Behavior Rules

What we should do and what we should avoid

A relative, friend, or acquaintance passed away. Maybe you read it in the newspaper, heard it from others or received a letter. And now?
Take your time, organize your thoughts and feelings and let your sadness manifest. Do not suppress what you feel.

In any case, you should respond to the bad news and express your grief. The loss of a loved one is a severe blow to relatives, and as difficult as it may be for some of you, it is considered a relief for mourners, loved ones, and friends to share their pain and feelings. It is unthinkable not to respond to the news of death, but even if it does not contradict your conscience, your absence would not help the mourners and would give the impression of a lack of sensitivity on your part.

What are the rules of conduct that we must follow during the funeral ceremony? What to do and what to avoid?
We will try to share our more than 50 years of experience with you and answer questions you may be asking yourself.

How do I adequately express my condolences?

There is no general answer.

If you were a close friend or relative of the deceased, it would be a good idea to visit the deceased’s family and relatives in person and offer your help.

If you were a colleague and did not know the family, you may be limited to being present at the funeral.

Your reaction is directly related to your personality and depends mainly on your relationship with the deceased and his family.

The death of an acquaintance or loved one is an extreme situation in which unusual questions arise within you. To some extent, you are forced to communicate with people who are experiencing the pain of losing a loved one in a different way than you are used to in everyday contact.

How do I greet someone who has just lost a loved one?

How do I better express my sorrow and feelings concerning this loss?

How should I behave? Am I allowed to speak loudly, am I allowed to laugh?

There are no binding answers to these questions, but there are some rules that could help::

Avoid formal phrases. Do not burden the family with empty words, such as “everything will be fine again.” If you can not think of something appropriate for the occasion, then you’d better be silent. A glance, a handshake, or a hug often says a lot more than words.
If you write a letter of condolence, use plain white paper and a plain envelope. Write the letter by hand.
Write the letter of condolence immediately after being informed of the death.
Do not use pre-printed cards or condolence letters. Express how you feel about the death of the person in your own words.
Consider the fragile psychological state of the family, their feelings, and the particular situation they are experiencing before you say anything. Think about what and how you want to say something and decide what is best at that specific moment.
Do not try to relativize the event but help the family by offering your consolation.
Do not refer to private and personal events that are not related to the deceased.
Express your condolences, preferably individually, especially when it comes to close relatives or acquaintances.

Funeral Ceremony / Burial

If you can attend the funeral, do so. It is considered the best way to express your condolence, respect for the deceased, and compassion for the bereaved.
Plan your time so that you arrive 10 to 15 minutes earlier. You should not be late.
Turn off your mobile phone in time, ideally do not take it with you at all or leave it in the car.
During the funeral service, the funeral procession, and the burial itself, do not talk to the other guests of the funeral. There is enough time for discussions at the end of the ceremony,
Choose dark clothing, ideally a dark suit with a white shirt and black tie. Hats are taboo for men. Women can wear discreet hats. Children don’t need to dress in black, but neutral colors are preferable.
Be aware that burial is the last shared moment of the survivors with the deceased. Their grief and pain in this short period are particularly intense, and they are emotionally charged. Therefore, you should refrain from expressing condolences, words of consolation, and hugs.
For a possible lunch or coffee after the funeral, there will be an explicit separate invitation. This means that if you are not given this invitation, you should not attend. Such a meeting takes place to facilitate the transition from mourning to normalcy, from death to life. You will have the opportunity to share your good memories about the dead with other guests and cry and laugh together.

Funeral attire: Mourning is no longer just in black.

Black is the most classic and probably even the most common color that one chooses to wear at a funeral. According to professional ethics and practices for mourning, black conforms to the “rules of good behavior” and shows respect for the deceased and the mourning relatives But more important than the color are the wishes of the dead and the choice of his clothing.

Color is not necessarily the most crucial element according to which one should choose the appropriate attire for a funeral ceremony. More importantly, one cannot see this sad event as a place of self-promotion. Strange as it may sound, for some attendees, their vanity is more important than the mourners’ grief, and their need for self-promotion is stronger than their need or desire to be present to pay their respects to the deceased and express their condolences and compassion to family members.

Women should, therefore, avoid wearing deep necklines and short skirts or dresses. Moreover, clothes with shiny ornaments, rhinestones or sequins, and decorative pins on men’s clothes are not suitable in these cases.
Men should prefer to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts that day, even if it is hot.

Both men and women who are likely to wear a hat or a cap should remove them during the funeral. This etiquette rule applies to all those attending a funeral with no exception.

When you have to attend a funeral, choose your jewelry with care and caution.

Wishes of the deceased and family members

Even more important than your wishes regarding clothing and flowers’ choice are the deceased’s wishes, which may have been expressed while he or she was alive. If this has not been done, you can often find some clue about the choice of color and attire in the funeral invitation. Thus, sometimes at the funeral invitation, there is a request for all the guests to attend the ceremony in white or in their everyday attire. If there is a wish, those present at the funeral should respect and comply with it.

Uniform as a mourning garment

Suppose the deceased worked during his / her lifetime as a firefighter or police officer in the army, airforce, or navy. Sometimes the ceremony is performed in this uniform as a mourning garment. Also, in cases where the deceased was a member of an association, it is not uncommon for members of the association to appear at the funeral in the club’s uniform. Of course, in such a case, and if the deceased or a close family member does not explicitly want it, clothing choice should be discussed with the closest relatives.

Μourning garments for children too?

Babies and young children are not expected to appear in black or other dark colors. However, neutral colors are always more appropriate than colorful designs and T-shirts with cartoon characters.

If the children are not very young and are attending a funeral for the first time, they should be informed about what will happen at the ceremony and be guided on the proper behavior appropriate to the occasion. Every child is different, and no child knows how to deal emotionally with such an unprecedented situation.

Laughter comforts

Under no circumstances should you feel uncomfortable as a parent if your baby is crying or your children are in a good mood. Right after the burial and during the usual meeting that follows for coffee and sweets, the atmosphere becomes better when children’s laughter resounds. Especially for the elderly mourners, the sound of a child’s laughter is not inappropriate. On the contrary, it is a welcome reason to laugh, embrace the younger generation, and feel a little joy again. After all, who can not smile at the sight of a child laughing?

Children always intervene as guardian angels in case of need. Through their liveliness, purity, and innocence, they give a breath of optimism, reminding everyone that although the pain at the time of farewell seems unbearable, life goes on and will always be
reflected in a child’s smile.

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