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Can anyone go to the funeral or Life Celebration?

Unless it is published as a private service anyone can go. A private funeral service can be held at the family’s request and in such cases they will invite those they wish to attend.

How should I dress?

Like going to any event, what you wear should be appropriate for the circumstances and venue. Wearing black is not required and colorful clothing is now appropriate for relatives and friends. Most people choose formal clothes like a suit, and men normally wear a tie but may not be in the case of a Life celebration.

Can children go to a funeral?

You can take older children if they want to go. It’s a good idea to prepare them beforehand so they know what to expect. But remember, toddlers and babies can be disruptive, so plans should be made to remove them from the ceremony should they become too loud.

Who travels with the funeral procession?

Unless otherwise specified, such as a private burial, all who attend the funeral are welcome to join the procession. Please be aware that all traffic laws must be obeyed at all times!

How can I help?

Being available and making sure the person you know in the family is aware of your availability is very important. Your friendship and a listening ear is often appreciated as well as anything you can do to help with routine activities is appreciated. Although some people seek privacy, many just feel alone after a loss and welcome the company of a good listener.

What should I say?

Your presence may be as important as what you say as many who are in grief are not processing as they usually do. A simple condolence such as ‘My condolences, she will be missed’ or something similar is often appreciated. And depending on the circumstances, it is nice to share positive memories or stories about the deceased. This is not the time to inquire about the cause of the loss or bring up uncomfortable or unpleasant subjects.

Do I send flowers or gifts?

You can send flowers to the funeral home prior to the funeral, or to the family residence at any time. Florists know what is appropriate to send in the funeral context. Financial gifts in memory of the deceased are often made, particularly when the family has requested such gifts in lieu of flowers. The family is notified of the gifts by personal note from the charity or other organization. Even if you don’t make a gift, a note or card to the deceased’s family expressing your thoughts of the deceased is a welcome gesture, especially if you weren’t able to attend the funeral.

How can I help those who hurt so much?

One of the best ways you can help your friend is to allow them to feel what they want to feel. They may feel anger, guilt or fear. Let them talk these feelings through with you — don’t try to stop them because you think they should feel differently.

How often should I stay in touch?

Remember that grief doesn't go away in a few short weeks. Everyone grieves differently and for different periods of time. Even after a year some of us are still adjusting to changes in our lives. Perhaps you should mark your calendar to call your friend in a month, six months and a year after their loss just to ask how they are doing. Most will appreciate that you were one of the few to pick up the phone and say, "I was thinking of you today."