Celebrating a Life: Blog

    6 Compassionate Conversation Topics for a Funeral or Wake

    Posted by Cathy Nichols March 30, 2017

    Funeral_Wake_Conversations.pngIf you or someone you know recently experienced the loss of a loved one, it may be difficult to find the right words to say. 

    Those who are grieving find comfort in knowing friends and family care. It’s important to take the time to offer words of sympathy.

    As you prepare for a funeral or wake, consider these six topics to ease into conversation.

    1. “I am so sorry for your loss.”

    If at a loss for words, this phrase is short and simple. It may feel cliché, but it’s a great way to communicate your sympathy and let your friend or family member know you are thinking of them during a difficult time. 

    2. “My thoughts are with you and your family.”

    Loss and grief affect a great number of people, and everyone grieves differently. Its important to remind those bereaving you care about them during this difficult time in his or her life. Knowing they’re not alone eases the grieving process.

    3. “I am always just a phone call away.” 

    Sometimes, after the funeral or wake a person realizes how lonely and painful their loss is. A small gesture—like a phone call—can express your empathy. 

    4. “I feel so lucky to have known him / her.”

    Sharing memories and stories is a great way to keep the conversation positive.

    Funerals can be extremely emotional. However, it’s important for grievers to celebrate the life lost. If a fond memory comes to mind, share it with others. As more stories are shared, the aura of the room will change.

    5. “I am here to help. Is there anything I can do?”

    Having to complete every day tasks—such as preparing a meal—while grieving can be exhausting and emotionally draining. Sometimes small gestures can speak more than words. Offer to make a meal, get groceries, pick up dry cleaning, or do yard work. It can save them time and energy. Folks are more likely to take you up on something specific, as it sounds more sincere. Plus, it’s a great way for you to check in on them and see how they’re doing. 

    6. “I am here to listen.”

    Often, just being present at a funeral helps grievers mourn. Let others speak first and listen to what they’re saying. Just being present is a sign of caring and comfort. Reach out and hold their hand, or give them a hug. From there, conversation will ensue.

    We want to say the right thing to those who are grieving, but it isn’t always the easiest to find them in the moment. Keep these conversation topics in mind the next time you attend a funeral or wake to honor the deceased and their loved ones. 

    In addition to the conversation topics listed above, we also offer all grieving families access to our resource library, which features a variety of guides, brochures, and videos on all aspects of loss. Or, we invite you to contact Busch at any time for questions on cremation, burial, preplanning or grief support.

    Contact Busch

    Image credit: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

    Topics: Grief Support


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