Visitation and Funeral Etiquette: Right words to say to the bereaved at a funeral
One of the most sensitive and difficult to navigate events in our life has to be funerals! Whether you are a close member of the deceased or just an acquaintance, you may find yourself tongue-tied and struggling to find things to say. Usually, our intent is good, and we would love to offer help from our side but are unable to find the correct usage of words.
The important thing to remember is that it is respectful to extend condolences for the loss of the family. All you have to do is say a few kind and sympathetic words in a nice tone.
Some appropriate words to say to the bereaved at a funeral:
- I am so sorry. Your (Relation) was loved by many.
- You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
- I’m here for you if you need to talk.
- I have such fond memories of your (Relation). She will be dearly missed by everyone.
- I find it difficult to find the right words to say, but I want you to know that I am very sorry.
- I recently lost a loved one of my own. I won’t say that I understand how you are feeling, since grief is unique. But I want you to know that you are not alone. I’m sorry your hurting like this.
- It’s a hard time for you, and there is no need for you to stress about work while you are busy at home. We can talk about what I can do from my side to make your workload lighter.
- I don’t know if you remember or not, I met your dad at the graduation ceremony. He seemed to be very proud of you. I hope his love always stays with you.
- I’ve heard a lot about your sister. I never got the chance to meet her but know that I am here for you. I would love to know more about your relationship with her.
- I realize life is going to be hard especially right now. You don’t have to go to an empty house! I’m happy to come to your place for the night so that you don’t have to face everything alone. Also, the offer stands for any day!
- It is okay to feel grief, angry, afraid, and frustration. Every emotion is valid right now.
- I know she/he meant the world to you. I’m sorry you have to go through this kind of hurt.
Lastly, a few things to remember include monitoring the bereaved person’s reaction and framing your words accordingly. If the bereaved mention that they would rather not talk, respect their wishes.