Funerals can be a somewhat saddening affair. There are many excellent funeral services out there who tirelessly work to arrange the means in which a family and friends can say goodbye to their loved ones. They prioritize the dignity of the deceased individual, respecting the family, and ensuring everything runs like clockwork.
As a funeral guest, especially someone encountering one of their first, it can be hard to know how to act. The basic assumption many have is to be silent, and speak when spoken to out of respect. This can sometimes be a good option, depending on how close you were to the person in question. However, as someone close to the departed, and also experiencing their first funeral? It can be hard to know what to say, what to do, and how to continue with a gentle smile.
We hope to help you to that end. While funerals are not something you can ever truly get ‘used to,’ it is something you can treat correctly. Let us consider what that might mean:
Keep Your Engagement Minimal
Talking to people politely, respectfully, introducing yourself to those you might not know, or just staying put and watching the events unfold can be worthwhile. But remember, this event is not about you. It’s not about the free bar afterwards. It’s not about making friends. It’s about remembering the person. All those around you might be reacting to this in different ways. Some might wish to talk. Others might wish to be left alone. As a guest, it can be important to let them engage them if they wish to. If you were close to the relative, perhaps you’d like to. But remember, there’s often no way to avoid that sense of sadness at a funeral, so making light out of it (however innocently and awkwardly) can come across poorly. For example, don’t ask about the cost of a funeral while there. You might research that later.
While free food and alcohol might be served afterwards, it’s important not to use this as a means to indulge. It’s simply there to bring people together. Try to be modest with your intake. No one likes an overly tipsy person at a wedding, so it’s surely bad form at a funeral. Sometimes, polite conversation can be the most nourishing thing of all, but don’t be afraid to partake in what’s offered. That’s what the family would want. If you’re invited, you are deemed worthwhile enough to use these things – just be respectful.
Remember The Person
The sole intent of a funeral is to say farewell to the departed. You also have your own relationship with them to remember if you’re in attendance at all. Don’t be afraid to cry, or to be silent, or to process it how you must. The final and most important step of a funeral is to not be so respectful that you suppress yourself to the point of not moving. You are also entitled to your emotions. So long as they are honest, you will be fine.
With these tips, we hope beginners can feel a little more comfortable when attending a funeral.
This is a commissioned post.