It goes without saying that the average person does not attend funeral services on a regular basis. If you are feeling apprehensive about how to act, what to say, and what to do when meeting with those who are grieving, you are not alone.
Never underestimate how much it means for you to simply be present to those experiencing a loss. Your physical presence sends a message of support in their time of need. Similarly, if you are unable to attend, a sympathy card, a telephone call or other form of communication lets these persons know you care.
Kelly Baltzell, M.A., CEO of Beyond Indigo, offers the following tips based on feedback from bereaved persons she has assisted:
- Use the name of the person who has passed. Not “your brother, your mother” but “Your mother Fran” was such a joy to me.
- Share positive stories, not just how it is hard that their loved one is gone. Grieving people want to know their loss means something. Recognize the accomplishments in people's lives.
- Tell them grieving is difficult. They know it is difficult. Don't say the loved one is better in heaven. They want their loved ones with them here, not heaven.