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Nothing can replace good common sense when it comes to decisions about handling matters during the events surrounding the passing of a loved one. We have composed this additional information to help you make decisions that may be necessary.
Oftentimes, a close friend or neighbor will assume a leading role in helping the family to keep the home in order while the family travels back and forth to services and makes sure that all arrangements are made properly. This person frequently will assure that the home is in the condition necessary for the family to properly host visitors that come by for condolence visits.
Speaking of the deceased is appropriate, particularly in discussing the person's life, family, and memories. In most circumstances, it is NOT appropriate to inquire as to the cause of death.
When you arrive at the viewing, you should approach the family first, introduce yourself if necessary, and express your sympathy. It is typically good courtesy to use a condolence visit, or the post-burial wake, to relate your memories of the deceased. This, however, is a matter of personal choice. There is certainly nothing that is absolutely taboo about telling stories or sharing memories at the visitation. At the viewing, show your respects by viewing the deceased if the body is present and the casket is open. Say a silent prayer for, kneeling if appropriate, or meditate. It is often appropriate for the family to escort you to the casket.
It is your personal choice as to the length of your visit at visitations, viewings, condolence visits, and the wake. There are no set rules. Once respects are paid to the deceased and the family, it is appropriate for you to visit with others in attendance. Be sure to sign the log usually present at the visitation.
While historically a matter of general principal, black dress is no longer absolutely required. Suits and dresses are appropriate, bearing in mind that a tendency toward the more conservative is for the best.
In most all cases, flowers are sent to our facility, and we urge you to refer to our preferred florists listed here on our website. If the family expresses wishes for flowers to be sent elsewhere, or if they request donations to be made to a specific cause in lieu of flowers, these wishes will typically be expressed in the obituary.
Whether requested or not, you are at liberty to make gifts and memorial donations in memory of the deceased. Uniontown Library, for example, will take donations and then purchase books of a subject matter of interest tot he deceased, and then place a sticker noting in whose memory the book was purchased and also make mention of the person who made the donation in the deceased name for this purpose. In most cases, the family is notified of the gifts by personal note from those that received the gift, if the donee is a charity or other organization. The donor typically provides the family's name to the charity. Even if you don't make a gift, a note or card to the deceased's family expressing your thoughts of the deceased is a welcome gesture, especially if you weren't able to attend the funeral.
The funeral provides an opportunity for the survivors to express their love and respect for the life of the loved one that has passed on. It is also an opportunity to face the reality of the crisis the death presents. Through the funeral, the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss.
Any person the family deems appropriate may be asked to serve as pallbearers. The funeral director will secure pallbearers if requested to do so by the family. This is another role of honor, and selecting pallbearers should be done with appropriate discretion.
When the deceased has been active in the community, the family may wish to honor additional individuals by asking them to serve as honorary pallbearers. This is an excellent way to honor additional members of a large family or other associates of the deceased. Honorary pallbearers do not actively carry the casket.
When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives might accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of worship. Standard traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession include displaying a flag we will provide, turning on your headlights, and following close behind the car in front of you in the procession, even through red lights and stop signs. In many cases, we are able to provide a police escort on the day of the funeral to lead the funeral procession and halt traffic when appropriate.
The time of death is a very confusing time for family members. No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family.
A memorial contribution, to a specific cause or charity, can be as appreciated as flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available, however the family may have expressed a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects. If recognized as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes. We are familiar with many, and can help with your options. In some cases we can even furnish donors with "In Memoriam" cards.
Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.
A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as "I'm sorry to learn of your personal loss" is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.
Speaking to a family member gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them know that you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don't hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased, and be sure to be a good listener. Sending a telegram expressing your sympathy is also appropriate.
Note of Gratitude
The family should acknowledge all kind acts from others during the days of services, including but not limited to the flowers, messages, food, personal services, thoughtful acts, cards, pallbearer services, etc. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgment card expressing appreciation. The note can be short. You may even wish to insert a public thank you in the newspaper.
At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. We will advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and provide you with additional information and literature as you wish.