When someone you know dies, or faces a death in their family, your first instinct is to help – but you may not be sure what to say or do. That’s natural. At Anderson Funeral & Cremation Services, we want to help you be a good friend. Here are some tips for you:
The Formal Visitation
- Upon arrival, express your sympathy directly to the family with an embrace or handshake.
- Keep your statements simple. Express your sorrow and what their loved one meant to you, if appropriate.
- Don’t feel uncomfortable if you or the bereaved become emotional. If you become overly emotional, you should excuse yourself so you don’t upset the family.
- Pay your respects to the deceased by viewing them and spending a few moments in prayer.
- It’s okay to engage in quiet conversations with others after greeting the family, and you do not need to stay for the entire visitation.
The Funeral Service
- Be sure to sign the guest register clearly, with your full name and any associations.
- It is not necessary to wear black to a funeral. But do dress in a way that shows respect to the family.
- The first few rows are usually reserved for family members.
- After the service is over, leave promptly and wait in your car for the family if you plan to be a part of the funeral procession.
Flowers and Other Expressions of Condolences
- You may send flowers to the funeral home or the residence.
- If the family requests flowers not be sent, or that donations should be made in lieu of flowers, you should honor that request.
- Do not send flowers to an Orthodox Jewish funeral or to a Catholic church, although in the second case they are welcome at the funeral home.
- Sending a sympathy card is always in good taste. Keep the message simple and sincere.
- If you are local, a brief visit is preferred after a death, but a phone call can also be made. An email is appropriate if you are not intimate with the family, such as a former neighbor or business associate.