Resource library

Avoid emotional overspending for a funeral or cremation ceremony.

The loss of a loved one is always a difficult time. You may have many questions about the funeral process, need grief support, or guidance on the many details that arise after a death. Below you will find articles, videos, and other resources and support for you and your loved ones.

Understanding what needs to be done when a death occurs
Help for the days immediately following your loss

What to bring with you to the funeral home

There are a number of items that you will need to bring to the funeral home in the days before the funeral service. Bringing as much as possible with you to the arrangement conference will help with the planning process.

  • A photo of your loved one to use in their online obituary.
  • Paperwork:
    • General information about the deceased (birth date, city and state of birth, Social Security number, parent’s names, educational institutions, marital status)
    • Copies of life insurance policies
    • Military discharge papers (DD 214 form) if applicable
    • Cemetery paperwork if applicable
    • Funeral prearrangement paperwork if applicable
  • Personal effects:
    • Clothing, undergarments, shoes, glasses (if applicable) and jewelry for your loved one
  • Photos for the Life Story memorial video tribute to play during the visitation and before and after the service. Please bring 20-45 photos.
  • Special memorabilia: For the visitation and service, you may want to set up memory tables with framed photos, memorabilia, awards, handcrafts and framed photos for guests to view at the visitation or before or after the service.

What to expect at the funeral arrangement conference:

The funeral arrangement conference is the primary planning session for the funeral services for your loved one. Our staff will be in communication with you during the days leading up to your services, to finalize many details, but the majority of decisions will be made at this conference.

You can expect to be at the arrangement conference for approximately one and a half to two hours. During this time we will assist you in creating a service that truly reflects and honors the life of your loved one. We will also help you with selecting merchandise and developing an online memorial to your loved one. Finally, we will discuss your wishes regarding cemetery property and a marker or monument.

Some families choose to have one or two family representatives attend the conference, while other families prefer that everyone be present. We can accommodate whatever meets your needs. If you plan to have more than six family members attending, please let us know in advance so we will be prepared for your arrival.

To learn more information about our services and merchandise ahead of time, please review our online Funeral Planner. You may also design a cemetery marker online using our Marker Design Tool.

Many of the details covered in the arrangement conference can be taken care of in advance. Our staff is available to sit down and discuss your wishes ahead of time, whenever is convenient for you. Often, when a death is considered to be imminent by medical professionals, a family will come in to the funeral home and make their selections, reducing the number of decisions that need to be made after the death occurs. For more information, please see our Advance Planning section.

Applying for benefits

Our staff will file a notice with Social Security that your loved one has died. Please provide your funeral director with your loved one’s Social Security number to begin the process. After the notification, you should contact Social Security to discuss benefits for you and your family. They can be reached at 1-800-772-1213. To speak with a representative, please be sure to call between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Benefits vary by a number of conditions, including the age and relation of the surviving family members, and can also change over time. Please review the information and instructions at the Social Security website, for the most up-to-date information.

Veterans, please see our Veterans Benefits section.

Filing paperwork with banks, utilities and more.

After the death of a loved one, many families are surprised by the number of individuals and organizations that must be notified in order to claim benefits, change billing addresses or end services

Some of these entities include your loved one’s bank, credit card provider, church, accountant, attorney, estate executor, home, life and health insurance providers, utility companies, phone company, home maintenance providers, physician, dentist, newspaper and magazine subscription offices and government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the US Postal Service, Veterans Administration and the voters’ registration office, and many others.

This can be an overwhelming task, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Our staff can provide you with a Resource Guide with sample letters to all of these entities to assist you in the notifications. The Guide is available in paper or CD format. It will help you work through all of the notifications in an orderly manner, streamlining the process.

You will need a certified copy of your loved one’s death certificate in order to make many of these notifications. Our staff will take care of ordering the certificates from the Office of Vital Statistics and notify you when they are ready. A photo copy of the certificate is often enough for many organizations, but we recommend obtaining several certified copies as a precaution. We can also order more copies to you in the future if necessary.

Funeral etiquette and frequently asked questions about funeral ceremonies.

Many of us do not attend funerals regularly, so it can be hard to know what to say and do to comfort friends or family in their time of need. Here are some frequently asked questions about funerals, visitations, and expressing sympathy.

Funeral etiquette and frequently asked questions about funeral ceremonies

What is the difference between a funeral & a memorial service?

A funeral and memorial service both serve the same purpose – to honor and celebrate the life of your loved one with friends and family. The term "funeral service" refers to a gathering where the body of your loved one is present, giving guests and family the opportunity to say a final goodbye in person. This service is normally held within a week of the death.

