Hearing about the death of a friend or family member can be devastating. It’s even more upsetting when you realize you can’t go to the funeral or memorial. You might not be able to afford it, especially if you have to travel far. You might be unable to take the time off work, or it could be impractical to travel with young children. The thought of not being there for your friends and family can have you feeling pretty down. On top of that, you can worry that others might think you rude for not going. If going to the funeral is out of the question, here’s what you can do instead.

Get in Touch

The first thing you can do is contact the people who are close to the deceased. It might be their spouse, children, sibling, or close friend. It’s best if it’s someone you know well if you intend to do more than give your condolences. You have a chance to express your regret that you can’t be there and talk about the person who has passed away. You can help them share some happy memories in a sad time. Ask if there is anything you can do to help from where you are, such as calling others to inform them or putting some money toward the funeral.

Send Flowers, a Card or a Donation

Sending something to acknowledge that you would like to be there is a good idea. Before you send anything, check the obituary or funeral announcement. Many people will ask that only family send flowers or even that no one sends them. Instead, they might request that you make a donation toward a charity or to the funeral costs. If flowers are requested, you can order sympathy or funeral flowers online. If you’re unsure, get in touch with someone to ask them what they prefer. A card is also an appropriate way to send your condolences.

Have Your Own Memorial

It can be upsetting that you won’t get the opportunity to mourn with everyone else. Having the chance to reminisce about the deceased’s life and see those close to them can be comforting. If you want some of the closure that a funeral might bring, you could take some moments to yourself for a small memorial. Spend some time thinking about your loved one, your memories of them, and what they achieved throughout their life.

Arrange a Visit Later

The funeral may be too short notice for you to make it. However, you might be able to arrange a trip later. Consider taking the time to make the journey to see friends and family at a later date. You will have more time to arrange everything and perhaps save up for the trip. Just makes sure you can coordinate your visit with whoever it is you’re going to see. You need to plan something that will be convenient for them.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to make it to a funeral. But if you can’t go, you can still make a kind gesture to acknowledge it.

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