I became very agitated as I stood in line at a funeral home visitation. I could not believe it! The person at the front of the line occupied the bereaved woman’s attention for 30 minutes—or maybe it was only 5 minutes, but it seemed like 30!
The man must have told her all his life’s stories while the rest of us in line waited and fumed!
So my advice on funeral line etiquette is two-fold:
First: If there is a long line of people waiting to also express their sympathy, and it is your turn to speak to the grieving person, BE BRIEF!
Second: Save your stories for a later date. Everybody comes around the first day or two. But what about a month later? Or five months later? Then the grieving person may be very lonely, and would greatly value company and conversations.
This advice was affirmed recently by an older woman whose husband of 65 years had died. Someone asked her, “What can I say in a funeral line?” The woman said, “Don’t say anything; just give the person a hug. Later visit the person and share stories and listen.”
So please remember that funeral home etiquette says, “Be Brief” (If there isn’t a long line of people waiting, then spend as much time as you wish with the grieving person.)
For more advice on this topic visit our post on What to say in a funeral line?