When someone passes away, it's usually their immediate family members who are responsible for making the funeral arrangements. But just because you're not closely related to someone, it doesn't mean that you won't want to be involved in some way.
It's important to tread carefully to avoid offending the close family of the deceased, but there are a few ways you can help them with the planning and actual practicalities of the funeral. In most cases, people will appreciate the assistance, as long as you approach the subject with a bit of caution and avoid being pushy. Here are some ideas for ways you might be able to help out.
When someone dies, there's a lot to arrange, and the funeral is only part of it. With so much stress during such a difficult time, something as simple as running a few errands for the family can be extremely helpful. Whether that's helping them liaise with the funeral home, contacting a florist or finding suitable companies for other aspects of the arrangements, it will take some of the pressure off and be very much appreciated.
Even if you're not delivering the eulogy yourself, you can help the person who is. This could involve sharing some anecdotes that might spark ideas, proofreading or just listening while they practise reading it.
Readings and music
If you're comfortable with public speaking, offering to deliver a reading at the service is a good way to get involved. If you're not, you could help the family choose suitable people to read and even help find suitable readings. You can also suggest music if they're not sure what pieces to use.
Many people have skills that can be useful. For example, if you're a graphic designer, you could make the perfect service papers to be handed out. Don't be afraid to offer your services if there's a particular way you could help.
Helping the day run smoothly
With all of the stress, the last thing family members want to be doing on the day of the funeral is directing guests where to go and taking care of the practical side of things. If you can offer to chip in, it's less for them to worry about.
Sometimes all family members need is for someone to be there. This is especially true of people who have been left on their own, for whom having company when they visit funeral directors and deal with other arrangements makes it all a little bit easier.