At and after funerals at funeral homes in Cleveland, OH, you may want to express condolences or do something to show your sympathy for the bereaved family. But you might be afraid that you’ll say or do the wrong thing and it will make things worse rather than better.
There are a few guidelines that can help make offering condolences easier and that will provide comfort and support for a grieving family. Not saying or doing anything, however, can make the family believe that you don’t care about them or that you’re indifferent to their loss.
The first guideline is to simply express that you’re sorry for the family’s loss. Letting someone who has lost someone they love that you share their sorrow forms a connection that is both comforting and supportive.
Another guideline is to let the grieving family members talk about their loved one. It can be instinctive when you hear about something that sparks your own memories to engage in an interactive conversation in which each party shares their experiences.
However, in the case of offering condolences, it’s not appropriate to share your own memories and experiences of losing someone you loved. This moment is about the grieving family and what they are feeling and going through. It is not a time to rehash your own losses and how they made you feel.
Not falling back on familiar clichés or platitudes is another guideline you should be aware of when you are offering condolences to a bereaved family. Saying things like, “They’re in a better place,” “It’s all for the best,” “At least they’re not suffering anymore,” or “Jesus needed another angel,” are not helpful when people are grieving because they are missing someone they loved.
In fact, clichés and platitudes often have the opposite effect of being encouraging. They can often come across as being dismissive or even callous about the death of a loved one. And they can create breaches, even in the closest friends, as the bereaved family replays the comments over and over in their minds.
Don’t make generic offers of help as a way to express your condolences to a family that is grieving after they have lost someone they loved. “Let me know if you need anything” is a comment we almost automatically say when we’re in a situation where we know that there are current needs or there will be future needs.
While we may sincerely mean that when we say it, we are often surprised days, weeks, and months later when we find out there were needs and the bereaved family never asked for our help or took us up on our offer. The reason is that most people, even those in the midst of deep sadness and sorrow, don’t always know if offers of help are sincere and they often don’t feel comfortable asking for help if they need it.
Instead of saying, do. You can do things like organize a meal train for the grieving family and set up a delivery system that ensures they have meals to eat for a couple of weeks after the death of a loved one, offering to pick up groceries when you’re shopping for your own groceries, or taking care of yard work that needs to be done.
If you’d like to learn more about offering condolences at funeral homes in Cleveland, OH, our compassionate and experienced team at E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home is here to help. You can visit us at our funeral home at 2165 E 89th St., Cleveland, OH 44106, or you can call us today at (216) 791-0770.