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Funeral etiquette is important to understand: that is, the forms, manners and ceremonies that have been established as acceptable or required when involving oneself after a family member, friend or acquaintance dies. The one thing one does not want to do is upset the bereaved by being ignorant about what is acceptable, or by being clumsy.
Persons are sometimes unsure as to what they should or should not do in reaching out to the bereaved, but remember that you should make an effort to reach-out since a lack of action can hurt someone’s feelings.
The following are a few things that have been established as acceptable and/or required standards of etiquette:
1) A phone call to the family as soon as possible after learning of the death to offer sympathy is good etiquette. The phone call, however, should be kept brief.
2) A visit to the bereaved is regarded as not only good funeral etiquette, but also a statement of common courtesy and caring, and it is an opportunity to offer help.
3) Attending the funeral is another way in which to express love, respect, and sympathy.
4) A written condolence letter, card, or note is also a good way to show support and is in keeping with proper funeral etiquette. Keep in mind that E-mails are not always as well receive, as they may be considered too informal by the recipient. We recommend sending a card instead.
5) Following a death a family is generally too overwhelmed to take care of the normal day to day living chores, such as cooking and cleaning. So food would be more than welcome, and is regarded as being a practical way to help and show caring concern.