Understanding What Funeral Services Are
Following a death, family and friends usually gather to mourn, pay their respects, and say their final goodbyes. The details of each service vary depending on culture, faith, and preference but generally speaking, there are common practices throughout. Whether you’re attending a funeral as an immediate family member or even as a colleague of the deceased, it’s helpful to understand what to expect. We’ve put together some information that we hope can be of help.
Basic Funeral Home Etiquette
The first opportunity to visit a funeral home as a guest may present itself at the visitation. This is when mourners gather to pay their respects to the deceased, and show support to the bereaved family and friends. Depending on the type of gathering, the casket may be open or closed and there may or may not be a receiving line. When attending a visitation, it is customary to greet the family of the deceased and offer your condolences. Remember that it’s an emotional, confusing time for the family so it can be helpful to introduce yourself and your relationship to the deceased. There is no right or wrong amount of time to stay at a visitation, use your discretion.
The funeral service takes place after the visitation. Unless otherwise specified, funeral services are typically open to anyone who wishes to attend. Be sure to verify that it’s not a private or family-only service beforehand. The service may feature a clergyperson or celebrant, individuals giving eulogies, music, photographs, and videos. Funeral services can be as traditional or as personal as the family wishes. Following the service, there may be a graveside service or burial.
After the funeral service, the family may choose to host a reception. Often featuring food and drink, a post-service reception provides a less structured environment to share memories, comfort, and mourn. It can be helpful to inquire ahead of time as to whether you could contribute a dish, volunteer with set up or clean up, or assist the family in any other way.
Funeral Service FAQ
What should I say? It can be hard to think of the right thing to say to the recently bereaved. Something simple and sincere such as “I’m sorry for your loss” or “My condolences” is enough.
Is it appropriate to call? It’s always nice to let someone know that you’re thinking of them. It is appropriate to call and give your condolences or offer support. If you know a way that you may be of assistance to the family in their time of need, this is a good time to mention it.
Is it appropriate to attend a private funeral? It is a good idea to ensure that a funeral service isn’t private or intended for family only. If you are unsure, you can check the obituary or call the funeral home for information.
Do I have to send flowers?. It depends on the family’s wishes and whether that’s something you’re comfortable doing. You can also send a card, leave a message in the guestbook (if there is one), make donation in honour of the deceased, or offer to help the family with cooking or housework. In the days after a death occurs, there is usually a lot of support but it tends to dwindle as the weeks go on. It can be tremendously helpful to offer help to the bereaved in the weeks or months following the death.
Place Your Trust in a Reliable Funeral Home
At a time of need, it’s important to know that you’re being taken care of. At Basic Funerals, we ensure that each family that we serve is treated with respect, care, and compassion. We are here to assist you throughout every step of the funeral arrangement process and are always available to answer questions. Please do not hesitate to contact us today.