Observing Death with my Dad

Edna Hirsbrunner
3 min readNov 16, 2020


© Edna Hirsbrunner

This is a brief obeservation of what happens after someone in one’s close milleiu dies one has to take care of. If a person dies several things must be done by the bereaved. As an ideal case the deceased has left written notes and instructions or talked with their relatives about what they want in case of their own death. How their legacies should be handled, how they want to be buried, how their funeral should look like and so on. In Switzerland several different steps must be done also legally in case of bereavement.

This is a ten steps to-do list from the Beobachter:

  1. Get the death certificate
  2. Inform the close milieu of the dead person
  3. Determine wishes of the deceased
  4. Notify the registry office
  5. Protect estate of dead person
  6. Obituary and funeral cards
  7. Organize the funeral
  8. Clarifying inheritance matters
  9. Writing thank-you notes
  10. Settle estate and order gravestone

This sounds like a lot and it probably is. So, the better the deceased was prepared for their own death the easier and the more comfortable and bearable it is for the loved ones that have to deal with all the consequences and formalities besides the grief. In my experience only old people or those with a sever disease are thinking about their own death and what it really means with all its logistical and emotional components.

Screenshot, ch.ch — November 15, 2020

“Hey dad, I am interested in the topic of death and dying for my Bachelors thesis. How are you feeling about death and in particular your own?”
— Edna, November 10, 2020

I recently asked my father this question. I knew from previous brief talks about dying that my dad does not feel super comfortable talking about death, especially his own. Nevertheless, I wanted to confront him with the topic again also because it became more relevant to me recently as I decided that my BA thesis is most likely going to be around the subjects of death and dying. The conversation with my father that resulted out of my question was not very fruitful but mostly because I did not know where I wanted it to go. Regardless, it once again made me realize how little I talk about death with my loved ones. I would be totally overwhelmed if I had to deal with my dad’s death; all the paperwork, decisions and tasks. Not to mention the grief, of course. Through this personal experience I think it is very important to talk about death and think about your own. The 10 steps guide after dying is very dry and hopefully is only used in case of emergency. So let us think further!

Does Death feel like whiet noise? — © Edna Hirsbrunner


Bisig, N. (2018, August). Was nach einem Todesfall getan werden muss. Beobachter. https://www.beobachter.ch/burger-verwaltung/letzte-dinge-was-nach-einem-todesfall-getan-werden-muss
Hirsbrunner, E. (2020, November 15). [Screenshot of ch.ch]. Ch.Ch. https://www.ch.ch/de/checkliste-todesfall-bis-bestattung-teil-1/