During funerals at funeral homes in Mount Vernon, WA, one of the things that mourners do, in addition to paying their respects to the deceased, is to offer words of encouragement and support to the bereaved family. But it can be difficult to know exactly what to say to help the family out. Here are a few guidelines.
Don’t make your condolences about you. Too often, well-meaning people will say they are sorry for the family’s loss and then go on to tell them about their own losses in life. This ends up sounding like a therapy session for the people offering condolences rather than the offer of a helping hand if the family needs it.
Never make, “I know how you feel,” even if you’ve experienced a similar loss, part of your condolences to a grieving family. You’re not them and you don’t know exactly how each one of them feels. Saying this comes off as dismissive and insensitive, even though that’s the opposite of what you intend.
What should you say?
Let the family know that you are there for them in tangible terms. Don’t say, “I’m here if you need me.” The reality is that they do need you, but they don’t know how yet. Instead, tell them when you’ll stop by on a particular day with dinner or to take care of the lawn or to bring groceries. Then make sure that you do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. You may see other opportunities to help them when you do the first thing you promised.
Another thing that you can say is that you’re available to listen anytime they want or need to talk. Listening has become a lost art in our society, but it is the greatest gift we can give somebody else. A grieving family is not looking for you to have all the answers or to solve all their problems. Instead, they just want to know that somebody hears them, and talking is often a great vehicle for problem-solving for many people.
Acknowledge the death of a bereaved family’s loved one and express your own sadness for their loss. All too often, we forget to tell grieving families how much the person who died meant to us, which can make them feel as though they are the only ones who are sorrowful that they’re gone.
One of the best ways to convey your condolences to a grieving family is by sharing good and happy memories of their loved ones with them. They might be memories that you were a part of, or they might be memories that someone else told you about their loved. This can be deeply comforting to the family to hear all these great stories about their loved one. And some of the stories you tell them may be new to them, which will give them a more expansive perspective and understanding of their loved one than they had before. And sharing happy and good memories with a bereaved family underscores how much the person they lost was loved and cherished.
For additional information about giving condolences at funeral homes, our compassionate and experienced team at Moles Farewell Tributes & Cremations – Bayview Chapel is here to help. We also serve the areas of Bellingham, Ferndale and Mount Vernon, WA. You can visit our funeral home at 2465 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA 98229 or you can call us today at (360) 733-0510.