Even though death is a part of everyone’s life, many of us lack experience in knowing how to act at a funeral, visitation or memorial service.
From what to wear to what to say or do, it can be difficult to know the in’s and out’s of attending these important events. Here are some tips to remind you about proper etiquette at a memorial tradition in Hamilton, Ontario and the surrounding area.
What to Wear
At one time, black was considered the only colour to wear at funerals and visitations. However, what to wear is now much less rigid – although still formal.
Dress as if you’re going to an important interview, taking care to ensure your clothes are neat, clean, ironed and tucked in. Avoid wearing athletic wear, denim or anything too flashy.
In some cases, the family may ask everyone to wear a particular colour or style of clothing in honour of the deceased (ie. yellow because it was the deceased person’s favourite colour).
What to Say
When speaking with family and friends of the deceased, it can be difficult to know what to say. And that’s okay since there’s nothing that you can say that will magically make everyone feel better.
Instead, say nothing at all. Show your support in others way such as offering a hug.
What to Do
Promptness is key: never be late to a funeral, visitation or memorial service. Better yet, show up at least ten minutes early.
If for some reason you are late, wait outside until the procession is over, then enter quietly through a side aisle.
There’s nothing worse than a phone going off in the middle of a funeral so ensure yours is set to silent (better yet, leave it in the car).
For a visitation, stay only a short time, or enough time to extend your sympathies to the bereaved.
What to Give
An obituary will state if the family has chosen a charity to receive donations. In this case, forgo sending flowers and honour the deceased in the manner that the family has chosen.
If you can’t attend the funeral or memorial service, consider sending a personal note or placing a phone call.
What to Avoid
Since the first few rows of the church or venue are reserved for family members, choose your seat wisely. Once seated, stay for the entire ceremony.
If the faith being practiced is not your own, don’t feel forced to partake in any religious sacraments or prayers. Instead, stand when necessary and simply listen.
It can be easy to concentrate on what to do at a funeral or memorial service. But at the end of the day, what’s most important is that you were there to show your respect for the deceased – as well as your support for their loved ones.
For more helpful advice, contact the professionals at Circle of Life Cremation and Burial Centre Inc.