Losing a loved one is a very difficult and emotional time. Grieving a long process and one part of that process is attending the funeral. If you have never been to a funeral before, you might be feeling a little awkward or confused, which is perfectly normal. Learning the basics of funeral etiquette can help you maneuver this difficult time. Here are four basic etiquette tips for attending a funeral:
1. Know Where You Should Sit
While there is no seating arrangement at most funeral homes, there are some general rules. Most of the time, those closest to the person who died will sit in the first few rows. If you are an immediate family member, sit with your other family members—who are probably in the first few rows. If you are a close friend, sitting in this spot may be acceptable as well.
If you do not know the person very well, sit anywhere else you would like. If you are in doubt about where to sit, ask the family. Even though they are sad and grieving, they will welcome your attendance and will probably help you find a seat.
2. Offering Condolences
If you are giving out condolences, keep it short and sweet. The person you are trying to comfort is a ball of emotions and a long drawn out apology or saying "I know how you feel" is probably not what they want to hear. Instead, offer a few words of empathy and encouragement and move on. If you want to offer more help, make sure the person knows you are available and give them the proper information to reach you.
3. Don't Feel Obligated to View the Body
Sometimes, families will have an open casket funeral. This means that the body will be on display for viewing. If you are not comfortable viewing the body, it's okay. You are by no means obligated to view the body. When the time comes, simply mention that you are not comfortable doing it and move on. Do not let anyone pressure you into doing something you do not want to do.
4. Turn Your Phone Off
Finally, make sure you keep your cell phone turned off when you are at the funeral home. Interrupting the services because your phone makes a noise is very rude and it might make some people angry. If you must keep your cell phone on, turn it to silent or vibrate mode so that you do not disrupt other guests.
Attending a funeral for the first time may seem scary, but it is a safe place. Feel free to speak with family members and guests, relive favorite memories, and cry. Just follow these four etiquette tips to ensure you do not upset or disrupt the services. For more information, contact a funeral home like M J Murphy Funeral Home.