There are often many people at a funeral who desperately want to tangibly help and support the bereaved family but they are not sure what they can do. Especially long lost friends, distant family, old work colleagues etc.
At the time of the funeral, the bereaved family are
- usually well supported by their closest friends and family,
- focused on getting through the day so when asked they have no idea how the community can support them past the next few days,
- in a state of shock or exhaustion,
- putting on a brave face,
- unsure of what grief lies ahead and how it will impact them.
So the guests
- sign a condolences book,
- bring flowers, or
- make donations to charities in memory of the deceased.
But they want to do more.
As a celebrant I sometimes suggest to bereaved families that we add in a few words to the ceremony addressing all the guests or that they include a few words on the printed order of service where we:
Acknowledge that the family will need help and support in the coming weeks and months. We list a few ideas and suggestions on how guests can help.
- An online meal roster
- That the family would appreciate it if the community make contact with specific suggestions of how they can assist with helping with the garden, the housework, childminding.
- That the family would benefit from help in the months and not just weeks ahead.
- Links to online articles about grief and supporting the bereaved.
- Nominating and providing details of someone as a contact and co-ordination point for support of the family.
Addressing the question of “How can I help?” and “Let me know if there is anything I can do” at the funeral or memorial service can provide
clarity and comfort
to the family of the bereaved
and the whole community who love them and are mourning the passing of the recently departed.