Funeral Etiquette – Offering Condolences in Many Ways

By: Anderson Funeral Home
Saturday, September 10, 2016

Funeral Etiquette – Offering Condolences in Many Ways

Death is sometimes uncomfortable to talk about, and people are often at a loss about what to say to family members during a funeral visitation or memorial service. Here are a few things that will help you be part of a support network as well as help the grieving family.

Don’t avoid the family or the memorial time

Everyone deals with death differently, and the family is going through a tremendous amount of shock and stress. Some people avoid family contact until everything is finalized, when often just a quick phone call can make a difference in the communication chain. There are a lot of people to notify, and if you reach out first, that would be one less call that the family members need to remember to make. Give them a call, offer time to talk or help, and show up for the memorial time, because it will show your support for the family.

Do offer to help without being pushy

The events surrounding the loss of a loved one can be so overwhelming that it’s often difficult to know where to offer help. If you are skilled in a certain area, for instance, baking pies, you might offer to bring a few pies for the funeral dinner. That specific offer of help may be exactly what was needed to fill in a gap. However, if plans haven’t progressed to that level of organization yet, don’t force your idea on the family. Let them know how you’d be willing to help and let them call you when they need it.

Do stay in touch afterwards

It’s sometimes a frenzy of activity right after losing a loved one, making arrangements if funeral pre-planning was not previously completed, and communicating with often hundreds of people. Once the funeral service is finished, there is often a drop-off of activity and communication. The remaining family member is faced with daily challenges and adjustments, even those of just getting along without their loved one. Staying in touch during this time is helpful for their grieving process.

Call the family member to check if any help is needed, or just to talk. Facing the task of sorting through stored belongings is difficult, but offering assistance with those types of tasks can also be helpful, if done tactfully and in the time period that the family member can handle.

Offering condolences can be accomplished in many ways, through words, actions, prayers, and long-term tasks and activities. Being a helpful resource to grieving family members will make the grief process a tiny bit more bearable.

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