What Should I Send? And Other Funeral Etiquette Tips
When someone dies, it is often difficult to know how to show your support to the loved one’s family. Of course, you know they are probably feeling sad, shocked, overwhelmed, angry – or any combination of these emotions. What might help you when you are feeling that way may not be the same for them. But the worst thing to do is nothing. It’s important to show you are thinking of them.
At Downing & Lahey Mortuaries and Crematory, families often ask us what is appropriate to send to a grieving family after a loss. While every family is different, we can recommend several different expressions of sympathy to our East and West Wichita neighbors:
Contributions to charity: Sometimes, the family of the deceased will request donations to an organization that was close to their loved one’s heart – whether because they helped others with similar medical or social conditions, or it was a cause they deeply cared about. The family will normally include this information in their loved one’s online obituary. If we are serving the family, you can contact us to inquire about the family’s wishes for donations and to get information about where to send contributions. It is appropriate to follow this request. However, it is acceptable if you still want to send flowers in addition to making a donation.
Photographs or mementos: Sometimes the best way to support the family is to let them know how much their loved one meant to you. Families often appreciate hearing stories or anecdotes about their loved one they may not have heard before. Sharing photographs, stories, or meaningful items at the memorial service or visitation is a lovely way to empathize with the family, while at the same time celebrating the life of the person who died.
Flowers or plants: Floral arrangements are a traditional and well-known way to honor someone who has died, and to share your condolences with the family. At Downing & Lahey, we can assist you in choosing the right arrangement. You can have arrangements sent directly to us at the funeral home. We receive all deliveries and ensure they are placed for the family during the visitation or memorial service. A living plant or flowers can be a wonderful way to let the family know they are an ongoing part of your thoughts.
Meal delivery services or food gift cards: As you can imagine, the days leading up to and immediately after a funeral are filled with difficult decisions, emotional moments, and sleepless nights. Take one daily task off your friend or family member’s plate by covering a meal for them through a meal delivery service or a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Or, you could do it like they did in days gone by and drop off a casserole for them to put in their freezer.
Cards or letters: The Downing & Lahey team often hears that some of the most special gifts families receive are cards or letters from others who cared about their loved one. You could also leave a message of support on the obituary on our website. Even if writing is not your strength, simply sharing a memory about that person can provide comfort to the family by showing the impact their loved one had on your life and others. Letting the family know how important their loved one was to you is a very special way to show your sympathy.
No matter what you choose to send, we can advise you on what might be appropriate. Please contact one of our expert staff members for assistance.