Styles and traditions may change through the decades, but courtesy is timeless. Here is our recommended behavior at a funeral.
- Be Aware
Always remember to be sensitive to religious, ethnic, or personal affiliations or standards that the host may appreciate or expect.
- Express your sympathies
We know how tough it can be to find the “right words” to say to someone who is grieving. The good news is that you don’t need to have the right words. Just a respectful word of condolence is appropriate.
- Follow the dress code
Make sure you check the requests of the family as far as dress code. Sometimes they prefer black, and sometimes they prefer color. Either way, always dress conservatively.
- Offer a gift
It is a kind gesture to bring a gift. A card to accompany the gift lets the family know you are thinking of them and supporting them through this difficult time. Usually flowers or a donation to charity are appropriate.
- Sign the guest book
The family is interested in the relationships and people who their loved one valued. It is a nice gesture to sign their register book so that they can know who came to pay their respects.
- Follow Up
If you are comfortable, try to keep in touch with the family of the deceased. They will find comfort and support in your reaching out, as their grieving will not end at the conclusion of the funeral service.
- Feel like you can’t leave
Don’t feel pressure to stay for longer than you’re comfortable staying.
- Keep silent
Odds are, the family would love the hear of the stories and memories you have with their loved one, especially if it’s positive and uplifting.
- Feel pressured by an open casket
You do not have to view the deceased if there is an open casket. Act according to your comfort level.
- Allow nonsense
If you are bringing children, make sure they understand the significance of the event. If you feel they might behave badly, it is best to leave them with a sitter.
- Bring your cell phone
To properly pay your respects to the deceased and their family, you should not be looking at your cell phone. If you absolutely have to bring it inside, make sure the sound is turned off.
- Avoid the receiving line
It is always a nice gesture to offer your condolences to the family. Offer your name and relationship to the deceased, and a few words of condolences. It may not seem like a lot, but the thought will go a long way.
Keep in mind that the grieving won’t end at the conclusion of the funeral. Don’t be afraid to ask for support, or to lend your support to others in this time of need.