View Full Version : Attending my first funeral

September 17th, 2016, 11:35 PM
I have a friend who came to the US as a little kid. He is one of my best friends.

Unfortunately his dad died right next to him, in his sleep. Despite not knowing his family I have decided to go to his funeral to support my friend through this difficult time.

Needless to say I am really nervous.

I will be driving up to his house, and then heading to the funeral. He did ask me to go, however I was about to offer anyways.

The problem is I am no good with words, and because I didn't know his father I will likely be in a less emotional state then his family is.

Also his family is very Asian. My friend sometimes has trouble speaking English so I am going to guess that it might not be the only language spoken at home. It is possible I will be one of the few white people at the funeral.

I am just worried about still understanding people who aren't super good at english.

How do I behave at a funeral, or at situations where I might have troubles communicating with others? Is there something more/better I can say then "I am sorry for your loss"? Is it appropriate to ask about his father's live, and significance to them? What are things I can ask about?

Any advice is appreciated

September 18th, 2016, 12:14 AM
If you don't know his dad it's unlikely you'll be asked to say a few words about him. I think you just being there will already mean incredibly much to your friend!

If you DO end up having to do a speech of sorts, keep it short and mention your support goes out to your family and heard good things about him from your friend. If you're old enough (17+ i estimate but it depends on how mature people see you) you can add that youre glad his father started such a beautiful family.

I wouldn't worry about understanding things too much. Your best friend will likely want to translate things for you if there's things you really don't understand. If you deem it nessecary you can ask your friend to teach you something along the lines of "i don't understand, i'm English" for them to either start speaking English or for you to get your friends' help in translating. I also understand your friend might not want to be your personal translator all the time, but i imagine little people will initiate conversation with you. Once again, you don't need to speak to everyone and personally tell them you're sorry for their loss! Just being there should mean alot to your friend!

If you have any questions about his father, you should probably ask your friend, but try to keep them to a minimum as it can be a sensitive subject.

Good luck! I think you're a great person for doing this for your friend.

September 18th, 2016, 06:28 PM
try and speak to your friend. "sorry for your loss" is quite acceptable. give him a hug, or hold his hand for a few moments. be prepared for him to be pulled away by his family. don't be upset if they converse in their native language most of the time, they may find it easier. he will remember you were there for him if you can spend even a minute together

September 18th, 2016, 07:56 PM
Well like you said be there for your friend first. Just greet people and to the family members you might say that you have my sincere sympathy. It would be appropriate to ask what kind of a man he was and what did he do for a job and normal things. You could tell your friend that you would have really liked to have been able to meet his dad. Also tell him that you will be there for him after the funeral and in the future if he needs someone to talk to that understands what he has been going through. Just be yourself and I am sure things will go fine.

September 21st, 2016, 02:23 PM
The most important thing is that you are there, not what you say. Your presence makes the statement for you. Saying I'm sorry for your loss, with a hug or handshake, is always a nice gesture, though.

September 22nd, 2016, 04:52 PM
How did the funeral go man?

September 22nd, 2016, 05:25 PM
Funerals can be tough, i've been to a few for friends grandparents as well as my own grandparents, be friendly and polite, Don't ask a lot of questions about the death (like how did he die, etc) don't be afraid to introduce yourself to other people there like family members and let them talk to you. Most importantly, listen to the people there! In my experience, people talk a lot when a loved on passes. they are full of grief and it is comforting to them to have somebody to talk to.

September 22nd, 2016, 09:39 PM
Just be there for him. That's all he can ask for.

October 3rd, 2016, 02:40 AM
Thankyou guys for all of the advice, sorry for the late reply. I had to keep my anonymity so I didn't write down my login, and I forgot my login for a bit, thankfully I was able to bookmark this thread and checked back for advice daily before the event. It was this Saturday.

It actually went really well, I was surprised that things were much more multicultural then I thought they would be. Apparently my friend's dad had a lot of friends from a local fitness center that my friend did not even know about. It was actually a cool experience.

I did not have to speak that much, and spent most of the time hanging out with another friend from school he invited. I didn't know that I was one of two, but having another there was comforting as my friend had a lot of relatives to greet. And frankly I can not talk about his father nearly as well as they can.

Lots of good stories, he lived a good life.

I did get better at introducing/talking to strangers as well.

The only thing I regret is I prone to smile when I greet people especially if I can appreciate how strong/mature they are being in the midst of difficulty, also part of me feels it might help. I may have had moments of not being solemn enough.

I was not expecting food, but there was Burmese, Italian, and American so quite the cultural experience.

Most importantly there were moments where I feel like I was a comfort to my friend, and ultimately that was what I was there for. We did not talk too much about funeral related things but he seemed antsy to switch the subject over to regular life whenever possible so I went with that. He is doing well for someone who just lost his father.