In the United States, it is generally considered good manners and proper etiquette to offer the bereaved condolences after a death, according to Carson Funeral Home. This can be done in person, over the phone, or via a letter or email, depending on the circumstances. Expressing sympathy and support to those who have lost a loved one is comforting and helps them through the grieving process.
How a person chooses to express condolences depends upon the relationship he or she had with the deceased and the family. If a close relationship was shared, then condolences should be made in person. There are not specific words that need to be expressed, and in most cases sharing a favorite memory of the deceased or kind words is appropriate. Offering support and a listening ear to the family is appreciated as well.
A phone call to the family of the deceased is also an acceptable way to offer condolences. The phone call should be brief, as the family is most likely receiving numerous calls during this time. This is also the time to offer the family assistance should they need it. If it is not possible to offer condolences in person or by phone, a sympathy card can be sent to the family of the deceased as well.
Taking meals to the bereaved is usually welcomed. It is advisable to call the family, before taking a meal to the home, to see what they may need and to verify that they will be home to receive guests. Additionally, sending flowers or plants to the funeral home or church before services is often appreciated.