In the United States, divorce is a reality for many families. In fact, it’s estimated that 40-50 percent of marriages in this country will end in divorce. This makes for complicated family dynamics, particularly when blended families are involved, and it can be hard to know the proper etiquette.

The most important thing to remember about a funeral is that it’s all about the person who died and that person’s immediate family. Depending on how strained the relationship is, it’s important to consider whether attending is the right thing to do. The funeral is not an appropriate time to air grievances, but it’s also not the time to make amends. You may feel it’s important for your children to attend the funeral but that your own attendance would be problematic. If that’s the case, find a trusted friend or family member to accompany your children. If there’s any doubt about whether or not you should go, it’s probably best to stay away.

If you want to reach out but don’t feel you should attend, talk to the family. It might be appropriate to send a card or flowers, or they might suggest a charitable donation to a specific cause. On the other hand, you may be able to help in a practical way, perhaps by bringing a meal or running an errand. The important thing is to be respectful and kind, setting aside any personal difficulties in order to support people who are trying to navigate a stressful time in their lives.

At Chapel of the Chimes, we’ve been helping people plan funerals and work around difficult situations since 1909. Committed to serving the families in our community with integrity and compassion, we can help you plan a fitting tribute for your loved one. Call us at (510) 379-5200 to learn how we can help you create a service that respects everyone involved while honoring the life that was lived.