What Not To Say
Don't ask the cause of death; if the family wants to discuss it, let them bring it up. Avoid giving unsolicited advice, or making comments that might unintentionally diminish the importance of the loss such as "I know how you feel, I've been through the same thing", or "At least they aren't suffering anymore." These will not provide comfort to the bereaved.
Greeting the Family
Approach the family and express your sympathy with a embrace or by offering your hands. Don't feel that you should avoid talking about the person who died …. in fact, talking can help the grieving process to begin.
Mobile Phone Use
Cell phones should be turned off or silenced completely during the service. Checking your phone is noticeable and is a distraction to those who are trying to pay their respects. If you must return a message or receive a call, exit the service quietly.
Use your judgment to determine whether your child is old enough to comprehend death and whether attending the funeral will be meaningful to them. It's important for children to be allowed to express their grief and share in this important ritual. If you bring young children, explain beforehand what they will see and experience, and make sure they know the importance of being on their best behaviour. If your child becomes cranky or noisy, remove them promptly to avoid disturbing others.
This can be a very draining time for a family. The gift of food is a kind gesture that the family will deeply appreciate and help alleviate the stress of funeral planning and mourning.
Remembering children in the family is a thoughtful gesture, as this is often a difficult time for them as well. A small gift like a stuffed animal or a book is best.
Time is precious. Helping with household tasks ease the family's burden. Caring for pets, driving children to school, running errands, or helping around the house are wonderful ways to help the family.