Death is never easy to handle. When you lose a co-worker, grief can come and go in unexpected ways, and it can be hard to simply go to work now that the person is no longer there. It can also be challenging to attend the funeral of someone you worked with each day. These tips for handling the funeral of a co-worker can help you more effectively be there for fellow mourners and feel more confident about your choices at the memorial service.
Tip #1: Express Your Condolences Directly to the Family
Go directly to the family and express your condolences when going to a co-worker's funeral. Sometimes people are shy to go directly to those closest to the deceased person if they are attending the funeral of someone they didn't know well. However, the family will be touched and are likely to welcome your direct condolences. You may remark on what the deceased person brought to the work place and why the person meant a lot to you.
Tip #2: Deflect Attention and Focus on the Mourners
Sometimes people will come up and express sympathy to those who attend the funeral without knowing the full situation. If you are greeted with somber looks and expressions of sympathy for your loss, don't fret. Simply accept them and then try to shift the focus to those who are closest to the deceased person.
Tip #3: Follow the Family's Wishes for Sympathy Gifts
Although it is still a common practice to send flowers to a funeral home in many religions, don't assume that's what the family wants. Nowadays, the family often expresses a preference for donation to charity or a private fund in lieu of sympathy flowers. Look at the death notice or obituary for an indication of what the family prefers.
Tip #4: Plan to Go With Others from Your Work Place
One way to make going to the funeral more comfortable for you and other co-workers is to attend the memorial service together. Carpool and go in a group. You may choose to meet at your place of employment, then leave together for the day. Going in a group may make the show of support clearer to the family, too, and seeing how loved the person was at work can be immensely comforting, too.
Finally, keep in mind that it all comes down to people being there for each other. Whether you know someone from work or your personal life, the way you care about someone is the same, and the only real difference in a co-worker's funeral is that it's important to tread carefully when you may not know a lot about the deceased person's private life.
When you follow these tips, you should be a welcome presence at the funeral and beyond when mourners are celebrating the life of the deceased person. Funeral homes like Maham Funeral Home can also give you some etiquette tips if you are still unsure.