Funeral Etiquette – Knowing What to Say

June 9th, 2011

Worrying about what to say and how to act at a funeral only adds more stress to an already emotional time. When it comes to expressing your sympathy and condolences at a funeral keep it sincere, heartfelt and simple.

Words of Sympathy

Words of sympathy are expressions of love and empathy for the grieving. When attending a funeral, it is best to address the family member of the deceased with a few kind words of sympathy.

The nature of your relationship with the family will dictate how much, or little you should say. If you are not familiar with the family, offer a small, heartfelt  sentiment such as:

  • I am so sorry for your loss
  • You are in my thoughts and prayers
  • I am just a phone call away
  • I have no words to express my sympathy, just know that I care
  • I am here for you

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Thank You Notes After A Funeral

May 26th, 2011

Funeral Thank You CardAcknowledging expressions of sympathy from your family and friends is more than proper funeral etiquette. For many, these thank you notes are a comforting part of the healing process to gain closure during a difficult time.

Although it is not necessary to send thank you notes to everyone who attends the funeral service, it is important to express your gratitude to those who do something special.

Sympathy Tribute Examples:

  • Someone who sends or brings flowers
  • Someone who makes a memorial donation
  • Someone who helps the family financially
  • Someone who helps provide food, transportation, baby sits or assists you in any way
  • The Pallbearers
  • The Clergy

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Is “In Lieu of Flowers” a Good Idea?

February 28th, 2011

In Lieu Of Flowers A Good Idea?The death of a friend or family member is always a difficult and confusing time. Families often make requests that gifts be given to charity in lieu of flowers.  This is usually the result of advice from well-intentioned friends or organizations. While a family may want to do something special in the name of the deceased, it is not always appreciated by all. There are many implications that go along with an in lieu of flowers request.  An obituary itself is an announcement of the death and an invitation to friends and acquaintances to attend the funeral.  The obituary is not, however, an expectation of flowers, gifts or donations.

In some cases, an in lieu of flowers request can cause discomfort or embarrassment for friends and relatives. Those who do follow the request may be confused and embarrassed by those who ignored the request and sent flowers. Many people prefer more traditional ways of expressing their sympathy and like to make the decision on their own whether to send flowers, make a donation or send a card.

No matter one’s preferences, in most funerals today there is room for both flowers and charity.  The concept of giving to charity during a times of sadness can help lift the spirits of those left behind.  The comfort and tradition of giving flowers can also help to lift the mood of the day, as well as create a lasting memory of the funeral.  Personalized funeral tributes can spark wonderful thoughts of times spent together.

In any case, it is always very important to consider what the deceased person would have wanted when making certain requests.  Regardless of the request, a funeral is a celebration of life that should be honored according to the wishes of the deceased and their family.
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