The accepted customs of dress and behavior in a funeral have changed over time, but courtesy never goes out of style. Here’s what we’d like you to know about funeral etiquette.
Things to Do
It’s important to know what religious, ethnic or personal considerations you need to take into account when attending a visitation or funeral. Here are a few suggestions:
- Offer an expression of sympathy.
Sometimes 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.
- Find out the dress code.
If you know the wishes of the family then follow them. If you can't learn the wishes of the family, then dress conservatively, and avoid bright colors.
- Sign the register book.
Include not only your name, but your relationship to the deceased: co-worker, gym buddy, or casual acquaintance from the golf club. This helps the family place who you are in the future.
- Keep in touch.
It helps the family to know someone will be there for them. It's sometimes awkward for you to do so, but for most people the grieving doesn't end with a funeral.
Things Not to Do
- Don't be afraid to smile.
Remembering their loved one fondly can warm hearts and help emotional healing. There is simply no good reason you shouldn't talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.
- Don't allow your children to be a disturbance.
If you feel they might be, then leave them with a sitter. But, if the deceased meant something to them, it's a good idea to invite them to share in the experience.
- Don't leave your cell phone on.
Switch it off before entering the funeral home, or better yet, leave it in the car. All too often, we see people checking their cell phones for messages during the services.
- Don't neglect to step into the receiving line.
Simply say how sorry you are for their loss, offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased.
When it's all over, always remember to continue to offer support and love to the bereaved. 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 with the funeral.
We are Here to Help
Call us at (918) 663-2233 with any questions. We're here to help.