Missing a Funeral: Showing Sympathy and Respect to Bereaved Families in Absentia

Not everyone can attend the funeral of a loved one. Even if you cannot physically attend the funeral, there are many ways for you to pay respect to the decedent and provide comfort and support for their next of kin.

One of the sad aspects of reality is that we cannot always be there to pay our last respects to the people we love. Sometimes it’s a matter of distance—living in New York or California means that you may not always have the opportunity to attend a funeral at a cemetery in Clearfield. Other times, it’s merely a matter of timing; you cannot always get enough days off to book a trip home.

Whether it’s the funeral for a beloved family member or a dear friend, the inability to be physically present for the memorial and burial should not be a stumbling block toward paying respects. There are many ways to make your presence felt in these events, even if you couldn’t be there physically. With the right gestures, words, and perhaps even a few gifts, you can make it known to the bereaved immediate family of the deceased of your sympathies and sentiments.

Informing the Next of Kin

When the unfortunate realization of your inability to attend has made itself manifest, it may be time to write a funeral excuse letter to the immediate family of the deceased. Be honest yet concise with your feelings and express your sympathies to the bereaved relatives, along with some of your thoughts about the person who died. If possible, try to send these in a handwritten form to add a personal touch.

When writing your excuse letter, be candid about your willingness to provide them with emotional support at the times you are available. Remind them that you are open to talk to them at the appropriate times should they feel the need to speak to someone about their death. Moreover, you may also want to schedule a time to meet the recipients at the nearest convenience to show support through physical presence.

Saying a Few Words

Even if you cannot be physically present in the funeral, you can pay your respects to the deceased through other means. One of these is through a personalized eulogy, which would also help you express your grief by mentioning how much the decedent meant to you.

You have the option of sending a copy of this eulogy to the family of the bereaved or through a friend or loved one who would attend the event in your stead. If time permits, you may request that this eulogy be read aloud during the memorial service itself.

Gifts of Support

A good standby to contribute to a funerary service and pay your due respects to a deceased friend or loved one is to send flowers or other similar gifts to the family, whether offered to the decedent as part of their memorial service or sent to their family privately as a gesture of support. Even sending a small floral arrangement can remind the grieving family of your sympathies.

With the right amount of details on hand, you can easily pay for a floral arrangement of your choice to be sent to the funeral home where the decedent is laid in or to the household of their next of kin. Alternative contributions, which can sometimes be specified by the next of kin, can include donating in the decedent’s name to a charity that was important to the deceased person in life.