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Funeral Etiquette

Funeral preferences and traditions vary by community and from family to family, but below are some guidelines to help you feel more at ease when paying your respects.


What to Wear

Dressing conservatively is most often appropriate. That doesn’t mean you have to wear black, but avoid overly bright colors and patterns that draw attention. A suit or sport coat and conservative tie is best for men; for women, go with a conservative dress, skirt or pants and a tasteful blouse.


Religious & Ethnic Customs

Ask beforehand if you should know about any special customs or traditions. Give us a call and we’ll be glad to answer questions if we can or point you in the right direction for finding more information.

 

Emotions

Grieving, accompanied by a host of emotions, is natural during the healing process, so don’t feel uncomfortable if you or the bereaved begins to cry. However, if you feel especially overcome with emotion, it’s best to excuse yourself so not to upset the family or anyone else.

 

Greeting the Family

Offering your hands or a hug when expressing sympathy is appropriate, as is talking about the family’s loved one. Talking helps progress the grieving process, so do not feel you shouldn’t mention the deceased.

 

What to Say

If you’re not sure what to say, offer kind words about the deceased and/or simple expressions of sympathy like “I’m sorry for your loss,” or “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”

 

What Not to Say

Be sensitive to the family’s grief by avoiding any unsolicited advice or discussion of the cause of death. Also avoid any comments that might diminish the loss, like “I’ve been through this before.”

 

Paying Respect

When the casket is open at a visitation or service, it’s customary to view the deceased but not mandatory. The family may accompany you to the casket, or you may go on your own. Act according to what is comfortable to you, whether that’s viewing the deceased, spending a moment in silence or prayer or simply expressing your sympathy to the family and walking past.

 

How to Act

Your presence, no matter the length, is important to the family, but don’t feel you have to stay longer than you feel comfortable. Once you have offered your condolences, you can engage in quiet conversation with friends and other acquaintances, or you may leave.

 

Signing the Register

Signing the register book with your full name and any other requested information is important and expected. If you’re not familiar with the family, you might add how you knew the deceased in a brief note.

 

Flowers and Gifts

Gestures such as flowers, plants, donations or memorials are all appreciated by the family. Check the obituary for any specific requests, such as charitable contributions made in lieu of flowers.

 

Turn Off Your Cellphone

Always pause at the door to make sure your phone is turned to silent, or better yet, leave it in your vehicle so there is no chance of it ringing at an inappropriate time.

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