The nuances of language can be tricky, especially when you’re trying to find the right words to convey your sympathy for someone’s loss. Fortunately, there are plenty of thoughtful, genuine ways to express your condolences without using religious language. Remember that your presence in the funeral home is more important than what you say.
Knowing What to Say
After a death, the bereaved family will hear plenty of people say, “You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.” This expression is used so often that many people say it without necessarily intending to pray for the deceased or the family. You can shorten it to, “Your family will be in my thoughts.” If you want to avoid using a well-worn phrase, speak something from the heart. If you’re close to the family, you could offer a hug and say something simple like, “I have no words. I’m so sorry.”
Attending a Religious Funeral Ceremony
Attending the funeral ceremony is a respectful and gracious gesture.Even if you’re uncomfortable in a house of worship, you can take a seat toward the back and sit quietly, without participating in prayers. If it’s a Catholic service, expect the congregation to stand, kneel, and sit back down again at frequent intervals. When it’s time for communion, simply remain in your seat.
Providing Ongoing Support
It’s common for the reality of the loss to set in long after the funeral. Be there for the bereaved family. Don’t push someone who is grieving to talk, but do let him/her know you’re there to listen or help. If your friend is a theist and wishes to talk about religious topics, listen attentively and offer a comforting touch. Your friend might ask something like, “I think I felt dad’s presence last night. Do you think I’m crazy?” While not getting into a theological discussion, you can still be reassuring by smiling and saying something like, “I don’t know what you felt but I do know your father loved you very much..”
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory provides thoughtfully designed funeral services in Lakewood, Washington for families from all walks of life. Our personalized memorials can reflect secular values. Reach us at (253) 584-0252 and let us know how our funeral planning professionals can help your family.
Psychologists recognize both simple and complicated grief. It’s normal for all bereaved individuals to experience very strong emotions that may sometimes conflict with each other. During the funeral planning process, they may feel numb. Later, anger, sadness, and depression may develop. Simple and complicated grief can both begin this way. However, while simple grief tends to diminish with time, complicated grief grows worse over months and years. Simple grief isn’t a mental health disorder, although grief counseling can help. In contrast, complicated grief is considered a mental health issue that can be debilitating.
The depressive symptoms that begin after the loss typically won’t improve without treatment in a person with complicated grief. Mourners can be intensely sad and bitter. They aren’t able to enjoy life. They might not participate in the activities they once loved, and they may not be capable of performing basic self-care tasks for themselves. If the bereaved individual worked, he or she will likely suffer a loss in productivity and performance, and job loss may result. It’s not unusual for the bereaved individual to feel as though life no longer has any meaning, and that there’s simply no point in doing anything. Suicide ideation is a possibility, and it requires emergency care at a hospital.
Obsessive thoughts about the deceased and the way life used to be can afflict the complicated mourner. He or she may be unable to relocate or discard any of their loved one’s belongings. The intense longing may lead the mourner to obsessively daydream about life before the loss.
Mental health can significantly affect physical health. Complicated grief goes hand-in-hand with chronic stress. Mourners may unintentionally gain or lose weight, lose muscle tone due to lack of exercise, and suffer from malnutrition. They might not sleep enough or sleep too much, and they are more susceptible to illnesses.
Grief support services are available in Lakewood, Washington, from Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory. Our online grief counseling is available 24/7, and we also invite bereaved families to attend our support groups. Call our funeral home at (253) 584-0252 to inquire about current group meetings.
Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory has been serving the families of Tacoma and the surrounding areas for over 100 years. We are proud of our rich heritage and reputation for integrity and compassion. Our caring team has dedicated their lives to helping families from a variety of faiths and cultural backgrounds and guiding them every step of the way. We understand that every situation is different, and we help each family create a funeral or memorial plan that reflects their unique needs.
Find out more about our history and our community engagement in this infographic. Please help us educate other families about the services we can provide to them by sharing this information.