Making the Most of a Difficult Time
Sometimes 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.
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.
Include not only your name, but your relationship to the deceased: co-worker, neighbor, or casual acquaintance. This helps family place who you are in future.
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 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.
If you make a visit during calling hours there's no reason your stay has to be a lengthy one.
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.
Act according to what is comfortable to you.
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.
Simply say how sorry you are for their loss, offer up your own name and how you knew the deceased.
Everyone does, and you can be sure that an apology may be all that's needed to mend and soothe.