Dealing with Grief

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
Kahlil Gibran


At some point in our lives, we all have to face the reality of losing a friend or family member to death. The idea of losing someone we love, however, can make even the most impervious people feel uncomfortable, confused, and afraid. Yet only when we confront death can we truly understand the value and meaning of life itself.

While we all need to work through our loss, there is no set way to deal with the death of someone we love. In experiencing grief people go through a range of jarring, contradictory emotions such as denial, anger, sorrow, guilt, and relief. People may fluctuate from feeling stable to being depressed.



We offer grief support through our partner funeral home, Roper & Sons.  Grief groups meet each Sunday from 2 - 3:30 p.m.  in the reception facility at 4300 O Street.  Groups, except for Art with Anna, are free.  All groups are open to the public, regardless of what funeral home provided services.  

Structured Group for those who lost a loved one in the past 18 months.  Meets 2nd and 4th Sunday

Guided Group for others grieving losses prior to 18 months. Meets 1st and 3rd Sundays

Art with Anna open to everyone. Meets 2nd Sunday











According to research, some or all of the following emotions emerge throughout the course of a normal grieving process:

Shock and surprise
People are rarely braced for someone’s death. In fact, the reality of death may not occur to a person for a number of days afterward.

Emotional release
The healthy release of tension and other emotions usually occurs at the funeral or with family and friends, but this is only the beginning of the grieving process.

Physical distress and anxiety
During some more advanced stages of the grieving process, a person may feel so lonesome that he or she appears to develop symptoms of physical distress.

After the funeral, when family and friends have gone home, feelings of emptiness, isolation, and depression may occur.

It may become difficult to concentrate because of constant memories of the deceased. In fact, this may cause a person to worry about his or her own stability. Not knowing what is happening or what to do can result in panic and weakened self-esteem.

Oftentimes survivors of the deceased dwell on the things they could have done differently and may even feel responsible for the person’s death.

Hostility and projection
This is one of the most difficult stages for relatives and friends because the survivor suddenly becomes hostile to those whom he or she thinks could have helped prevent the death. Family and friends should be tolerant and non-defensive.

Usually the survivor suffers in silence, weary from the depression and frustration. Becoming more active is part of the answer.

Gradual overcoming of grief
Through the affection and encouragement of friends and family, gradually a new meaning of life unfolds.

Readjustment to reality
Recalling the deceased becomes a pleasant experience and planning for the future becomes more realistic.

If you, a family member or friend are experiencing any of these symptoms, realize they are all part of the normal, healthy, and absolutely necessary process of grieving.

After a death has occurred, notify Metcalf Funeral Home by calling 402-474-6161. The following are some questions that we may ask when you call:

  • What is the full name of the deceased?
  • What is the location of the deceased (Hospital, Nursing Facility or Residence)?
  • What is your name, address and telephone number?
  • What is the name, address and phone number of the next-of-kin?
  • Is there a pre-arranged funeral plan? (If yes, what is the plan name or number?)

We will then set an appointment time for you to come to the funeral home to complete the details of the funeral arrangement. We will ask you to bring in some items and information that will be necessary to complete the arrangement.

These items will include:

  • Clothing for the decease
  • Social security number of the deceased
  • The deceased’s birth date and city and state of birth
  • The deceased’s parents’ names, including mother’s maiden name
  • Information about the deceased’s education
  • Marital status of the deceased
  • Veteran’s discharge papers or Claim Number
  • A recent photograph of the deceased
  • Pre-arrangement paperwork (if applicable)
  • Cemetery lot information (if applicable)
  • Contact your clergy.  Decide on a time and place for the funeral or memorial service (the services may be held at the funeral home)
  • The funeral home will assist you in determining the number of copies of the death certificates that you will need and will order them for you
  • Make a list of family, friends and business colleagues, and notify each by phone. You may wish to use a “branching” system: make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people
  • Decide on an appropriate charity to which gifts may be made (church, hospice, library, organization, school)
  • Gather obituary information, including a photo, age, place of birth, cause of death, occupation, college degrees, memberships held, military service, outstanding work and a list of survivors in the immediate family. Include the time and place of the funeral services. The funeral home will usually write the obituary and submit it to the newspaper(s)
  • Arrange for family members and/or close friends to take turns answering the door or phone. Keeping a careful record of visitors and flower deliveries will make it easier to thank people later on
  • If Social Security checks are deposited automatically, notify the bank of the death
  • Coordinate the food supply in your home for the next several days
  • Delegate special needs of the household, such as cleaning, food preparation, etc., to friends and family who offer their help
  • Arrange for child care, if necessary
  • Arrange hospitality for visiting relatives and friends
  • Select pallbearers and notify the funeral home. (People with heart or back difficulties may be named honorary pallbearers)
  • Plan for the disposition of flowers after the funeral (to a church, hospital or rest home)
  • Prepare a list of distant friends and relatives to be notified by letter and/or printed notice
  • Prepare a list of people to receive acknowledgments of flowers, calls, etc. Send appropriate acknowledgments, which may be a written note, printed acknowledgments, or both. Include “thank yous” to those who have given their time, as well
  • Notify insurance companies of the death
  • Locate the will and notify the lawyer and executor
  • Carefully check all life and casualty insurance and death benefits, including Social Security, credit union, trade union, fraternal, and military. Check on possible income for survivors from these sources
  • Check promptly on all debts and installment payments, including credit cards. Some may carry insurance clauses that will cancel them. If there is to be a delay in meeting payments, consult with creditors and ask for more time before the payments are due
  • If the deceased was living alone, notify the utility companies and landlord and tell the post office where to send the mailYour funeral director will prepare the necessary Social Security forms.