Expressing Sympathies at a Virtual Funeral: Seven Essential Rules of Digital Etiquette

By: VGFS
Friday, March 18, 2022

When the pandemic forced the world to remain apart, virtual funeral services allowed family members and loved ones to come together regardless of physical distance.

Now that restrictions have eased, live stream funerals, memorials, and celebrations of life continue to offer friends and family the ability to gather for remembrance events from anywhere in the world.

If you are planning to participate in a virtual funeral service, these seven tips will help you be the perfect guest.

 

Prepare in advance.

You will need to know the date, time, and the live streaming link for the service. This information may be listed in the obituary. If not, sign up to receive texts or email notifications when the details are updated. It’s a good idea to set a reminder on your phone so you can be sure to attend on time.

If your camera is enabled for the service, consider your attire.

When you are connecting digitally to a camera-enabled service such as a Zoom funeral, it’s important to dress appropriately. As with any funeral, it is a sign of respect to dress conservatively and to wear subdued colors that are not distracting. Avoid loungewear, athletic gear, or other very casual garments.

Join early.

Just like an in-person funeral or memorial service, punctuality is essential when attending a live-streamed service. Family members won't be checking their phones after the ceremony begins, so join the webcast at least five minutes ahead of time so they know you are in attendance. Building in a time cushion also gives you the opportunity to troubleshoot any technical issues you may encounter.

Let the family know you are there.

Typing a short sympathy greeting in the comments such as "We are here with you" can lend comfort to those who are attending in person. Don't forget to mention the names of anyone watching with you. Add your comments before the service begins so they are not distracting during the ceremony.

Be present throughout the service.

Resist the temptation to multitask during the funeral event. Close down your email and any social media accounts. Demonstrate respect for the departed and the bereaved by offering your undivided attention. 

Give extra thought to your remarks.

When comments are limited to the written word as they usually are in the virtual funeral setting, misinterpretations can easily occur. Avoid sarcasm, jokes, and satire. Basic phrases such as, "I'm so sorry for your loss" or "Our thoughts and prayers are with you" are good choices for offering condolences in an online environment.

Continue to show your support.

Grief doesn’t end with the funeral. Call the bereaved periodically or connect with them face-to-face via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. You might also send emails or cards in the weeks following the funeral to let your friends know you are thinking about them. Condolence gifts like prepared meals, groceries, or flowers are lovely ways to demonstrate your sympathy, as well. 

The presence of friends and family during times of loss is tremendously comforting. When the ability to attend in person is not an option, virtual funeral services offer the next best thing.

The caring professionals at Vaughn Greene Funeral Services proudly offer compassionate, innovative solutions to meaningfully celebrate the lives of those who have passed on. If you have questions or wish to make funeral arrangements, please contact us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 25 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, and repast services, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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