A cremation service can be an extremely painful tradition of death, and those who are in mourning may be struggling to keep it together through much of the memorial service. When it is being held for someone who has committed suicide, emotions can run even deeper. If the person had offspring, they may be feeling the sting of the death along with feelings of abandonment. It's important to speak to survivors of suicide with as much sensitivity as possible. Whatever you do, avoid making these three mistakes when speaking with them at the cremation service.

Mistake #1: Offering Advice on How They Should View the Situation

No matter what motivated the deceased person to commit suicide, avoid offering advice on how you think they should perceive the situation they are in. They may be blaming themselves, but they are probably not going to say that aloud to others at the cremation service. Don't ever speak as though you are assuming they are blaming themselves or offer advice to not do so. Avoid any sort of advice on how they should cope with the suicide unless you have experienced a suicide of a close family member, too. Even then, now is not the best time to give advice. Now is the best time to listen and express how much you care.

Mistake #2: Playing Grief Olympics

Playing grief Olympics refers to the tendency of people to compare how much suffering one person has endured compared to others. For example, after a suicide, some people say that it is better that the person died by their own choice than later by a disease like cancer. Someone may choose to say that for all the right, loving reasons, but the person who is hearing it may be horrified. They probably cannot imagine anything more painful than having to cope with the suicide of their loved one and all the questions that brings up. They don't need their suffering belittled with comparisons.

Mistake #3: Telling Them Your Views on Suicide

The cremation service is not the time to talk to survivors of suicide about your personal views on suicide. People choose to take their lives for many different reasons, and any sort of speculation can be painful. Some misguided people think that it's okay to use the cremation service as a time to air their own anger and state that people who commit suicide go to hell. That's something they should keep to themselves. The mourners don't need to know your personal views on suicide.

Finally, keep in mind that it's important to keep the conversation focused on the survivors of suicide at the cremation service. Let them know that you are there for them. Expressing your sympathy is important, and so is expressing how much you care about them. After the cremation service, follow up and be there for them as much as possible. Getting over a suicide can be extremely difficult and may take a long time. Supporting them in big and small ways can be equally important.

Talk with a funeral director for more information about cremation and funeral services, or click this link to get in contact with a professional service. 

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