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What To Do When You Can’t Attend A Funeral

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Woman holding sympathy flowers

Missing a funeral can be a difficult time for both you and the family of the deceased. As much as you would like to attend the service of someone close to you, sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that make it impossible. In most cases it usually comes down to travel costs, employment, illness, or other logistical issues. Whatever the reason is, there are still other ways to offer your condolences and express your sympathy and support to the family over the loss of their loved one.

Ways To Express Sympathy

Send Flowers

Sending flowers is one of the most common ways to express sympathy and show you care. Flowers are universally accepted as a meaningful way to pay tribute to someone’s life. Funerals are often a somber occasion, sending flowers to be displayed during the service can brighten the room and bring a sense of life to the event. Be mindful of the type of service though, some religious customs do not include flowers at their services. In this case, consider sending flowers to a reception afterwards or the family’s home.

Plant A Memorial Tree

Planting a memorial tree represents life and honors the deceased’s legacy. Tree planting programs like Honoring a Life allow friends and families to create a healthier environment and a lasting memorial for the life that has been lost. The great thing about memorial trees is there is no limit on the amount that you can plant. Together friends and family can plant a forest to pay tribute to their loved one.

Make A Donation

Some families prefer if you make a donation in the name of their loved one rather then send flowers or other sympathy gifts. Choosing to make a donation in the name of the deceased not only pays tribute to their legacy but also creates a positive impact on the lives of others. If the person was known to be a caring a charitable person, making a donation can be the perfect way to honor them.

Contribute To The Funeral Fund

Every family wants to give their loved one a graceful and dignified service. Unfortunately, this can come at a great cost that leaves some families in a financial bind. Money should never play an issue in how you say goodbye to a loved one. Crowdfunding is the solution to this. By contributing to a funeral fund to help cover expenses, you are helping support the family and allowing them to commemorate the life of their loved one and give them the proper goodbye they deserve.

Send Food To The Reception

If you live near where the funeral is taking place, consider sending food for the reception afterwards. People that are grieving are usually quite tired and stressed the day of the funeral. This means they may not have the energy or the time to cook anything. Sending food to the reception shows you put in an effort to be a part of the day and are trying to care for them.

Leave A Video Condolence

Recording a video condolence and posting it to the online memorial site for the deceased is a great way to offer words of support, encouragement, and sympathy. Personalized video condolences allow you to connect with the family when you can’t be there physically. While nothing can replace a face to face interaction, watching a video condolence is much more personal than simply reading a written condolence. A video condolence lets you express how you feel and have the family see your emotion come through with the way you speak and express yourself.

Be There In The Days After The Funeral

While many people will attend the funeral and offer their support beforehand, it’s afterwards that people start to move on. Even though the family has said goodbye to their loved one, they are still grieving and adjusting to a new life. Being there when most others have moved on shows that you truly care and want to support the family. Call to talk and check in once and a while, offer to help with some of the cooking and cleaning, even babysit the children for a few hours a week. The day-to-day support you can offer will mean much more than any flowers or cards will.


What are some of the ways you express sympathy to a family who has lost someone? Let us know in the comment section below!

This entry was posted in Sympathy Suggestions on June 22nd, 2017 by ObitTree .

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