When you visit a funeral home, you're getting an opportunity to support the grieving family through your words and actions. These actions can include simply behaving in a reserved and empathetic manner. Part of behaving properly is knowing how to follow a number of etiquette rules that other attendees might not be privy to. Inadvertently breaking one of these rules can draw attention toward you and possibly distract others from the somber nature of the moment. Here are three rules and how to handle them.
Stay The Right Amount Of Time
While the length of time you should remain at the funeral home for the funeral itself depends entirely on the length of the service and the nature of the reception, keep in mind that there's an appropriate visit length when you attend a visitation. In generally, it's ideal to keep your visit to about 15 minutes long. It's important to know and respect this guideline; if your stay is too short, the family might view it as insensitive. However, if you've decided to stay for an extended period of time to show your solidarity, the family members might find your presence to be a distraction because they could feel they need to talk to you repeatedly. Fifteen minutes is a general guideline but you should feel free to adjust this duration if the family wishes you to stay longer.
Use The Guest Book In The Right Way
If there's a book for guests to sign, it's important that you approach this important task in the right manner. Many funeral attendees make the mistake of writing long messages of sympathy in this book; while this idea is well intentioned, it's the improper venue. The guest book is used as a tool for the family to track who has visited the funeral home. By having this list, the family can then send notes of thanks, if desired. You should limit your entry in the book to your name and address and, if the family doesn't know you, the nature of how you knew the person who has passed away.
Stay Out Of The Front Rows
If you were close to the person who has passed away, it's reasonable to expect that you might wish to have a good view of the service. You shouldn't, however, find a seat in one of the front rows. These rows are generally reserved for immediate and even extended family. They're often marked with a sign, but the lack of a sign doesn't mean that you should sit in this area. Find a funeral home attendant and ask for clarification about where you can sit.
For more tips on funeral and visitation etiquette, contact a company like Beeman-Patchak Funeral Home.