Our digital world filled with 24/7 sharing and constant communication has undoubtedly impacted funeral etiquette. So it can tricky to know what’s appropriate, how to respond on social media and even what to share.
Here are some simple tips for expressing condolences – appropriately – in our modern society.
1. Put the phone away during the service.
If you’re at a funeral or memorial service, your best bet is to turn your phone completely off so you aren’t tempted to check a text message or Twitter alert. This also goes for selfies. Taking a selfie at a funeral is in bad taste and may viewed as insensitive.
2. Take advantage of digital memorials.
Families and friends today are scattered about the globe, so using a site like Tributes.com or Legacy.com allows you to set up a digital memorial with photos and stories about your loved one. (Some features are paid options only.) Friends and family can post comments and share their own photos and memories.
3. Don’t skip “old-fashioned” condolences.
Comments on social media posts are definitely appropriate, but don’t forget about the more personal expressions.
It’s never wrong to send flowers to the service – especially if you’re unable to attend in person. And it’s always appropriate to send a card. You don’t necessarily have to write a lengthy message, but simply express that you’re thinking of the person during his or her time of grief. Lastly, if it’s someone you’re especially close to, pick up the phone. Even if you end up leaving a brief voicemail, the person will know you reached out.
4. Use technology to mobilize friends.
In a time of loss, people often want to help but aren’t sure exactly what to do. One custom that has stood the test of time is to provide meals for the family. Everyone can help and it gives the family one less thing to think about as they plan the funeral and grieve their loved one. Sites like MealTrain.com , TakeThemAMeal.com or SignUpGenius.com make it easy for a group of friends to organize a meal calendar, even noting whether family members have allergies or food preferences.
5. Consider a livestream or video for family and friends living far away.
If you have a smartphone, you have a video camera, so it’s possible to record portions of or the entire funeral or memorial service. This is something immediate family may do if several close family members are unable to attend.
As an attendee, do not record the service and certainly don’t share a video on social media – unless you have permission from the immediate family.
If you pause to wonder if an action is inappropriate, there’s a good chance it isn’t. Always be respectful of the family and others attending the funeral – that type of behavior is timeless.
Stuhr Funeral Home, a trusted name in funeral service for more than 150 years, understands that times of grieving are difficult, no matter what era we’re living in. Together, they’re dedicated to providing the best and most professional care for their clients during their time of grieving and healing.
For more information, visit JHenryStuhr.com or call (843) 723-2524.