There are many things to be aware of when attending funerals at funeral homes to show the proper honor and respect to not only the person who has died but also their grieving family.
If there’s a visitation before the funeral, do not arrive at the funeral home before the time when the visitation is supposed to begin. The family will usually arrive early so that they can have some time alone with their loved one and collect themselves emotionally before the visitation begins. This is very important for the family and should not be interrupted by other mourners who arrive before the visitation officially begins.
Be sure to sign the guest book (someone from the funeral home will direct you to both guest book). Include your first and last name, and the names of your family members who are attending with you. The guest book is given to the family after the funeral so they can know who attended (they are mentally and emotionally in a fog, so they will not remember everyone who came). You want to make sure they know you and your family were there to support them.
Visitations include a receiving line that goes up to the front of the funeral parlor where the grieving family greets mourners. While in the line, don’t chat or laugh loudly. It is okay to speak quietly to people you may know, but remember that this is a solemn occasion, so keep your talking low and short. When you get up to the family members, be sure to say something to each one, but keep your condolences brief, so you don’t cut their time short with other mourners.
Once you have gone through the receiving line you may take your seat for the funeral. The front few rows are reserved for immediate family and pallbearers. If possible, do not sit in an aisle seat, as it makes it easier for others arriving later to take a seat without interruption. Please sit quietly or chat softly until the funeral or memorial service begins.
Do not talk during the funeral service. If you have very small children, find a babysitter and leave them at home, so that you’re not having to entertain them, calm them down, or get up and go out with them for diaper changes or feedings during the funeral service.
Depending on the type of funeral you’re attending, there may be religious rites that are performed during the funeral. As a general rule, if people stand up, you should stand up. When people are seated, you should sit. Some religious rites, however, are only for members of a particular faith – such as communion during a Catholic funeral mass – so you should just sit quietly and not participate.
When the funeral is over, the funeral director will make announcements about graveside services and then will dismiss the service. There may be funeral home staff that indicates when each row should get up and leave, but if not, then rows generally empty from back to front.
If you need more information about funeral etiquette at funeral homes, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Hopler & Eschbach Funeral Home can assist you. You can stop by our funeral home at 483 Chenango St., Binghamton, NY 13901, or you can contact us today at (607) 722-4023.