How to Attend a Funeral; A Briefe Guide

There is no ‘requirements’ about attending a funeral, but there are rights and wrongs.  And it is amazing how many people do not know how to attend a funeral. So here are some simple tips to make your and the families experience a bit nicer:
  1. Turn off your phone, do not silence it.  Just recently somebodies phone went off several times during the service in the church and then at the grave.  Every time he thought he had silenced it only to be embarrassed a while later.
  2. Keep moving, do not hover around and block the doors, tables or stairs.  Blocking the tables delays people from signing the condolence book.  Blocking doors or stairs makes it hard for us and others to move about.  We have a job to do and often only a little time to do a lot.  You would not want people getting in the way of your work, do not get in the way of ours.  It may sound inconsiderate, but making sure that funeral runs smoothly is our job.  Every time we are held up is time the family and the funeral itself are held up.
  3. Move along the seats.  It is inconsiderate to sit down on the end and leave spaces in the middle.  It does not matter if you “cannot see from the middle” or “do not know those people”.  Move along and let others sit down to, otherwise you will be making people stand for the whole service.
  4. Look up the directions.  People usually know where they are going and when days in advance.  It is beyond me why almost nobody looks up the directions before hand.  The cemetery or crematorium cannot be put into the GPS as an address in most cases (not that people try).  So for something so important why most people just ‘wing it’ on the day is irresponsible, especially if they are from out of town.  The funeral staff will try to keep everyone together, but this is incredibly difficult, especially with a very long trip or cortege.
  5. When driving in the cortege keep up and stay close.  Most people are not trained or experienced at following a cortege.  They will need larger gaps than the funeral staff or hire car drivers.  But keep as close as possible while staying safe.  When a car falls back it can result in others cutting in, the cortege not making the lights or just breaking up the look of the cortege.  Not to meantion any cars behind that one are now even further back.  Keeping as close as possible will keep everyone together and look good.
  6. Use the lights, but do not go crazy.  As soon as you are ready to move off turn on the headlights.  This lets the conductor know you are with the cortege and that you are ready.  Also use your indicators, people who are behind and around need to know where the cortege is going.  Indicate a little earlier than usual, or as soon as the car in front does and this will save a lot of trouble.  Having said that do not over-use the lights.  There is no need for high-beams or hazard lights unless there is an emergency.  This will only confuse and irritate people.
  7. Do not run red lights or drive dangerously to keep up.  However you may have to break the law, as long as it is safe; such as going a little over the speed limit, or running a stop sign on a quiet street or cutting people off at the roundabouts after they stop to let the cortege through.  But being stupid and dangerous is never acceptable!  I have seen people run red lights to keep up because they did not know the way and panicked.  I have seen cars nearly side swipe each other when merging to keep up.  If you get cut off we will slow down, or stop just a little further ahead.  So wait, and do not worry, you will always catch up to the slow cortege.  But never panic and endanger yourself or others just to keep up.
  8. At the grave do not stand on the grave cover.  This is a door sized thing, usually with fake grass on it.  Do not stand between it or the grave after we have lowered either.  Or we ill just politely ask you to move to one side.  It is no big deal, but many people just get embarrassed once they realise where they are standing.
  9. Do not be a hero.  If you cannot carry 50kg or more do not offer to carry the coffin, take an umbrella if it is sunny, sit down if nobody else does and you want to.  Either way, do not put yourself out, it does you no good and is pointless.
  10. Do not block our way when we are carrying the coffin anywhere.  That thing is heavy, we do not want to mess about waiting for someone to step to the side, nor to we want to have to squeeze past people.  It is most common at the graveside, people will hop out of their cars, walk to the grave and then stop.  Rarely do they think about how we will be carrying the coffin that way to.  Especially in a narrow cemetery with uneven ground.  I do not care if it sounds rude, but I also do not think you would want to stand about hanging on to 70kg with only a small handle that cuts into your hand all while waiting for someone to exclaim “oh, am I in your way..?” before slowly and awkwardly moving away

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