The most important moment of any visit to a funeral home is that in which you offer your condolences to the grieving family. Although the family members will likely hear similar remarks from scores of people throughout the day, you have the opportunity to deliverv some poignant words that hit home and properly convey your support. Properly offering your condolences as a bit of an art – you shouldn’t simply offer a brief cliché, yet you also shouldn’t jeopardize the family’s time with excessive chatter. Here are three things to know about how to do the job the right way during the next time you visit a funeral home.
Brevity Is Key
In all likelihood, your first opportunity to express your condolences to the family once you arrive at the funeral home will either be in the receiving line at a visitation or in the reception that follows the funeral service itself. In each case, you’ll typically be surrounded by a sizable crowd that has the same intention – which means that being brief is vitally important. Think of the family’s emotions; it’s emotionally taxing to speak about the death of the loved one to one person, let alone an extended line of mourners. Keeping your remarks to a minimum is respectful and can still allow you to share a poignant message.
Sympathy, Thoughts And A Memory
The best way to offer your condolences briefly is to take a three-point approach. The first priority is to extend your sympathy to each family member; essentially, tell him or her that you’re sorry for the loss and that you know this is a challenging time. It’s also valuable to stress that you’re holding the family in your thoughts. If you wish, it’s acceptable to share a brief, pleasant memory of the person who has passed away. Stick to a lesson he or she taught you or a particularly special moment you shared together. There will be a time in the future to share long stories and even some laughs, but your memory should be kept brief at the funeral home.
Some Phrases Can Hurt
By sticking to your plan of being brief, expressing your sympathy, saying you’re thinking of the family and sharing a memory, you’ll ideally avoid uttering a phrase that’s well intentioned but isn’t appreciated. Funeral conversations are often fraught with phrases that the grieving family can find hurtful. Things such as “You’ll feel better in time” and “Your loved one is in a better place” can risk sounding insensitive and are best to avoid.
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