Eulogy for a Funeral
How a Funeral Helps With Grief
Planning Luncheons After Funerals
Environmentally Friendly Funerals
How Afterlife Beliefs Affect Funerals
Funerals for Famous People
Funerals Around The World
A Guide to Helping Mourners Cope With Their Loss
It is almost inevitable in today’s world that you will find yourself, more than once in your life, attending a funeral visitation. These are special events that can help mourners cope with the grief of their lost loved one. Yet, despite its healing effects, funeral visitation can be a source of anxiety for some people who may not be exactly sure how to conduct themselves during one. Here are a few tips and suggestions that will help you, and your fellow mourners, get the most out of this memorial tradition.
First, a few rules of etiquette regarding a funeral visitation. You should feel obligated to stay only a short time, perhaps about 15 minutes at a funeral visitation. This should be long enough to extend your sympathies to the bereaved. Try to give the departed's family a hug, and a few brief words of support. Research shows that this is the most helpful thing to do at a funeral visitation. If one occurs to you, a funeral visitation is also a good time to extend a warm hearted story about you and the departed along with compliments.
Another thing that you can do for the family, something that may seem surprising to the uninitiated, is to bring food to a funeral visitation. The family has no doubt had a hard day as they mourn the loss of their loved one and consider how they will regain their balance over the next few days. Experts say that food will make a difference and have a positive effect on their moods. It will also help lighten the unfortunate, practical burden that comes with hosting a funeral: figuring out accommodations for all of the visitors who typically arrive for a funeral.
Flowers are also good gifts to present a family during a funeral visitation, as is a card. Each of these things say that you care deeply for the departed's family, and want to make the funeral visitation go as smoothly for them as possible. If your friend was a Roman Catholic, they especially have a longstanding tradition of sending "mass cards" so they will appreciate it just that much more. There are also times when the departed's family will request that you send a donation to a charity of your choice. While not technically part of the funeral visitation, you might consider doing this as soon as you can, as they might ask about it.
If for whatever reason you are unable to make it to the funeral visitation (and depending on how close you were with the deceased, you should do everything in your power to attend) you should consider either writing them an email or give it a more personal touch and call them. (and in either case, you should make it brief, just as you would have the funeral visitation)
A funeral visitation is typically held in the afternoon or early evening, perhaps between the hours of 4 and 9, so that it will be easier for the majority of people to attend. Generally, the departed will have the same jewelry, watches, or rings he or she wore during his or her life, which will either be removed after the service, so that they may be given to the family, or buried as well. Some will even present these remembrances in a special memorial keepsake box, during the visitation, as part of the final tribute to the lost individual. In almost every instance in which the departed is cremated, the jewelry used during the funeral visitation will have been removed beforehand. In addition to that, the family will often display pictures of the deceased around the casket, which are often photos of better days with them.
Visitations also vary from one religion/culture to another. while it is a familiar routine to many Protestants and Catholics, unlike the former, Catholics will often conclude the funeral visitation with a rosary. Jewish people generally do not have visitations.
A funeral visitation, sad though it is, can also allow you the chance to show that you care about your friend's family, and it will probably go a long way towards strengthening your relationship with them as well. If there is one thing that a funeral visitation can allow you to do, it is the chance to become as good a friend to them as you no doubt were to the departed.