Funeral Etiquette

Pink and white flowers on a casket. Funeral Etiquette

When attending a funeral, being aware of proper funeral etiquette will help you to navigate the event in a way that conveys respect and care. Following these etiquette guidelines will also help you feel the most comfortable and allow you to offer the most support to those grieving at the funeral you are attending.


Attire Etiquette

While black is traditionally the most common color to wear to funerals, there are other options for traditional funerals. Neutral colors are also acceptable, such as gray, dark blue, or brown. Children generally do not wear black, but can wear one of these neutral, or muted colors.


You will also want to take the family’s religious and cultural customs into consideration. In certain cultures, bright colors are both acceptable and common. The family may actually request that people wear certain colors, such as the favorite color of the deceased.


In most cases, it is not appropriate to wear a hat, or athletic shoes. Jewelry and accessories should be kept minimal and tasteful. The main idea is not to wear anything that will draw a lot of attention to yourself. The way you dress for a funeral should be understated and tasteful to convey respect.


Important Notes for Arrival

It is very important to be on time and enter the funeral location quietly. If you must arrive late, it is important to wait until the processional has begun to enter. If possible, it is best to enter from the side aisles, not the center aisle. Seats toward the front are reserved for close family and friends, so this should be taken into consideration when choosing where to sit.


 Phone Usage

It is important to completely silence or turn off cell phones or devices which might make noise during the service. Phones should also remain out of sight during the service. Being present and giving eye contact to those speaking during a funeral conveys respect. Photos should not be taken during a funeral service. It is appropriate to take photos after the funeral, outside of the service, but it is important to be mindful of those grieving who may be around you.



A common question is whether to bring children to a funeral. The first thing to consider is whether the child will be comfortable attending. The child’s age and temperament should be taken into consideration. Younger children who may have trouble sitting still and staying quiet should probably not attend a funeral service. Some families choose to bring a babysitter to watch children in another room, so that they can then participate in any post-funeral activities.


Older children who attend should sit closest to those they feel most comfortable with, such as a parent who can comfort them.


Comforting the Mourning

Two rules for comforting those mourning is to acknowledge their pain, and to keep it short and simple when offering words of condolence. Show care without trying to put yourself in their shoes. People deal with grief in many different ways, so never say, “I know how you feel.” Instead, you could say, “This must be really hard.” It is also nice to share what the deceased meant to you personally. Sharing a short, fond memory can be a comfort to those grieving. It is important to take your cue from the mourning. If they are at a place where they are sharing memories, smiling, and laughing, then it would be appropriate to share light or humorous stories. If the grieving are visibly hurting, short words of comfort and support are preferable.


Flowers & Gifts

Sending flowers to the loved ones of the deceased can be a wonderful way to express sympathy. The most appropriate place to send the flowers is to the recipient’s home. Generally, the family will decide on flowers for the funeral service. There can be exceptions to this, as sometimes family appreciates additional arrangements to help beautify the church or space where the funeral is being held. If you are unsure, send them directly to the recipient’s home. Sending flowers can also be an especially nice gesture if you are unable to attend the funeral. Gifts are also a way to support the family and let them know you care. Ideas include gift baskets of food, memorial gifts, and gift cards for meal delivery services.


Check Back In

In the days, weeks, and months following a funeral, the grieving often feel alone and isolated. People slowly stop calling, bringing meals, etc. It is a nice idea to check back in after some time has passed. Perhaps a month after the service, a phone call, handwritten card, or visit can be a nice way to show support and care.


Following these guidelines for funeral etiquette will help you to honor the deceased and show respect to the mourning. At Found and Sons Funeral Chapels Cremation Service, we want to support you during this difficult time. Please reach out if you


When You Lose the Love of Your Life – Is it Too Soon to Move On?

There is an old German proverb that says, “The death of a friend is equivalent to the loss of a limb.” If that’s true, how much more so is the pain after you lose a spouse or partner? The pain is so intense, there is a confirmed phenomenon called the “widowhood effect,” although it applies to both genders. Research done by the Harvard School of Public Health shows there is an increased chance of dying after a spouse dies. The risk is highest within the first three months after their passing – at 66%. Through our work at Found & Sons Funeral Chapels & Cremation Service with the families of Culpeper and Fredericksburg, we know that those who have lost a wife or husband certainly do not need to see any research to understand the kind of pain they have experienced.


This time of year can be especially hard on those who have lost a love. Restaurants crowded with romantic couples and pink boxes of chocolate lining store shelves can serve as a painful reminder of their death, and feelings of intense loneliness can ensue.

Is it too soon to move on?



Loneliness can often lead to asking whether you can, or should, move on with life and find another mate. This decision is as highly personal and individual as the grief process itself. Men tend to remarry more often and earlier than their female counterparts. Some grief experts recommend that you wait one year before making any big, life-changing decisions, whether it’s getting married again, selling a home, etc.


