The most important part of your visit to a funeral home during a visitation or the service itself is the brief conversation you have with the grieving family. Although you might also follow up with one or more family members in the days or weeks following the funeral, this face-to-face encounter is your main opportunity to express your sympathy and let the family members know that you're thinking of them at this challenging time. It can be easy for a case of the nerves to cause you to say something that doesn't have the impact you're hoping for. Many commonly used funeral sentiments are said with the best of intentions but can actually seem insensitive. Here are three such statements and why they're best to avoid saying.
"Things Will Get Easier."
Telling a grieving family that things will get easier in time seems like a nice-enough sentiment, but it's often something that isn't appreciated. In the days after a death, it's difficult for some people to think that they'll ever get over the loss – and you telling them that doing so will happen easily can seem insensitive. Additionally, the thought that things will get easier could imply that the person who has died will simply be forgotten about in time, which isn't a pleasant thought easier.
"You Need To Be Strong."
While it's true that people often need strength after a loved one's death, relaying this message can seem like an order. Additionally, many people know that despite their need for strength, they don't want to feel strong – they simply want to be able to mourn and be as vulnerable and emotional as they need. Telling someone that he or she needs to be strong can sound a little like you're saying that the person needs to get over the grief quickly, which isn't a sentiment that you want to share at this time.
"The Situation Could Be Worse."
In an attempt to make a family member feel better, you could relay the story of someone who went through a major loss in his or her life. Even if this anecdote is shared with the best of intentions, the person in grief doesn't want to think about someone else's misfortune, nor can he or she often imagine how anything could be worse than losing a loved one. Drawing comparisons can often lead to problems, so it's best to avoid this sort of story at the funeral home.