Attending a funeral or memorial service is a good way to pay your respects and express sympathy to the close family members of the deceased. Unfortunately, it can be hard to figure out what to say. There are also some things you should avoid saying, as they can come off as hurtful and disrespectful. Here are some things to be careful not to say when attending a funeral service.
Asking What They Got in the Will
This is tacky and disrespectful, to say the least. You should never approach someone and ask what they got from their loved one who has died, especially not during the funeral or memorial service. This is a very personal situation and there is no right time to ask it. There may be some slight exceptions, such as if it is your best friend and you always share everything, but try to wait for them to bring it up to you. At least wait until the funeral services are over before broaching the topic.
Complaining About Their Bad Qualities
Another rude thing to do during a funeral service is to shine light on a person's flaws or bad qualities. Regardless of the life they led, a funeral is about remembering the happy moments. Their loved ones want to remember the good qualities and why they loved this person so much. Nobody wants to hear about why you didn't like them or have you tell stories that would be disappointing for others to hear.
Being Overly Empathetic
If you have never been in this person's shoes, don't try to show empathy and act that you know what they are feeling. While it seems like something nice to say, it isn't helpful during a funeral. It is okay to express sympathy and tell them how sorry you are for your loss, but saying "I know how you feel" is only appropriate if you really do. If they lost a parent, child, or sibling and you never have, don't try to connect with them over this.
Explaining How They Are no Longer a Burden
If the person who is deceased needed a lot of assistance during their final years, do not bring this up as a good thing. Their family likely did not feel that they were a burden and don't want others to reassure them it is all okay because now they don't have to worry about them. Since you might not even know the exact situation, this isn't a safe thing to say during a funeral.
Reiterating How Devastated They Must Be
While this is another comment that doesn't seem harmful, it can be. Even if you know your friend is grieving terribly for her husband, you don't need to explain how hard it must be for her. This is only reminding her of how difficult of a situation losing her husband is, she doesn't want you to rub it in.
Knowing what is expected of you at a funeral can help you avoid uncomfortable situations. You can contact a funeral home, such as Conboy-Westchester Funeral Home Inc, to research standard funeral expectations.