WHAT TO SAY
Expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased can be challenging. Start by offering your condolences. If you feel comfortable, share a fond memory of the deceased. Sharing moments of joy from their life can provide solace to the grieving family. For instance, you could say, "I was deeply saddened to hear about Mary's passing. She was always an amazing friend to me."
WHAT TO WEAR
When attending a memorial service or funeral, opt for dark and subdued colors such as dark blues, grays, browns, or black. Keep your attire simple and conservative. Men are advised to wear a jacket and tie along with dress shoes, while women should choose a dress or a suit. Keep jewelry subtle and traditional.
When attending a funeral or service, strive to arrive on time and enter the venue quietly. If there are no ushers present, remember that the first few rows of seats are typically reserved for the immediate family and close friends. Acquaintances should find seating towards the middle or rear.
WHEN TO VISIT
Upon hearing about a death, it is appropriate for close friends and family to visit the bereaved at their home to offer support and condolences. This is often an overwhelming time for the family, and your assistance with tasks like child care, food preparation, receiving visitors, or service preparations can be immensely comforting. The funeral home is also a suitable place to visit the family and express your condolences.
Sending flowers is a meaningful way to express sympathy to the grieving family and offer comfort during this challenging time. Floral arrangements and plants can be sent to the funeral home for the services or directly to the family's home.
WHAT NOT TO SAY
Avoid making comments that downplay the loss, such as "It's probably for the best since he was suffering too much" or "I've been through the same situation myself." These statements do not provide comfort to the bereaved. Allow the family to discuss the cause of death if they choose to, and refrain from bringing it up yourself.
KEEP THE LINE MOVING
Visitation periods can be emotionally intense, especially when speaking with the family of the deceased. If there is a line to greet the bereaved or view the casket, be mindful of keeping the line moving. Once you have passed through the line, step aside to continue conversations or allow other guests to greet the family. Following the service, the family may be more available for further conversations.
MOBILE PHONE USE
During the service, it is essential to turn off or silence your smartphone completely. Checking your phone is noticeable and distracts those who are paying their respects. If you need to respond to a message or take a call, exit the service quietly.
Allowing children to attend memorial or funeral services can help them bid farewell to a friend or loved one. It is important not to force a child to go but rather encourage their participation in this tribute alongside the rest of the family. Before attending, explain to them what they might expect during the service.
This can be an emotionally draining time for the family. Providing food as a gift is a kind gesture that the family will greatly appreciate, as it alleviates the stress of funeral planning and mourning.
Remembering the children in the family is also a thoughtful gesture, as they often struggle during this time. Small gifts like stuffed animals or books are suitable choices.
Time is valuable, and helping with household tasks can ease the family's burden. Assisting with pet care, driving children to school, running errands, or offering help around the house are wonderful ways to support the family.