It can generally go without saying that funerals are a difficult experience for everyone involved. Of course, the family of the deceased is going to be having some of the worst grief. Friends might not know what to do or say to comfort the grieving family members.
Maybe, if you are in the family, you cannot think straight about what you should say when it is your turn to talk. After all, the worst thing you could possibly do is say something that only makes the mourning process harder for the family.
Figuring out what do you say at a funeral is not an easy task. In fact, it can take a lot of time for some people to come up with anything to say. There are plenty of situations where you might not have anything to say, simply because you are at a loss for words. With all of that being said, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to look up some of the best things to say at a funeral.
Knowing What to Say
What you say will depend on a number of factors, such as who the funeral is for, who you are talking to, and the situation where you are talking. You should also gauge the emotional state of the person you are talking to so that you can say something meaningful.
The following is a list of what you can say to different attendees at the funeral if you find yourself wondering what do you say at a funeral. Remember, sometimes being honest and saying that you are at a loss for words is something that you can do as well, as it shows just how grief-stricken you are.
Sometimes, less can be more. A sympathetic look, a hug to a family member, and similar actions can go a long way in showing just how much you care and want to comfort the grieving family. As long as the other person is okay with it, you can also use touch to convey your sadness.
You can put your hand on their shoulder, squeeze their hands, or give them a massive hug, while just saying that you are sorry for their loss. To some people, this can speak volumes.
An ultimate rule that you will need to consider is that you shouldn’t always go by the “act toward others as you would want them to act toward you” rule, as everyone processes grief and loss differently and at their own pace.
Some people appreciate hearing stories of their loved ones, while other people just can’t bear to hear it, knowing that the deceased will never come back. Always, always make sure to watch the body language of the people you are talking to.
If they do not appreciate what you are saying, consider stopping, apologizing, and saying something similar to “I am sorry for your loss.”
Talking to the Family
Being a part of the deceased’s family can be the hardest part of a funeral. Generally, you will want to express your love for the deceased, and for the family of the deceased as well. For instance, you could talk about how much you loved the deceased, some positive qualities about him or her, and making sure that the family knows that they are loved during these tough times.
You can consider talking about how much of a difference the deceased family member made in your life. These stories can be very helpful to hear for the family, as it shows just how much of an impact the deceased had on other people’s lives.
You can often begin your story with a statement similar to “I will miss him/her/name very much” and begin to tell about what that person did for you.
Another option that you can consider, only if you are at a complete loss for words, is bringing a picture of the deceased with you, and talking to the family about the story behind a photo.
If you really want to be kind, you can bring a copy of the photo with you and offer it to the grieving family. This can have the same effect as simply telling a story, but it also offers a piece of the deceased’s impact on the family in the form of that photo.
Things to Say as a Friend
If you were a good friend of the deceased, but not actually a member of the deceased’s family, you are going to want to handle things a little bit differently. When you are thinking about what to say at a funeral, you are going to want to focus on the positive aspects of the deceased. Of course, sharing a photo of the deceased and telling the story behind it is also applicable in this situation.
While you will need to be wary of doing this, you could talk about how the deceased was like a brother or a sister to you. Before you do this, think about how the actual siblings of the deceased would feel upon hearing that.
Otherwise, it can show just how close you and the deceased were, and you can share mourning with the family during this time if they are open to it.
Focus on the deceased
Depending heavily on your relationship with the deceased’s family, you can consider bringing a small amount of humor into the situation. Bringing up an inside joke, or an amusing memory can help the family smile a little bit during one of the hardest times of their lives.
Keep in mind that not every family will appreciate this method, and you should give it some heavy thought before you say this.
You can also consider focusing on other aspects of the deceased’s life. You can think about their personality, their impact on the world and even just some traits they had that were stunning to you. You could talk about how much of a kind and caring person the deceased was.
If the deceased had a favorite hobby or activity, you could consider talking about how much he or she enjoyed it, or how good he or she was at their hobby.
Similarly, you could consider talking about ways that the deceased helped you in your life. If the deceased was someone who helped you through a rough patch of your own, you could talk about how the deceased was always there for you.
This can also help to show the impact that the deceased had on your life, and presumably other people’s lives. Plus, people enjoy hearing about ways their family members impacted other people’s lives.
You should also make sure that you are showing empathy, especially if it was a dear friend who passed away. When you are talking to a friend or the family of the deceased, you can say something along the lines of “When you are hurting, I am hurting,” to show that you truly care about not only the deceased but everyone around the deceased.
When you are not a part of the family, it might be a wise choice to offer your support, but also offer some space as well so the deceased’s family can grieve on their own. You can do this by saying that you are there for them, or that you are only a phone call away if they need you.
This shows that you care, and want to support the family, but that you also want to respect their space and the fact that they are going through a rough time.
For some people, thinking about what do you say at a funeral is easier when you are thinking about what you shouldn’t say. There are a few key things to remember to ensure that you are not ruining the funeral for anyone else.
A funeral is a time of grieving for the family, having everyone else offer their support, no matter how much pain you might be in. For example, you should never say that you know how someone feels. It can come across as being dismissive, even if you didn’t mean it that way.
Everyone processes grief differently, and this can make them react in different ways than they normally would. Always be mindful of body language and apologize if it appears that you have upset someone.
If you do not like the family of the deceased, to put it simply, that is unfortunate. The family of the deceased is going to need all of the support that they can get during this time. Chances are that the family will still be in shock from the death of their loved one.
Any awkwardness on your part will often be dismissed or not even noticed, so you don’t need to worry about that. Even a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” is something that you need to say to the family.
Let the feelings out
Also, remember that crying is a natural and healthy outlet. Even if people try to hide the fact that they are crying, or want to cry, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the deceased. This applies to people who successfully hide their tears as well.
You should never, ever assume that someone who isn’t crying at a funeral is someone who doesn’t care, as they might be feeling just as distraught as everyone else at the funeral.
In the end, remember that you should not be expecting considerable amounts of comfort at the funeral. In a sense, funerals are a time of giving comfort to the family and friends, not necessarily receiving it.
No matter how upset you are by the death of someone close to you, you should always put your focus on giving comfort to the family of the deceased. In many ways, this is one of the best things that you can do, both for yourself, and for the family at the funeral.