What to Do When You Can’t Attend a Funeral

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

sympathy flowersWhen someone dear to us passes away, there’s no doubt that we all want to be there for family and friends, to gather with people to share memories of the deceased and offer support in any way possible. Many people do this by attending the funeral or memorial service of the person who has passed away. However, this is not always possible. Sometimes life gets in the way. It can be anything from business travel to living in another state that prevents you from being able to make it to the memorial service and support the family the way you would like.

If you can’t make it to a funeral, there are several things you can do to express your sympathy and lend a supportive hand, even from miles away.

Mail a sympathy card. The most traditional way to express condolences to friends or family about the loss of a loved one is to send a sympathy card. These can be found in just about any card store and there is typically a wide variety to choose from. Offer your love and support from far away and express your sadness and regret at their loss.

Send sympathy food. One of the traditions surrounding death is typically bringing food to the family of the deceased. This is done so that they can focus on making arrangements for their loved one, rather than making meals for themselves and the visitors that come calling during the time of bereavement. A company called, Sympathy Food makes it easy for you to order food online and have it sent directly to the grieving family’s home.

Have flowers delivered. Another traditional sympathy gift is flowers. You can send these directly to the church holding the memorial service or the funeral home hosting the wake and they will be displayed during the services. Floral shops will be able to help you pick out the arrangement that will be just right for your dearly departed friend.

Make a donation to a charity. It is becoming more and more common for families of the deceased to request that people wishing to send gifts make a donation to a charity in their loved one’s name. The charity is typically something that the deceased was passionate about during their life and the family would like to honor that even after his or her death.

Hire some help. Before, during and after the funeral, the family of the deceased can find it overwhelming to deal with the mundane tasks of life, such as doing the dishes or cleaning up the house. To show support for your friends, give the gift of additional help. Hire a maid service to come and help clean up the home for a day. Have a handyman come out and check to see if any repairs are needed and pick up the tab for the family. This is a great way to support the family, even from thousands of miles away.


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