Funeral Etiquette …is there one?

  • Thursday, June 29th, 2017

So you heard that Trevor your friend from around the corner has kicked the proverbial bucket and has gone to the land beyond the skies (hopefully). You found out the date of the funeral, wore your Sunday best and turned up early to say your goodbyes…only to be visually assaulted by sights that would make your grandmother blush and the pope faint!

From young men with their rumps on display because their waist and a proper belt apparently are in malice, to young ladies (and I use that word rather loosely) who expose more breast, leg and thighs than a bucket of KFC, with attire so sinfully skimpy they border on nude. Is this what funerals have become? Mini dancehall sessions now conducted inside the Lord’s house with no regards to tradition and protocol? When did funeral etiquette take a backseat to ghetto ‘fabulousism’ and rachetness? Is there even such a thing as proper funeral etiquette? Let’s spill the tea on real funeral protocol and what one should and should not do in the church and at the home.

The ‘No-Nos’

1.If you are late to a funeral and it has already started, do NOT ask the minister to open back the casket! If you already forgot what the person looked like, glance at the cover of the programme.

  1. The seats at the front are for the immediate family of the deceased, do NOT plant yourself at the front of the church if you are not a relative.


  1. At no time ever is it appropriate to want to take a ‘selfie’ with the dead body. Are you serious? Would you also want them to smile and say ‘cheese!”


  1. Put your cell phones on vibrate or turn them off altogether. Nobody wants to hear your Alkaline ring tone in the middle of the pastor’s sermon.


  1. If the outfit you choose to wear cannot be worn to take a passport picture or in a court of law, chances are it is too revealing for a funeral, so no cleavage or crotch shots allowed near the pulpit.


  1. When hugging or shaking the hands of the bereaved, do NOT remind them that the departed owed you some partner money! Like seriously, let the debt die with the death.


  1. If you are visiting the home of the departed to commiserate with their family, please do NOT ask for the jewellery, clothes or other personal belongings of the deceased or ask if your name is in the will. Just don’t.


  1. If the person died from liver failure, cancer or some other illness, do not be phony with the family and tell them “Oh I know how you feel”…no you don’t! You ever had cancer?


  1. Do not say ‘He/she is in a better place’, ‘You’ll get over it” or ‘God knows best”. Nobody wants to hear those meaningless platitudes. Keep that to yourself.


  1. If the person died suddenly, under tragic or suspicious circumstances, do NOT go fishing for information. You are not a news reporter so it is not you job to go snooping around for gossip. Show some class.


  1. Finally, if you and the deceased were enemies, please do NOT turn up at the funeral with your ‘cow-bawling’. Save the drama for the stage.


The ‘Can-dos’


  1. In order to not risk saying something offensive, play it safe and say ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ or ‘My condolences”. Just like make-up, less is more.


  1. If you visit the home, be nice and carry a meal or two and just sit and let the bereaved talk or vent. If they want to be silent, that is fine too.


  1. Send a nice floral arrangement to the funeral parlour to show that you care and are thinking of the family in their time of bereavement.


  1. If the bereaved has young children, come a play babysitter for a few hours or help clean or organise the place to give them some time to breathe and clear their head.


Regardless of your age, stage, race, socio-economic status, income level, gender or faith, death is a non-discriminatory visitor to every household at some point in our all lives. It can be very overwhelming for some and the everyday obligations are still very much there.  When called upon to make a difference, be a helpmate and not a hindrance. Show that when the chips are down, you are truly a friend in need.