When someone passes away, the best way to honor the deceased and offer support for the family is to attend the funeral service. Your presence means a lot to those who are grieving; just being there is a strong show of support. Many people, although they want to attend a funeral service, struggle with what to say to those who are experiencing devastating pain. Here are 3 things you should NOT say at a funeral:
1. "I know how you feel". The truth is that nobody can ever really know how someone else is feeling, especially after the loss of a loved one. Even if you've experienced a similar situation, it doesn't mean other people feel the same way about their loss. Everyone deals with grief differently, and it's better to acknowledge that. Try saying, "I don't know what to say, but please know that I'm so sorry".
2. "Don't cry". While it can be difficult to see people responding emotionally to their grief, it's very natural for them to do so. Commenting on how someone is handling a trying time is condescending, and only serves to make the person feel bad. Don't tell someone mourning a loss that they shouldn't express their natural feelings; you could slow down the healing process for them and make it harder for them to accept the death. Instead, give them a long hug and a shoulder to cry on if they need it.
3. "Let me know if I can help". While it's a great idea to offer help to someone who has suffered a great loss, keep in mind that they already have a lot of decisions to make. Asking them to make more decisions about how you can help them puts them on the spot and adds to their burden. Instead, offer to shop for groceries, take care of their pet, do outdoor chores, or bring over some ready-made meals.
U.C. Davis - Callahan Funeral Home, LTD.
301 W Washington St.
Morris, IL 60450