We’ve talked to people in Springfield, Branson, and Bolivar who have a story like this one:
“My elderly neighbor died last week, and I read in her online obituary that there’s a visitation, funeral, and reception this weekend. I cared about my neighbor and wanted to pay my respects, but I had never met her family and had no idea what to say to them. I don’t want it to be awkward. Maybe it’s better that I just stay home.”
Our advice would be, when possible, to go to their funeral and show support.
Psychologists and grief counselors agree that a ceremony can be a healing experience, helping survivors overcome their grief. A funeral gives loved ones a sense of closure and finality and an opportunity to support one another through sharing stories and memories. There is no substitute for seeing friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers gathered together – in person or online if a service is live-streamed.
When attending a visitation, here are examples of what you can say to the family:
“My condolences. Your mom was a wonderful woman. You loved them well. I’m thinking of your family during this difficult time.”
It’s also an appropriate time to share a story you have about their loved one. Some of the most powerful moments we’ve witnessed at a visitation or reception are when someone tells a story the close family had forgotten about or never heard. During a time of grief, a special moment like this can be tremendously healing.
Instead, consider wording your words in this manner:
“I wish I had the right words, but know I’m here to listen. I’m here for you. I know how special they were. We will never forget him/her.”
If you or a loved one needs help with grief or are unsure how best to help a grieving loved one, please reach out to us. We can connect you with aftercare resources or direct you to our online interactive grief support. It’s common for people to be caught off guard by the complexity of their grief, and we want our friends and neighbors to know we’re here for them during all of the ups and downs in life.