things to do, and not do, at a viewing.


When you are going to a viewing of a friend or family member who’s recently passed over, there are a few things you should, and should not do.

1) Don’t say merely “he/she’s in a better place”. Instead say either “they are in heaven” or “they aren’t in pain” (assuming they died of a painful issue.) if you aren’t a believer or you don’t know where the decedent has gone on to, just say “they will be missed.”

2) Do say I’m sorry your lost your dad/mom/sister/cousin/etc, NOT just “I’m sorry for your loss”. And follow it up with “I remember when they did/said….(something funny, sweet,brave,etc)” Try to relate to the bereaved.

3) Don’t hold ON TO the bereaved, They are wobbly enough as it is. If they look wobbly then YOU sit down and ask them to join you.

4) Don’t be a “close talker” (it’s a Seinfeld thing). Keep your head at least two heads away from the one you’re talking to.

5) Do take time to walk around and see the flowers sent. Make a point later on,  to let the senders know you saw the flowers they sent and how lovely they were.

I’m sure I will come up with things to not do at a funeral and maybe I’ll post those tomorrow. It’s going to be a long weekend as we go here and yon. I appreciate your continued prayers.

Special Thanks to Kathleen for coming and sitting with me. Thanks to Geri for driving all the way from N.C. to be my “plus 1” AND for bringing me cake with an extra tub of Geri made icing just for me. Thanks to Jeff for coming along so Geri wouldn’t get lost. Thanks to Lee for coming from Kentucky and Mike for coming from Annapolis and for Daryl for coming from Colorado. I really REALLY hope we end up with a HUGE crowd tomorrow, mom picked catering for 300 people. So if you’re reading this and you weren’t sure, by all means, come on!


3 responses »

  1. Good comments, agree with all (having just recently gone through my husband’s funeral). I’d a add these two to your list:
    — If it’s a well attended funeral/memorial, keep in mind that the family can’t spend more than a minute or two with you. Pay your respects and then mingle.
    — Don’t ask questions about the exact cause of death and all the details. Regardless of whether the death was after a long illness, a short illness or an accident, the family is still reeling and it’s painful to keep saying the same things. More to the point, it’s just not your business.

  2. Hi Paige – I’ve only just had the time to check out your blog now and I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I feel a bit awful that I hadn’t known what was going on and was asking you all that stuff about my stupid book! I have been looking through your recent posts and they are all so beautifully written. As someone who really struggles to express their emotions in public and who is VERY awkward when dealing with bereavement, I really found your posts very inspiring. And this one is very helpful on a practical level! 🙂 These “tips” will really help me since I never seem to know how to act at funerals and things – because I seem to struggle with expressions of grief anyway. I lost my father about 3yrs ago and I wish I was as good as you in expressing all the things I feel about him.

    Oh – and I must say that your photos are GORGEOUS!!! I haven’t had time to look through them all – just saw the butterfly ones – but WOW! As someone who splashed out on a NOT-cheap camera last year, you’ve got me really envious that you can take such amazing shots with your “cheap” one – I think that says more about your abilities as a photographer than anything else!

    Anyway, I just wanted to say hello and offer my condolences. And thank you so much also for all your help with my book! 🙂

    • Thanks Hsin-Yi. I found your survey and first chapter a welcome distraction from the sadness surrounding me at that moment. Please don’t feel guilty or upset with yourself and don’t call your book silly.
      Writing out what’s going on with me, emotionally, has been very freeing. I actually have a LOT more to say, as I’m sure all bloggers do, but I feel some of it just isn’t appropriate and could hurt feelings of some folks around me, so those things I just journal privately in an old fashioned book.
      Anyway, all that to say thanks for stopping by and I so appreciate your blog and you as a person and of course, sweet Honey.

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