Going to a funeral is always hard because losing a loved one can change the course of your life and it is something that you won’t ever get over. Dreading a loved one’s funeral is only natural because it can be hard to act normally during the procession. But it can be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the life of your loved one the right way. If you are planning to go to a funeral and are confused about how you should act, do not fret, below is a guide of fundamentals in proper etiquette you should follow when attending a funeral.
Should You Attend?
First of all, you may be wondering if you should be attending the funeral in the first place. Funerals are usually “invite-only” and it can be difficult to decide to go in the first place. When you decide to go to the funeral, make sure you go and honor the deceased in a way that honors their life. Talk to the family and recall certain memories you have with their loved one. The only time you shouldn’t attend a funeral is if your presence could potentially make the grieving family uncomfortable.
Dressing For a Funeral
Dressing for a funeral can seem like a pretty daunting task. However, the requirements of the dress are super easy. Typically you should wear black because you don’t want to stand out. Instead, you want to bring attention to the life of the deceased. If you do not have black clothing that is conservative, be sure to dress conservatively in a way that doesn’t stand out. Bright colors and patterns could potentially send the wrong message to the person’s family.
Where to Sit
Finding a place to sit at the funeral is pretty simple. You will notice that the first few rows are designated for the family, so if you aren’t related, you should make sure to sit in the back. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If the family happens to invite you to sit with them in the reserved seats, feel free to follow their lead.
What to Do When You Are There
Arriving at the funeral 10-20 minutes early is crucial to interact with the guests there. After all, you are there to celebrate the life of your loved one. Talking to the people that knew them best and recalling memories could potentially lift the spirits of the guests there and quite possibly help you find some peace after losing someone that you love. Another thing to remember when attending a funeral is that saying less really is more. Going up to someone and recalling a negative memory of a deceased loved one could bring the mood down even further. Losing a loved one is an isolating and lonely experience and making sure that the family is validated could help ease their loss. Say things like “this may be hard for you, but I’m here if you need me,” could help them feel less isolated and alone.
If you do not share the religious beliefs that the family shares, it really isn’t a big deal. Instead of praying, you could opt-out and just stand and listen to the service. You are not there for yourself but for the deceased and honoring their life in a respectful way is the right way to go.
Bring a gift?
While you don’t necessarily have to bring a gift, it is recommended that you send flowers. Also, funerals are a big family moment and those that have lost loved ones don’t necessarily have the time or energy to make meals. You could also stop by with a meal or have it delivered to the family’s home so they don’t have the burden to feed everyone.