How to Pay Your Respects—Eulogies, Condolence Visits, Sympathy Cards, Floral Tributes


Death is a certainty, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. If you don’t know what to do when a loved one dies, you aren’t alone. The best thing to do when a person you love is grieving is to simply show your support. You don’t need to make a long speech. Something simple, “I am sorry for your loss,” or “I’m thinking of and praying for you,” are appreciated.

Pay Your Respects

Even if you plan to attend a funeral, you should send a sympathy card or note to the family. Use postal mail, not email or social media. You want to write out a short note to the family, maybe tell them how much the person meant to you and make sure to include your condolences.

Condolence Visits and Funeral Etiquette

If you attend a visitation or the funeral at the funeral home, you should be respectful of the atmosphere. You don’t need to wear all black, but you should also avoid casual dress or vivid colors. The family may be secluded prior to the funeral, so don’t plan on talking to them. There may be a receiving line. Keep your remarks brief and empathetic.

Should You Send Flowers?

Flowers or plants are the traditional remembrance of the deceased, but many people prefer that the money would go to a memorial or donation in memory of the deceased. Check with the funeral home or look for an obituary to give you some direction. You can always donate to a charity you think the deceased would appreciate.

Asked to Give a Eulogy?

If the family asks you to speak at the funeral, don’t feel overwhelmed. Focus on the deceased. Write down the comments you want to make. Practice so that you know how long you are going to speak. You don’t want to get up and ramble for 20 minutes. Try to find a theme that connects your memories and stories. Speak slowly and clearly. Share your love for the deceased at the funeral. A eulogy isn’t about great public speaking; it’s about sincere words spoken from the heart.

There are many ways to demonstrate empathy. React from your heart with respect for the family and you’ll be doing the right thing. Those who have lost a loved one, don’t need your pity, they just need you to be there for them.

Direct Cremation serves Montreal and all of Québec. Contact us to find out more about funeral planning, pre-planning and a range of other services.

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