For us, death etiquette is all about the thoughtful things that you can say and do when people have lost a loved one. These steps and ideas will give you some ways to help people that are grieving and show them that you love and care about them.
Losing a loved one is a difficult thing. It is not only difficult to watch someone you care about grieving, but it is also difficult to know what to say or do that will make a positive impression on them.
The ironic thing is that we shy away from them because we do not know how to help them. We either think that someone else will do it for us, or we avoid it because it can be a little uncomfortable. Regardless of how you want to look at it, these are just myths regarding death etiquette.
You can make a meaningful impact on someone during this time of loss. The fundamental principle of helping someone during a time of loss is that they do not care about what you gave them; they only care that you cared.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. I lost my father almost eight years ago. I know that there were people that were kind enough to bring us meals, send flowers, and some cards and such. I could not tell you what those people brought after these years, but I can tell you who brought them. I can tell you who came to the viewing and the funeral. Those are the things that mean the most to me.
So, gifts and cards can be great things to help people during a time of death. However, the most valuable gift that you can give is the gift of yourself. Your time is one of the most valuable assets you have and that is what people need. They need to know you care.
With that in mind, how can you show that you care for them? Sure, the natural answer to show proper death etiquette would be to send flowers, or give them a card. But let's consider an alternate way of showing compassion for people.
What can you do to help them that will alleviate the burden from them? Can you cook them a meal for their family so that they do not have to? I know we sure appreciated that for the people that served my family that way. It makes their life just a little bit easier and more manageable. Can you make a donation to a charity in the name of the family or the person that passed away? Those feel good thoughts touch people and impress them in the right way.
If you prefer to give a gift, what can you do to make it heartfelt? Those are the presents that mean the most. Based on the hobbies or interests of the person, you could give them a gift that would remind them of their loved one. The fact that you thought enough to think of how to touch them will make a lasting impact.
At the end of the day, that is what manners and etiquette is all about - making a positive impact on someone else. When you come across someone that has suffered the loss of a loved one, proper death etiquette is something that will long be remembered.
When you give time, heartfelt gifts, and show your compassion for them, you will have made the impact that you wanted to make. I feel so much fulfillment in life when I have made a difference for someone else. Death can be an opportunity to do the same thing.