A "memorial service" is held without the body present, and can be held at any point after the death. Memorial services can be held after cremation takes place, or after burial takes place in a private ceremony. Sometimes more than one memorial service is held if a large number of family members or friends live out-of-state, or if the deceased had special ties to another community.

Why should I have a ceremony at all?

A ceremony is a time for family and friends to gather and pay tribute to your loved one. While nothing can take away the pain of your loss, it can be comforting to see the impact that your loved one had on friends, classmates, co-workers, and others in the community. In difficult times, it can be consoling to rely on traditional expressions of grief and loss that a funeral provides. Watching the memorial video and listening to speakers and special music allows you to focus on your loved one’s life, rather than their death.

It is often said that the funeral service is really for the living. A ceremony serves not as a clichéd point of closure, but as a milestone in your life after the passing of your loved one.

What do I do at a visitation?

A formal visitation provides a time and place for you to offer the family your expression of sorrow and sympathy. Visitation is typically held at the funeral home, and the deceased is typically present so that you can pay your last respects.

When you arrive, go to the family and express your sympathy. If you were an acquaintance of the deceased, but not well-known to the family, immediately introduce yourself. Conversation about the deceased is natural, as is crying.

If offered by the family, it is customary, but not mandatory, to show your respects by viewing the deceased and, if you desire, spending a few moments in silent prayer.

Always sign the guest book using your full name, and if you were a business associate of the deceased, note your company affiliation.

Should children attend funerals?

Children who were close to the deceased should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. Death has become somewhat of a taboo subject in our society and there is a tendency to not talk about it. Often, because we know the pain and sadness, we want to protect our children, sometimes to the point that we don't tell them about a death.

But, there is no question that a death disrupts a family’s life, and all family members are affected. Children can sense that something is wrong and they will experience grief one way or another. Attending the funeral or having the funeral process described to them by a parent or close family member involves them in what the rest of the family is experiencing. Most children can understand that a funeral is a time to say good-bye.

If a child attends a funeral, an explanation of what will happen before, during, and after the ceremony is important. Children should also be made aware that they will see people expressing a wide range of emotions in expressing their feelings.

For more information on helping children with grief, please see our Grief Support section.

What does it mean when the funeral is “private”?

This type of service is generally held for family members and close friends, and is by invitation only. Sometimes a visitation is held for friends and other associates to come and pay their respects. Cards and other expressions of sympathy are always appreciated, and should be sent to the funeral home or the family’s home.

How long should I stay at a visitation?

The amount of time you spend at a visitation is discretionary. Once you have expressed your sympathy to each member of the family and spoken a few moments to those you know well, it is acceptable to leave, although you may wish to stay longer.

What is appropriate dress for visitations and funerals?

It is no longer necessary to wear black when you go to a funeral. Dress should be conservative and should be selected to indicate dignity and respect for the family and the deceased.

Support for grief

The grief experience is different for each of us. This information is to serve as a guide following the death of a loved one. We hope this information will be helpful and bring you comfort.

Grief support.

What to expect following a loss

While death is the one constant in life that affects everyone, we all experience loss in different ways and on different timelines. If you are responsible for making decisions for the funeral, or for hosting out-of-town guests, there can be so much to do immediately that you don’t have time to process the loss until later. Below are some natural physical and emotional reactions that you may experience, as well as things you can do to gain control and feel more whole. We hope this information will be helpful and bring you comfort.

What You May Experience Physically:

  • Lack of desire to eat or desire to over-eat
  • Inability to sleep
  • Headaches or stomach/intestinal disorders
  • Tightness in the throat or in the muscles
  • Heaviness or pressure in the chest
  • Visual or auditory hallucinations of the lost loved one
  • Lack of energy
  • Periods of nervousness or even panic

What You May Experience Emotionally:

  • Overwhelmed with emotions
  • Sadness and/or depression
  • Mood swings
  • Cry easily and/or unexpectedly
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Guilt or anger about things that happened or didn't happen in the relationship with the deceased
  • Unexpected anger toward others, God, or the deceased
  • Desire to run away, or become very busy in order to avoid the pain
  • Feel uncomfortable around other people
  • May not want to be alone
  • Feelings of emptiness, or having been cheated
  • Doubts or questions concerning why the death occurred
  • Fear of what will happen next

Things to Try for Relief and Healing:

This can be a difficult time with all the changes occurring. In the past, you may have handled grief in other ways. If your previous style of grieving has not been helpful, be willing to try a different approach such as support groups, reading and learning about grief or calling friends and family daily.

