Take care of yourself
Nobody really wants to attend a funeral and even if we aren’t a close friend or immediate family of the deceased, it’s still natural to feel worried or apprehensive about attending. It could be that we feel nervous about sharing our emotions with others or that we don’t cope well with social situations.
Some people though find attending funerals really difficult. It could be that they suffer from social anxiety or the funeral might mean meeting up with estranged family or ex-partners etc.
Alternatively, it might be that you’ve been asked to play a particular role in the service, such as reading a poem and that could be making you feel additionally nervous.
Here are some strategies for dealing with those fears:
If you are feeling nervous in any way about attending a funeral, then talk about your fears with a friend or family member and this might help to alleviate your worries a little.
If you are worried about reading a poem, for instance, then say so. Perhaps you could arrange to stand up with another friend or relative and read half each?
Also, talk to one of the team at Tester & Jones, as we’ll hopefully be able to reassure you a little.
Show your emotions
It really is OK to cry at a funeral service and there will be people to support you if you do. Even if you’re giving the eulogy, then it’s fine to pause a little to take some deep breaths and perhaps a sip of water. Alternatively, have a back-up plan, such as the celebrant or a friend being ready to read your words if you feel you can’t continue. In any case, people will understand.
Don’t go alone
If you are worried about attending a funeral alone or feel that you might be walking into a difficult family situation, then ask a friend or somebody close to you to accompany you, so you don’t feel quite so vulnerable. This might be all you need to get you through it. Or, alternatively, take something to hold which reminds you of your loved one and gives you some strength, such as a scarf or a small photo.
You might also find that a bottle of water or some boiled sweets to suck might alleviate a dry throat, if that’s a worry too.
Be kind to yourself
Try not to organise too many other things to do on the day of the funeral and leave yourself plenty of time to get there. If you’re driving a distance, most venues will have a toilet and you might want to consider taking a flask of tea or coffee to drink in the car when you arrive, just to calm the nerves.
Aromatherapy oils might also help in a bath before the funeral or perhaps dabbed on your wrist just before the service. Or you might want to practice some mindfulness or breathing techniques.
Finally, while you might not really feel like spoiling yourself, plan something for the evening to ‘look forward to’ if you can, whether that’s meeting up with an old friend for a chat or a tub of ice cream on the sofa with that box-set you’ve been meaning to watch for ages. Just something that you’ll find comforting that evening, as you’ll probably feel weary.
Remember, you are not alone in feeling the way you do and anxiety and tension are perfectly normal symptoms of grief.