A Guide to Thoughtful Behavior

The Formal Visitation
A formal visitation provides a time and place for friends to offer their expressions of sorrow and sympathy. This practice is most common among the Protestant and Catholic faiths. The obituary notice should tell you the visitation hours and when the family will be present, or you may call the funeral home for this information.

Meet the Family
Upon arrival, go to the family and express your sympathy with an embrace or by offering your hands. Don't feel as though you must avoid talking about the person who has died. Talking can help the grieving process begin. Offer a simple statement of condolence, such as "I'm so sorry. My sympathy to you and your family," or "your grandmother was a fine person. She will be missed by many."

If you were an acquaintance of the deceased but not well known to the family, immediately introduce yourself. You may say something like, "Hello, we have never met, but George and I worked together several years ago. My name is Mary Smith."

Do not feel uncomfortable if you or the bereaved becomes emotional or begin to cry. Allowing the bereaved to grieve is a natural healing process. However, if you find yourself becoming extremely upset, it would be kinder to excuse yourself so as no to increase the strain on the family.

Pay your respects to the person who has died
Viewing the deceased is not mandatory. However, if offered by the family, it is customary to show your respects by viewing the deceased and if you desire, spending a few moments in silent prayer. The family may wish to escort you to the casket, or you may proceed on your own.

Signing the Register
Always enter your name in the register book, using your full name so family can better identify you. If you were a business associate of the deceased, it is appropriate to note your company affiliation if the family may not otherwise know.

After you have spoken to the family, it is perfectly appropriate to engage in quite conversation with friend you may meet at the visitation. Your simple presence will mean a lot to the family. You do not need to stay for the entire visitation, but try not to leave during prayer, if th
ey are being offered.



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