forms and filling them out for you. If you wish for the funeral director to make contact with the insurance company, we will need the company's name and the policy number to get started.


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