No matter what you say at a funeral, you cannot make everything okay again. Mourners are going to still be dealing with an enormous loss no matter what happens at the funeral. However, by truly being there for your grieving loved one and offering some kind, simple sentences to help soothe the pain, you can make the day more bearable for those who are suffering.
Say, "I am concerned about your pain and care so much for you."
Sometimes the best thing that you can do is recognize the pain of someone who is entrenched in grief and also remind them how much you care. You may say this aloud or write it on a sympathy card that you give them at a funeral. It's typically a good idea to do both. Saying it out loud may have the biggest impact at the funeral itself, while reading it in the card again as time goes on will reinforce those caring feelings.
Say, "This is the most significant memory I have of your loved one."
Of course, follow this sentence up by sharing your story. By sharing your own special memory of the deceased person, you can empower the mourner to open up about their own thoughts and feelings regarding the memory. From there, the person who is grieving may choose to share some memories of their own.
Say, "I'd like to give you a hug. Would that be okay?"
Offering shows of affection at a time like this can mean more than comforting words. Ask beforehand if you are not close enough with the person to know when physical affection would be welcome. Most people will welcome hugs, and it can start a conversation in a natural way while the person is feeling more relaxed.
Say, "Here is what I'd like to do for you."
Let the mourner know that you are offering more than just your sympathy. Explain what you would like to do to make the mourner's life a little easier during this period of grief. It could be something simple like greeting guests at the funeral or watching the kids for an afternoon so the person can get some rest at a spa. Make sure to create an offer based on what you imagine the person needs the most.
Say, "What do you wish everyone here knew about your lost loved one?"
Sometimes people are afraid to get to the heart of who their loved one really was. After someone passes away, it is socially acceptable to then only sing their praises, but the real world is far more complicated. Most bereaved people are longing to talk about their lost loved one incessantly, but they may be afraid to do so. By asking questions that prompt them to open up about the person, you can help them get out how they are feeling in a healthy way.
Finally, keep in mind that words can do wonders, but they cannot work magic at a funeral. They are likely to bring an immense comfort to the bereaved, but they cannot bring back a lost loved one. Brace yourself for a wide variety of reactions when trying to provide comfort at the memorial service.