“I’m not really here to keep you from freaking out. I’m here to be with you while you freak out, or grieve or laugh or suffer or sing, it is a ministry of presence. It is showing up with a loving heart.” – Kate Braestrup

Attending a funeral

Attending a Funeral: 5 Answers to Your Top Questions (2019 Edition)

If this is your first time attending a funeral or memorial service, you may have a long list of unknowns as you consider what it will be like. We reviewed some of the most commonly asked questions from people who are attending a funeral, and here’s what we found:

  1. I’ve been invited to a service, should I go?
  2. What should I wear to a funeral?
  3. What do I write in a sympathy card?
  4. What do I write in a funeral guest book?
  5. What do I say to someone who lost a loved one?

Here are the answers you’re looking for, so you can feel more comfortable and confident as you plan to attend the services and show your support.

Laying flowers at the grave site

1. I’ve Been Invited to a Service, Should I Go?

Attending a funeral can be important and meaningful for both the family grieving the loss of their loved one, as well as for surrounding friends and family members who gather in support. Here are some of the ways the services can be supportive, healing and helpful:

  • An opportunity to offer your support and provide comfort to your loved ones who are grieving.
  • A space to honor and celebrate the life of the deceased.
  • A safe place to pause, reflect and grieve the loss as you begin on the path to healing.

Suggested Read: Why We Should Attend The Services

what to wear to a funeral

2. What Should I Wear to a Funeral?

When considering what to wear to a funeral it is important to abide by the wishes of the family.

Traditional Services and Formal Attire

If you are attending a funeral service that is not personalized or the event is being held at a more formal location such as a church, you should dress for a traditional service in formal attire. A dark suit, slacks, skirt, or dress is appropriate. For footwear, choose a flat shoe or a lower heel. It is often recommended to wear darker colors, and while muted color tones are generally acceptable, and it is best to avoid bright colors or distracting prints.

Personalized Service Attire

Some families may choose to celebrate their loved one through a personalized service. The service usually serves as a reflection of the deceased and may be themed around a passion or interest, favorite color, sports team, or an achievement. For these types of events, the family may request that you dress in accordance with the theme of the service. If the family is using Everdays, be sure to check the Family Messages and Events sections to look for any notes or details indicating a themed service. Visit Everdays on our website or on our Everdays app available on both iOS and Android.

Suggested Read: What To Wear To A Funeral: Expert Tips for Men and Women (2019 Edition)

what do i write in a sympathy card

3. What Do I Write in a Sympathy Card?

A sympathy card provides the space to recognize the loss, honor and remember the deceased individual, and acknowledge your friend or family member’s grief. Besides bringing comfort, a simple note is a personal way that you can show loved ones your support at a time that matters most.

Examples to Begin a Condolence Message:

  • Our deepest sympathies for your loss. We’re here whenever you need anything.
  • We are saddened to hear about your loss. Remembering all the fun memories and wonderful times we spent together as friends fills me with joy.
  • Wishing you courage, strength, and love to help you through this loss. Grandma Susan will stay ageless in the memories of those who loved her.
  • We’re deeply sorry for your loss.
  • Please accept my deepest condolences. I am thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.
  • You are in our prayers.
  • I’m thinking of you and Grandma Susan and keeping you both in my heart.
  • We’re sending you love and comfort during this difficult time.
  • May God comfort you and your family.
  • I am very sorry for your loss.

Suggestions for Ending Your Message:

  • You are in my thoughts
  • With warm thoughts and care
  • My sincere condolences
  • With blessings and prayers

Suggested Read: Funeral Card Messages: What Do You Write In a Sympathy Card?

what do i write in a funeral guest book

4. What Do I Write in a Funeral Guest Book?

The key purpose for the guest book is to notify the family of who has visited and create a record for them.

  • Share your family name and contact details.
  • Guest books are typically shared with everyone who attends the event, so do not write anything on the funeral guest book that can’t be shared publicly.

Suggested Read: Tips On What to Write In A Funeral Guest Book

what do i say to support someone grieving

5. What Do I Say to Someone Who Lost a Loved One?

When someone you know has experienced the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. Each person’s experience with loss is deeply personal, and while you can’t take away another’s pain or discomfort, there are lots of ways you can show your support. The caring presence and kindness of family and friends can be a great comfort to the grieving family during this difficult time.

The most important thing is to be genuine, sensitive and sincere. Be aware that everyone’s journey through grief is unique, and avoid sentiments that it was “for the best” or that “everything happens for a reason”. Consider sharing a favorite memory of the deceased, admirable qualities, or ways in which he or she has impacted your life.

Examples of What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Loved One:

  • I’ll miss ___________ warm smile and kind nature. Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers.
  • My heart breaks for you. Please know I am here for you when you need me.
  • I will always remember ___________, and his/her love for family and friends.

Suggested Read: What To Say To Someone Who Lost A Loved One

What Else You Want To Know About Funerals?

Leave a comment on our blog and we will answer your questions in our next installment.

Additional Resources:

Looking for other ways to comfort loved ones who are experiencing? Read more thoughtful suggestions about ways you can support them.

Everdays connects you with the people that matter most during life’s important moments. To learn more, visit our website or download our app, available on both iOS and Android.