Losing a loved one is a challenging time for family and friends. Knowing what to say to someone in that position can also be difficult, especially at the funeral services when emotions are particularly raw. If you’re unsure what to say to someone in that position, we have some simple advice about what to say to a grieving family at a funeral.
If you meet the bereaved person before the funeral has occurred, you should acknowledge their loss. Doing so will express your concern for them and validate their grieving, and it will let them know that it’s ok to talk to you about it if they need to.
At the funeral services, you may choose to express your sympathy to the grieving family. When speaking with the family, it is best to be short and sweet: A simple “I’m sorry for your loss” can never go wrong. The family is probably concerned about the services and making them go well, so don’t expect to have a long conversation just yet. If you also knew the person who has died, saying something a bit more personal will be appreciated.
Following the funeral services and burial, we may feel at a loss for fully expressing our desire to support the bereaved. So if you’re having a hard time, be honest; if you aren’t sure how to help them, let them know that – and that you want to. Knowing that you are there for them will reassure them, and they may soon let you know if they need your help.
No one wants to say the wrong thing at a funeral. Some phrases could make things worse for a grieving family, so you’ll want to make sure to avoid them. Cliché terms like “he had a good life” and “she’s in a better place” minimize the feelings of the bereaved. He may have had a good life, but surely his family would prefer it to have been longer.
Remember that the funeral is often more for the grieving family than for the deceased. Keep your words focused on them and how they’re feeling now.
Sometimes, words just don’t come out right or don’t quite get across what we really mean. Don’t be shy about using actions to show your support for the bereaved. Flowers and cards are a lovely thought and will be appreciated, but don’t forget that the grieving family likely needs practical help. This is especially true if there are children at home left without a parent. Take over tasks like cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, and looking after the kids. Daily chores can often feel overwhelming to the grieving.
If you’ve recently lost a loved one and require funeralservices, contact Hamel-Lydon Chapel for assistance within the Boston area.