Like everything in society funeral etiquette and what is expected of you has evolved over time. As always common sense and good discretion is the best guide to proper funeral etiquette. Here are a few do’s and don'ts.
Express your condolences – It’s not easy to come up with the words to offer sympathy to someone who has just lost a loved one. You don’t need to be a poet, simply saying something like “I am sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family” is enough. If you can’t be at a funeral service in person, sending a card or leaving a message on a memorial website is a perfect way to express your sympathy.
Dress appropriately – The deceased may have requested that friends and family wear a special colour or item of clothing.
Sign the Condolence Book – The family may keep a Condolence Book as a memento for years to come. Be sure to include your full name and relationship to the deceased so they will know that you were there - this can be very comforting for a family after the funeral to reflect on everyone who attended.
Keep in Touch – You may feel that the family needs their space and time to grieve but a simple phone call or note after the funeral lets the family know you care. With social networking leaving a quick note is as simple as a click of a mouse. The following months after a death is when grieving friends and family need the most support.
Bring your mobile phone – Ensure your phone is turned off. Even better leave your phone at home or in your car a funeral is not the time to be texting or checking your messages.
Be afraid to remember the good times – Funerals are obviously a time of grieving and mourning, but remembering the good times helps with the healing process. Sharing a funny and appropriate story is acceptable and in some cases exactly what the deceased would have wanted.