To better serve their clients, many funeral homes have interactive websites that provide information about their services, contact information, maps, directions and obituaries and calling hours for the deceased. Some even feature memorial pages and guest books and invite visitors to offer condolences or share memories online. Whether you plan to attend the funeral, can't attend or if you only found out after the funeral that the person passed away, here are three times you should post to the funeral home's online guestbook.
1. If you didn't know the family
Even if you considered yourself a close friend or co-worker to the deceased, you may not have known anything about his or her family. You may have worked with the person for eight hours per day for years, shared jokes, ate lunch together and gone through both stressful and happy events with each other. The funeral home guest book is a wonderful opportunity to express to the family how much the person meant to you. The family may know very little about the deceased's work life, especially if the person lived far away from them. A post from someone who shared every day with their loved one can be very comforting and also lets them know something about their life. Even if you don't know the family, it's important for them to read these memories and how their loved one brought happiness, friendship or support to others.
2. If you knew the deceased long ago, but lost touch
Losing touch with people that you were once close to happens to almost everyone, but it doesn't mean their death doesn't affect you or that you don't feel a loss. Not only will family members understand, but they will probably be deeply touched to read a memory or expression of grief from a long-lost friend, neighbor, a fellow student, former teacher or co-worker. Simply mentioning how you knew them, however briefly, or sharing a short story shows that the deceased had an impact on your life, which is very comforting to the person's survivors.
3. When you can't make it to the wake or funeral
If distance, finances or other commitments keep you from attending the wake or funeral in person, the posts on the memorial wall or guest book can provide a permanent remembrance for the family, just like the paper guest book at the funeral home. Unlike the paper guest book, the online version gives you the opportunity to express condolences and include a few words about what the deceased meant to you.
Posting on a funeral home's website can be therapeutic for visitors and a source of comfort to a grieving family. You can still attend in person if you are able, or you can include longer or more personal stories in a handwritten note or card. If you don't know the family's address, contact the funeral home for guidance. The staff understands how important cards and expressions of sympathy are to the grieving process, so most funeral homes accept cards or even emails and forward them to the family.
When my mom passed away, my dad and I were charged with the task of planning a funeral that everyone would love. Unfortunately, this would prove to be a difficult task, since many of my mom's relatives didn't speak English. We mulled over what to do, and we decided to meet with the funeral director for a few tips. He told us a few ideas for how to make the experience easy for everyone to understand, and we implemented his suggestions. It was incredible how much easier it made things on the day of the funeral. Read here for more funeral arrangement tips so that you aren't left stressing about more than you need to.