Funeral Etiquette – Don’t spill the flowers

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Joe Pray under How you can help others
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Oh dear I have to visit the funeral home!

No one looks forward  to visiting the Funeral Home, however, if you follow some simple rules of funeral etiquette, the family will appreciate your presence.  It is their chance to receive the comfort from you and anyone else who visits the funeral home.  The funeral home is a controlled environment where family and friends have an idea what’s going to happen.

What to do?

Your nervousness is usually a result of not knowing what to do when you arrive at the funeral home.  Follow these points of etiquette and you will be at ease.

  1. Sign the register so they know that you were there.  Sometimes the crowds are so big that the family doesn’t get a chance to chat with everybody for very long.  In some cases they don’t remember who was there.  Your name in the register book helps them in the long run.
  2. Sometimes there is a line of guests waiting to see the family.With a large crowd, sometimes a line is unavoidable.  The family will appreciate your patience with the wait.  Remember your presence is important, and a simple hug or handshake can do wonders for grieving family members.
  3. Enjoy the pictures and touchstone items that may be arranged around the room.  The stories that the pictures portray may help conversation with the other people who may be waiting.  These may help you recall stories of your own about the deceased to share with the family.
  4. In some cases there may be memory sheets inviting you to write down a short story. Do take the time to write out a memory, it doesn’t have to be lengthy, and it doesn’t have to be profound.   These are comforting to the family because they see how the person may live on in the lives in the hearts of others.  This helps them by seeing that this person is never going to be totally forgotten

What to say!?

You don’t have to say much in many cases.  Share a short story you may remember about the person.  Meaningful stories are one of the best things to share as they often bring the greatest comfort to a family.

Proper etiquette encourages you to keep the conversation focused on the person who passed away, their family, and your relationship with them.  Refrain from talking about what’s happening in your life unless of course the family asks.

Just being there is enough

Your presence there is the most important thing to comfort the family.  Even if you don’t a chance to speak with the family, you can let them know you are there by stepping to the front of the room in their proximity to share a quick hug or handshake.

Etiquette and little guests

If you have small children with you, make sure they have something to keep their attention.  Kids can be cute and their smiles and “kid talk” is always bring a smile to adults.  Don’t let them run wild through the building, tearing through a crowded room or any other room in the funeral home or church can add additional stress to all who are present.  No matter how cute a youngster is, spilled flowers will create  embarrassment and additional problems for you and everybody else.

Be mindful of the other guests

Sometimes the crowds are large and you will not have much of a chance to say hello to the people.  If that is the case give your greetings and your hugs and a very short story or memory.  Then move on and let the other folks chat with the family.  You will be greatly appreciated by both the family and the staff to the funeral home who may be trying to direct several hundred people to see the family members.

Offer help only if you really can

If you are able to help them in some way  you may wish to offer to help the family with tasks or visits or things later.  It is always a nice thing to do but don’t promise anything that you can’t actually do.  You must be able to fulfill those promises.

Keep in touch

Make a point in your own mind and heart to keep in touch with the family after the funeral services.  They are often in need of a friendly listening ear, or the comfort of a phone call or email after all the relatives have returned home after the funeral.

Need Additional help?

For additional help and ideas check out our Funeral Etiquette page at PrayFuneralHome. com

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