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Etiquette for Sympathising with the Bereaved

ETIQUETTE FOR SYMPATHISING WITH THE BEREAVED The death of a close friend or family member is almost certainly the most difficult event that a person will experience. Observing appropriate etiquette in terms of our words and actions is very important, although it can be hard for us to know exactly what to say and how to act when someone close to us has lost a loved one. WHAT TO DO UPON HEARING OF THE DEATH Acknowledge it in whatever way feels most appropriate. Even a short, simple phone call is preferable to taking no action at all to try and comfort the deceased person's family. If you are a very close friend of the family, it is a good idea to visit them. If you are a little more distant, sending flowers or a sympathy card may be more suitable. Offer to help in a practical manner, such as volunteering to cook meals for the family or helping to dig the grave. AT THE FUNERAL If attending the funeral service, arrive in plenty of time. Walking in late to the service is very digrespectful. Only visit the funeral home during the times specified in the obituary. Offer to help in a practical manner, such as volunteering to cook meals for the family or helping to dig the grave. Put your mobile phone on silent or, better still, switch it off completely until you have left the funeral home Respect the family's wishes if they prefer to mourn privately. or place of worship. ч It is fine to cry, but if you begin crying uncontrollably, step outside. Do not take any photos or videos of the funeral. AFTER THE FUNERAL If you are unable to attend the funeral, sympathise with the deceased person's family the next time you see them, regardless of how much time has passed. Don't forget about the family as soon as the funeral has finished. They will continue to grieve and continue to need support in the weeks and months afterwards. Offer support to the family on occasions such as the deceased person's birthday or anniversary, as such times can be emotionally tough on the family. Remember that the family may take time readjusting to everyday life. Do not try to rush the grieving process. WHAT TO SAY (AND NOT TO SAY) DO'S V Share If you can't think of what Listen to Refer Speak genuinely and those who are to the memories of grieving and respond accordingly. to say, keep it simple and appropriate. deceased the deceased by name. selflessly. person, particularly in the weeks and months after the funeral. PHRASES THAT ARE LIKELY TO BE APPRECIATED “This must be very painful for you." "We're thinking of you and wish we could do something to comfort you." "You must have been "We care about you and we love you." very close to him/her." “I can only imagine how hard this is on you." "He/she was an inspiration to us and to so many others." "I'll really miss him/her. He/she was a very special person." Even a simple "I'm sorry for your loss. How are you đoing?" shows genuine sorrow and sympathy. DON'TS X Don't try to X Never tell a grieving person that they need to get over their loss. X Do not put a X Don't talk about trivialise the death or say anything which implies it may time frame on your own experiences of death, particularly at the time of a a bereaved person's grief. have been for the best. funeral. PHRASES THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID "I know how you feel." "Time is a good healer." "He/she is in a better place now." “I know someone who had it much worse." "It was his/her time to go." "Try to move on from this." "He/she is no longer suffering." Anything beginning with "At least..." "We're afraid we'll say the wrong thing, but unfortunately what we all do out of our fear of saying the wrong thing, we say nothing and it leaves bereaved people feeling unsupported - and they do notice when you hop into a shop door to avoid them, or cross the street. Those are the hurtful things that people in bereavement talk about." Dr Susan Delaney, Bereavement Services Manager with the Irish Hospice Foundation. HOW TO DRESS FOR A FUNERAL DO'S DON'TS - - --- - - -- -- - X Do not dress in Wear something black, or an alternatively subdued colour. bright, garish colours. X Don't wear something Dress formally. A suit and tie isn't required for mourners who aren't related to the revealing or dressed-down, e.g. shorts, sandals, novelty T-shirts/hoodies. deceased, but their attire should be X Do not wear anything that looks dirty or tacky, such as ripped jeans or an old jacket. relatively formal. Dress as appropriate for the religion/faith of the funeral service. ETIQUETTE FOR THE BEREAVED PLANNING THE FUNERAL Decide if it is Supply a guestbook for people wishing to sympathise by signing one. Make the Tell children what arrangements that you deem to be appropriate. appropriate for young children to to expect and how to behave if attending their first funeral. attend. AT THE FUNERAL Wear black, or an alternatively subdued colour (men should wear a suit and tie), Do not react angrily or rudely to someone who makes an inconsiderate but Feel free to cry. unless the funeral |well-intentioned comment. arrangements include a themed dress code as per the deceased person's wishes. Help family memberg who may find it difficult to move around, e.g. 5 anyone in a wheelchair or with Thank anyone who comes to the funeral or takes time to ч an injury or frailty. sympathise. AFTER THE FUNERAL Take the time to send thank-you Thank You cards to all who participated in the funeral service, including clergy, undertakers, readers and musicians. Never feel that it is too late to send a thank-you card, but try to acknowledge any delay in sending if it is left until 1-2 months after the funeral. REFERENCES thejournal.ie/helping-a-friend-or-colleague-who-is-bereaved-2379599-Nov2015 russmonroes.com/what-can-i-sa irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/five-rules-to-follow-for-perfect-funeral-etiquette-364172.html advancedetiquette.com/2010/08/funeral-etiquette funeralwise.com/etiquette/thankyou everplans.com/articles/7-helpful-funeral-etiquette-tips-for-the-bereaved SUFFOLK, FAMILY HYDE-CHAMBERS www.rhcfunerals.co.uk FUNERAL SERVICE

Etiquette for Sympathising with the Bereaved

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It is very important to know what words or actions are likely to provide comfort to the bereaved, and also what is likely to prove unhelpful. This infographic is helpful in giving ideas about what to ...

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