Funeral Etiquette

The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect, grief and appreciation for a life that has been lived. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis the death presents. Through the funeral the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss. This information has been prepared as a convenient reference for modern funeral practices and customs.

THE FUNERAL SERVICE…
The type of service conducted for the deceased is specified by the family. Our funeral directors are trained to assist families in arranging whatever type of service they desire.

PRIVATE SERVICE, or PUBLIC SERVICE…
A private service is by invitation only and may be held anywhere the family chooses.Usually, selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service, and it is advertised as being “held”.
A public service is advertised before the funeral.

MEMORIAL SERVICE…
A memorial service is a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Personal memorabilia is usually present at the service, ie photo’s personal items, ie fishing rod, sewing basket etc. Your mind is your limit.

PALLBEARERS…
Friends, relatives, or business associates may be asked to serve as pallbearers. Our funeral directors will secure pallbearers if requested to do so by the family.

EULOGY or TRIBUTE…
A eulogy may be given by a member of the family, clergy, a close personal friend or a business associate of the deceased. The eulogy is not to be lengthy, but should offer praise and commendation and reflect the life of the person who has died.

DRESS…
Persons attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste so as to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion. Wearing colourful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends.

FUNERAL PROCESSION / CORTEGE…
When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives may accompany the family to the cemetery / cremation. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of service. We can advise you of the traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession.

CONDOLENCES…
The time of death is a very confusing time for family members. No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family, ie Surname and address.

FLOWERS…
Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person’s continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute.

MEMORIAL DONATIONS…
A memorial contribution, to a specific cause or charity, can be appreciated in lieu of flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available, however the family may have expressed a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects. If recognised as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes.

SYMPATHY CARDS…
Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.

PERSONAL NOTE…
A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as “I’m sorry to learn of your personal loss” is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.

TELEPHONE CALL…
Speaking to a family member gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them feel you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don’t hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased. Be a good listener.

SYMPATHY EXPRESSIONS…
When a person calls at the funeral home, sympathy can be expressed by clasping hands, an embrace, or a simple statement of condolence,
such as:
“I’m sorry.”
“My sympathy to you.”
“It was good to know John.”
“John was a fine person and a friend of mine. He will be missed.”
“My sympathy to your mother.”

The family member in return may say:
“Thanks for coming.”
“John talked about you often.”
“I didn’t realise so many people cared.”
“Come see me when you can.”

Encourage the bereaved to express their feelings and thoughts, but don’t overwhelm them.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS…
The family should acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts also should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers. We may have available printed acknowledgement cards which can be used by the family. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgment card expressing appreciation for a contribution or personal service received. The note can be short, such as:

“Thank you for the beautiful roses. The arrangement was lovely.

“The food you sent was so enjoyed by our family. Your kindness is deeply appreciated.”

In some communities it is a practice to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with this.

CHILDREN/BABIES AT FUNERALS…
At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service.

GRIEF RECOVERY…
It is healthy to recognise death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Our funeral directors can help family and friends locate available resources and grief recovery programs in your area.