Attending a funeral is never easy, regardless of your relationship with the deceased. If this is your first time attending such events, it is only natural to feel some anxiety, nervousness and sadness. To help you get through the event and feel more at ease, read on below.
1. Practise your role
If you are involved in certain aspects during the funeral, such as giving a eulogy, it would be best to practise your part a couple of times before the ceremony. Apart from fulfilling your part, practising also allows you to prepare for the wave of emotions that may wash over you once your turn comes up to say your piece.
2. Get ready to greet others
Whether it’s a small or large funeral service, you should expect to meet many closed family members and friends who are in attendance to pay their respects. While the atmosphere may be solemn and sombre, some still engage in brief greetings and small talks. And if you’re directly related to the deceased, most attendees may want to express their condolences to you personally.
It may vary for different individuals; some may find it tough to engage in polite conversations with the rest, while others go out of their way to check in and share comforting words to those in mourning. You can prep yourself beforehand, but it is still best to do what is comfortable for you when you are surrounded by people.
3. Dressing for the occasion
Whether the service you will be attending is a Christian or Buddhist funeral, ensure that your outfit is appropriate according to the deceased’s religious beliefs. Pay attention to the choice of colours, as they embody different meanings in cultural norms and traditions. For instance, bright colours like red and yellow are deemed as inappropriate.
In general, black garments are generally accepted as the colours of mourning, or any clothing in dark shades or muted colours. Be sure to also dress neatly and conservatively – sloppy dressing can be seen as a sign of disrespect.
4. Maintain mindful awareness
People have the tendency to detach from their physical, social and emotional selves when something bad happens, especially death. Instead of trying to get numb and separate yourself from reality, it is in your best interest to keep your awareness of the present moment.
Acknowledge and accept your feelings, thoughts and bodily reactions to your loss. Certainly, you cannot change the fact that the deceased has passed, but you have the ability to change the way you react to the loss. If it helps, engage in prayer or meditation to tap into your spiritual side. This can hopefully pave the way to acceptance and begin your healing – as you bid your final farewell to the deceased during the service.
Attending a funeral service can undoubtedly exert a lot of emotional stress. Hopefully, these tips can help you prepare yourself well ahead of time on what you can do and what to expect of the service.