When attending visitations at Dayton, Ohio funeral homes, people often don’t exactly what they’re supposed to do. Visitations are one of the funeral rituals that allow friends and other mourners to come to the funeral home and to pay their respects to the deceased and offer their support and condolences to bereaved family members. Here are some guidelines that can help you navigate attending a funeral visitation.
The first thing you should know about funeral visitations is that they can last for a few hours (usually a minimum of two hours, but some can last longer). Visitations are more like an open house, where people can come and go during the hours listed for the visitation.
Therefore, you don’t need to be at the visitation as soon as it begins, and you do not need to stay until it ends. Only the immediate family of the deceased, clergy, and close friends usually stay for the duration of the visitation.
However, you should be sure to arrive only between the visitation hours. If you show up earlier than the time listed, you will be intruding on private time that the deceased’s immediate family is spending with their loved one.
When you attend a visitation, you will go through a line of people who are offering their sympathy and comfort to the deceased’s immediate family members. While you may know the immediate family well, it’s important to be respectful of other people in the line who want to speak with them.
Be sure to offer short condolence to each family member (whether you know them all or not), and then move through to allow other people an opportunity to do the same. Family members of the deceased should not be responsible – and may not be comfortable with – keeping the visitation line moving smoothly so that everyone gets a chance to greet them.
If you dominate their time, there may be some other people who do not get a chance to speak with them at all. This can create hard feelings or cause those people who didn’t get a chance to visit briefly with the family to feel slighted or offended.
Be sure to dress appropriately for the visitation. While you don’t have to be dressed to the nines, you should wear clothing that is respectful to the grieving family and the deceased. If you’re going to visitation on your way home from work, be sure to wear something to work (or change after work) that shows that you gave deliberate consideration to honor the deceased and their family.
Be sure to sign the guestbook (with your first and last name) before you go into the visitation. The immediate family of the deceased will see a lot of people come through the visitation line. Because of the emotional intensity of the death of a loved one, they will not be able to remember everyone who came through to give them support.
The funeral home will give the family the guestbooks for the visitation and the funeral after their loved one’s burial so they can have a record of everyone who stopped by or who attended. While they may not consciously remember seeing everyone who has signed the guestbook, they will be comforted by knowing that each one of them – including you – cared enough about them to come by.