The visitation is a little less formal than the funeral and it’s an opportunity to provide support to the bereaved and spend some time visiting and speaking with the family. Funerals don’t afford that interaction. Some folks go to the visitation and the funeral but if they can’t attend the funeral, they may attend the visitation.
The death notice usually provides information on the visitation, or, you can call the funeral home. Visitations are held at the funeral home or the house of worship. They are usually in the afternoon or evening, but sometimes there are two sessions; one in the later afternoon and one in the evening. You might encounter a receiving line or, the bereaved may be sitting down. There may or may not be a casket and if there is a casket, it may or may not be open, usually dependent on the customs of the bereaved.
What do you say and do? The bereaved have so much on their minds so remember to sign the guest book when entering so the bereaved will know you attended. You can give each person in the receiving line a warm clasp with your hand while introducing yourself with your name and relation to the deceased. Add “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
If you have attended the visitation, the funeral, and/or reception and signed the online guest book, it is still appropriate to write a condolence note. Condolence messages are truly appreciated and it’s a good feeling to know you’ve reached out and made a difference.
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