It’s important to recognize that funerals and memorial ceremonies are for the living … for those who are affected by the loss of a loved one. It is through the funeral process that a number of emotional needs are met for those who grieve.
A funeral is similar to other ceremonies in our lives. Like a graduation ceremony, a wedding, a baptism, and a bar mitzvah, a funeral is a rite of passage by which we recognize an important event that distinguishes our lives.
The funeral declares that a death has occurred. It celebrates the life that has been lived, and offers family and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to their loved one.
Funeral arrangements can be a difficult task and one for which many are not well prepared. One of the ways we accommodate families in this regard is to offer different payment options for the expenses involved.
We know that filing insurance claims can be a confusing, time consuming procedure, and unfamiliar forms are just another burden. That is the reason many families ask us if we can assist in handling life insurance policies.
We have claim forms for most insurance companies and we are familiar with how they should be completed and what needs to accompany them when they are filed. We can make sure that these important benefits are obtained without delay. We know that this is the kind of extra service that families appreciate, especially in time of stress.
There’s more to it than what you wear. Certainly the accepted customs of dress and behavior in a funeral have changed over time, but courtesy never goes out of style.
Making the Most of a Difficult Time
Part of that compassionate attention to detail involves knowing what religious, ethnic or personal considerations you need to take into account. And the other part is being respectful of the emotions of close family members. Here are a few things expected of you:
Offer an expression of sympathy.
Often 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, and offer your own words of condolence.
Find out the dress code.
Honestly, these days almost anything goes, but only when you know it’s the right thing. If you can’t learn the wishes of the family, then dress conservatively.
Give a gift.
It doesn’t matter if it is flowers, a donation to a charity or a commitment of service to the family at a later date; as always, “it’s the thought that counts.” Always make sure to provide the family with a signed card, so they know what gift was given, and by whom.
Sign the register book.
Include not only your name, but your relationship to the deceased: co-worker, gym buddy, or casual acquaintance from the golf club. This helps family place who you are in future.
Keep in touch.
It’s sometimes awkward for you to do so, but for most people the grieving doesn’t end with a funeral.
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. There is simply no good reason you shouldn’t talk about the deceased in a happy, positive tone.
Don’t feel you have to view the deceased if there is an open casket.
Act according to what is comfortable to you.
Don’t allow your children to be a disturbance.
If you feel they might be, then leave them with a sitter. But, if the deceased meant something to them, it’s a good idea to invite them to share in the experience.
Don’t leave your cell phone on.
Switch it off before entering the funeral home, or better yet, leave it in the car. All too often, we see people checking their cell phones for messages during the services.
Don’t neglect to step into the receiving line.
Simply say how sorry you are for their loss, offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake.
Everyone does, and you can be sure that an apology may be all that’s needed to mend and soothe.
What You Can Do
When it’s all over, always remember to continue to offer support and love to the bereaved. The next few months are a time when grieving friends and relatives could need you most. Let them know that your support did not end with the funeral.
Perhaps you’ve got special concerns about an upcoming funeral or memorial service? We’re here to provide the answers you’re looking for. Call us at (607) 324-2700
If you have additional questions, please call us in Hornell at 607-324-2700 or in Avoca at 607-566-2300.