Find another article View next article Share this article If ever there were a time for decorum to be upheld, it is at a funeral, memorial, or graveside service. How sad to let 'etiquette' dictate what is right or wrong in a case such as this! Control your grief Even though it is exceptionally difficult, pallbearers are expected to carry the coffin without showing too much emotion. Older children should sit with their family, closest to whomever can give them the most comfort. Sometimes the pallbearers will also be asked to carry the coffin back to the hearse after the service if the cremation or burial is happening elsewhere. If there are no ushers, remember that the seats closer to the front should be taken by very close friends, with acquaintances seating themselves in the middle or towards the rear. Of course it is a very sad situation, and carrying the coffin of a close relative or friend can be extremely difficult, but you have a duty to do the job well.
You should also bear in mind that being a pallbearer can be a deeply emotional experience. In this case you should politely decline the offer and explain why you do not think you would be suitable. Close friends may follow, completing the procession. Feeling the weight of the coffin can have a profound impact and some people may find it too distressing. For convenience the honorary pallbearers sit in the first two pews on the left, and after the service leave the church two by two and walk in front of the coffin. How sad to let 'etiquette' dictate what is right or wrong in a case such as this! Arriving When attending a service, be on time and enter the house of worship or location where the funeral will be held as quietly as possible. Honorary bearers do not serve at a memorial service, they only serve at funerals. Find another article View next article Share this article If ever there were a time for decorum to be upheld, it is at a funeral, memorial, or graveside service. Make sure you arrive slightly early to the funeral so that the funeral director can give instructions to you and the other pallbearers. The officiant and the choir if any lead the funeral procession. An honourary pallbearer is someone who is acknowledged as an important part of the funeral but does not have to actually carry the coffin. The pall is still used in certain religious denominations to cover the casket while in the church. As a rule, the officiant leads the honorary pallbearers, followed by the coffin carried or guided by the pallbearers , and then the members of the immediate family. At a Jewish funeral, pallbearers customarily stop seven times while carrying the casket to the grave. By this time, one group of men would bear the body and a second group of men would march beside them in the procession, holding the hem of the pall to keep it from blowing off in the wind. Read more about arranging a funeral or funeral etiquette. The officiant says the prayers common to the rite of burial, and a eulogy may be given as well. At a memorial service the officiant leads the family out through the same door they entered. If you think you might find it too distressing, then politely turn down the role. If you are asked to be a pallbearer, you should handle the role with dignity and respect and follow some simple etiquette tips. If a processional has begun, wait outside instead of trying to squeeze past those who are a part of the cortege and are waiting to walk down the aisle. Pallbearers can be almost anyone — grandchildren, siblings, close friends — as long as they are physically able to carry the coffin and walk steadily. Help the host At a funeral, people look to the pallbearers as people of authority, and as part of the service people may look to you for direction. If you have asked someone to be a pallbearer and they have refused, do not see this as an insult to you or your loved one.
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