Thankfully, time spent at a funeral or in a cemetery is not a regular part of life. These spaces help us to honor those we love most, and should be treated with respect and dignity. Below you will find some helpful etiquette tips to help you navigate these environments.
Acting with Grace at a Cemetery
When you’re visiting a cemetery, take care to:
- Act with respect.
- Ensure that your music and engine noise levels are low, as to not disturb others.
- Teach your children that a cemetery is a place that needs to be treated with respect, taking the time to ensure that they’re not playing, running, or yelling.
- Do your best to walk around the graves, not on them.
- Respect the posted rules that the cemetery has, stating their hours, decorating rules, etc.
- Visit the cemetery between dawn and dusk, as these are the usual open hours.
- Don’t litter or leave a mess.
- If you bring pets, make sure that they are on a leash and that they’re cleaned up after
- Drive slow, follow the traffic signs, and don’t drive on the grass.
- Often visitors would like to be alone to connect with a lost loved one, so don’t be overly friendly.
- Funerals are private, so respect others present, and don’t interrupt other funeral processions.
How to Pay Your Respects Mindfully at a Funeral
Funerals and their proceedings vary from person to person, with different ethnic, religious, and personal considerations that should be considered thoroughly.
During any funeral service, take the time to make sure you:
- Offer your sympathies to those closest to the deceased, ensuring that you listen to their words and are respectful of their mannerisms.
- Dress appropriately. If the deceased wishes to have people leave the black at home, take the time to respect this wish and dress appropriately.
- Provide a gift such as a donation to charity, flowers, or a service to the family later on. A card should be given with each gift, stating who you are, and how you knew the deceased.
- Keep in touch with those whom you had a mutual connection to the deceased, as grief doesn’t end after the funeral service.
What You Don’t Need to Do at a Funeral Service
- You do not need to stay long if you’re visiting during calling hours.
- Don’t hold back your laughter at the appropriate moments, such as sharing a funny memory of the individual who has passed on.
- Viewing is completely optional, so only proceed if you’re comfortable.
- You don’t need to avoid the receiving line if you don’t know the individuals in it. Offer your condolences, and express your connection.
Take the time you need to grieve, reflect, and celebrate their life, and take pride in the fact that you were one of the lucky ones that they cherished. We’re always available to answer any questions you may have.