When someone dies, it is important to show your respects by paying your last respects. This means attending the funeral or memorial service, and behaving in a polite and respectful manner. There are a few things you can do to make sure you pay your respects in the best way possible. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to be polite and respectful when paying your last respects.
1. Wear an appropriate outfit
When attending a funeral or memorial service, it is important to dress in an appropriate manner. Everyone usually wonders what to wear to a funeral so to make it easier make sure you avoid bright colors or patterns and instead opt for more subdued colors such as black, navy, or gray. It is also important to avoid overly casual clothing such as jeans or sneakers.
Instead, dress in semi-formal or formal attire such as a collared shirt, dress pants, or a skirt. This shows that you respect the occasion and are taking it seriously. Additionally, make sure your clothing is clean and pressed. You want to look your best when paying your respects. Lastly, avoid wearing perfume or cologne as some people may be sensitive to strong scents.
Some examples of what NOT to wear:
- A bright red dress
- A pair of ripped jeans
- A t-shirt with a funny saying
Some examples of more appropriate clothing options:
- A black dress
- A navy blazer
- A gray skirt
- Khaki pants
2. Arrive on time or early
When you are attending a funeral or memorial service, it is important to be punctual. This shows that you respect the person who has died as well as their loved ones. If possible, try to arrive 15-20 minutes early. This will give you time to find a seat and get settled before the service starts. Once the service starts, avoid leaving until it is over unless it is an emergency.
Some things to avoid doing:
- Showing up late
- Leaving early
- Answering your phone during the service
Some things you can do:
- Arrive 15-20 minutes early
- Turn your phone off before the service starts
- Sit quietly and listen
3. Listen and learn
When you are attending a funeral or memorial service, it is important to be an active listener. This means paying attention to the speakers and trying to learn as much as you can about the person who has died. Oftentimes, funerals and memorial services are a time for people to share stories and memories about the deceased. By listening carefully, you can learn more about the person’s life and what they meant to those around them.
Some things to avoid doing:
- Fidgeting in your seat
- chatting with those around you
Some things you can do:
- Sit up straight and pay attention
- Listen intently
- Take notes if you want to remember what is said
4. Offer your condolences
At the end of the funeral or memorial service, you will usually have the opportunity to speak with the deceased person’s loved ones. This is a good time to offer your condolences. If you knew the person who died, you can share a memory or story about them. Even if you didn’t know the person, you can still express your sympathies for their loss. It is also appropriate to give a hug or handshake at this time.
Some things to avoid saying:
- I’m so sorry for your loss (this is overused and often sounds insincere)
- They are in a better place now (this can be construed as insensitive)
- What can I do to help? (this puts the burden on the grieving person to come up with something for you to do)
Some things you can say:
- I’m here for you if you need anything
- If there is anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask
- Your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers
5. Send a condolence card
After the funeral or memorial service, you can stay in touch with the deceased person’s loved ones by sending a condolence card. In the card, you can express your sympathies and offer your support. You can also include a personal note or memory about the person who died. If you are unable to attend the service, sending a condolence card is a nice way to show that you are thinking of them during this difficult time.
6. Make a donation
If you would like to do something to honor the memory of the person who died, you can make a donation to a charity or organization that was important to them. You can also make a donation in their name to a general charity or cause that they cared about. This is a thoughtful way to remember the deceased and help out others at the same time.
Also, many funeral homes and churches accept donations in lieu of flowers. Make sure you are donating to a charity or organization after consulting the family first.
7. Send a sympathy gift
Another way to show your support for the grieving family is to send a sympathy gift. This can be something as simple as food delivery, flowers, or a gift basket. You can also send a more personal gift, such as jewelry or an item that was important to the person who died.
If you are unsure what to send, you can always ask the funeral home or church for suggestions. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that will be appreciated and not add to the family’s stress during this difficult time.
8. Don’t get drunk
It is important to remember that funerals and memorial services are somber occasions. As such, it is not appropriate to get drunk or act out in any way. This includes telling off-color jokes, being disruptive, or getting into arguments with other attendees.
If you need to drink alcohol to cope with your grief, do so in moderation and before the service starts. This is very important to remember if you are attending a wake, as it is considered disrespectful to the family of the deceased.
By following these tips, you can show your respect and support for the grieving family while paying your last respects. funerals and memorial services are an important part of the grieving process and can be very therapeutic for those who are mourning. By being polite and respectful, you can make the experience a little easier for everyone involved. Hopefully, these tips will help you in how to be polite and respectful when paying your last respects.
Do you have any other suggestions on how to be polite and respectful when paying your last respects? Please share in the comments below.