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Attending a service at Berg Mortuary
Unspoken Funeral Etiquette Rules Every Guest Should Follow
What you say and do can upset the bereaved even further.
BY JILL GLEESON PUBLISHED: JUN 13, 2017
Death has been called the last taboo: the one subject more than any other that people don't want to think about, much less talk about. But to paraphrase Ben Franklin, death, along with taxes, is the only certain thing in life. Funerals happen, and how we act and what we say before, during, and after them can help ease the suffering of the bereaved—or add to it. Here, etiquette experts answer the most common questions about funeral etiquette:
I get tongue-tied around people in mourning. What should I say?
"Sharing a fond memory" of the person who passed will help the grieving focus on happier times, says etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach. Keep it short and simple: "As human beings we tend to want to say as much as we can, and the more we talk the more we get ourselves into trouble," says Elaine Swann, lifestyle and etiquette expert, and author of Let Crazy Be Crazy. "My condolences to you and the entire family" or "My thoughts are with you all" are safe bets.
At the Cemetery
- Watch over children to ensure their safety.
- Follow our cemetery guidelines.
- Respect cemetery visiting hours.
- Follow the marked roadways.
- Be respectful by keeping quiet around visitors who wish to reflect.
- Stay longer than you want to. It’s all about what you’re comfortable doing, don’t feel that you need to linger if you’ve celebrated your loved one in a way that feels right to you.
- Be afraid to laugh and share happy memories and stories. Laughter and telling happy stories can be the best medicine on the road to healing.
- Feel that you need to look at the deceased. If this is something you’re not comfortable doing, there is no need to do so. A service is about your comfort level and your desire to celebrate the person in a way most meaningful to you.
- Let your children be too loud and disturb others. As always, respect others and practice awareness.
- Leave your cell phone ringer on. No one needs that additional noise when they’re trying to reflect.
- Be afraid to make a mistake or do something wrong. You are doing something right just by coming and caring.
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