Funeral invitations aren't always reserved for those who were nearest and dearest to the deceased person. If you've been asked to attend the funeral of an acquaintance or simply want to show up to support your mourning loved ones, here are some ways you can honor the person in a respectful and caring way.
Share Comforting Words About Life and Death
You don't need all the details about a person to honor a life well lived. Consider paying your respects to someone you didn't know well by speaking about the beauty and value of life in general. Also, speak about the importance of remembering the joyful moments with someone.
You may opt to recite a quote by Henry David Thoreau or Maya Angelou that showcases the sheer beauty of life. When you speak to the universal need that mourners have to appreciate life with all its ups and downs, you may provide your friends or family with a great deal of comfort.
Volunteer to Serve
Once you get the details on the funeral, offer to serve at the funeral in some capacity. You may simply ask what needs to be done. If you sense the person is overwhelmed with planning the funeral, offer to fill a specific role that seems to be open. For example, if there doesn't seem to be someone to hand out programs and greet attendees as they arrive, you may offer to do this.
Since you didn't know the person that well, it will likely be easier for you to perform basic tasks and interact with mourners. If you do take on a task that involves speaking with attendees extensively, you may want to get more information on the deceased person so that you have a better frame of reference when discussing the individual being mourned.
Ask Thoughtful Questions
Sometimes people who are in the trenches of grief simply want to talk about the person they're missing. Bereaved family members and friends may be longing for a shoulder to cry on or someone to listen. Ask thoughtful questions to show that you're interested and care how they're doing. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- What was your happiest memory with (the deceased person's name)?
- What do you wish the people here knew about the one you love?
- How do you hope they're most remembered?
- What is one thing that can be done to lessen your pain today?
If someone gives one-word answers or doesn't seem open to sharing, don't push. Simply expressing how sorry you are for the loss can be enough when someone isn't in the mood to talk.
Finally, the difference that a person can make in the lives of acquaintances can be profound. You may find that you touch many people by simply speaking from your heart and being open to ways you can help mourners feel better.
If you have further questions about or require assistance with a funeral service, contact a company like Shepherd Funeral Home.