Dealing with the death of a loved one, no matter how close you might have been when they passed, is never easy.
If it was sudden, the shock can be overwhelming, and even if it wasn’t, you might still be left reeling with emotions you can’t quite process.
This is exactly why attending a funeral can be so rife with awkward and possibly painful interactions with the bereaved family, who are attempting to cope with their loss. The smallest of errors can accidentally be made without realizing the actual impact.
Personally, I know that all the days surrounding the death of my father were a blur.
However, I can distinctly remember the pastor, who was good friends with my dad, getting the color of his eyes wrong in an otherwise heartfelt eulogy. This left me feeling heartbroken all over again.
Take a look below to see more of the most common mistakes that folks have made at funerals and let us know if we’ve missed anything you’ve seen happen too often while families are in mourning.
And don’t forget to SHARE with your loved ones.
Thumbnail sources: Marathon Pundit, Flickr
1. Get Facts Wrong In The Eulogy
Religious leaders frequently give speeches for the deceased without really having known them that well (or at all). This can lead to them mentioning details that are just completely wrong. It’s a common mistake when friends and family are distracted by their grief, but it’s something that can make them feel even worse.
Designate someone to really sit down and talk with whoever will be eulogizing. Have them go over their words before the ceremony begins to avoid awkward and potentially painful gaffes.
2. Embellish Your Relationship With The Deceased
It isn’t a competition to see who will most miss the person who passed — everyone is there for the same unfortunate reason, and they’re all probably well aware of how close you were to the deceased.
3. Attempt To Mend Family Feuds
You might feel inspired to not waste more time on a silly fight or tension, but with emotions already running all over the place, there’s no telling how the other side will react.
It could also make them feel like you’re using the loss as a way to guilt them into seeing things your way.
4. Sing Or Play Music Unprompted
This sounds a little odd and obvious, but there are folks who think it’s perfectly fine to start an impromptu concert in honor of the deceased when they stumble upon a piano or guitar.
Unless you were asked by one of the deceased’s surviving family members, never assume an instrument or microphone is an invitation for a performance.
5. Lie To Young Children
Discussing death with a young kid can be a difficult conversation and one that they might not be ready for depending on their age, but telling them something like “grandma is sleeping” doesn’t help them understand things any better.
In fact, you could find yourself trying to muffle their attempts to wake her back up. In some cases, it may just be best to leave them at home.
6. Post Photos Online
Taking photos at a funeral should probably be avoided as a general rule, but it isn’t necessarily awful. You could be seeing friends and family members for the first time in years and want to capture that, but you really shouldn’t share it on your social media profiles for those still in mourning to see.
You don’t want to come off as tacky or insensitive. Instead, just put the photo in a frame and enjoy it offline.
7. Wear Heels
This is not due to any style choice or appropriateness. If you’re planning to go to the burial site, you’ll find yourself having a tough time getting around on the grass with your feet planting hard into the ground.
8. Discuss Money
Asking about the cost of the funeral or what was left for the bereaved in the deceased’s will is just rude. Honestly, this is no one’s business but those handling said financials.
On the other hand, it would be in equally poor taste to complain about how much you had to spend on the service. If you need help covering the cost, talk privately with those close to you about options rather than making everyone uncomfortable.
9. Compare Your Grief To That Of The Bereaved
Whether you believe you were just as close to the deceased or even if you have experienced a similar loss at some point in your life, you still have no way of knowing what those who were closest to them are feeling. Remember, the day is not about you.
10. Bring Unsolicited Food
This goes for both bringing a snack with you and trying to supply the surviving family members with what is likely their umpteenth casserole.
It’s nice of you to be concerned about their appetite, but they will let you know if they’re really in need of sustenance.
11. Tell The Bereaved To "Be Strong"
Trust me, those left behind are already being as strong as they possibly can. Remember, they’re now surrounded by so many people and may feel they’re being looked at with sadness, pity, and of course, kindness.
They likely just need time. Just let them know that you are there for them if they want to reach out.
Did we miss any commonly overlooked mistakes people make at funerals? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!