Funeral homes serving the area of Lynden, WA frequently get questions about funeral etiquette from people who want to express their sympathy to a bereaved family. If someone you know has died or if someone you know has lost a family member, you know that you want to do something to acknowledge the death and to show your support.
But you may not know exactly what is appropriate and what is not appropriate to do. These tips will offer you some guidelines on how to be there for other people in their time of need.
One of the things that you may not know, if you haven’t experienced the death of someone close to you, is how much emotional upheaval is caused when a loved one dies. Different family members may be feeling different things like shock, sorrow, anger, and confusion, and these strong emotions can create a tense family dynamic.
What the grieving family needs from you is something that gives them a sense of calm, of comfort, and of peace. The worst thing that you can do, if you are unsure about what is appropriate, is nothing.
The bereaved family needs to know that you – and others – care about them and want to help them through this very difficult time in their lives.
There are several ways that you can offer sympathy and support for a grieving family.
One thing that you can do as soon as you find out about the death is to send a sympathy card. You probably don’t have a stack of sympathy cards in your desk drawer at home, so you can either go out and purchase one to fill out and mail or you can send one online for a small fee.
Do this as soon as you can after you hear about the death. You don’t have to say anything profound or elaborate in your sympathy card. Simply let the family know you are thinking about them. If you have a fond memory of their loved one, include that in your sympathy card as well.
Another thing that you can do is a charitable donation in the deceased person’s name. Many times, the obituary of the deceased will list specific charitable organizations or non-profit organizations where donations should be sent. These usually have special meaning, so those should be the ones where you make your donation.
If there aren’t any specific places listed in the obituary, then you can select a charity or non-profit to make your donation to. If you know that the deceased died of a particular illness, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or dementia, then you could make a donation to a non-profit group that supports and does research for that illness.
Another way that you can express your condolences and support is by sending a flower arrangement or plant to the funeral home or to the family’s home. Be sure to write a brief note on the card that is sent and include your full name.
If you’re wondering what type of flowers to send, lilies of any kind are a good solid choice. Many funeral flowers have very specific meanings or symbolism, so you don’t want to cause the family discomfort by sending a flower that means something you didn’t intend.
If you need guidance on sending flowers or plants, the funeral home can help you with making your selection.