The very first thing that one must do when a death occurs is acknowledge it.
Common sense and discretion are always the best guides to proper funeral etiquette. However there are a few principles which do apply. The death of a loved one leaves us feeling lost and not sure what to do. Your first reaction may be to help, but you may not be sure what to say. This section of our web site has been designed to offer some suggestions, which you may find helpful. We hope it will give you some insight on how you can be of comfort to the bereaved.
In addition to expressing sympathy it is acceptable, if you wish, to share with the family your memories of the deceased. Family members may simply want you to listen to their expressions of sorrow or memories of their loved one. You may prefer to visit the family at the funeral home. This setting may be more comfortable for you and the family, as they are prepared for visitors.
Flowers can be a great comfort to the family and may be sent to the funeral home or to the residence. If sent to the residence, a plant or a small vase of flowers is recommended showing a person?s continued sympathy for the family. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. If the family asks that donations should be made in lieu of flowers, you should honor that request.
A memorial gift is always appropriate, especially when the family has requested such a gift in lieu of flowers. Usually the family will designate a specific organization or charity. Remember to provide the family?s name and address to the charity so they can send proper notification. It is acceptable to mention your gift in a sympathy note without mentioning the amount of the gift.