Strategies To Help You Provide Comfort At A Funeral

Whenever you attend a funeral service, there's a high probability that you'll encounter someone -- either a member of the bereaved family or another person attending to show his or her sympathy -- who needs to be consoled. While there's no rule that suggests that doing so is your job, it's always kind to lend a shoulder and help comfort the person. Comforting someone at a funeral isn't about hushing him or her during an emotional outbreak. Instead, it's about showing your support in a variety of helpful ways, including these methods.

Use Your Words To Show Your Understanding

The right words when you're trying to provide comfort for someone in grief can often help the situation. You already know the reason for the person's grief, so saying something such as, "This must be a really challenging time for you" shows the person that you understand him or her. However, don't try to put yourself in the other person's shoes and suggest that you know exactly how he or she feels -- simply acknowledging the person's emotions is better.

Use Physical Touch

Some degree of physical touch can be comforting for many people -- although some people feel that their physical boundaries are being challenged by such acts. When someone needs consoling, offer something gentle, such as a reassuring squeeze on the shoulder. Don't move in right away for a bear hug. Depending on how the person reacts to your initial touch, you'll know whether you've done enough or if a hug would be helpful.

Suggest Getting Some Fresh Air

Taking some breaths of fresh air can help people feel calmer. If you encounter someone who is struggling emotionally and the timing is appropriate, gently ask if the person might wish to step outside for some fresh air. For example, say, "It's stuffy in here. Want to grab a few breaths outside with me?"

Ask If There Are Ways You Can Help

With some people, it's hard to know exactly how to provide comfort -- so the best strategy is to simply ask. Something gentle such as, "What can I do to help you?" shows that you have a desire to be of assistance and that you want to respect the person's grieving process. The person might have a simple solution, such as just standing with him or her, or might provide you with a task, such as grabbing a glass of water.

Keep these thoughts and tips in mind the next time you attend a funeral service, and for more information or general tips, contact a local funeral home in your area, such as Taylor Funeral Home.