Courtesy never goes out of style.
Making the Most of a Difficult Time
It’s important to know what religious, ethnic or personal considerations may exist with each family. It’s also important to be respectful of the emotions of close family members.
Here are a few things to be mindful of:
- 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. You may offer your own words of condolence, however, avoid clichés like "it's for the best" or "it was just their time" or "I know how you feel". For those experiencing the loss of a loved one....there is never a good time to let them go and at the time of the loss, the feelings of the bereaved are all that matter.
- Find out the dress code.
These days almost anything goes, but only when you know it's the right thing. In fact, sometimes the deceased has specified the dress code; 'no black' or wear bright colors can be a common request. If you aren't certain that there are specific wishes of the family, dress conservatively, and avoid shorts, flip-flops, or backless or strapless tops.
- Sign the register book.
Include not only your name, but address, email address and phone number so the family may contact you.
- Keep in touch.
It's sometimes awkward for you to do so, but for most people the grieving doesn't end after the service.
But, What Shouldn't You Do?
- Don't feel that you have to stay.
If you make a visit during calling hours there's no reason your stay has to be a lengthy one.
- Don't be afraid to laugh.
Remembering their loved one fondly can mean sharing a funny story or two. Just be mindful of the time and place. If others are sharing, then you may do so too 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. If the deceased meant something to them, it's a good idea to invite them to share in the experience in whatever way is age appropriate. Don't permit them to run around the facility and be loud. This is not always a comfort to the bereaved and they hesitate to say anything to the adults supervising them. Consider bringing a quiet activity that interests them for use during the service time. An hour or more can seem like forever to a child and they tire and become disinterested quickly. Allow the bereaved to be in the moment and take in all the service has to give them....they will never get this same opportunity to say goodbye.
- Don't leave your cell phone on.
Switch it off before entering the service, or better yet, leave it in the car. All too often, people have cell phones disrupting the services while they are going on.
- Don't neglect to step into the receiving line.
Simply say how sorry you are for their loss, introduce yourself and your relationship to the deceased.
- Don't be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake.
Everyone does, and often, an apology may be all that's needed to mend and soothe.
Following the service, remember to continue to offer support and love to the bereaved. The months that follow are a time when grieving friends and relatives need you most. Let them know that your support did not end at the end of the service.
We are Here to Help
Perhaps you've got special concerns about an upcoming memorial service? We're here to provide the answers you're looking for. Call us at (989) 892-1772.