Dear Dr. Romance:
What suggestions can you offer for guests at funerals in regards to comforting families in mourning? Thanks!
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Your presence at the memorial or funeral, honoring their loved one who passed, is the most comfort, so go if you can.
When you are greeting the family at the funeral, simply say "I'm so sorry for your loss" and then mention (very briefly) something positive you know about the person who passed (if you do) "Your mother was always very kind to me" Don't go on and on, they have a lot of people to talk to on that day.
It is more memorable write your remembrances of the deceased person in a sympathy note and send it. You can add a casserole or flowers if you wish.
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Families who are grieving have the hardest time in the months following the funeral -- so that's the time to offer kindness, support and encouragement. If you're close to someone in the family, invite them out to do simple things or over for a meal.
Read "Surviving Loss and Thriving Again" at for more details and specific understanding of how grieving works.
It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction can help you handle your grief and learn how to better support your friends.