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Good Grief: A “How-To” in Arranging (or Attending) Memorials

Whether you have to arrange a memorial, or you’ve been invited, here’s a quick look at how some things should be done.

By Thomas G RobinsonPublished 2 months ago 2 min read
With Paso Robles in the rear-view mirror, we were on our way to San Jose for my friend's friend. But what should be considered when conducting or attending a memorial...? (Photo by Tomás)

By Tomás G Robinson

Recently a friend of mine, who is enjoying his retirement, has had to deal with something he didn’t even think about when he was working. The thought that he’d spend his days golfing or relaxing by a pool was a great goal mark he’d set for himself to help him through the workweek, but, the reality is that once you’ve retired you’re going to spend most of the time with a few friends who live near you, and the most you’ll do is usually meet for breakfast or lunch, and not much else.

What he didn’t think about was the fact that he’s had to deal with the very real issue of losing some of the many friends he’d grown up with, or met in his career, have started dying off. Those who have suffered long term fatal diseases or sudden unexpected fatal accidents. It’s not something he was planning for, but it happens now, and it’s something he’s dealing with more and more as he gets older.

Recently he came to me with a request. That I drive with him to San Jose to help him drive and keep him company so he can attend the funeral of a friend he’s known for years who recently passed away after dealing with cancer for the last three years. I thought about how sad it must be that people you’ve known for all these years, that you get used to seeing or talking to whenever you thought of them, or ran into them in town, are now starting to die often. Makes you think of how we take for granted of the time we have here. Of course, I told him I would, so off we went to say goodbye to his long-time friend.

Since I did not know the deceased, I thought about how I should act and what I should do at this service, so I don’t come off as rude or strange. I decided that my role should be supportive and helpful to my friend, and sorrowful and helpful for the family. I don’t have a lot of experience in funerals, and don’t like attending them much at all, so I researched online for the do’s and don’ts of funeral etiquette. According to, my plan was a good plan, so I didn’t stray too far from my original decision of what supportive is.

After going through this very sad and emotional journey with my friend, I thought about the process that this is for someone or everyone in the world we live in, who must deal with this process every day this takes place. The service I went to with my friend was so well organized and lovely, I thought I would share the experience, so maybe for those who don’t know what to do in a situation like this can have a quick resource in planning for the unexpected.

Eventually, we all end up in this situation, as a guest at a funeral, or as the deceased whose funeral it is! It’s something that we have to deal with sooner or later. Differnt people handle these things in different ways. Hopefully this video helped in some way when planning a memorial service.

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About the Creator

Thomas G Robinson

A grandfather, father, son, brother, and friend. He's also a student in a masters program, artist, singer/songwriter, actor, writer & college grad making it through each day scathed, damaged and broken ... but, he’s still making it! Kinda.

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