Funeral Etiquette: Gestures to Help Sympathize with the Grieving

Sympathize with the GrievingAside from it being a difficult and sad time for families and friends left behind by someone’s departure from this earthly world, it can also be an uncomfortable time for people who wish to pay their respects to the deceased. Most people, although they understand and sympathize with the sorrow felt at this period, don’t know what to do or say when in the presence of people who have lost someone.

The worst thing anyone can do is to ignore the situation altogether. Whether you call, send a card or flowers, or visit, the important thing is to make a gesture that lets the family know you’re thinking of them and share their sorrow. Here are some of the best ways to do that:
  • Be a good listener. Let friends and family talk about their loved one and their death.
  • If mourners don’t want to talk about the death, don’t pressure them. Focus on the survivor’s needs.
  • Refer to the deceased by name.
  • Encourage the family to plan a wake, funeral and burial (even if cremated), if you are in an appropriate position to do so.
  • Send flowers with a note (see suggestions for notes below) or offer a donation to a charity or an appropriate research organization.
  • Acknowledge the deceased’s life.
  • Ask to help make arrangements.

For more funeral etiquette tips, click here.

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