Attending a funeral for the first time can be
especially tricky, but it's never all that easy. Here are a few
actions expected of you that will make the whole process run a lot
• DO offer up an expression of sympathy. Often we are
at a loss for words when encountering something as final as death.
Simply saying "I'm sorry for your loss" is usually enough. Be
respectful and listen attentively when spoken to, and offer your
own words of condolence.
• DO offer some type of gift, be it flowers, donation
to a charity or a hot casserole (see below). If you know the family
intimately it will be easy for you to choose the right gift. If you
don't, a bouquet or flowers or charity donation along with a simply
signed card will speak volumes.
• DO sign the register book with your name and
affiliation, such as place or work or club membership. This will
help family place who you are in future.
• DO keep in touch with family members and friends
later on. It might be awkward for you to do so, but for many people
the grieving doesn't end with a burial.
• DON'T feel that you have to stay at the funeral forever. A
funeral can be a drop-in occasion, and if you make a visit during
calling hours there's no reason your stay has to be a lengthy
• DON'T be afraid of having a laugh. There is no
written rule that says you cannot remember the departed with a
funny anecdote or a shared story or two. While pealing off into
raucous laughter may not be ideal, there is no reason you shouldn't
talk about the deceased in a happy, positive
• DON'T feel you have to pray next to the deceased - or even
touch them - if there is an open casket. Act according to what is
comfortable to you. If you are a bit nervous and want someone to
come with you, by all means ask. If, on the other hand, you don't
want to get all close and personal, then don't.
• DON'T leave your cell phone on. Any type of
electronic device should be switched off before entering the
• DON'T shy away from the receiving line. All you have
to do is shake hands or give a hug, say how sorry you are for their
loss, and offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased.
Remember, this isn't about you. If they want to engage you in
conversation that's fine; if not, just express your condolence and
Expressions of Sympathy
Some people like to bring a personal gift as a token
of sympathy; others supply gifts when they are unable to attend the
funeral in person. Expressions of sympathy can
• Card or letter, phone calls or email. A card is
always appreciated as it is a long-term keepsake. If you didn't
know the person well, an email will suffice.
• Flowers. A beautiful bouquet can either be sent to
the funeral home, to the house of the deceased, or the location of
the memorial service. However, you should respect the wishes of the
deceased if donations are asked for instead.
• Donations to charity. Many people choose to put
money to good use, and designate some of their favorite charities
as a recipient. Ask and they shall receive.
• Food. Often family is too busy to think about food,
so a cake, casserole or even a bag of easy-to-prepare groceries is
usually much appreciated.
• Offers of help. While food is almost always
appreciated (see above), sometimes other offers of assistance are
needed. Maybe you can provide some hours of childcare, walk a dog,
buy a carload of groceries or clean a house. The best thing to do
is ask what is needed - then provide.
Attending a funeral can be awkward for many people, but there are
tried-and-tested rules to make the experience a lot easier for
everyone. It doesn't matter if you are attending a traditional
funeral or a personalized family affair, this is one occasion where
you should be aware of what is expected of you, and try to conform
as best as possible.
And when it's all said and done, remember to keep on offering
support and love to the bereaved. Memories don't die when the
coffin is in the grave, and the next few months are a time when
grieving friends and relatives could need you most. Let them know
that your support did not end when the funeral
Source: Yodle Local