Do not feel alone if you find yourself wondering how or what you can do to help the immediate family in their time of need. Funeral directors across the country field calls daily from people wondering that exact thing. While there are many options, most of the time we tell those calling the same thing: give the family some of your time. If at all possible, visit the funeral home or other place where the memorial service is being held. It means a lot to the surviving family to look around a visitation room and see faces not easily recognized. Many bereaved often tell how good it made them feel to realize the deceased was also well-liked by friends and coworkers. However, families understand that is not always possible. If there is any way you can, call the family or send them a note to let them know you are thinking of them. Here are a few other suggestions:
- Your time. Preferably in person, but a phone call means a lot as well. Take time to listen should a member of the family want to talk.
- Some people bring a small dish of food to the place of gathering.
- Many people send flowers or gifts to a friend or relative in care of the funeral home.
- Pray for the family. If you have a special time or place you like to talk to God, take a moment to ask Him to comfort those left behind. Better yet, say a special prayer just for them.
- Often the deceased will have a favorite charity or event that you can make a donation to in their honor. This may be a church, cancer research organization, hospital or nursing home, etc. Many families will request these "in lieu of" and the funeral home will often print these wishes in the obituary.