What Do You Not Say at a Funeral Viewing?

What Do You Not Say at a Funeral Viewing?

Funeral viewings are somber occasions where friends and family gather to pay their final respects to a departed loved one. During this time of mourning, it is crucial to exercise tact and sensitivity when expressing condolences. While offering support and comfort is crucial, there are certain things that should never be said at a funeral viewing. In this article, we will explore what you should avoid saying during such an emotional event, and why it is important to choose your words wisely.

1. Avoid mentioning the cause of death:
It is essential to avoid discussing the cause of death at a funeral viewing. This is a time for honoring the deceased’s life, not dwelling on the circumstances of their passing. Mentioning the cause of death can be distressing for the grieving family and potentially disrespectful to the deceased.

2. Don’t compare your experiences:
Each person’s grief is unique, and comparing your own experiences to someone else’s can diminish the significance of their loss. Avoid saying things like, “I know how you feel,” as it may come across as dismissive. Instead, focus on providing empathy and support.

3. Avoid clichés and empty platitudes:
While it is natural to want to offer words of comfort, using clichés or empty platitudes can feel insincere and impersonal. Phrases like “they’re in a better place now” or “time heals all wounds” may not be well-received. Instead, offer genuine condolences and express your willingness to help in any way you can.

4. Refrain from discussing personal grievances:
A funeral viewing is not the appropriate time or place to air personal grievances or discuss past conflicts. This is a time to put differences aside and focus on honoring the deceased and supporting their grieving loved ones.

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5. Avoid intrusive questions:
Asking intrusive questions about the deceased’s personal life or the family’s plans for the future can be invasive and insensitive. Allow the family to share what they feel comfortable sharing, and respect their privacy during this difficult time.

6. Don’t offer unsolicited advice:
While you may have good intentions, offering unsolicited advice on how someone should grieve or cope can be unhelpful and unwelcome. Each person mourns differently, and it is crucial to respect their individual journey.

7. Avoid making it about yourself:
It is important to remember that a funeral viewing is not about you. Avoid monopolizing conversations or making it a platform to share your own stories. Instead, focus on listening and offering support to those who are grieving.


Q: Can I express my condolences with a simple “I’m sorry for your loss”?
A: Yes, a simple and heartfelt “I’m sorry for your loss” is an appropriate way to express your condolences.

Q: Is it acceptable to bring up positive memories of the deceased?
A: Yes, sharing positive memories of the deceased can be a way to celebrate their life and offer comfort to the grieving family. However, be mindful of the emotions and sensitivities of those present.

Q: What can I say if I didn’t know the deceased well?
A: You can express your condolences saying, “Although I didn’t know them well, I know they meant a lot to you and I’m here to support you.”

Q: Can I mention the deceased’s accomplishments?
A: Yes, mentioning the deceased’s accomplishments, talents, or positive traits can be a way to honor their memory and provide comfort to the family.

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Q: What if I accidentally say something inappropriate?
A: If you unintentionally say something inappropriate, apologize sincerely and acknowledge your mistake. People understand that emotions run high during such occasions, and forgiveness is often granted.

In conclusion, a funeral viewing is a time for grieving and remembering the departed loved one. It is crucial to exercise sensitivity and choose our words wisely to provide comfort and support to the grieving family. By avoiding certain topics and being mindful of the impact of our words, we can create an environment of solace and respect during this difficult time.

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