  • Within the first 24 to 48 hours after the death, periods of exercise alternated with relaxation will alleviate some of the physical reactions. Move to music or walk for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Be good to yourself. Treat yourself like you would another grieving person. Remember to eat a well-balanced diet. Get plenty of rest and sleep.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Go to your doctor for a check-up.
  • Reach out and spend time with others. People do care.
  • It is okay to tell and re-tell what happened, remembering the loved one and the experience of their death is healthy.
  • Structure your time. Keep busy, but be sure the activity is meaningful. This is a good time to focus on your family and the loved one you lost.
  • As you share your feelings, ask about the feelings of others.
  • Keep a journal. Write your way through those sleepless hours.
  • If possible, don't make any "big" life changes.
  • Be wary of numbing pain with the overuse of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant and may interrupt your sleep pattern.
  • You may or may not cry often, but when you do, realize it is okay. Don't fight the tears. "Cry when you have to and laugh when you can." Jean G. Jones
  • Find support in your family and friends, but don't expect them to meet all of your needs. They are also grieving along with you. Realize that those around you are under stress. Try not to overreact to what is said and done.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help; we all need support. If needed, join a support group. It can make a difference in the way you grieve.
  • Remember that grieving takes time and that your experiences and emotions can reoccur. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to heal at your own pace.

Resources, support groups & community organizations

The following books and internet resources may assist you or your family in dealing with the grieving process. These resources can be obtained at your local library or bookstores, or online.

Resources for Adults

  • "A Grief Observed" C.S. Lewis
  • "Explaining Death To Children" Earl A. Grollman
  • "When A Family Loses A Loved One" Paul F. Wilczak
  • "Men and Grief" Carol Staudacher
  • "Questions and Answers on Death & Dying" Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • "The Bereaved Parent" Harriet S. Schiff
  • "Getting Through the Night" Eugenia Price
  • "The Journey Through Grief: Reflections on Healing" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Understanding Grief: Helping Yourself Heal" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Food for the Soul" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Healing the Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Families, Friends & Caregivers" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Creating Meaningful Funeral Ceremonies: A Guide for Caregivers" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Healing the Adult Child's Grieving Heart" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Healing a Parent's Grieving Heart" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Healing Your Traumatized Heart" Dr. Alan Wolfelt(Recommended for dealing with violent death)

Resources for Children

  • "Badger's Parting Gifts" Susan Varley
  • "How It Feels When A Parent Dies" Jill Krementz (Recommended for Teenagers)
  • "How Do We Tell The Children" Shafer and Lyons (Recommended for Adults)
  • "Healing the Bereaved Child" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "A Child's View of Grief" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Healing the Grieving Child's Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Kids" Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Resources for Caregivers

  • "Sarah's Journey: One Child's Experience With the Death of Her Father" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Creating Meaningful Funeral Ceremonies: A Guide for Families" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Death and Grief: A Guide for Clergy" Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Helpful Websites
Organization dedicated to furthering our understanding of grief. Founded by Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt
National nonprofit organization for families grieving the death of a child any age
A nonprofit, non-denominational organization serving grieving children and their families
The National Center for Grieving Children & Their Families
Organization dedicated to providing information and support to patients, families and friends facing life-threatening illnesses.
Organization which offers chat rooms, discussions, advice columns and articles related to grief, grieving, death and dying.

Helping children with grief

When talking about death, there are no easy answers, especially with children. Most people are unsure of how and what to tell their children, and what the child's reaction and behavior will be.

Children experience loss almost on a daily basis. Through divorce, loss of friends, and the death of a pet, children learn to grieve. The following information assists helping a child deal with the death of someone they love; however, the information is helpful when dealing with any life loss. And, while it is not a complete guide, a list of recommended readings is provided on the subject of children and the grief process.

Children & Death

"It is precisely because young children don't understand what death is all about that they especially need us to talk about it with them" (Rogers & Sharapan, 1979).

Death has become somewhat of a taboo subject in our society and there is a tendency to not talk about it. Often, because we know the pain and sadness, we want to protect our children, sometimes to the point that we don't tell them about a death. A death disrupts the family's emotional life and all family members are affected. Children sense that something is wrong and they will experience grief one way or another. So, it is important that we communicate with our children.

How we talk with a child about death depends on many things--their age, personality, and relationship with the person who has died. However, it is essential that we provide them with simple and direct information and be open to their questions. It is important that we give them answers to build on later, not ones that will have to be unlearned. Children will find their own fantasy explanations for unanswered questions, with the fantasies often being more frightening than the reality. Children take what we say literally, so it is best to avoid euphemisms such as passed on, passed away, went to sleep, etc.

When explaining death, do so on a level they can understand. Young children can take in only limited amounts of information, so the explanation should be brief and simple. The older the child, the more information they can accept and understand.

