When a loved one of someone you know passes away, one of the first ways that you'll offer your condolences is by visiting a funeral home to attend a visitation or funeral service. Whether you haven't been to many funerals in your life or are just unaware of some of the unwritten rules about funerals, it can occasionally be challenging to know how to proceed during this stressful time. It's important to have a solid grasp on funeral etiquette so that you don't mistakenly create an awkward moment for the grieving family. Funeral etiquette goes beyond simply acting in a quiet, respectful manner -- it also means understanding some of the intricacies of the event.
The Guestbook Isn't For Condolences
Visit any funeral home and read the guestbook and you'll almost certainly see that at least one guest has written a lengthy message of condolence. While this person's heart might have been in the right place, this isn't the proper venue for this expression of sympathy. At a visitation or funeral, the guestbook is simply a place to write your name and, if necessary, your mailing address. This book serves as a way for the family to have a record of who attended the event to help with the eventual process of sending cards of thanks. If you wish to write your condolences, do so in a sympathy card and leave it for the family.
Staying Longer Isn't Always Better
On the surface, it can seem that remaining at a visitation for a couple hours shows immense support to the family. However, remaining this long is unnecessary in most situations. It's perfectly acceptable to stay for around 15 minutes. This duration gives you the ability to greet the family, view the body if applicable and share some brief pleasantries with others in attendance. Staying too long can crowd the funeral home unnecessarily.
Some Things Are Best Left Unsaid
Although it can occasionally be difficult to find the right words to share with a grieving family, the best strategy is to keep your conversation short. The longer you talk, the easier it is to mistakenly slip a seemingly innocent sentiment into the conversation that actually can hurt the family. Sentiments such as "I know how you feel", "At least he/she is in a better place now" and "It will get easier as time goes by" might be well-intentioned, but do little to console the family.
To learn more, contact a funeral home like Hempstead Funeral Home.Share