Knowing what to say and do at a funeral service can be tricky and, at times, possibly even awkward. Above all else, it’s important to remember that the needs of the grieving family come first. This is their opportunity to show how important their loved one was to them and to express their love and appreciation for the life this person lived.
Our team here at Affordable Burials and Cremations knows that attending a funeral service is a crucial way of showing your support during this very difficult time.
As it’s such a pivotal and intimate occasion, you might feel the pressure to “get it right.” Here are some etiquette tips to help:
DO: Be punctual
Is there a visitation before the funeral? Or perhaps the night before? Make sure to check on these details. Depending on the visitation, try to arrive about 15 minutes before the service is scheduled to begin. Walking in late could cause a distraction and disrupt the service. As you enter the building, make sure to silence or turn off your cellphone.
DON’T: Sit in the wrong spot
The first few rows at the service are typically reserved for immediate family members. It’s best to take a seat toward the middle or back unless otherwise directed. If the gathering is smaller and more intimate, the family may want guests to sit closer to the front.
DO: Express condolences
When you see family members, share why their loved one mattered to you. If appropriate, talk about a pleasant memory or a story that has stuck with you. Depending on your relationship with the family, you may offer a hug or a handshake.
DON’T: Strive for perfection
Sometimes there are no words to adequately explain the depth of your sorrow. Focus on sharing your sympathy and how much you cared about their loved one.
DO: Listen to directions from funeral home staff members
Sometimes a funeral is followed by a procession to the final resting place. If you are invited to be a part of the burial ceremony, pay attention to staff members’ prompts to direct you in an orderly manner.
DON’T: Press for details
A funeral is not the appropriate time to ask detailed questions about the death or the circumstances of those left behind. It’s best to simply show support.
The funeral service is just the beginning of the healing process for the family, and your attendance is important, but there are other ways to show your support and love as well. At Affordable Burials and Cremations, Toronto families often ask what to send to a grieving family after a loss. While everyone’s circumstances are different, here are some recommendations to consider.
Flowers or plants
One of the most well-known and traditional ways to express sympathy for a grieving family is to send a floral arrangement. You can have flowers delivered to the funeral home or directly to the family’s home.
If the person who died has an organization that was dear to their heart, their family may ask for contributions or donations in lieu of flowers. If we are serving the family, contact us for more information about the family’s wishes. If you would like to send flowers in addition to a donation, that is also acceptable.
Photographs or mementos
One way to celebrate the life of someone who has died to is to share memories you have You never know – you may surprise the family with a story they’ve never heard before.
Cards and letters
Although text messages are an easy way to communicate, there is nothing more meaningful than a handwritten card or letter. Your correspondence is something family can keep and reread in the days, months, and even years to come.
Gift cards or meal delivery
Arrange to have food delivered, buy a gift card to a favourite restaurant, or arrange to drop off a homemade meal.
If you have any questions about funeral etiquette or how to express your condolences, please contact one of our Affordable Burials and Cremations staff members for assistance.
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