Most children are curious about the physical aspects of death, and describing the death concretely lessens the confusion. For example, talk about the absence of familiar life functions--when someone dies their heart doesn't beat, they don't breathe, talk, eat or feel. Up until about nine years of age, it is difficult for them to grasp the finality of death. They may repeatedly ask you the same questions before the answers become reality to them.

Talking with children is difficult because we don't have all of the answers, and that's okay. There isn't always an answer for every question. But, if we can be as open, honest and comfortable with our feelings as possible, we make it easier for children to talk about death and ask questions. This is important because it lets us know what they need and how we can help.

How Children Grieve

"Any child old enough to love is old enough to grieve" (Wolfelt, 1996).

Everyone, including children, has their own unique grief experience. Like adults, children experience shock, sadness, fear, and guilt. It is important that we not tell children what they should or should not think or feel. Again, just like adults, children feel helpless and uncertain about what has happened and what lies ahead.

Children must often accept their grief in doses (Wolfelt 1996). They find it difficult to handle prolonged exposure to grieving. One minute they may ask you a specific question regarding the death, and the next minute return to the game they were playing. Because a child's capacity to feel develops long before their capacity to verbalize feelings, their concerns and fears may not come out in direct questions but rather through their play.

Children will display a wide range of behavior and, because of social expectations and what they are taught, boys and girls express feelings differently. Many children regress emotionally and developmentally with tantrums, aggressive behavior or withdrawal. Parents often become alarmed as their child doesn't appear to be grieving because they continue to laugh and play. Sometimes, like adults, children may want to be alone, and we must respect their privacy. Often, children turn their anger and sadness inward and become depressed and withdrawn.

Because the grief experience is an individual one, there is no right way to grieve. We must be patient and accepting of our children throughout this ongoing process. No matter what their behavior, a loving and supportive environment must be provided.

Children & Funerals

"A funeral is a time of sadness, a time to honor the person who died, a time to help comfort and support each other and a time to affirm that life goes on" (Wolfelt, 1996).

As part of the healing process, children should be encouraged to attend the funeral. However, they should never be forced or made to feel guilty if they choose not to attend. In most cases, they will attend if they are prepared for what to expect and given support. It is helpful to explain to the child why we have funerals. They can usually embrace that it is a time for good-bye. This may also be a good time to explain the spiritual significance according to your personal religious beliefs.

If a child attends a funeral, an explanation of what will happen before, during, and after the ceremony is important. Children should also be made aware that they will see people expressing a wide range of emotions in expressing their feelings. If appropriate, children can also be encouraged to participate in the funeral process. Your funeral director can provide helpful information and answers to questions about children and funerals.

Needs of a Grieving Child

  • Open, honest information regarding the death
  • Saying good-bye to the deceased
  • Participation in the funeral ritual, if they choose
  • Reassurance that basic needs will be met
  • Consistency and routine in day-to-day living
  • An ongoing, loving and supportive environment where feelings and thoughts can be expressed


"Bereaved children can and do grow through grief" (Wolfelt, 1996).

Children's grief is as powerful and deep as adult grief. Bereaved children, too, must explore how they go on with their lives as they are forever changed by the death of a loved one. We have the opportunity to help children in their healing and growth. We must provide them a safe, loving and supportive environment where they can return when they need to talk and ask questions. If you are open to them, your children will be your best teachers and let you know what they need.


  • Buscaglia, Leo. The Fall of Freddie the Leaf. Thorofare, NJ: Charles B. Slack Co., 1982.
  • Compassionate Friends: Caring for Surviving Children...When a Child Dies. The Compassionate Friends, 1992 (information).
  • Grollman, Earl A. (Ed.): Explaining Death to Children. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1967.
  • Grollman, Earl A. Talking About Death. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1971.
  • Nelson, William D. (Ph.D.): Helping Children Understand Death (information).
  • Rogers, Fred & Sharapan, Hedda: Talking with Young Children about Death. Family Communications, Inc., 1979 (information).
  • Thomas, Jane. Saying Good-bye to Grandma. New York, NY: Clarion Books, 1988.
  • Wolfelt, Alan D. Healing the Bereaved Child: Grief Gardening, Growth Through Grief and Other Touchstones for Caregivers. Fort Collins, CO: Companion Press, 1996.

Resources for Children

  • "Badger's Parting Gifts" Susan Varley
  • "How It Feels When A Parent Dies" Jill Krementz (Recommended for Teenagers)
  • "How Do We Tell The Children" Shafer and Lyons (Recommended for Adults)
  • "Healing the Bereaved Child" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "A Child's View of Grief" Dr. Alan Wolfelt
  • "Healing the Grieving Child's Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Kids" Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Resources for veterans

In recognition of their service, honorably discharged veterans are eligible for a number of benefits and honors. Please click on the links below for more information.

