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Copyright © 2010 Calhoun Funeral Home & Cremation Service. All rights reserved. 17010 Lake Shore Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44110 Phone: (216) 738-0300
We're located in Cleveland, Ohio at 17010 Lake Shore Boulevard.

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General Guidelines for the Bereaved

Specifying Cause of Death
Cause of death can be a difficult subject. While most people will have read the obituary or may ask others how the death occurred, you should be prepared to answer this question. Especially in the event of a sudden death brought on by tragic or unexplained circumstances.
Specifying the cause of death in the obituary will help allay the "What happened?" questions. How you approach the inquisitiveness of visitors to the funeral is a purely personal decision. If the deceased has passed on due to an illness you do not care to discuss, such as cancer or HIV, or suicide, prepare an honest answer to the "What happened?" question, but don't feel the need to elaborate. Visitors may merely be making conversation and hoping to give you a venue to express your grief.
Calling Hours
It's standard practice to greet callers during calling hours. You do not have to keep track of visitors as they will approach you during their visits, but always welcome them with kindness and express your appreciation at their attendance.
In the event someone attends calling hours that you particularly do not like, be polite. In rare instances, an altercation may occur causing you to ask the funeral director to escort a visitor out. Your attitude will do much to keep disruptions from happening. Treat everyone with respect and let them know you are touched by their effort to pay their respects. A funeral is not the place to air grievances or foster rudeness.
You will likely see people you have not seen in years! As with any gathering, you are the host or hostess and must make an effort to speak to each person who attends. While it is not your responsibility to seek them out, it is your responsibility to make sure there is a guest sign-in book. This enables you to know who attended in order to write the thank-you card. Try not to spend an inordinate amount of time with only one or two people. If you have a lot to catch up on, invite them to visit you after the funeral, or make plans for a luncheon date. This will help both of you in dealing with the effects of the death.
Thank You Notes
Anyone who presented or sent a gift or card to the family, deserves a thank you note. Examples would be to thank anyone who has sent in a memorial contribution, brought food to the house of the grieving family, sent flowers, or in some other tangible way acknowledged the death. Those visitors who attend the calling hours do not require a thank you card.
It is suggested that thank you notes be sent within two weeks of the death. In the past, thank you notes included a personal letter from the grieving family, but today a simple thank you card with a signature, is accepted. Many people include a personal note or a hand written thank you, but that is a personal choice.
Thanking Clergy
A personal note is recommended for thanking your clergy person. If an honorarium or offering is sent, send it in a separate envelope. Do not include it with the thank you note.
Pallbearers
A separate note to each pallbearer is recommended. Personal messages of thanks will be appreciated by each individual who graciously assisted in this important task.
Flowers
For individuals, you may wish to include a personal word or two of thanks on the acknowledgement card. For groups or organizations, send the note to the leader of the group and remember to include all the members of the group in your note. If individual member names appear on the floral card, a separate note should be sent to each one. You do not have to include a personal message in this instance.
Flowers that were sent from a group of neighbors or employees, require a separate thank you to each name included on the floral card. You may or may not include a hand written message of thanks.
Friends Who Have Helped
Friends who have volunteered their help in any way-such as driving a car in the funeral procession, helping the family with arrangements or food, etc. deserve a separate written thank you. As stated earlier, it is not necessary to send thank you cards to friends or visitors that stop in at the home of the grieving family or that attend the calling hours at the funeral home.
If the neighbors or friends who have volunteered their help are close to the family, you may feel better thanking them in person. In this instance, use your own judgment to determine if a written note is necessary.

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General guidelines for the guests