Depending on their culture or religion, families will have different types of visitations.  Here are some general guidelines that are helpful in most situations.

  1. Do not feel obligated to stay for a long period of time. Often times, fifteen or twenty minutes is enough time to offer your support and kinds words to the family.
  2. In some cases, the open casket is present at the visitation so you should be prepared that the deceased’s body may be in the room. You are not though obligated to spend time with the body if you are uncomfortable.
  3. Remember it is a somber occasion so dress with that in mind. Something conservative and respectful will always work.  You don’t have to wear black, just don’t wear something too flashy or revealing.
  4. If you want to send something to the family, flowers are appropriate, a sympathy card or a donation to a favourite charity of the person who passed.
  5. There will typically be a guest registry. Make sure to sign the registry as the family will most likely not remember everyone that came to pay their respects.
  6. When offering your condolences to the family, remember to share memories of the person who passed away if you knew them personally. It creates a personal connection that the family will appreciate.
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