When you attend funeral home services following someone's passing, the main reason for your attendance is to show your support to the family members of the late individual. While your presence is a special form of support in itself, perhaps the best way to offer your support is by saying the right words. Many funeral attendees can get anxious about how to speak to the family, but there's no need to be stressed if you're properly prepared. When it comes to saying the right thing to the grieving family, simply take the following approach.
Don't Try To Say Too Much
It's important to remember that the family is hearing repeated messages of sympathy as people filter in and out of the funeral home. As such, it's important to avoid talking excessively; the last thing you want to do is burden the family by making them listen to you at length. Provided your message is from the heart, no one will think you're being cold if you keep things brief. Instead, you'll be seen as respectful because you aren't monopolizing the family's time.
Share A Brief Memory
While the priority in speaking to the family will be to say that you're sorry for their loss and that you're thinking of everyone in the family who's in grief, it's also appropriate to share a brief memory. Try to avoid an anecdote that is particularly funny; this can come in the future when the grieving process is easier. Instead, it's effective to share how you'll always remember the person. For example, you could say, "Whenever I hear his name, I'll always think of him barbecuing on the back deck and how he was in his element in that setting."
Skip The Cliches
One of the benefits of keeping your exchange with the family brief is that you might not be tempted to share a death-related cliche. Although often well-intentioned, such remarks can seem thoughtless and, at times, hurtful. Let other funeral attendees tell the family that their loved one is in a better place or that the death was part of God's plan—these statements may seem innocent enough but provide little comfort to some people.
Suggest A Way You Can Help
It's customary for people to offer assistance to the bereaved family at a funeral, but simply asking if there's anything you can do to help doesn't seem overly genuine. Instead, think of a way that you can help and suggest it. For example, suggest that you'll be in the family's neighborhood next week and that you wondered if you could stop by with some food or look after the kids while the parents tend to estate-related matters.