How You Can Help a Grieving Person Prepare for a Funeral or Memorial Service

Getting emotionally and physically prepared for a funeral or memorial service is often an overlooked part of the planning process, but it's a part that can be very important and many grieving people need help with.

Emotional preparations

If there will be many guests attending the service, the person may feel overwhelmed. Talk to the person about how he or she is feeling. (Often, being a good listener is a huge gift.)

Hosting a funeral is not a common experience, and many people don't know what to expect. Talk to the person about the events that he or she will be hosting or attending, who he or she can expect to see at the events, and what his or her role will be. In a disorienting time, preparing expectations can help a grieving person feel more oriented.

For a list of issues that the bereaved might have to deal with at the funeral, see our article How to Prepare Yourself for a Funeral.

Logistical preparations

If the person will be welcoming guests to the funeral or the family home, you might offer to help him or her prepare something to say. This may be a brief speech, or simply a line that the person can offer to those who express their condolences.

If the person will be delivering a eulogy at the service, you might offer to help the bereaved write, edit, or practice delivering the speech.

If the person would like to deliver a reading at the service but doesn’t know what to read, you might help him or her find an appropriate poem or prayer. 

Physical preparations

If the bereaved doesn’t have appropriate clothes to wear to the service, you might offer to go shopping with the bereaved, or to purchase a dress, suit, tie, or shoes for the bereaved to wear. You might offer to iron the bereaved’s clothes or take them to a dry cleaner, if needed.

If there's time, you might offer to make and accompany the bereaved to a haircut, hair styling, or manicure appointment, or you might offer to style the bereaved’s hair or nails yourself.

For tips on how to help a grieving person during a funeral, see our article How You Can Help During a Funeral or Memorial Service.

For tips on how to help a grieving person after the funeral, see our article How to Show Your Support Beyond the Funeral or Memorial Service.

Comments