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The last breath of someone you love has been drawn. You are grieving but action must be taken now. What do you do?

After death has been officially declared and you take leave of your loved one’s side, you will begin caring for their remains. This is both a responsibility and an honor, albeit a terribly sad one. You loved this person in life—death does not end this love. You continue to care lovingly for your loved one and prepare to lay his or her body to rest.

Try to be aware of your own needs during the next few days, as they will surely be compromised. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, overwork, and the realization of your loved one’s death will take their toll. It is a shock to one’s system. Even if you were prepared for the death, when it actually happens, it is nearly impossible to anticipate the shock you will experience. Remember to ask for help. Those close to you will undoubtedly want to assist you—allow them to. This shared effort is cathartic for everyone at this most terrible time of great loss in your life.

This book aims to provide a practical and spiritual guide to navigate the five days after your loved one’s death. The five days are not literal in actual number but they follow in order of the way things normally take place. Each day contains an outline of what can be expected as well as what needs to be done. The book closes with a practical, ancient, and scientific reflection on grief.

NB: The particulars delineated below are those of a traditional funeral, one where the services of a funeral director and an Abrahamic faith are utilized as part of the service. When “burial” is used, cremation is also meant.

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