Saturday, January 24, 2009

Funeral Etiquette: Tempus Fugit

Time flies when you're having a funeral, especially during an hour long visitation before the service. It seems that in the last 20 minutes before the service starts, everyone shows up and wants to give their condolences to the family. I know that schedules are tight and friends have only a limited time to spend at a service, but let me explain why you should really try to arrive early.

Funerals, unlike weddings almost always have to start on time. Because people have a limited time to attend services, the funeral director wants to start the service on time out of respect for those who need to return to their jobs, or other responsibilities. In addition to the guests and funeral home staff, the cemetery and vault staff have schedules to meet and the ladies downstairs in the lunchroom are waiting to serve lunch and be on their way.

Most important of all, however, is the family. Here's what happens when everyone shows up right before the service and wants to see them. The family feels compelled to visit with everyone who has come to support them, but they also need to say their goodbyes before gathering with Pastor for a prayer and a moment to catch their breath before the service starts. The result, unfortunately is that the family either feels bad for not visiting with guests, or they miss their chance to properly say their goodbyes.

The time that a family spends saying goodbye and looking for the last time upon their loved one is difficult, emotional, draining, and very important. Receiving support from friends is very important too. Please come to early to funerals and visit and support the family, but if you have to arrive right before the service starts, don't put the family in a tough spot. Visit with them after the service.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Contact Me

My photo
Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization.


Blog Archive