Going to a cremation service is never going to be a lot of fun for anybody. It's a somber event that can include joy when it comes to celebrating a life well lived. The close friends and family members of the deceased are likely to be in immense emotional pain, and you may be at a loss when it comes to your desire to help ease their burden. Try these unexpected ways to help the bereaved with some of the responsibilities that can add to the pressure they feel at an already difficult time.
Stay with the Family and Be a Buffer
Talk to the family beforehand to get a sense of how well they are able to greet those who are coming to pay their respects. Depending on the size of the cremation service and the attitude of the well-wishers, saying hello and making small talk about the recent loss can be overwhelming very quickly. Stay by the family and take over conversations that you sense may be difficult.
You may even develop certain signs with the family. For example, if the bereaved is looking to end a conversation, they may have a way of holding up their hand that signals for you to come and talk to the person while guiding them away from the family. That can be a huge relief, as the family can gather their composure before greeting another guest.
Coordinate Meal Deliveries
Offer to take care of the food that's necessary for the after-service reception. Not only that, but you can take the initiative to coordinate meal deliveries for two weeks after the memorial service as well. Ask friends of the family to take turns bringing over food. You can ask everyone to take over a certain day according to their schedule and send a group email to confirm with those who are willing to participate. It may even work out that everyone only has to bring food once or twice.
While most people bring food to the grieving family in the first couple of days after a death, the bereaved are typically left to plan the food for the reception and subsequent weeks on their own. Taking over this step will surprise them in a positive way. Ensuring that a family gets at least one hot meal a day that they don't have to prepare can make a big difference.
Offer to Send Thank-You Messages
The family members in mourning are likely to find comfort in sympathy gifts like flowers and charitable donations in the deceased person's memory. However, it can be overwhelming to reply to everyone with a thank-you note. Take the initiative to offer your services to address, write, and send thank-you messages on behalf of the family. You can suggest to the family that they can follow up with extended messages to the givers later on, but they will likely feel a huge relief when the initial note of gratitude is sent.
Finally, keep in mind that these actions will likely be appreciated by anyone who is struggling with the death of their loved one. Be sure to communicate openly and consider the unique needs of the person you want to help. One person can make a huge difference, and you can give true comfort to someone and provide light during a dark time.