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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 Guests

Expressing Sympathy
Expressing Sympathy: Simple, brief expressions of sympathy are usually best. While most people find themselves at a loss for words, the family will appreciate a sincere expression of condolence-however brief. "I'm sorry," or, "I'm so sorry to hear of your loss," are the most commonly used expressions, and they are perfectly adequate when said in a sincere, sympathetic voice. If you knew the deceased well enough, it is often helpful to say so; "I always counted Bob as a good friend," or, "Jane will be missed by everyone." Kind words are always welcomed. Follow the lead of the family member. If they want to talk about the deceased, lend an ear and a few minutes of your time. Being a good listener may be the best solace you can provide for them.
Attending Calling Hours
When attending calling hours, do not feel you have to stay for a lengthy period of time. Follow your instincts as to how long to stay. If the deceased was a good friend, you may feel it necessary to stay longer, to tend to your own grief at the same time as paying your respects to the family. If you have never met the family, introduce yourself and let them know how you are connected to their loved one. Colleagues and co-workers of the deceased may attend calling hours together, but try not to descend on the bereaved all together. Offer individual sympathy and a word or two of support; "I am so sorry for your loss," and/or, "Let me know if there is anything I can do to help."
Offering Assistance
If, indeed, you are able to offer assistance with childcare, or food gifts, or picking up out-of-town relatives, by all means, do so. These thoughtful gestures are invaluable. Sudden, or tragic deaths, may be so emotionally draining, your ability to assist the bereaved will be long remembered and appreciated. In the case of the elderly woman or man who has lost a spouse and may not have children close by to attend to their needs, a lending hand with transportation or running errands, can make the ordeal so much easier on them.
Attending the Funeral
Many times funerals become a place to share memories. Visitors are encouraged to talk about their memories of the deceased. Sometimes the family learns new things about their loved one that they didn't know before! While we all accept the somber atmosphere of a funeral setting, sharing stories and laughter can personalize the occasion and actually help ease the pain. Sorrow is an individual suffering, but joyful stories shared freely can make the grief easier to bear.
Dress
Subdued colors are most appropriate for funerals. It is becoming more acceptable to wear brighter colors today, to celebrate the life of the deceased, but the truth is, etiquette requires modesty and somberness. Out of respect for the family, try to keep your dress simple but not too casual. Many orthodox cultures still adhere to the traditional black attire, and if you opt for that choice, you will never go wrong.
Viewing The Body
If the funeral is open casket, you are welcome to view the deceased and/or pray for them. This is not required. If there are calling hours but the family is not present, you may still view the body. If you wish to have a family member escort you to the casket, don't be afraid to ask. Regardless of your religious affiliation, a few moments of silence is always appreciated.

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General guidelines for the bereaved