Resources for veterans

Military funeral honors

Every eligible veteran is entitled to a military funeral honors ceremony at their funeral or memorial service. The ceremony serves as a final tribute and thank-you from a grateful nation for the veteran’s service.

The military funeral honors ceremony is conducted by two or more uniformed military persons, with at least one member of the veteran’s branch of service. The service includes folding and presenting the United States burial flag to a surviving family member and the playing of Taps.

Our funeral directors will assist you with arranging this special ceremony through a local veteran’s organization. Please click the links below for more information.

Applying for veterans benefits

In recognition of their service and dedication to our country, burial and cemetery benefits are available for each eligible veteran.

These benefits include a military funeral honors ceremony at a funeral or memorial service, a burial flag, burial at a national veterans' cemetery or a monetary benefit towards burial at a private cemetery, and a veterans' cemetery marker.

Our staff will work with the Veterans Administration to assist you in obtaining these benefits. If you would like more information, please click the links below.

Veterans cemetery markers

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a government headstone or marker for any eligible veteran at no cost.

Flat bronze, marble and granite markers are available, along with granite or marble upright monuments and bronze plaques to mark the inurnment of cremated remains. The style of marker selected must meet with the approval of the cemetery in which it is placed. Our staff will assist the family with ordering the marker and placing it in the cemetery of their choice.

Presidential Memorial Certificate

The family of an honorably discharged veteran may receive special Presidential Memorial Certificates in honor of their loved one’s service.

The engraved certificate is signed by the current President to honor the service and memory of the veteran.

A certificate can be ordered for each family member. Our funeral directors will work with the Department of Veterans Affairs to obtain the certificates.

The Veterans History Project

The Veterans History Project was established in 2000, and is run by the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress. It was created to collect, preserve and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans, to help future generations of Americans better understand the realities of war and hear directly from veterans who experienced them.

The Project collects audio and video-taped interviews, written memoirs, photographs, correspondence and artwork to tell the story of veterans and citizens who were actively involved in war efforts from World War I to conflicts today.

We believe that the memories of each veteran are a precious treasure, and encourage the families of veterans to record their stories and preserve their memorabilia with the Veterans History Project.

Veterans History Project website
Download a brochure

Avoid emotional overspending for a funeral or cremation ceremony.
Resources for your travel  & hospitality needs

  • Banquet centers

    Best Western Ramkota
    800 N. Poplar
    Casper , WY 82601

    Parkway Plaza
    123 West E St.
    Casper , WY 82601

  • Florists

    Juliette's Flowers & Gifts
    4010 S. Poplar Street
    Casper , WY 82601

  • Lodging for out-of-town guests

    Best Western Ramkota
    800 N. Poplar
    Casper , WY 82601

    C'mon Inn
    301 East Lathrop Rd.
    Evansville, WY 82636

  • Restaurants & catering

    Armor's Silver Fox
    CY & Energy Ln.
    Casper , WY 82604

    Bullwhip Catering
    412 East 5th
    Casper , WY 82601

    Herbadashery Catering
    123 Fenway
    Casper , WY 82601

    359 Miracle Dr.
    Evansville, WY 82636

    Dragon Wall
    2025 East 2nd St.
    Casper , WY 82601

  • Travel centers

    Casper/Natrona County International Airport
    8500 Airport Pkwy.
    Casper , WY 82604

    Casper Area Transportation Coalition
    1715 E. 4th St.
    Casper , WY 82601

Avoid emotional overspending for a funeral or cremation ceremony.
Resources for your travel  & hospitality needs

Many funeral decisions can be made in advance

You might be surprised to know that many funeral decisions can be made in advance of the time of need, including the selection of services, merchandise and the planning of the ceremony. Our staff will walk you through the process of creating a written record of your wishes, and making funding decisions.

During the planning process, you will decide upon burial or cremation and select the type of service that you desire. Other decisions you can make ahead of time include a location for the funeral or memorial ceremony, special music, scriptures or poems to be read at the ceremony, pallbearers, flower arrangements, merchandise such as a burial casket or cremation urn, and register book for guests to sign. You can also design and even set in place a cemetery marker. Our staff can assist you with all of these decisions.

Warren J. “Ren” Newcomer, Jr. is a licensed funeral director in the states of Kansas and Ohio. Theresa Newcomer is not a licensed funeral director. Kim Manchego, Managing Funeral Director.
©2016 Newcomer Funeral Home & Crematory