How-To Guide for What to Say at a Funeral

Posted by: Erin Ward in Funeral Information | July 5, 2021
Understandably, many people don’t know what to say at a funeral. For one, you don’t want to upset the grieving family by saying the wrong thing. Or if you didn’t know the deceased very well, you may not know what to talk about it. Not to forget that you’re also grieving your loss and coping with your own emotions.  

Whatever the reason may be, it can be tricky to determine what to say at a funeral. But don’t put too much pressure on finding the perfect words, because they don’t exist. Oftentimes, your presence says a lot more than words can. 

To make figuring out what to say at a funeral a bit easier, let’s go over some tips to make the experience more comfortable for everyone.


Express to the Grieving Family That You’re Sorry for Their Loss 

You can start off by telling the grieving family that you're sorry for their loss. If you were close to the deceased, your condolences may be a bit longer. For instance, you could share some of your loved one’s personal qualities that you’ll miss. But if you didn’t know them well, it’s perfectly fine to keep it short. 

If you’re not sure if you should say something, it’s probably best to avoid it. For example, you may want to avoid talking about how they died if it was a tragic death. You also should avoid phrases that suggest their grief is something they will get over, as the grieving process never truly ends. 


Share How You Knew the Deceased 

After you express your sympathies, you can share how you knew the deceased, such as if they were a childhood friend, coworker, neighbor, etc. This helps the grieving family figure out how everyone was connected to their loved one. It also may give them some comfort in knowing that their loved one has a lot of people who want to honor their life


Tell a Story or a Favorite Memory of Your Loved One 

If you’re comfortable, you could share a story about their loved one that they may not know. Or you can share your favorite memory of your loved one. Whichever you choose, just make sure to keep it brief to be considerate of other mourners who want a chance to talk to the family. If there are no other people around at the time, you may be able to talk for a bit longer, but just make sure that you’re not overwhelming the grieving family.  


Reach Out After the Funeral 

Don’t forget to reach out to the grieving family after the funeral is over. This is often when they may feel most alone and in need of support. Depending on how well you know the family and what you’re comfortable with, this could be done via mail, phone, or an in-person visit. However, you should check with the family before dropping by to make sure it’s a good time. 

A few ways that you can support the family after the funeral are to offer to:  

  • Get their groceries. 
  • Drop off and pick up their children from school. 
  • Bring them some ready-to-eat meals
  • Listen to them talk about their loved one. 
  • Share some grief resources

What advice do you have for what to say at a funeral? Share them in the comments!

1 Comment


Burt Greer

May 14

Charlie, you and I (along with Tommie K.) formed a close bond ending only with both of your deaths. Even though no longer have contact, that bond will be maintained! Later!!

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