someone you know passes away, your first instinct is to offer
encouragement, help, and support to those affected — but you may not be
sure what to say or do. It's okay to feel this way.
Does it matter what I wear? Can I bring the children? What should I say to the family of the deceased? When should I visit? Donovan Funeral Home
offers guidance on the proper etiquette of visitations and funerals, so
you'll feel more comfortable and prepared for attending services.
WHAT TO SAY
can be difficult to know what to say to the family of the deceased to
express your sympathy. To begin, offer your condolences to the family.
If you are comfortable, share a memory of the deceased. In this
difficult time, sharing the joy of the deceased’s life can help comfort
the bereaved. For example, “I was so sorry to hear of Mary’s passing.
She was always such a wonderful friend to me."
WHAT TO WEAR
attending a memorial service or funeral, many people choose dress in
dark and subdued colors, such as dark blues, grays, browns, and black.
Funeral services are more formal of events but in this day and age many
people choose more casual attire and color choices. In our experience it
is still good practice to dress up, but most family members will not
pay much attention to the clothes you wear and be more than grateful to
see you come out for them.
attending a funeral or a service, do your best to be on time. Try to
enter the facility as quietly as possible. If there are no ushers
present, remember that the first few rows of seats are usually for the
immediate family and close friends. Acquaintances should appropriately
seat themselves in the middle or towards the rear.
WHEN TO VISIT
upon learning of a death, it is appropriate for family and close
friends to go to the home of the bereaved to offer sympathy and support.
This can be a very overwhelming time for a family. Offering to assist
with child care, food preparation, receiving visitors, or service
preparations can provide immense comfort during this difficult process.
funeral home is the best place to visit the family to offer your
condolences, as they are prepared for visitors at these services.
flowers is a wonderful way to express your sympathy to the family of
the deceased, and can bring comfort in a difficult time. Flowers are a
meaningful gift that can be enjoyed during and after the funeral
Floral arrangements and plants can be sent to the funeral
home to be present at services, or sent to the home of the family
WHAT NOT TO SAY
to give comments that minimize the loss, such as "It's probably for the
best, because he was suffering too much," or "I've been in your shoes
myself." These will not provide comfort to the bereaved
Wait for the family to discuss the cause of death. Do not bring it up yourself.
KEEP THE LINE MOVING
can be very emotional, especially when speaking with the family of the
deceased. If there is a line to speak with the bereaved and view the
casket, be conscious of keeping the line moving. After passing through
the line, be sure to stand to the side to continue conversation, or
allow the family member to continue to greet guests. The family will
often be more available to speak following the conclusion of the
MOBILE PHONE USE
phones should be turned off or silenced completely during the service.
Checking your phone is noticeable and is a distraction to those who are
trying to pay their respects. If you must return a message or receive a
call, exit the service quietly.
a child to attend a memorial or funeral service can help them say
goodbye to a friend or loved one. It is important to not force a child
to go, but instead encourage them to share in this tribute with the rest
of the family. Before attending, help prepare them by explaining what
they might see at the service.
can be a very draining time for a family. The gift of food is a kind
gesture that the family will deeply appreciate and help alleviate the
stress of funeral planning and mourning.
Remembering children in
the family is a thoughtful gesture, as this is often a difficult time
for them as well. A small gift like a stuffed animal or a book is best.
is precious. Helping with household tasks ease the family's burden.
Caring for pets, driving children to school, running errands, or helping
around the house are wonderful ways to help the family.