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Etiquette Tips

Funeral Etiquette

We've put together a short guide to help you pay your respects with courtesy.

What to Wear

What to Wear

Try to find out the dress code before you attend, so that you can be sure you’ll dress appropriately. If you aren't sure, simply try to dress in a conservative way that shows respect for the family and other mourners. For men, a suit and a conservative tie is usually a safe bet. Women should generally wear a conservative dress, skirt, or pants with a tasteful blouse.

Religious & Ethnic Customs

Religious & Ethnic Customs

Traditions and customs differ among various communities, ethnic groups, and religions, and it's often helpful to ask beforehand about any special considerations. We can answer many of your questions and can point you toward resources that offer more information.

What to Say

What to Say

Express your sympathy in your own words, however it feels right to you. Kind words about the loved one who has passed are always appropriate, and a simple “I'm sorry for your loss” or “My thoughts and prayers are with you” can be meaningful and comforting for the bereaved.

Paying Respect

Paying Respect

At a service with an open casket, it's customary to show your respect by viewing the deceased and, if you wish, spending a few moments in silent prayer. The family may escort you to the casket, or you might approach on your own. Viewing the deceased is not mandatory, however, and you should do what is comfortable to you.

Signing the Register

Signing the Register

Be sure to add yourself to the register book, using your full name so that the family can identify you in the future. It's also helpful to add information about how you knew the deceased — through work, social clubs, school, etc.

Flowers & Gifts

Flowers & Gifts

Sending flowers, making a donation, or giving a memorial gift are all meaningful gestures to let the bereaved know that they are in your thoughts.

Turn Off Your phone

Turn Off Your Phone

If you choose to bring your phone into the funeral home, take a moment to make sure you've turned it off, or, at the very least, on silent or vibrate.

Cemetery Etiquette

When visiting a cemetery, these tips will help you enjoy a peaceful experience.

Follow the Rules

Follow the Rules

Most cemeteries have a sign posted near the entrance listing rules specific to the property. Follow the rules and observe any floral regulations they might have set. Make sure to follow and obey the cemetery hours.

Respect the Grave

Respect the Grave

Don't touch any monuments or headstones; this is not only disrespectful, but may cause damage to the memorials — especially older ones. Never remove anything from a gravestone, such as flowers, coins, or tributes that have been left by a family.

Be Respectful of Services & Other Mourners

Be Respectful of Services & Other Mourners

If a funeral is occurring, take care not to get in the way of processions. Respect their privacy and give them their space.

Speak Softly & Politely

Speak Softly & Politely

Be respectful to other mourners. Remember to keep your voice down when having conversations. Make sure your phone is muted or turned off.

Look After Your Children

Look After Your Children

If you bring children, make sure to keep a close eye on them and keep them from running, yelling, and playing or climbing on graves and monuments.

Don't Leave Trash Behind

Don't Leave Trash Behind

Use designated receptacles if they are provided, otherwise hang onto your trash and take it with you when you leave.

*For further questions, please contact a member of our staff.

 


 

Sympathy Through Gestures

Many people choose to celebrate a loved one’s life through kind gestures. Flowers and plants are a common expression of sympathy and caring. Consider sending a symbolic plant or one that will last year-round indoors that will serve as a welcome tribute to the person who has passed away. Personalized or hand-written condolence cards with the plant or flowers can symbolize your affection for the person who has passed away and their family. Other gestures may include a donation to a charity. Donating to charity in honor of a friend or family member who has passed away can bring a sense of peace and purpose to their loved ones. Acknowledging what was important to them still matters and continues to be important to those who knew and loved them.

As you watch those you love grieve, and as you yourself mourn a loss, you may feel helpless and unable to take away the pain or bring comfort. This feeling often compels people to express sympathy by doing something practical to help, and chances are, these acts of condolences will be welcomed.

 

Sympathy Through Action:

  • Offer to do yard work, such as lawn mowing or snow removal.
  • Buy groceries. Check the refrigerator or pantry, and then buy a few staples, especially if they have company from out of town.
  • Assist with daily tasks (i.e., laundry, wash dishes, vacuum).
  • Offer transportation or hospitality if they have out of town guests for the services.
  • Sit with them and assist them in reconciling bills, utilities, financial papers, etc. This is especially true if the person that has passed away was not part of the same household and there is no one remaining in the household to manage those tasks.
  • Provide meals.
  • Take them to run errands, especially if they are elderly or uncomfortable driving.
  • Get them outside. Getting fresh air, exercising and stepping away from the busyness is important and may be cathartic.


It’s tough to know what to say or what to do, but no matter how you express your sympathy, be sincere, listen and stay in contact. Be a caring presence in their life to offer encouragement and a shoulder to cry on, and let them know they are not alone.

Malesich and Shirey Funeral Home & Crematory
Phone: (720) 242-6784
5400 Ward Road, Building V Suite 200, Arvada, CO 80002


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