The most important thing is that you feel ready and that your heart is healed. While you will most likely always miss your spouse, and perhaps love them, it’s important to ask yourself if your heart has room for a new love. If your heart hasn’t healed from your loss, overwhelming feelings of grief and sadness can stand in the way of happiness with your new mate. On the other hand, pursuing a new relationship could be used as a distraction from your pain, but that is never a good foundation for a solid future and will stunt your healing.


While this is a decision that you must make yourself, you could perhaps decide to seek the counsel of family, friends, or a trusted counselor or advisor. Many times, those who are closest to you will have unique insights into where you might be on your grief journey. On the other hand, you do need to tread carefully. Some people, especially children, if you and your spouse had any, can have very strong feelings on the topic. They may feel protective of their parent’s memory, and not want you to fully “move on.”


At the end of the day, you will be the one who needs to decide whether you want to start a new relationship with someone else after the death of a spouse or partner. If you decide you don’t want to begin another relationship, that’s okay! Often, well-meaning friends and family will be concerned that you’re lonely, or not healing, because you choose to remain single. This could not be further from the truth. Many people decide to go solo for their remaining years and are still able to find meaning and purpose through friendships, relationships with family and grandchildren, and civic or religious activities.


At Found & Sons Funeral Chapels & Cremation Service, we want you to know that our caring team is always here for you throughout your grief process – whether it’s two weeks after your loved one’s funeral service, or two years. We can help connect you with local support groups and community programs that can help you process your feelings and perhaps even help you determine if it’s time to move on. We also offer counseling services, a grief library, and our online, interactive grief support, Guiding Grief.  Reach out to us, or access our online grief resource to get started.

Tips to Calm Your Mind and Body for Better Sleep While Grieving

We all need sleep to stay healthy, but when you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s normal to have a hard time sleeping. Even though this is a common struggle, there are things you can do to get the shut-eye you need. Taking control of your bedtime routine and environment can make a tremendous difference and help you get a more restful night’s sleep.

Switch Up Your Sleep Space

Your sleep environment plays a key role in how well you sleep. This is especially true if you have lost your spouse, but it really applies to anyone. The space where you live often reflects your emotions, but the opposite is also true. When you make your home, and especially your bedroom, a serene space, it can make you feel more calm and uplifted.


If this isn’t the feeling you get from your bedroom, it may be time switch things up. The Huffington Post recommends decorating with a cool color palette, such as light blues, greens, and gray because these colors make you feel more relaxed. The right light is key to relaxation and sleep, too. Instead of using an overhead light fixture, get a bedside lamp so you can keep the light low before you go to bed.


You also need to be as comfortable as possible, so think about any issues that might be keeping you up, such as a too-warm temperature or dry air. Adding a humidifier to your bedroom will help moisturize the air, which is especially important in the winter when it’s dryer. A humidifier can also soothe your skin and nasal passages, making it easier to sleep more comfortably. For optimal performance, make sure you replace your humidifier’s filters regularly. Your bed needs to be comfy, too. Start by making sure you have the right mattress. Many people don’t realize that their sleep position affects the type of mattress they should be sleeping on, or that their grief can cause physical symptoms such as back pain, which can have a direct impact on sleep quality. If you haven’t been sleeping well due to back pain since the loss of your loved one, experts recommend opting for a memory foam mattress, which will help cradle your spine, allowing your body and mind to relax.


Calm Your Mind and Body

Once you have a comfortable and calm sleep environment, focus on your bedtime routine and ways to relax and unwind. Set a regular time for going to bed and getting up every day. Setting a sleep schedule may seem hard when you’re already struggling to sleep, but once it becomes a habit, your body will get used to the schedule, and your natural circadian rhythm will make it easier to fall and stay asleep.


Then, create a pre-bedtime routine that helps you decompress from the day. Some people like reading, listening to music or taking a warm bath before bed. These are all great ways to clear your mind and steer your focus away from anything that’s troubling you. To be even more intentional about relaxation, Very Well Health recommends using meditation or prayer (or both) right before going to sleep.


While your bedtime routine should include elements that are calming and help you get more restful sleep, also be mindful of avoiding things that can keep you up. Don’t use electronics too close to bedtime, and especially not in your bedroom. The light from mobile devices interferes with your natural sleep rhythms, making your brain think it’s time to be awake. Certain foods and drinks can interfere with sleep, too. Avoid anything that contains caffeine (including hidden sources, like chocolate), alcohol, and foods that are very acidic or high in fat.


Give Smart Sleep Gadgets a Try

You want to avoid using electronics with screens before bed, but some electronic gadgets that are designed specifically for sleep can actually help. We like gadgets that promote more restful sleep by providing soothing sounds and light at night. Even better, some also track your sleep patterns, giving you information that makes it easier to adjust things that may be keeping you up.


Loss of sleep while grieving is absolutely normal, and it can be even more pronounced if you’ve lost your spouse. These tips for getting more restful sleep will hopefully help you through that adjustment.


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