There is no special handbook that tells you how to act, what to feel, or what to say when someone dies. Both ends of it can be awkward, whether you are on the close family end of it or the friend end of it. I am terrible at death and funerals. I know I am. I'm not good at showing emotion in front of people. I hate to cry, especially when people are around. I crack jokes to keep it together. I don't know what to say. However, I have learned some things you should NOT say or do. None of this is intended to hurt feelings.
- Do not post anything about an accident or death on any social media before the family. Let them share when they are ready.
- When you go to the visitation or funeral, don't ask what happened to the person. Chances are, that question has been asked by many others that night. Instead, share a beautiful story or memory or just offer condolences.
- Don't get upset if the family didn't call you. Think about everything they have done. They may be in shock from the death, trying to get funeral plans together, figuring out arrangements for their kids, trying to find paperwork, making plans for out of town guests, etc. the list goes on and on. The mind is tired. Sometimes they just can't think of everyone to call.
- Don't be pushy with your ideas. Let the close family make decisions and just support them.
- Don't ask about the stuff left behind. Is having a piece of furniture or anything else worth hurting feelings? NO! Materialistic things aren't that important.
- Remember everyone handles grief differently. Don't judge. Some want people around. Others don't. Some want to talk. Others stay quiet. Just try to understand.
All of these things I have experienced or learned from others. Just be loving, compassionate, and offer support. It means a lot.