How to Be a Good Friend

At Black & Clark Funeral Home, we know funerals can be emotional and knowing what to do can sometimes be confusing. You may not know what to expect from the situation or how you may react to the service.

That’s why we have compiled this helpful information on funeral etiquette. While every funeral or memorial service is unique, and families may have specific requests, it may be helpful to keep these tips in mind.

What to expect:

A funeral or memorial service often includes a spiritual component – words of inspiration or prayer led by a minister, priest, pastor or other representative. Often, the service includes anecdotes or stories about the loved one and/or music specifically chosen for the occasion. Sometimes, a friend or family member will speak.

Some services will include a viewing of the deceased within an open casket. Other times the casket may be closed or absent. Some services are very formal and follow an established structure, others are less formal, but no less solemn.

How to prepare:

As an attendee, your most important role is to show your care and concern for those who are grieving the loss of their loved one. Sharing your condolences, being respectful and courteous, and offering your assistance are always appropriate. It can be difficult to know what to say, but being present, sharing a kind word such as “I am very sorry for your loss,” or offering a hug can go a long way towards comforting those in need of support. If you knew the person well, a simple memory or anecdote may be a welcome way to acknowledge the loss.

You should sign the guest book if there is one and offer a gift such as a donation to a charity specified by the family, flowers, or a meal or other service to the family. Introduce yourself to those family members you do not know.

During the service, it is important to be on time so you do not unintentionally disrupt the service. In general, family and close friends sit nearest to the front. If the service is religious in nature and you are unfamiliar with the customs of that religion, simply show your respect by following the cues of others around you.

It is best to silence cell phones during a service. If you have small children who become disruptive during the service, you may want to step out briefly to attend to your child.

If you have specific questions about a scheduled service or other etiquette needs, we are always happy to advise you.