03 / 03 / 21

How to act before a funeral

The passing of a loved one will always be one of the most stressful, upsetting and unstable times in a person’s life. This is often compounded by the stresses of having to organise and carry out a funeral sometimes at short notice, and worrying about how to conduct yourself on the day of the service.

At Prosperous Life we believe in taking as many of the stresses away from someone’s loss as we can, by offering pre-paid funeral plans that take the pressure of organising a funeral and helpful advice for those attending the service, potentially for the first time.

funeral candles

What do you need to do before a funeral?

While for many the most daunting element of a funeral is the service itself, you may find yourself wondering about what to do in the days beforehand. One of the simplest ways to show your support in someone’s time of need is to do just that, offer them your support.

Depending on how close you are to the family, you should let them know that you’re there for them in an appropriate manner. If you’re far away, or not usually within the family and friends circle, then the best thing to do would be to send a thoughtful card offering words of condolence, and offering any help you can. For the most part you may not be able to offer any tangible help, but when someone suffers a loss they can often feel alone in their pain and so an in-pouring of love and support can help to make the weight of the loss a little lighter.

If you are closer to the bereaved, then you should offer your support in any way you can, in person. This can be anything from as simple as being there as a shoulder to cry on, to helping out with everyday tasks to relieve the pressure of organising a funeral. The important thing is that you are there.

But what about the inbetween, where you are near enough to help but there is nothing you can really do? One of the best things that anyone can do is bring food to the suffering family. As funerals often attract large numbers of visiting family members, and cooking is the last thing most people want to be doing at the best of times, having an abundance of food that just needs reheating will take an enormous strain out of the grieving family’s daily life, and is a great way for you to check in and make sure that they’re managing okay.

Something that often causes confusion is whether or not you should send flowers, as different religions will have different views on sending them. Because of this many families are instead choosing to nominate a charity to give donations to. Which of the two you should send can be ascertained simply by asking the funeral director, who will be able to tell you.

grandfather and grandaughter

Getting to the funeral

One of the biggest questions you may be asking is “can I attend the funeral?”, and the short answer to this is normally “yes”. Funerals are in more ways than one, the total opposite to a wedding, and this extends to the usual etiquette for attending the service versus the reception/wake. Whereas for a wedding it is more common to have a smaller, private service followed by a larger reception, at a funeral it is commonplace to have more attendance to the service itself.

This isn’t universally true however, and so best practice will be to find out well in advance if you are invited to the funeral, either by checking the details of the event if made public, or politely asking the family if you may attend. As there is nothing more heartbreaking than a funeral with nobody in attendance the answer will more than likely be yes.

Making your way to the funeral is again dependent on how close you are to the family of the deceased. There are normally 2 ways of getting there, either meeting at the venue or travelling as part of the funeral procession. For most people, waiting at the venue is the suitable way to get to the funeral as a trailing funeral procession would cause havoc on the roads, and not everyone will be spending time with the family before and after the service.

For those in the close family circle, following the hearse in their own car will be the norm, and there isn’t much specific etiquette to observe here other than the obvious don’t cause a disturbance by driving aggressively or dangerously. Stay behind the hearse, and remain respectful.

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