People often ask us at Sunset Funeral Home, Cremation Center & Cemetery questions about how they should act during a funeral service, or what they should say. Let’s face it: this can be uncomfortable just because we don’t always know what to say or do for someone who has lost a loved one. Just remember that being respectful when you are attending a visitation or funeral is key.
What do I say? What do I wear? Do I bring a gift or a card? Should I bring my children? All of these are common questions. In some instances, there is no right or wrong answer, but other times there are. You don’t want to do anything that could upset your loved one, but simply be there for them.
What Should I Wear?
Funerals have long been associated with dark clothing. Black clothing isn’t your only option these days, but you should avoid wearing bold patterns or colors which could take away from the family and draw more attention to yourself. Remember, you are there to pay your respects to the family, not to make a fashion statement. Neutral colors are always a great choice. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t wear it to a church service, then you probably wouldn’t wear it to the visitation or funeral. That means no shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, or anything casual. However, the most important thing is your presence, so do the best you can. People always remember when someone shows up for them when they really need you.
What Should I Say?
The last thing a person who is grieving wants to hear is, “I’ve been in your shoes. The pain goes away. Just give it time” or “Everything happens for a reason.” They just lost someone who was very close to them. They may be feeling sad, confused, or even angry. Words of encouragement are always helpful; however, no one wants to hear about how you felt when someone close to you passed away—they simply want you to listen to them. You can say, “I understand this must be so difficult for you. What can I do to help?”
Telling them everything is going to be okay, on the other hand, will most likely cause them to shut down and not share with you, because it isn’t going to be ok; it will be different. Ask yourself, “What would I want to hear?” Be strong for them, even if it is challenging for you. Try to sympathize and let them know they have a whole village there for them when they are ready. Just don’t force them to open up to you. Sometimes knowing they have a support team waiting for them, is all they need. Simply say, “I’m here for you, whatever you need.” And then be there.
Should I Bring My Children?
If your child is old enough to understand when to be quiet and when they can play, they are most likely old enough to attend with you. If they can’t sit through a movie, then they probably shouldn’t come. However, there are times when you can’t get a sitter and that’s okay. Sunset Funeral Home, Cremation Center & Cemetery, which is located in Evansville, Indiana, has a children’s area that can help keep them occupied. We have coloring books and chalk that children always love to play with. Please keep in mind, other families may also be at the funeral home, so keep your children close to you. Don’t let them run around opening doors and getting into another person’s property. If you have a fussy baby and they are starting to get upset during the service, you can always get up and walk into the lobby. We have a TV that can broadcast the service, so you won’t miss it. We also have rooms in case you need to feed them or just take a minute to calm down. Just ask us and we will be ready to assist you.
Do I Bring A Gift?
People have always sent flowers to the funeral home or to the family’s home as a gesture of sympathy. You can bring a card, a specialized gift, or make donations if the family is requesting any. Families sometime ask for donations towards things like their favorite charity, hospice, shelter, and sometimes they even ask for donations towards their services or memorial. Bringing a gift also shows you care and that they are loved. If the family is having a long visitation, you may ask if they are accepting food donations for the day of or even for the home.
If you are really struggling on what to do, just give Sunset Funeral Home, Cremation Center & Cemetery a call at (812) 477-5316. We are always here to help with anything we can. Remember the family is going through a difficult time, and you are there to make this hard time easier and to be strong for the family. Keep in mind that the funeral, memorial service and burial are about the family and they want their loved ones around them to help them through it.