When you hear of the death of someone you know, you might wonder if it is appropriate for you to attend the funeral.
Your presence at a funeral or memorial service shows support for the decedent’s family and friends and also offers you the opportunity to remember that person and say goodbye. There are some important considerations to make before attending a funeral or memorial service. Here are some questions you should ask yourself to help decide if your presence is warranted.
This is the second part of a helpful funeral etiquette posts.
What was your relationship with the deceased? If this is a close family member or friend that you knew well, it is natural to attend any services. If you have not seen or spoken to this person in a long time, or if your relationship ended on bad terms, it might be better to stay away as to not cause any issues with surviving family and friends. If you feel that your presence might be a distraction, even in the slightest, decide to show your compassion in other ways than attending the funeral service in person.
Even if you didn’t have a relationship with the deceased, do you have a close relationship with someone who is grieving their loss? It isn’t necessary for you to have known the departed for you to attend a funeral or memorial service. If your best friend has lost a parent, for example, your presence at the service may provide needed support for that person. If you are unsure, simply ask your grieving friend or family member if your presence can help them through the process.
Where is the funeral or memorial service taking place? Distance might be something to consider when deciding to attend a service. If it is relatively close to home, your attendance is appreciated. If it will take a significant amount of travel or is even out of town or across the country, it is perfectly acceptable to consider expressing your condolences in other ways such as a card, flowers or donation to a charity in honor of the departed.
How is your current health status? If you cannot attend a funeral because you are actively sick, it is fine to stay home. Just make sure you show empathy through a phone call, handwritten card or volunteer to bring food to grieving family and friends. They will appreciate that you did not desire to share your sickness in addition to your condolences.
The bottom line is that anyone who wants to attend the funeral or memorial service should do so. There aren’t any set rules about service attendance. It is completely dependent on your feelings, the feelings of close family and friends of the deceased, and factors such as health and distance. Just remember that your presence at a funeral or memorial service is not the only way you can show you are there for others during their time of need.
In general, nothing can completely replace personal interaction when expressing condolences. If you decide that attendance at a funeral or memorial service is not the best option, let the surviving friends and family know you are still thinking of them and caring for them in their grief. Bi-State Cremation and Funeral Services takes pride in the respect, dignity, and affordability of our St Louis funeral home services in our community. From the first time you contact our incredible staff, you will know you are in good hands. Let us answer your questions and provide the support you need during this difficult time.