Losing a loved one is never easy and can often be disorienting - even if the death is not entirely unexpected. To help get your bearings and proceed with the necessary arrangement, you'll need to call the proper authorities. Of course, this includes the funeral home director. First things first: Depending on the circumstances of the death, you may need to call either the doctor who has been treating your loved one, or simply 911. You can also try to contact the coroner directly to have an examination held and death officially declared. Note that if your loved one dies in a hospital or nursing home, the on-site staff can handle all of this.
After that, it's time to contact the funeral home director. Report what has happened and give an update on whether the coroner or examiner has released the body for transport; the funeral director cannot come to pick up the body until this has happened. Also ask about a statement of trust, which will verify the director's professionalism and general competence to help you.
Your funeral director will respect the recentness of your loss, and should not press you to make too many funeral service arrangements right off the bat. You will, however, be asked to provide some basic information about the deceased - full name, basic biographical details, and Social Security number. You might wish to stop and write some of this information down before making the call, ensuring you can convey the requested details easily.
Your next step will be contacting family members and making formal funeral arrangements - all of which will seem overwhelming in the moment, but all of which your funeral director can assist you with. That's what makes this initial phone call so vital.