When someone you care about is struck with a death in their family, your natural instinct is to lend your heart and hand in any way. We have put together a guide to help display caring and appropriate behavior, giving you the confidence in knowing your gestures are well received and in good form.
Today, black is not required for the visitation or funeral. You should dress in a way to show respect to the family and other mourners. Conservative clothes are always appropriate for men and women. However, almost always, the important thing is not how you are dressed, but that you are there.
No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family. Upon arrival, go to the family, and express your sympathy with an embrace or by offering your hand. Depending on your relationship to the family, you may say something like, “I am so sorry about John. He was a good friend, and I will miss him very much.” In addition to expressing sympathy it is also fitting, if desired to relate to family members your fond memories of the deceased. Kind words about the deceased are always appropriate.
If the bereaved wants to talk, they usually need to express their feelings – they aren’t necessarily looking for a response from you. They may say things that seem irrational or pose questions that have no answer. The kindest response is usually a warm hug, and a sympathetic, “I understand”.
Pay your respects to the deceased.
The decision of whether or not to approach the casket is a very individual one. It is not required, or considered rude if you decide against it. However, if offered by the family, it is customary to show your respect by viewing the deceased and, if you desire, spending a few moments in silent prayer. The family may wish to escort you to the casket, or you may proceed on your own.
A formal visitation provides a time and place for friends to offer their expressions of sorrow and sympathy in a setting that may be more comfortable for you and the family, as they are prepared for visitors. We invite you and your family and friends to visit our website and proceed to our page dedicated to Obituaries. There you will find a personalized page for the deceased that contains all the information of the funeral from visitations to the time of the Service. There is even a place for friends to leave condolences for the family to view at a time convenient to them.
Remember that grief doesn’t go away in a few short weeks. Even a year may not be long enough to adjust to changes in a person’s life. A friend who calls in 3, 6 or 12 months time may be one of the few who still asks how things are going. Special days like birthdays or Christmas may be just the time to pick up the phone and say, “I was thinking of you today.”