I'm Next in Line. What do I Say?
Finding the right words of condolence is a challenge, especially at a time with so much happening all at once. Funeral services are a soelmn affair and choosing the right words is important. On one hand, you want to pay proper respects, but on the other you want to keep the family's needs in mind. While you certainly don't want to rush through and trivialize the matter, you should also be mindful that the family is on a timeline. With many other friends and family no doubt behind you you don't want to take up too much of their time and delay the service.
Finding the Right Words
We have a number of suggestions when it comes to choosing the right words of condolence at a funeral service and will endeavour to help ensure you are ready when the time comes. The difficult part for most people is finding something meaningful to the bereaved about their loved one while keeping it unique. Cliche statements and generalizations are no good to anyone and will simply make the situation more painful.
Keep it Short
Keeping your exchange brief is paramount, as are heatfelt sentiments. Touching on the deceased's character and expressing your admiration for them will go a long way if you speak from the heart. A brief account of one of their prouder moments is also recommended. A personal touch goes a long way with the added benefit of allowing you to keep things concise. Furthermore, you should always finish by giving your condolences.
Keeping the mood light works at times, but a more sombre tone will never steer you wrong if you're ever in doubt. If you don't personally know the bereaved you should remain professional. Whether or not you are a personal friend, attempting to elicit laughter or engaging in humour is not advised. This can easily lead to futher pain and suffering, which is not helpful.
Offering to lend assistance is encouraged, given that you do not press the matter and do plan to make youself available. In the middle of trauma, knowing that your thoughts are with the bereaved and that they do have your support is important. That being said, simple words of comfort and the offer of a shoulder if needed will suffice quite well. Additionally, saying things like you know what they're going they're going through, even if true, will not help and may seem cold an uncaring. You words can also, if not carefully chosen, resemble pity if you are not careful. Remember to be humble and you can't go wrong for the most part.
When all is said and done, a brief, heartfelt statement that touches on personal experiences and the positive qualities of their loved one will be your best choice if you are at all unsure of how to proceed when your time comes to give condolences. Relax and be open and honest. Sincerity will always be your friend here.