Funeral do's and don't's

(12 Posts)
juneau Mon 11-Mar-13 15:59:59

I don't know if this is the right place to post, but I'm going to a funeral tomorrow, the first I've been to in ages, and I was looking for any tips on what is helpful - or not. It's a church funeral followed by a reception at their house.

It's for an old school friend's dad. It was an unexpected death. He was early 70s and fit, healthy, etc. I'm fairly certain that she's devastated as she only just lost her mum in Nov to cancer sad I didn't really know him, so I'm just going to give her moral support.

Not quite sure what you are meaning by "do's and don'ts"- I am sure your friend will be very glad of your support. The only advice I can offer is purely practical. Since she has also lost her mum, does she have brothers/sisters? Can you call her and ask if she would like some help in setting up and preparing for the wake. Does she need to borrow cups/crockery. Can you offer to help make teas/serve, wash up so she is free to talk to visitors who may have travelled to the funeral?

The last few funerals I have been to have had the main family outside the church as people have left and there was the chance to say hello and how sorry you were- etc and often this is the first time friends have been able to speak to the bereaved in person so it can be a useful "ice breaker"- the first conversation after a death is often the most difficult as people don't know always what to say.

juneau Mon 11-Mar-13 17:13:20

I guess by 'do's and don'ts' I'm talking about what to say or not to say. I sometimes babble to cover awkward silences and I'd obviously rather not do that tomorrow in case I say something stupid.

She does have siblings and I've already offered to help with anything they need.

NeedChangeNow Mon 11-Mar-13 17:14:50

Don't giggle when you find yourself standing next to the bin that says 'no hot ashes' blush

NeedChangeNow Mon 11-Mar-13 17:15:22

Do say something to the bereaved about the person that died, a memory you have of them that they may not know about, for instance.

DeepRedBetty Mon 11-Mar-13 17:18:30

I know what you mean about babbling nervously. I try to think of a few nice things to say about that specific person, ready to use - but generally 'I'm sorry for your loss' and a big hug seem to do the job. You can stash up 'he was always so kind to us when we were kids' or something similar - maybe try to remember a funny happening he was involved in?

I'd avoid anything too sentimental like 'at least he's with your mum now' - although be ready to agree with any of the siblings who do say it.

intheshed Mon 11-Mar-13 17:26:07

Just be genuine, have you spoken to her since?

My mum died when I was in 6th form (a long long time ago!). I still remember the boy who was in my circle of friends but not that close who made the effort to call me just to say he was thinking of me. So many other people, who I considered much closer friends, just started avoiding me.

So ask her how she's feeling, and let her know you are there for her if she needs you.

yousankmybattleship Mon 11-Mar-13 17:30:54

Actually I think babbling is fine! I found it too difficult when people tried to have deep and sincere conversations as it was all too new and to raw. I was just pleased people had come and releaved if they prattled on about their jobs, children etc.

juneau Mon 11-Mar-13 17:42:51

I was just pleased people had come and releaved if they prattled on about their jobs, children etc.

That's good to know, because after her mum died I felt able to chat with her - after this second loss it all seems so big and terrible that it's left me rather lost for words (a VERY rare occurrence!)

BiBiBroccoli Mon 11-Mar-13 21:48:23

I just lost my dad and a hug and I'm sorry is fine. Also, offer specific help rather than just saying 'call me if I can do anything'.
We have so appreciated the people that have said 'we're bringing a shepherds pie on Tuesday so you don't have to cook' or 'would you like me to come with you to florist/bank/probate office' etc.

I currently have no idea what I want people to do and don't feel up to asking them. When they offer specific things I feel enormously grateful.

I agree with nothing sentimental or saying 'at least he isn't suffering' or whatever.

Hope it goes well and your friend copes ok x

rubyrubyruby Mon 11-Mar-13 21:53:09

Give practical help - don't offer. Just observe and see what needs doing especially as you didn't know him that well and are going to support her.

Clear cups and plates, wash up, help take people's coats at the wake etc.

greenfolder Tue 12-Mar-13 18:49:03

I second helping at the wake-pass round food, chat to relatives. I always ask about the deceased-how did you know him? What is your happiest memory? And then move on to them, what do you do etc?

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