No matter in which way it comes, death is painful, not to the dead but to the ones left behind, especially the family and close relatives. If you are attending a funeral and you feel uncomfortable about approaching someone in mourning, you are not alone.
People are often lost for words when they come face-to-face with a person dealing with a loss of a loved one. It can be scary because you might say something that could make the pain any worse, even if you are just trying to reach out and offer support. If you are one of those who feel awkward at a funeral because you do not know what to say, this article is for you. Here are examples of comforting conversation starters that would inspire you and keep you confident against saying the wrong thing at a funeral. Plus, a few tips on what not to say.
The classic phrases of offering sympathy
There are classic phrases commonly used when a person dies. “I am sorry for your loss”, “My thoughts and prayers are with you”, and “My deepest condolences to your family” are some of them. They are often found written on sympathy cards and heard at funerals. Even the funeral directors of www.carrollandcarrollfunerals.co.uk admit how those phrases may be overused, but they work each time. They are short and simple expressions to say that you acknowledge the situation and how painful it probably is for their family.
It is also acceptable to say something about you and your remark about the deceased. Saying something like, “Your father was such a great man, a lot of people in our office admires him” or “Your father was loved by many; he was a wonderful man” are considered okay.
Offering your support and sympathy when the person is ready
The grieving process is different for everybody. Some people like to go through it alone. Others appreciate the support and comfort that the people around them could offer. If you are not sure in which manner the family chooses to grieve, you may simply say something that will tell them you are here to listen, the moment they are ready to talk. Statements like: “I am here to listen,” “I’m just a phone call away,” and “I’m here to help if there is anything that I can do” are kind and comforting.
The awful things to say
If there are statements that are appropriate to say at the family of the deceased during a funeral, there are also those that are awful enough and would make those in grief feel much worse. You certainly would not want that. This is not a time to tell jokes, gossip, make negative comments about the deceased, or even call some attention to yourself. Stay away from these phrases if you do not want to appear insensitive:
- At least he died in his sleep.
- You’ll get over it.
- Do you think you might remarry? (to the widowed spouse)
- You are better off without him.
- I know how you are feeling, I lost my dad, too, when I was 2 years old.
When attending a funeral, you do not have to say much. But choose your words well and make sure that what you say will not make the situation feel worse for the people in mourning.