Before we get into the meat of this blog post, a quick note. This post isn’t about planning a memorial service - we have resources available to help you with that; it’s a more complex topic. Check our other blog posts and feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions. This post is about attending a memorial service. You need to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the service. We’ll break down preparedness into these two categories:
Memorial services are generally fairly formal events - it’s important to note that in recent years, this rule is less hard and fast than it once was. Back in the day, a suit and tie was the right choice for almost any memorial service.
Nowadays, many people are opting for more casual memorials, at which more casual, and even colourful, garb might be appropriate. The way you should dress depends heavily on the type of service that’s being held. Obituaries and invitations to the service may come with information that points you in the right direction.
If you’re not sure, and you feel comfortable, ask the people planning the event what’s appropriate. If you’re really not sure, pull out the formal wear. Even if it ends up being out of place, people will respect the effort.
Get clean before the event - put as much care into your personal appearance as you might if you were going to an important interview. Depending on your mental state, you might find preparing rather difficult. While a well-groomed appearance is best if you can manage it, don’t worry if you’re too stressed to perfect your look. The most important thing is your presence.
Memorial services are about empathy. Make sure you take care of yourself physically - eating and hydrating before you attend. The emotional toll these services can take on you can be physically draining as well. This will be a time of listening, not a time of acting. Be mindful - this can mean meditating or praying before you arrive there. You might also benefit by taking a few moments of conscious breath before you leave and during the service.
Plan to arrive at the service early, not on time. Arriving late might be mentally stressful to you and the other attendees. Set aside other plans you might have had for the day, be they work, chores, or other events - you may well need time to yourself after the service.
One of the biggest advantages to pre-planning a memorial service is that expectations can be set long before you pass away - that leaves a lot of the guesswork out of preparing and planning. At our low-cost funeral home in Winnipeg, we’ll help you plan your service. We can also give you tips if you’re attending a service that’s been coordinated with us. Give us a call - we’re here to help.