Etiquette Tips for Non-Family Members at the Visitation
Visitations give family members and friends a chance to support each other and spend time together before a funeral service . Unlike wakes and viewings, which are typically held in funeral homes, visitations are usually held in the home of a family member or close friend of the deceased. These occasions can leave many non-family members wondering about the proper etiquette of attending a visitation. Here is what you need to know.
Understand the Parameters
Depending on the customs of the family, visitations may take place over several days in the run-up to the funeral, or there may be a single visitation with a set schedule on one day. In some cases, this information may be included in an obituary, or the family may spread the word about the visitation to specific people. If you are in doubt, contact the funeral home, who can often answer questions about the arrangements, so you can know when and where to go.
Take Cues from the Family
Visitations can vary widely depending on the preferences of the family as well as their cultural customs. Take your behavioral cues from the atmosphere of the event. If the visitation is upbeat with people sharing stories about the deceased, then feel free to join in. If the mood is somber, follow suit. You may wish to pay your respects and offer your condolences before leaving. How long you stay may depend on your closeness to the deceased and his or her family.
It is common for a person who had a relationship with someone who has passed away to have not met his or her family. When you attend a visitation for someone whose family you have not met, introduce yourself and describe your relationship with their loved one. Some people in the family may want to talk to you more about your relationship and get to know you, while others may prefer a briefer meeting. Simply follow the lead of family and remember that your gesture of support is always welcome and appreciated.
When you lose a loved one, Chapel of the Chimes Oakland is here to assist with funeral services, grief support, and much more. Contact our funeral home in Oakland when you need our help at (510) 654-0123.